Blog Posts on Tall And True

Blogging is to writing what extreme sports are to athletics: more free-form, more accident-prone, less formal, more alive. It is, in many ways, writing out loud. ~ Andrew Sullivan

Tall And True showcases the writing — fiction, nonfiction, reviews and blog posts — of writer and podcaster Robert Fairhead. Guest Writers are also invited to share and showcase their writing on the website. 

Syria: We Can't Say We Didn't Know

Syria: We Can't Say We Didn't Know

Former Middle East correspondent, Sophie McNeill, appeared on a recent Late Night Live to talk about her new book, We Can't Say We Didn't Know. McNeill despairs at the world's mute response to the atrocities committed in Syria and that we seem to be living in an age of impunity for those who wage war.

Live Encounter Magazine - Culling Your Darlings

Cull Your Darlings

In June 2016, I wrote a review of Jerome and His Women by Joan O'Hagan. The book's publisher and Joan's daughter, Denise O'Hagan of Black Quill Press, liked it, and we started corresponding. Recently Denise asked if I could edit the review for another publication. I had to cull it from 477 words to 300!

A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende

A Warm Afternoon with Isabel Allende

Walking my dog one warm afternoon in January, I heard The Book Show podcast interview with Isabel Allende. The next day I saw her latest novel, A Long Petal of the Sea, in my local library. It seemed serendipitous. More so, as published in 2020, it would be my first book of the new year and decade.

My Bedside Books (2019)

My Bedside Books (2019)

In December 2018, I blogged about the sixteen books I'd read or dipped into during that year in My Year of Books. I'm a bedtime reader and often doze off with a book on my nose. And this is why I'm happy to report there were another sixteen fiction and nonfiction titles in my bedside books for 2019.

1998-2020 Diaries

A New Year Diary

I have kept diaries for thirty-three years and used the Belmont A7, day-to-a-page, pocket-diary for twenty-one of those. Its twenty lines per page proved a perfect fit for my daily entries. However, last August, I lost my 2019 diary and discovered the joy of not being constrained to a page per day.

Spirit of Xmas - Xmas Gifts

The Spirit of Xmas

When I was a boy, I thought the spirit of Xmas was receiving: from my overflowing Santa Sack and gifts under the Xmas tree. Then I grew up, and for me, especially after I became a dad, it's giving. I like choosing gifts for family and friends, which is why I say bah humbug to the modern Kris Kringle.

A Lost Diary

A Lost Diary

I have kept a diary since I set off backpacking in March 1987. In the early years, I only recorded occasional highlights. However, as I wrote in 32 Years of Diaries (Janunary 2018), I made a New Year's Resolution in 2005 to write up every day. Hence, a lost diary is a disaster—it's happened to me twice.

News - Both Sides of the Story

Both Sides of the Story

Phil Collins released Both Sides of the Story in 1993. It was a catchy song, but I remember it more for the music video. Scenes of homelessness, domestic violence, military patrols on streets and a ghetto kid mugging a white man, juxtaposed with Collins crooning, We need to hear both sides of the story.

Writing Presentations - Joomla and Tall And True

Writing Presentations

On the vexed question of the ideal frequency for posting to blogs, Problogger's Darren Rowse suggests it "varies considerably from blog to blog" (June 2008). I've been tardy with the frequency of my posts recently, not because I haven't been writing. But because I've been busy writing presentations.

Kurdish Turkey

Kurd Friends in the Mountains

My wife and I visited Turkey in 1988. We had endured our first English winter and spent two weeks hugging the coastal sites and sunny beaches. We returned in 1990, venturing far from the coast to the mountains of eastern Turkey, where Kurds befriended us, and we learned a little of Kurdish culture.

Choice - Point of View in Writing

Writing Point of View

In a recent blog post, I discussed how I'd repurposed a short story written for a writer's circle in the early-1990s. The tutor panned it at the time as "too vague", but I still liked aspects of the writing. So I cut out the "vague" bits and changed the tense from past to present for more immediacy.

My Marxist Philosophy Course - Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder

My Marxist Philosophy Class

In February 1998, I started an eight-week evening college course, Introduction to Philosophy. I was in my mid-thirties, and while I was aware of philosophers, I hadn't read their works and knew nothing about critical thinking. Our text was Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder. And our tutor was a Marxist.

Piles of Repurposed Writing

Repurposed Writing

In a purple patch of writing in my early thirties, I churned out ideas and outlines for short stories and longer-form fiction almost daily. I was childless back then and had little to distract me from my notebook and keyboard. Some of my "churn" developed beyond half-baked plots — none was published.

C Programming Language by Kernighan & Ritchie

Homage to Technical Books

In these heady days of Google, Wikis, forums, YouTube and social media, it's hard to believe technical books once sat on computer programmers' desks. But old-timers, like me, recall when having a reference book at hand was invaluable for learning languages, filling knowledge gaps and keeping your job.

All That I Am by Anna Funder

All That I Am by Anna Funder

Award-winning author Anna Funder discussed her 2003 bestseller Stasiland on the Better Reading podcast in February 2019. Having visited Berlin in 1987 and 1995, her book on the East German secret police piqued my interest. It wasn't on the shelf at my local bookshop, but I did find All That I Am.

My Miles Franklin Longlist

My Miles Franklin Longlist Favourite

The Miles Franklin Literary Award is Australia's premier prize for literature. And I've read four of the ten books on the Miles Franklin longlist for 2019: Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton, A Stolen Season by Rodney Hall, Dyschronia by Jennifer Mills and The Lucky Galah by Tracy Sorensen.

Travel Journal Writing Memorabilia

Writing From My Travel Journal

What could be easier than writing a piece based on travel journal entries from seven nights my wife and I spent in Moscow and St. Petersburg? Well, for a start, it was way back in 1993, and I was still finding my "writer's voice". So, many entries are inconsistent and some downright embarrassing.

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