Another Writing Exercise Response (May 2021)

This piece is my response to the writing exercises from our seventh Writing Apocalypse lecture. First we were shown two images. One was a rainforest, the other was a fossilised fern. We were to write a short piece using the images as inspiration. We were then asked to re-write the piece, paying attention to the senses. I’ve only posted the second piece here.

As usual, it is completely raw, unpolished and unedited, and was written during the lecture in the small window of time allocated by the lecturer.


I was thirteen the first time I saw my mother cry. I remember it well, as one always remembers that uneasy moment when we realise our parents are human, with emotions and memories and dreams distinct from our own existence.

We were visiting the Museum of Natural Flora. Dad was in Sydney on business, so Mum was treating us to a day out. We’d skipped school for our outing and we thought it was a great adventure. There was this one room which was interactive. It contained a hologram rainforest with strangely melodic whistling sounds and a pleasant earthy scent I’d never smelled before.

“Max says this is all fake.” Brandon said. “Says it’s a left-wing conspiracy designed to de-stabilise the government.”

“Max is full of shit.” I said. “He’s just pissed he flunked Earth Science.”

“I dunno.” said Brandon. “He’s got a point. I mean, have you ever seen a plant that reached passed your knees?”

“I have.” Mum, who was uncharacteristically ignoring my potty mouth, piped in. “When I was a kid there were parks and forests. Suburbs with whole streets lined with trees. In spring the air was sweet with the smell of hundreds of flowers and the leaves would rustle in the breeze. The days were filled with songs of birds. There was even one which sounded like it was laughing and another which swooped at passers-by. At night, we were kept awake by possums hissing or koalas grunting as they mated.”

She smiled, sadly. “My parents had this one tree growing right up against my bedroom window. It would groan and sway whenever the wind picked up. I used to worry that one day it would cave in the roof, but it never did.”

She reached towards the nearest fern but her hand passed right through. “Just an illusion, after-all.” she whispered, wistfully. I caught the glint of tears as she turned away.



Categories: Fiction Friday

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