Spring was when the world seemed nothing more than comic books and cartoons. I was in love with my mothers typewriter and remember nights where its ensemble of letters would perform upon a white paper stage. I remember the rhythmic “smack, click, bing” floating out of my window down into a neighbourhood still infamous for its crime and broken doors ablaze with red lights. I remember sinking into her lap afterwards, and losing myself in the stories she would read aloud of renegade cheese men and animals searching for a purpose in life.
It wasn’t until my ninth grade English teacher proclaimed her love of a short story I’d written about an avocado who wanted to escape from the fridge (and his impending doom) that I felt a sense of warmth fill my chest, like a cat drenched in rays of a golden light. I remember walking to and from class, with each ring of the bell, if not carrying my bagpipes for co-curricular, then often losing myself in the clever word play and emotional intensity of Eminem. His anger, frustration and lyrical honesty comforting my confusion and disconnect felt towards school.
I remember the days of msn, where I could express parts of myself more honestly online, and in words, that I ever could in person. I remember the jokes I’d crack with my band of outcast friends while either skateboarding or painting miniature Warhammer figurines, thinking up nonsense stories about how Japanese sandbags would elope with brooms and laugh over making peanut butter sandwiches in the kitchen.
The summer after high school burned with an obsession for art. I used to spend hours flipping through books of everything from Banksy to Francis Bacon. After spending some time working on my own brand of screen prints, I became represented by a local gallery who exhibited my work in London, Sydney, Melbourne and Singapore. Shortly after I received a prestigious Australian grant to undertake a residency in America spanning across ten cities all in the space of three months. It was my first time (nineteen years old) overseas without family or friends. And although I should have been bursting with gratitude, my heart was polluted by a deep rooted insecurity and an ambition to earn the love and respect of others through more accomplishments. I wanted to return home with a grand title, or at least something to keep propelling me forward and move onto greater things to ease all the pain felt from school and family arguments.
I remember the feelings of a deep failure sweltering in my chest after relationships with my mentor and colleagues started falling apart from petty disagreements. Throughout my time I’d gone from sleeping in tree-houses built by strippers and circus performers in New Orleans to movie sets and dinner parties in penthouse apartments of New York. I’d felt the kindness of strangers in Detroit, and spent countless hours in quiet desperation writing to people for further grants.
When I returned home, hair long and eyes red from exhaustion, it was my mother who urged me to pursue writing. “It’s what you seem to be doing more of and I think you’d be great at it” she used to gently say during our eclectic asian dinners. I remember emails from strangers claiming while they rejected my creative proposals, they enjoyed the words upon which they were laid. I started reading more with each day to pass the time, each night becoming lost in the stories of authors as Mikhail Bulgakov, Mitch Albom, Haruki Murakami and Herman Hesse.
Autumn slowly crept along with hours spent watching Hayao Miyazaki (Studio Ghibli) films each night. And although every part of his beautiful mind struck a chord in my heart, it wasn’t until I’d journeyed with a little girl and her love for a dragon while working in a spirit house that I realised stories didn’t have to be so grounded in reality. My mind started to spill over with an endless stream of ideas and I realised that what I once wanted to paint with brush, I could do so much easier with words. My ideas were the colours and my computer the canvas. I felt a sense of hope and purpose once more. That said, the pain and fear of failure was still raw. I was still laden with an anxiety to others opinions and the fear that everyone besides my mum would reject my ambitions to become a writer. Afraid they would reject my wanting to live a life dreaming of impacting the world through beautiful stories.
Two years later, after returning home from a short exchange program in Beijing to study Mandarin, I received a scholarship to further studies at a prestigious university in Tainan, Taiwan. I knew this one year to be spent learning and understanding myself within a completely foreign culture was going to open up doors and revelations never felt before. Shortly after I arrived, I write down and tied my hopes to find love on the branch of a Japanese wishing tree and met my first ever love only a few days later. Throughout the months that followed, I spent nights sleeping homeless in train stations, and others drifting into the dreams made in five star hotel rooms. I had been interviewed with singers, met actors, and became entangled in the lives and hearts of strangers as my scraggly beard and time on such a magical Island grew on.
Looking back now I truly believe the experience in Taiwan changed my life. I was able to grasp my passion of words again through the stillness of my one-bedroom apartment. I slowly learned to forgive myself for all the anguish in the past, and found the answers to my life that I had once known but forgotten in pursuit of fame and success. That I was, and will always be, a storyteller.
Now back in Sydney, it seems such a cycle of life is about to begin anew. I’ve been fortunate to develop and help grow an Instagram account combining travel & fictional story telling @thetravellersway and while the future may hold many mysteries, one thing for sure is that my dreams to publish children’s books, impact the world through bilingual stories, and have an opportunity to collaborate with Studio Ghibli will always shine bright in my mind.
Until then, I will always be working tirelessly with a hope to give back to the children of the world the same magical stories that started my own journey in the hopes they may inspire others to do the same.
Below I've uploaded a selection of sample short stories (click through to view) paired with collaborative illustrations for readers of all age to enjoy. If you have any queries then please send me an email here and I'll be sure to respond back within 24 hours. Thank you for all your generous time and support!
With warmth ,