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Doctor Stephens, with test results in hand, sat us down in his office. I can still smell that subtle lemon odour of disinfectant that hung in the air. He palmed away a strand of grey hair that hung across his brow and adjusted his specs, which usually rested low down on his pudgy nose. He set the pages on his desk, letting his fingers rest upon them like a paper weight, as if he expected a gale force wind to howl into his office and swirl them into a scattered mess on the floor. He cleared his throat.

‘Thanks for coming,’ he said, and his lips twitched into a crooked smile that seemed just as out of place in this setting as was the blazing red tie he wore around his neck. Pushing through the awkwardness, he continued giving us the bad news in a rather direct, matter-of-fact fashion, as though he was presenting the daily news at six. He gave us all the facts and all the results of the tests, but the bottom line, he said, was that there was nothing they could do to help them … there was no cure.

The girls’ level of the disease was classed as type two, which meant their bodies would slowly give way to this condition, gradually losing muscle function until finally their respiratory system would cease to work, their breathing would stop, and they would die. When? Nobody knew for certain, but the life expectancy of patients with their severity was not good. When he was done speaking, he sat back in his leather seat and waited, his fingers laced together on his lap.

We sat in stunned silence for what seemed like a lifetime, staring at him as though there was more to add, something vital that he had left out that would change this news into a positive feel-good moment. Something along the lines of, ‘Only a kiss from their true loves could save them, and it’s up to you to save the day.’ Then we would race home and kiss them and watch the magic transformation as they swirled in golden light to be healed of any such disease. But it wasn’t like that; it’s never like that.

Excerpt (novel) – Insane Truth – Grant Ackermann

 

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Definitions for blinkered – adjective [bling-kerd]

  1. narrow-minded and subjective; unwilling to understand another viewpoint.
  2. having blinkers on; fitted with blinkers.

His father had warned him of the sultry seductions that came with success, but his stubborn, blinkered arrogance ignored the advice, and now he was back home and humbled with only an apology in his pocket.

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People on the outside think there’s something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn’t like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that’s all there is to it.

 

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If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn’t matter a damn how you write.

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Amy: They clinked teacups and sipped their hot drinks, the steam rising and twirling before them, while the rain pelted down against the soft green earth outside. Amy wishing and naively believing, as a young mind is inept to do, that death was still a long long way away … but she was wrong.

Rose: Her daughter nodded more in acknowledgement than in agreement but the mood remained as dreary as the weather and Rose, taking it upon herself to lift the mood, tried to shake off the vibe that stuck to them like a wet blanket. ‘Today is a celebration, so let’s forget the bad news and celebrate,’ she said enthusiastically, raising her voice to an almost cheer, bringing a sudden spark to their energy and a smile to both their faces. Rose hoped with everything she had that it would last but as they drank their tea and watched the rain roll down the window, she could only see tears, lots and lots of tears that only supported her deathly premonition.

Excerpt (novel) – The Wish List – Grant Ackermann

 

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The darkness before dawn. The mumbling of prayers. Feeling alone when thousands are by your side. Last thoughts of family and friends. They sit in silence, waiting. Now the moment is upon them. Even the wind stops so there could be no mistaking the instruction that was about to be given.

Then the ramps lower and they charge forward, pushing aside anxiety and fear, letting courage and pride lead them by their hands and their hearts. Immediate flashes from an invisible enemy and the thunderous rattling, cracking sounds of gunfire rain down. Agonising screams of despair cutting through the now howling winds. The sun, finally peeking its head, brings light to those fallen, their tumbling bodies caressed to shore by the gentle hands of the waves. The smell of gunpowder doing little to mask the stench of death. The metallic hope of weapons, clutched with white-knuckled hands, offer no defense to an advantaged enemy. The red spray of saltwater touches lips and faces, mixing with tears, before rolling down the faces of a young nation. But it’s their will to keep moving forward, their courage and determination to fight for what they love and believe in … that true ANZAC spirit that never gives up and defines who we are and that makes us proud to be Australian.

Today on ANZAC Day we will stand and we will be proud. They will always be our heroes and we will forever be grateful for their sacrifice. We will acknowledge the past and we will celebrate the future. We will give thanks for our privileges and who we are as a nation. And we will remember and salute them … lest we forget!

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If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn’t matter a damn how you write.

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