Open to interpretation

One of the beautiful things about language is that it can be interpreted in so many different ways. It can have many meanings. What one sentence says to one person, to another might say something completely different. Consider that the written word also has tone and voice and gestures just like the spoken word does.

I am currently in Bali on a study tour and am loving reading the different menus and shop signs that might not make complete sense, but you can still understand their intended meaning. Sort of. Yesterday I walked by a shop front that had a really big fluorescent green sticker that read ‘40%’ and that was it. I thought to myself, ‘40% of what?’, but of course they would have meant 40% off stock, right? Even if that’s not what it meant, at least it would make for an interesting conversation with every new customer. Or perhaps a new addition to a site like Engrish?

Of course, this post intends only to illustrate my adoration of things lost in translation, and I do not intend in any way to poke fun. As they say, variety is the spice of life, and you shouldn’t take things too seriously – why else do sites like Damn You Auto Correct have such popularity?

What am I getting at here you ask? Well, consider that you want to write a submission piece for Visible Ink this year but you don’t feel you understand the theme. Remember, there is no one interpretation of something. There are many. Perhaps endless options – depending on who you ask!

So, what are you meant to write about for ‘After the rain’? Well, what thoughts come to mind? For me, I think of sayings with the word rain in them. Like ‘Raining cats and dogs’ for example. Where did this weird phrase come from? There are many websites and different hypotheses on the derivation of phrases, but website The Phrase Finder gave one possible origin of this saying as that it may have derived from mythology.

The site says: ‘Dogs and wolves were attendants to Odin, the god of storms, and sailors associated them with rain. Witches, who often took the form of their familiars – cats, are supposed to have ridden the wind.’ Now, why then, could you not write a piece incorporating some mythology of Odin? Or, witches riding the wind in a modern day setting?

What about songs with the word rain in them? How about ‘It’s Raining Men’ by the Weather Girls somehow intermingled with the modern day usage of dating app Tinder? How about the live video clip of Tina Turner (god love her) singing ‘I Can’t stand the Rain’ and how much fun she is having dancing around in some silvery slinky number that shows off her amazing legs? Surely that should get the creative juices flowing – after all, Tina is simply the best!

Isn’t there some brilliant scene in the 1997 movie Volcano where it rains acid and they all have to escape to cover? I may have just made that up, but that’s not the point. The point is, you can take the theme ‘After the rain’ and interpret it any way you like. All we would really like to see is that you have made an attempt to link the theme to your writing somehow. It’s fun, truly. I’m now very distracted listening to old Tina Turner tracks, but oh what fun!

Jane Sprague, 2015

Our Pozible campaign

We’ve launched a Pozible campaign to raise money to pay our contributors and we’d love your help to support Australia’s emerging creatives.

We want to pay our contributors as much as we can to support them in their future endeavours, but we can’t do it alone!

It is important to note that we don’t make money from Visible Ink. All money raised goes back into paying contributors for their work and towards future editions to continue providing emerging creatives with a platform for publication.

So please donate as much as you’re able to support emerging Aussie creatives. However big or small, every dollar counts!


Petrichor by HK MacLeod

Visible Ink’s very own Helen MacLeod wrote a little something with this year’s theme After the rain and we just had to share it with you!


There’s that moment in summer when the cumulonimbus clouds start building mansions in a bright blue sky; when the cold air, way up high, meets the hot air rising from the baked earth. The sky darkens and a gusty wind blows in from nowhere and the air becomes charged with ions.

Some people are disturbed by those wild gusty winds, but not I. The wind excites me. It makes me want to run to the top of a hill and stretch my arms high, just another element daring the electrically charged sky.

A flashing light in the dark, rolling clouds; subsonic rumbling that’s felt more than heard; another gust of wind to lean into and fat drops of rain landing on my upturned face. Another flash, another roll of thunder, then the rain comes down, hitting the hot earth so hard the dust rises and immediately turns to mud, spattering my feet and ankles.

And with the rain comes that smell: the smell of the earth sighing its relief, the smell of released heat after days weeks months of drought, the smell that fills the air, fills me and makes me feel better than good.

That smell that comes after the rain.


HK MacLeod 12/03/15

Theme announcement

We’re excited to announce that the theme for this year’s Visible Ink anthology is After the Rain.

You may have noticed some subtle weather terminology, as well as a new watercolour logo, and now you know why! We came up with ‘After the Rain’ because it allows for wide interpretation and we want to see your spin on it.

Submissions will be open tomorrow through to July 27, and must be submitted through Submittable. Guidelines and more information will be on the Visible Ink website tomorrow.

So start writing those drafts, get your paintbrushes moving or pull out your camera and get shooting because we can’t wait to see what you create!

rain image

We’re back!

Visible Ink has dropped back onto the scene with the beginning of its 27th year. We’re a brand new team for 2015 and we forecast one of the most exciting anthologies yet, even if we do say so ourselves.

We’re a group of Professional Writing and Editing students from RMIT based in Melbourne and, as always with Visible Ink, our goal is to showcase the work of emerging writers and visual artists alike through a publication at the end of the year.

First and foremost, our purpose is to support the creative community and, following in last years footsteps, we will be paying our contributors. We strongly believe in rewarding budding artists throughout Australia for their achievements and hope that this will carry on with future years.

We’re looking for an array of writing and visual art so if you’re an emerging writer, artist or photographer, Visible Ink is a platform for you to show the world what you can do.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be updating the site and introducing some exciting new things as we get the ball rolling. Submissions will open next month so keep an eye out for the theme announcement and get ready to start writing up a storm!

Excerpts from ‘Encounters’

Front cover of Visible Ink Anthology number 26.

The VI team of 2014 recently held their official launch night at Bella Union on 7 November 2014. Some of the exciting and engrossing emerging writers chosen to feature in this year’s anthology read their pieces from VI #26 ‘Encounters’, those of whom included Nick Couldwell and Cassandra L. The night was a real success and the team are sincerely grateful to all who attended and bought a copy of this year’s book!

Nick Couldwell is a twenty-four-year old writer from Byron Bay. He studies Professional Writing and Editing at RMIT and is currently writing a novel. Nick’s stories have been published in Writing To The Edge and placed third in the 2013 City of Rockingham Short Fiction Awards.

Cassandra L is a budding (screen) writer from Melbourne. Her interests include bioethics, history and monsters. She is an emerging writer and a current student of Screenwriting at RMIT, with three short stories published to date.

~ Here an some excerpts from Nick and Cassandra’s memorable pieces. ~ 

Blood, Scales and All ~ by Nick Couldwell 

‘Up ahead, on the side of the road, I notice more fur and twisted legs. In an instant the animal is gone but the bitter stink and the knobbiness of its knees stay with me. I know it’s no different to a human body: the impact and the softness of bones and teeth and skin. I try not to think of my sister or her knees. Suddenly I hate the world. Dad asks me something but I don’t hear him. I slump lower in my seat and hate the scratchiness of that too.

Lights flash and someone waves at us to slow down. Dad hits the brake and the car stinks of burnt rubber. I stare out at the group of people hanging on bikes and leaning on cars. I feel the broken glass crunching through me and I wonder if it’s what a breaking bone would sound like. I can see the motorbike now, just the guts of it, of heap of twisted metal and pipes. I don’t see a body, only road and commotion. Then Dad winds down his window and screams ‘road kill’ at the top of his lungs and I see the girl with all the hair and blood pushed up against the guardrail like she’s holding on for dear life. I know who it is. I know now. I shout at him to stop and suddenly I’m awake and he’s leaning against the bonnet rolling a smoke.

‘We’re here. You slept the whole bloody way.’

The Sworn Statement by Mrs Maureen McCurtie ~ by Cassandra L. 

‘Maybe it understood, or maybe it was just disturbed by my being there, but it uncoiled from the girl and lunged at me as quick as a cobra. I screamed and I ran, but I couldn’t get away fast enough. It got me there, right there on my arm, see? Latched on and waved its head to and fro with my arm right inside its maw. I was sure I was done for.

And all I could think about was Harry waking up in his bed, not able to move or dress or feed himself. Him dying a grown man in his bed helpless and without his mother. So I grabbed the lid from a nearby trashcan and I hit that thing on its gator head as hard as I could. Then I hit it again and again until it let go and scuttled off down the manhole. That was the last I saw of it.

I don’t remember much else after that. I passed out.’


Excerpts taken from the current edition of Visible Ink ‘VI #26, 2014 ‘Encounters’

If you couldn’t make it to the launch, don’t stress! You can buy ‘Encounters’ from our Buy Page and select bookstores in the near future!

Excerpts from VI #26 ‘Encounters’


The VI team of 2014 recently held their official launch night at Bella Union. Some of the fantastic, engaging writers chosen to feature in this year’s anthology read their pieces from VI #26 ‘Encounters’, those of whom included Oliver Mol and Will Cox. The night was a real success and the team are extremely grateful to all who attended and purchased a book!

Oliver Mol is the managing editor of The Adventure Handbook. His debut book Lion Attack! will be out through Scribe Publications early 2015.

Will Cox writes fiction of the absurd and nonfiction of the mundane in places like The Lifted Brow, Broadsheet, The Big Issue, Verge and Catalyst. He’s also edited for Penguin Books and Visible Ink, and does a bit of everything at precocious publishing start-up Casuals Network Press.

~ Here an some excerpts from Oliver and Will’s memorable pieces. ~  

Heh, Heh! by Oliver Mol 

I followed lots of signs with arrows that kept promising Gate 81. I thought: Gate 81. That’s me. I didn’t have to walk much though, because of all the travelators. I liked walking on the travelators because I felt improved. But I had to stop behind a heavy couple because they were blocking the path. This guy kept dabbing his face with his shirt and saying, ‘God, it’s hot.’ Kept saying, ‘It’s hot, right?’ The lady said yeah, no, I don’t know.’ He was holding a Coke and he looked at the Coke and said, ‘Look, even the Coke’s sweating.’ The lady snatched the Coke and said, ‘The Coke’s cold, dumbass.’ When we got off the travelator I tried to go around them but I tripped on my shoelace and fell a little. I knelt down and tied my shoelace. When I looked up the heavy couple were already on the next travelator. I decided not to take the travelator, because the travelator seemed stupid and so did the people on it.

At my gate there was a sign that said my flight had been delayed. I sat for a while on this bench listening to airport noises. Watching planes take off and land. Next to me these two girls were sort of yelling at each other about who had the better headphones. One of the girl’s kept saying, ‘Naa girl, naa.’ The ‘Naa girl, naa’ bit kept reminding me of this one song that maybe goes ‘Na na na naaa, Na na na naaa, Hey, Hey, Hey, Goodbyeeeeee’ so I hummed that tune to myself for a while. Hummed it pretty good. Yeah. Pretty loud. Sort of wanted to hum it to everyone.
Heh, heh.

And if you want you can try it right now.

It’s pretty hard to think about anything else when you’re doing it.

Quicksand by Will Cox

I thought instead about telling him the thing about how I’d been staring out the window in a tutorial and seen a bird collide with an empty plastic bag and tumble from the sky, and how that’s what it was like watching him live his life every day, but I didn’t because it sounded absurd even before it left my mouth.

That was when the screech of the tyres jolted me out of my internal monologue. We were coming round one of the sharper of the hairpin corners when the Camry’s tyres lost traction and the car slid straight across the ice. I pressed my feet hard against the floor of the car and gripped the dashboard tight with both hands, like I was trying to hold it all in place. It was over in a second. The Camry shuddered to a halt with a short, grinding crunch.

‘Shit shit fuck!’ Tom shouted as he punched the steering wheel, the horn comically censoring his language.

For the longest time we just sat there, me with my hands over my eyes. After a moment I craned my neck and saw that we’d slid into a tree just off the road. Beyond the tree was a steep incline. The back driver’s side window was cracked, and there was a thin line of water trickling in. I pulled my hood up, unclicked my seatbelt and sat there, planning the moments ahead, before opening the door. 

Excerpts taken from the current edition of Visible Ink ‘VI #26, 2014 ‘Encounters’

If you couldn’t make it to the launch, don’t stress! You can buy ‘Encounters’ from our Buy Page and select bookstores in the near future!