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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!