Welcome to the Tall And True blog of a writer and podcaster, Robert Fairhead.

In addition to sharing posts on this website, Robert is a writer and editor at the Tall And True writers' website. He also writes and narrates episodes for the Tall And True Short Reads podcast, featuring his short stories, blog posts and other writing from Tall And True.

Robert's book reviews and other writing have appeared in print and online media. In 2020, he published his début collection of short stories, Both Sides of the Story. In 2021, he published his first twelve short stories for the Furious Fiction writing challenge, Twelve Furious Months, and in 2022, his second collection of Furious Fictions, Twelve More Furious Months. And in 2023, he published an anthology of his microfiction, Tall And True Microfiction.

You can follow Robert on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the Mastodon social media platform.

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A Dad and Son Road Trip

On Monday, 11 December 2023, my twenty-one-year-old son and I set off in his van on a 10-day, 4600-kilometre dad-and-son road trip from Sydney to Margaret River. We had planned the trip for over six months to spend Xmas/New Year with our WA family. And yet, I only had a vague idea of our route.

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One of Those Mornings

Have you ever had one of those mornings? You know, where everything goes wrong. It’s like a farce, a series of mishaps increasing in frequency and intensity that have you howling with side-splitting laughter or shedding tears of frustration. Mine started when I forgot to set the alarm for Amy’s swim squad training.

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#30Words30Days April 2024

In April 2023, Sumitra and Danielle Baldock from the Twitter/X #WritingCommunity ran a #30Words30Days microfiction challenge. Danielle re-ran it this year, posting a daily “Nature” themed prompt word and inviting writers to share their 30-word stories, read and cheer everyone else, and have fun!

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The Dead Sea and a Float Tank

I turned 62 on 30 March. In previous years, I’ve swam laps to match my age on my birthday (until I tore my shoulders), read 59 and 60 chapters, and written a 61-word story. This year, I spent 62 minutes in a float tank, and to prepare for it, I read my travel journal entry on my 1995 trip to the Dead Sea.

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Different Journeys

The first thing in the morning text message was a punch in the guts. “Sorry, Colin. I love you, but we’re on different journeys. Let’s stay friends.” I blinked twice to clear my eyes and was about to respond, “Are you serious?” but threw the phone against the bedroom wall instead.

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Five April Stories

My first attempt at the Australian Writers’ Centre’s Furious Fiction writing challenge was in April 2020. Since then, I’ve submitted entries to every challenge except two when I was away from home on holiday. I wrote my forty-third (official and unofficial) Furious Fiction this month, my fifth April story.

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The Light Above

I wrote The Light Above for the March 2024 Furious Fiction, the Australian Writers’ Centre’s 500-word flash fiction challenge. The brief for March was that each story had to include a character who revisits something, the same colour in its first and last sentence, and the words CAMP, FAST and SPARK.

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Tall And True Short Reads – A Good Story

Episode 90 (1 April 2024): My first “published” writing was an Enid Blyton-Famous Five-style adventure story, Sand Island, in 1972. I wrote the story and illustrated it with coloured Texta markers. My aunt, the only one in our family with a typewriter, typed up the manuscript. And my father helped bind and cover the book. I was ten.

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Tall And True Short Reads – Moving On

Episode 89 (14 March 2024): Eighteen-year-old Hugo glanced up at the train station clock. It seemed time had stood still, with the minute hand barely moved since he’d last checked. He confirmed the time on his watch and then looked at the departure board, breathing a sigh of relief. His train was running on schedule.

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A Window Table

The sign at the front desk of the restaurant was emphatic: “WAIT TO BE SEATED.” No “Please” or “Thank you”. Bernie and his date, Sally, glanced at each other in awkward silence. “YES,” a gruff voice boomed from a speaker on the desk, “DO YOU HAVE A BOOKING?” Bernie stared into the webcam taped to the speaker.

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The Lost and Found Story

I once wrote a short story titled The Lost Hour that opens: “You know what it’s like when you lose something. It’s always in the last place you look. But how do you find a lost hour? It’s not like it can slip down the back of a sofa like coins or keys!” I’ve lost a few things but never imagined losing a story!

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Tall And True Short Reads – Finding Inspiration

Episode 88 (29 February 2024): While sorting through storage boxes at home, I found an old notebook belonging to my son. It wasn’t a school exercise book but something he’d jotted and doodled in as a twelve-year-old. Among its random pages was a short story he’d written in 2014 about a father who doesn’t have “great ideas”.

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Snap, Crackle, Pop!

The chemical reaction when I pour the jug of milk onto my cereal sparks a memory: “Snap, crackle, pop!” Growing up, Mum bought us bland wheat cereals for breakfast. “You need the fibre,” she’d say, cutting short complaints and requests from my sisters and me for more popular brands.

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Tall And True Short Reads – The Lonely Moon

Episode 87 (15 February 2024): If you ask me, the Moon is the best object in the night sky. And you don’t need an expensive telescope to observe it. A pair of binoculars does the trick. I’m looking at the Moon now, leaning against a wall to steady my hands, and it’s a beautiful sight. No wonder it inspires poets and lovers.

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A New Jack

Less than forty-eight hours after receiving her online order, Third Age Cybertronics delivered Jack to Daisy, a sprightly centenarian who purchased the Advanced Companion Droid to help her with household chores and carry her bags when travelling.

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Tall And True Short Reads – A Knock at the Door

Episode 86 (18 January 2024): “In space no one can hear you scream. But what if you’re deep in the backwoods, in an isolated cabin on a dead-end trail?” Karen set aside the book. A horror story was not ideal reading for the off-grid log cabin Peter had booked for their thirtieth wedding anniversary weekend, especially as she was alone in bed, listening to wind from a storm whistle through cracks in the doors and windows.

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Moving On

Eighteen-year-old Hugo glanced up at the train station clock. It seemed time had stood still, with the minute hand barely moved since he’d last checked. He confirmed the time on his watch and then looked at the departure board, breathing a sigh of relief. His train was running on schedule.

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Published November 2023

By definition, brevity is the key to good microfiction. There is no time for plot and character development, so every word must count. ~ Robert Fairhead

Tall And True Microfiction by Robert Fairhead
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Published September 2022

I hope readers enjoy the short story journeys in Twelve More Furious Months and make it home in time for dinner. ~ Robert Fairhead

Twelve More Furious Months by Robert Fairhead
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Published April 2021

I look forward to the Writer's Centre's monthly Furious Fiction competitions because I've become addicted to the escapism of writing short stories! ~ Robert Fairhead

Twelve Furious Months by Robert Fairhead
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Published March 2020

This slim book is hard to put down. And the only regret we may feel after reading it is that we reached the end too quickly! ~ Denise O'Hagan

Both Sides of the Story by Robert Fairhead
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There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. ~ Maya Angelou

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