Welcome to the Tall And True blog of a middle-aged dad and dog owner, 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, and in 2021 Twelve Furious Months, twelve short stories written for the Furious Fiction writing competition.

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Milestone Reflections

My parents separated in 1967 when I was five, and my younger brother and I went to live with our grandparents. Nan looked old to my young eyes, and leathery Pop ancient. But born in 1907, Nan was only sixty when we moved in, a cause for reflection when I reached my milestone sixty in March 2022.

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Favourite Book Covers

On a recent ABC Nightlife episode, host Indira Naidoo asked, Do you judge a book by its cover? I have blogged several times about my #bookcovers and #firstsentences homage on Instagram. But the focus has always been on first sentences. And this episode had me wondering, Could I pick my favourite book covers?

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Inspiration

Sorting through storage boxes recently, I found an old notebook belonging to my son. It wasn’t a school book, but something in which he’d jotted and doodled as a twelve-year-old in 2014. And among its random pages was a short story he’d written about a father who doesn’t have “great ideas”.

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600 Book Covers and First Sentences

On 11 January 2018, I started a #bookcovers and #firstsentences series on Instagram. One of my goals was to showcase and pay homage to the books and writers in my bookcases. Another was researching the effect of book covers and first sentences on the reader. And on 28 January 2022, I shared my 600th post.

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The Beatles Get Back

I was born in 1962, the same year as the Beatles released Love Me Do. Serendipitously, this is the first song on my first Beatles record, The Essential Beatles, from 1972. Fifty years on, I have a collection of Beatles records, books and DVDs. So, of course, I was keen to watch Get Back on Disney.

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My First Friday Fix

Since April 2020, I’ve submitted nineteen short stories for the monthly Furious Fiction writing competition. However, in December 2021, I learned Furious Fiction was shifting to a quarterly competition in 2022. Like many fans, I felt bereft. Until the Australian Writers’ Centre announced First Friday Fix.

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My Top Six Books for 2021

It’s that time of the year when we reflect on our “top things” for the past twelve months. Unsurprisingly, three months of COVID lockdown is not on my list. But when ABC Book Clubbers started posting their six favourite books for 2021, I joined in with my top six paper-based, e- and audiobooks.

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My One Night Stand

In my website profile, I mention I’ve enjoyed a one night stand. It was November 2003, but I remember the night like it was yesterday. I had worked up to it for two weeks. However, though I’d practised my lines, I suffered first-time jitters as I took the stage to perform my stand-up comedy routine.

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Favourite Audiobooks

My son loved books. And I loved reading to and with him in his early years and watching him grow into an independent reader. However, in his teenage years, he became a “reluctant reader”. Thankfully, my son found audiobooks. And with a family account, he and I are building libraries of our favourites.

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Writing True Sentences

The brief for October 2021’s Furious Fiction was to set the short story in a COURT, include a character who measures something, and the words BALLOON, ROCK and UMBRELLA. Recalling Hemingway’s advice to write one true sentence, I wrote, “The policewoman at the front of the Court is trying to catch my eye.”

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Tall And True Short Reads – Season Two

In September 2020, I launched the Tall And True Short Reads podcast, featuring short stories written and narrated by me that I’ve published over the years on Tall And True. My goal with the podcast was to share and showcase something I love doing, writing, on a medium I also love, podcasting.

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Read Like A Writer

The ABC RN Bookshelf podcast episode looked interesting: “What does it mean to read like a writer? Twenty-five Australian writers give their thoughts.” And then I recognised two of the contributors, Belinda Castles and Nicholas Jose, whose books I’d read and reviewed for Writing NSW. So I clicked play.

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The Longest Book Read

A question posted by Penguin Books Australia in 2017 popped up in my Facebook timeline memories: What’s the longest book you’ve ever read? Back then, I’d responded Gone with the Wind. But after sharing the old post on the ABC Book Club, I realised there are longer books, and I’d read one of them.

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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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Share Your Writing

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. ~ Maya Angelou

Share your untold story — fiction, nonfiction and reviews — on Tall And True, an online showcase and forum for writers, readers and publishers.

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