I once wrote a short story titled The Lost Hour (on Tall And True) 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!”

Like my protagonist, I’ve lost a few things over the years. But I never imagined losing a story!

I only realised I’d “lost” the short story when I started working on a blog post to mark my fourth anniversary of Furious Fictions. I wrote my first story for the Australian Writers’ Centre’s 500-word challenge in April 2020 and my forty-second in March 2024.

During these four years, I’ve written thirty-seven official entries and five unofficial stories, three to satisfy my monthly fix when the challenge briefly shifted to quarterly in 2022 and two when I was on holiday (and wrote later). I’ve also shared my short stories on Tall And True and narrated them for the Tall And True Short Reads storytelling podcast.

However, when I listed my Furious Fiction stories chronologically, there were only forty-one titles, and August 2023’s was missing.

Spoiler alert: You might like to read the story on Tall And True before reading the rest of this blog post. 


Thankfully, I found a copy of August’s story on my computer, though I didn’t recognise the plot or characters when I read it. The mystery deepened when I looked in my Writers’ Centre email folder. There were submission confirmations for every Furious Fiction, except between July and September 2023, August!

I’d found a “lost” short story I hadn’t shared on Tall And True, didn’t recall writing, and possibly hadn’t submitted to the Furious Fiction challenge!

When my memory fails me, I check my diary (I’ve kept daily diaries and travel journals since 1987). I found two relevant entries for the weekend of August’s Furious Fiction:

Saturday 6th: Got stuck into my Furious Fiction short story, which grew into something quite unexpected: a virtual reality dating app simulation. Wrote the first third of the story, know where I’m going with the second, and I’m confident the final third will fall into place.

Sunday 7th: The Words flowed well with the draft story, whose title occurred to me towards the end: A Window Table—perfect for its restaurant setting. A line in my third part pulled the story together: “Too gruff, too friendly, too curious.” So I didn’t have to labour over the ending. But of course, the first draft and edits were only the first of many edits and revisions late into the evening.

Share Your Writing on TallAndTrue.com


My diary entries for August also reflect my deepening commitment to campaigning for a Yes Vote for the Indigenous Voice to Parliament, culminating in the Referendum in October (I reflected on this in the Some Things Change, Some Stay the Same blog post).

Other priorities and writing (I shared In Her Head on Tall And True and wrote another longlisted Furious Fiction for September, My Speech) must have swamped my short story.

But now that my August 2023 Furious Fiction has resurfaced, I can share it. And because A Window Table (on Tall And True) takes place in a restaurant, it’s only fair I include a “tip”: this blog post about how I lost and found the story.

© 2024 Robert Fairhead

Thanks to Chris Stermitz from Pixabay for sharing the filing and folders image.

Note: This post originally appeared on Tall And True.

N.B. You can listen to a double-feature episode with A Window Table and this blog post on the Tall And True Short Reads podcast. You might also like to read a post about my first Furious Fiction in April 2020. 

This post was proofread by Grammarly
About RobertFairhead.com

About RobertFairhead.com

Welcome to the blog posts and selected writing of Robert Fairhead. A writer and editor at the Tall And True writers' website, Robert also writes and narrates episodes for the Tall And True Short Reads podcast. In addition, his book reviews and other writing have appeared in print and online media, and he's published several collections of short stories. Please see Robert's profile for further details.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *