By Esther Kristel | Posted: Thursday November 15, 2018
Three students will be published in Re-Draft in 2019. Re-Draft is an annual creative writing competition for teenagers which has been running since 2000.
The publication, Re-Draft, is the nationally acclaimed collection of the winning entries, published each year by Clerestory Press.
Any New Zealand teenager can enter their work, including up to three different pieces of writing. Entries can be any creative writing genre and are judged by award winning New Zealand writers.
This year three senior students have had five pieces of writing selected for publication in next year’s edition of Re-Draft. With much excitement we congratulate Olivia Bradfield with winning the placement of her two pieces Daisy Chains and Sol - Selene - Andromeda; and Cuba Rust with being recognised by her two pieces The Princess and the P and His Name was Edwin; and Linea Simons with also gaining publication with her poem Fingerpainting.
We are thrilled with the recognition these students have received and eagerly look forward to seeing them published on December 15th. Publication - every writer’s dream!
The students’ writing follows.
Daisy Chains, by Olivia Bradfield - Year 12
There was a dried daisy chain that used to hang on the rear view mirror of our car. The way it hung meant that it practically fossilized, the sun and the heater drying out the stem and the blossoms. I put it up there after a summer's day during school, almost two years ago. My friend made it for another friend, a result of a summer flirtation that didn’t last long, much like the flowers used to create it. It slowly became part of the scenery. The tiny shriveled bracelet growing smaller and smaller until it was gone. It's probably dust now, settling into an archeological layer of our Toyota Corolla.
Daisy chains are always beautiful and green and soft when you first make them. My mum showed me how in our backyard when I was very, very small. We would sit out there, amongst the buttercups and the grass and my sisters and I trying to figure out how to connect those little flowers. Slice the stem open with your fingernail, make sure it doesn't break completely or it won't be a part of the chain. Slip another daisy through, make another slit to continue the necklace. We sat for hours in the sun, trying to recreate the perfect crowns that my mother made for us. Little crowns for her little princesses. The three of us blinking in the sun.
At school the hill we sit at gets covered in daisies during the summer. The ground is worn down by a year of footsteps, but where there is grass there are little blossoms in spite of that, poking through the dirt. Even though exams are coming up and everyone is hot and sweaty and tired of each other - we sit and pick the flowers. My friend made a daisy chain one summer near the end of school, and gave it to the boy that she liked. We all laughed as the sun soaked into our arms, our faces, our hair. They talked to each other in hushed tones as the rest of our friends looked on - will they? Won’t they? A bluetooth speaker blared an angry song in the background. Popsicles dripped down our hands onto our uniforms. The sights and sounds of a Dunedin summer.
I’m not sure how I ended up with that daisy chain, but I know that I held on to it tightly, and walked with it purposefully to the car. Arms steady, fingers soft - I hung it over the rearview mirror as the sun reflected onto it. Because pressing flowers in the past had always lead to dust, rather than relics as you hope. Because things like daisy chains get broken easily; and things like perfect summer days are few and far between.
Sol - Selene - Andromeda, by Olivia Bradfield - Year 12
To fall in love with the sun
she is far from here
but as light reaches down, a
kiss marks her soft touch
To fall in love with the moon
grey eyes, soft cold hands
one girl, all that gravity
she dances - tides sway
To fall in love with that star
little bursts of light
with her hands she is painting
a jeweled pattern
The Princess and the P, by Cuba Rust - Year13
The Princess and the P
My sister is the Princess.
I am the P.
It is not by some cruel twist of fate that I managed to find myself wrapped in blankets, under a pile of mattresses twenty storeys high. It’s been this way all along. I have always been the P, the proof- just like in the fairy tale- that my sister is in fact the princess she appears as. A real princess, as opposed to the fake kind.
noun es·cap·ism \ i-ˈskā-ˌpi-zəm \
Definition of escapism
: habitual diversion of the mind to purely imaginative activity or entertainment as an escape from reality or routine
I have always liked the letter P. When I was younger I got called Parrot, I still do sometimes. I like words which start with the letter P. Preposterous, perpetually, and petrichor. They make me smile. They are pleasant. The Preposterous Parrot Perpetually Pleased by Petrichor. What a fantastic sentence, if only people spoke that way all of the time. Maybe I’d go out more.
noun dis·trac·tion \ di-ˈstrak-shən \
Definition of distraction
1: something that distracts : an object that directs one's attention away from something else
2: the act of distracting or the state of being distracted; especially : mental confusion
driven to distraction by their endless chatter
It’s cold this morning. Crisp frost materialises on my fingers as I sit for hundreds of years, stationary on the steps. I impersonate a gargoyle and curl my toes. Around me, the world moves in stop motion. My sister goes to school. Her red gumboots look a bit like ladybirds. She flies away down the footpath and talks to the birds on the way. I expect they are off for an adventure. My Dad says I have an ‘overactive imagination.’ I say he’s just boring.
Fantasy prone personality
Fantasy prone personality (FPP) is a disposition or personality trait in which a person experiences a lifelong extensive and deep involvement in fantasy. This disposition is an attempt, at least in part, to better describe the popular term "overactive imagination", or "living in a dream world". An individual with this trait (termed a fantasizer) may have difficulty differentiating between fantasy and reality and may experience hallucinations, as well as self-suggested psychosomatic symptoms
Some facts about me:
I am twelve years old.
I love the colour yellow.
I love loud unexpected noises.
I don’t like dogs or cats, I like bugs.
People call me too smart for my own good.
I don’t understand how you can be ‘too smart’ for your own good.
I wonder if anyone ever said that to Stephen Hawking, and what he said back.
When I’m older I want to be an astrophysicist.
I have never really liked people.
People have never liked me.
People have always loved my sister. I understand that- I love my sister too. She is lovable. Not unlike words beginning with P which just pour from your mouth. She is a real Princess.
A Real Princess: Someone who can feel a pea through twenty mattresses and twenty feather beds. I am the uncomfort in the room. I am the Pea, I am the test, and I am always there. She stays anyway.
Fake Princesses could never do that.
adjective \ ˈfāk \
Definition of Fake
Having a false or misleading appearance; fraudulent.
Now you may have questions. Why the dictionary definitions? Let’s start with that one. The answer is simple, and although I do not like simple things I have garnered the impression that most people are not like me. That’s okay.
I feel like people talk too much, and I feel like people don't understand or care about what they are saying. People say I am quiet. They ask why I don’t talk. “Cat got your tongue?” They say, and smile.
No the ‘cat’ does not have my tongue.
I would be significantly alarmed if a cat had my tongue.
Most people would I think. Or maybe that’s the point. It’s an odd saying.
I tell them: I talk when I need to talk. They don’t always like that.
Dad told me “If you hate talking so much, why don’t you write.” So that is what I am doing. I am writing, and I am putting in definitions to make sure people understand me. Being misunderstood is possibly the worst thing, worse even than the sinking feeling in your gut when you need to pee at the start of a long bus trip. I am misunderstood a lot.
I sit on the grass and blow bubbles. I know the constellations by heart. I love the colour yellow. These are important things.
adjective im·por·tant \ im-ˈpȯr-tᵊnt , especially Southern US and New England -tənt ,-dənt \
Definition of important
: marked by or indicative of significant worth or consequence : valuable in content or relationship
My sister is the Princess.
I am the P.
These are important things.
His Name was Edwin, by Cuba Rust - Year 13
His name was Edwin, when I knew him.
A funny fellow as far as they go. Would always turn up to work with his ears sticking out from either side of his hat, carrying a double shot latte in a green mug. 'Morning, my friends!' he would say, as if we weren't just here because of the paycheck. I didn't talk to him all that much, prefered instead to stare into the fibres of the grey carpet. I wasn't looking for for a promotion, and if you're not looking for a promotion there's not much point in chatting to the boss. Especially not a boss who has a different tie for every day of the year. Not a boss who insists on calling everyone a nickname. He called me Jiminy, long for Jim I guess. Like I said, funny fellow was old Eddy.
The only time I ever talked to him for an extended time was about half a year ago. My wife was due, you see, and I was hoping I could get a bit of time off to take care of things. It was the weirdest thing watching his face transform. I could never guess how old he was, he seemed to be covered in wrinkles and yet smooth as a babe at the same time. The enormous creases around his eyes twisted his face into a smile, his eyes lighting up with what looked like sheer joy. 'Are you the one having labour?" he asked. I remember looking him hard in the eye unsure as to whether he was having me on. ‘No,’ I said eventually.
‘Then why the f*** would I give you time off?’
I didn’t know Edwin much. And I didn’t like him much either.
Our office was on the top floor. It isn’t there any more but in its day it was pretty glorious. By that I mean the opposite. Edwin tried to make the depressing greys seem more lively by buying pot plants. Some even had flowers on them. He placed them on people’s desks; we all got one, and we all had to water them. If it died you’d be pretty dead in the big B O double S’ eyes so we kept it up. I started feeding mine coffee to see what would happen. Not much of a gardener but I thought I’d see some change. I didn’t.
What was he like though? you ask. You ask a lot of questions. I told you I didn’t know Edwin much. Only the glimpses I got from around the office. He was changeable. That’s a good word for him. A tempestuous soul. Sometimes he’d act like your best friend, sometimes a dictator from a far off land. All the more reason to stay away from him in my opinion.
There was this one time I came in after hours to pick up something I’d left behind. He was just sitting there. All alone. In the dark. I nodded to him but he didn’t acknowledge me. An odd one, Edwin. Odd indeed. Like a character from a novel, only I never could figure out if he was a hero or a villain.
Eddy? What about Eddy? What is there to know?
I adored Eddy! He was my boss for two years I would say. Oh yes, we all know what he did but that doesn't change who he was now does it? He was kind, he always gave me time off when I needed it. Called me ‘darlin’ even though I was well into my thirties. He had this sparkle in his eye which reminded me of my Grandad. When the time came I even invited him to my wedding, not that he turned up. He sent me a note saying he was dreadfully sorry but things had come up. That he was working late. Even though it was a Sunday. Honestly, who works on God’s day of prayer?
Oh yes I did hear about him being unreasonable around the office, but I assume it was likely the fault of the others. Not a very nice bunch the men I used to work with. Not that I disliked them, but they all kept to themselves. That’s probably why they didn’t get along with Eddy. He was an enigmatic fellow but a sweetie at heart. He just wanted people to play his games- like with the pot plants, yes.
Describe him? Physically? He was a rusty looking man. Reddy brown hair, reddy brown eyes, reddy brown freckles. He wore this funny hat which made his ears poke out the sides. I always told him he looked like an elf. He said maybe he was. Oh! And he always carried this green cup. He told me his wife gave it to him as a good luck charm. He missed her, said she’d died too young. That’s God’s will I guess, some people come and some people go. Yes I truly believe Eddy was God’s child. A pity the Devil got to him eventually, but he gets to so many. While I worked for him, Eddy was a good man.
Edwin Charlie Boston Perkins
That’s right. I knew his full name. What of it?
No I didn’t talk to him much.
He talked to me.
No I didn’t spend time with him.
Probably because he sought me out.
Probably because I didn’t and don’t spend my time babbling like a bloody buffoon.
No I didn’t agree to do this, my wife agreed for me.
No I won’t bad mouth the dead.
I don’t care what he’s done.
I don’t care if it’s for the bloody press.
F*** off then and find someone else.
Edwin was a psychopath
Clearly, didn’t you see what he did? Of course you have. A f***ing nut job. I always knew, you know? You can just tell with some people. So strange, so messed up. What was he like when I knew him? What do you want to know? He’d always waltz in, same as every bloody day, green mug in one hand, power in the other. I sat close to the door, ready to bolt if need be. Everyone said I was paranoid. Wasn’t really now was I? I was just smarter than all of them.
What does it look like? Does it bloody matter? Brown hair, I think yeah. Brown hair, brown shoes. They were pretty scuffed up. Never trust a man with scuffed shoes. Remember that. He wore these random ties too. Some were pretty jacked, pictures of teddy bears and shit like that. Not attire for a fully grown man. Though maybe he never grew up. He didn’t have the stability of an adult. Didn’t dress like one didn’t act like one. I reckon under all the f***ed up shit he did he was just a child looking for something. Don’t know what though.
Why did he call me? I don’t know.
It was hours, less, before he did it. That’s the reason I’m here isn’t it? You want to know why. Well I’m sorry I don’t know. Trust me when I say I have racked my brain, combed it over and over looking for something I might have missed. Some way I could have stopped him. Persuaded him to stop. Maybe if I called his son. Maybe if I talked to him more. Maybe I could have saved him. Saved them. I don’t know.
I hadn’t seen him in years. Since the office. Actually no, that’s a lie, I saw him once more after. It was in a cafe, my favourite. A place called Sugar. I just nodded to him in passing but he grabbed my arm- and I’m talking fully grabbed me. His fingers hurt. I pulled away. He just told me to wait. He asked me how I thought we reached Heaven. I stared at him. I was pretty sure he was mad by this point. Still wearing his hat, the same one from the office. I said ‘what’ and he repeated the question. I didn’t know what to say, never having been religious myself. I looked to the door where my girlfriend was waiting. ‘I think,’ I said carefully, ‘we have to decide that for ourselves.’
Stupid, looking back. I should have said something about treating others well. Not hurting people. But then, I didn’t know what he was capable of.
I don’t think anybody did.
But yeah, he called me. My phone rang at 3. I was home, making toast actually. Unknown number but that’s never bothered me. He didn’t say much and I barely recognized his voice. All I heard between the crackling of the speaker was ‘Jim, I am going to Heaven Jim.’ He repeated it again and again. I couldn’t break through to him so I hung up. Shook me up good. I envy my past self because for the rest of that day I was blissfully unaware. I didn’t know. Now, I can’t forget.
There once was a man named Edwin
he loved his wife but she left him
he tried to move on
but his love was too strong
say goodbye to the lonely old Edwin.
I wrote that when I left my job. Edwin was my boss and I hated him. I wrote it in spite. Stuck it on his door. I didn’t need his reference; he was a loony. Seems pretty sick now ay. I’m sorry I guess.
James sighed, pushing together the ruffled papers which lay scrawled across his desk. He had conducted interview after interview to no avail. He still didn’t seem to understand Edwin, and he was trying so hard, so hard. What had caused him to do what he did? Insanity? That seemed to be the only conclusion which he could draw. It didn’t add up however. These weren’t the actions of an insane man. They were meticulous, planned; not the work of a raving lunatic.
James was a journalist. He had been uncovering the details of Edwin’s horrendous actions for weeks now, preparing for his final report. His masterpiece. During that time, he had become more and more disheveled, only washing and dressing properly to conduct interviews. Currently he stood in a stained white shirt and underwear in front of the window looking out at his yard. No one would be looking his way; his fences ensured that. Streaky with grease, his hair stuck up at all sorts of angles.
It was time. He had had enough. It was time to write the paper. Returning to his desk he threw the papers back down in no particular order. They were all stored away in his brain anyway. All around his office walls- he worked from home- were framed newspaper articles. He had written them all. Every one. It was a rather dark career path, writing on serial killings. But it involved travel and after fifteen years he was really getting the knack of it. They asked for him now. ‘The serial killer guy.’ Not exactly complimentary, but he was confident one day they’d say James.
He sat down on his creaky chair and turned his lamp on. His fingers shook. It was time. Time to get the truth out to the public about the man who had rocked the nation to the very core.
National Scandal, he wrote at the top of the page.
On the 25th of June 2016 Edwin Charlie Boston Perkins
Fingerpainting, by Linea Simons - Year 12
A glop of blue, smooshed
and spread over the page
green and brown
bleeding into each other
Streaks of white
scraped on the blue
by the heel of a hand
Splotches of foliage
with straight brown trunks.
Black, fingerprinted Vs –
seagulls in flight
A twisty, ropy tree
swirled in a spiral
Vivid blobs of red and gold –
People in the field
and last but not least
king of all, a lemony sun
stirred into existence by a few fingers