Update: Publication News + Reflection

My story, ‘The Reunion’, has been accepted for publication in literary journal Page Seventeen. As part of the lead-up to publication, editor Beau Hillier asked each contributing writer to reflect (in 250 words or less) on the process of writing their respective piece.

I fear it won’t make much sense without first reading the story, but it does effectively document the way disparate influences can come together and inspire a piece of fiction.

From the Busybird Publishing website:


The P17 launch date is fast approaching – not long now until the latest issue of page seventeen is available!

It’s an open invitation to come on down to our launch event and open mic night at the Busybird workshop – 2/118 Para Rd, Montmorency – from 7pm onwards on 19 November.

In the meantime, a couple more of the Issue 11 contributors have offered a little more insight into what went into the latest P17 edition.

*             *             *

Tom O’Connell on ‘The reunion’

My inspirations for ‘The reunion’ are threefold.

Firstly, this story was written in response to the Murakami short ‘All God’s children can dance’, wherein a young man, lied to about his supposed birth by Immaculate Conception, searches for his true biological father. The search culminates on an empty baseball diamond, a final image which has remained with me.

Years ago, I took regular evening walks around the streets of Northcote. On these walks, I often passed sporting grounds where local AFL teams had their weeknight training sessions. During training, the stands and grounds would be empty. The field would be lit, but only coaches and a dozen or so players were present. (I love how this contrasts the bustle of Game Day. Empty sporting grounds are so serene.)

One night, I noticed a hooded figure watching the boys train. The stands were unlit, so he was shrouded in darkness. I passed another night and he was there again. He came regularly. No one paid him any notice. He was probably one of the boys’ fathers, but that didn’t stop me turning over the possibilities. What if he was a spy, or homeless, or generally unhinged? (Amusingly, an earlier draft emphasised this angle.) The idea developed and he became an absentee father.

Finally, I suppose this story was written, in part, to satisfy an innate curiosity about my biological father, whom I have no relationship with. Paternal bonds often figure into my fiction, though never usually this explicitly.

Tom O’Connell is a writer, editor and tea-enthusiast. He is currently studying for a Bachelor of Writing and Publishing and has been published in [untitled], n-SCRIBE, Vine Leaves and Crack the Spine. Follow his writing at artofalmost.wordpress.com.


5 thoughts on “Update: Publication News + Reflection

  1. Tom, congratulations my friend! This is so exciting. You’re taking the first steps into the industry and we all know you’ll knock em’ out of the park. This is a very interesting inspiration for the piece, I love how it plays up the imagination but also gives us some roots about you as a person. I suppose that’s the true beauty of writing, seeing what reflects and inspires on the page. Now I usually don’t read literary magazines, but in this case no one can stop me from reading page 17 now!

    PS: Are you doing nano this year?

    • Thanks (again!), Julie, for your kind words and support. I’m in good spirits about the job hunt. I’ve thrown myself into it wholeheartedly, and am doing my best to create my own opportunities in the meantime.

      Response to your PS: Yes! I’ll (again) give it the ol’ college try. Might as well. After all: ‘I’ve got time on my hands / that I can’t wash off.’ Have even organised to go to some in-person write-ins at my old uni. What about you? Going to bang out another script? 🙂

      • That’s the best way to do it! Apply everywhere you see fit and do your best in the interviews. Just remember you don’t owe these employers anything so if their vision doesn’t speak to you or if you sense their culture doesn’t match your values don’t be afraid to step back. I know its hard to do when you’re looking for a gig, but its better to work on your own terms to be a slave. That’s just my $1.25 on the matter 🙂
        That’s fantastic! I’m also doing Nano, can’t wait to see what we can cook up next month 😀 let me know how the write-ins go. We have some in my area but I haven’t tested the waters yet.

  2. Pingback: Review: Page Seventeen Issue Eleven | Art of Almost

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