The Incompleteness Book is the result of a call for contributions to the theme: the incompleteness of human experience. The call was distributed in April 2020, amidst the global pandemic of COVID-19. The collection takes an interest in the relationship between the haunting incompleteness of human experience and short form writing. This, together with the unforeseen challenges of COVID-19, as well as the lure of coming together as writers, is the impetus for the book. The submissions are aimed at capturing our individual and collective experience as a composite picture. The contributions were collected in just nine days.
In April 2020, amidst the global pandemic of Covid-19, the Australasian Association of Writing Programs (AAWP), the peak academic body representing the discipline of Creative Writing in Australasia, sent a call for contributions to The Incompleteness Book (2020: Recent Work Press). The storytellers and poets were asked to respond to the prompt: the incompleteness of human experience. The second edition represents the impetus to capture a composite picture of what writers made of this prompt, one year on. Contributors were asked to consider what they had discarded; what they coveted more closely than ever; whether they had learned something, about themselves or more broadly. In this thought-provoking collection contributors were asked to write back and think forward. The result is a multi-focal expression of: Where to, from here?
In each of the stories in this collection, the authors examine the conundrum and contradiction of human experience through carefully crafted narrative detail. The brevity of short-form fiction makes it an apt vessel for capturing the haunting incompleteness of human experience. Memorable short stories resonate because they are attentive to specificities and particularities: to detail as it relates to a distinct focalising consciousness. The authors in this collection employ narrative detail with intuitive hands and minds, fashioning an apprehended fictional world, an abstracted reality that resonates beyond the final lines of text. Each story here is marked by the urgency of idea, captured as raw sensory data. Collectively, they are attentive to the crucial relationship between idiosyncratic voice and sharply rendered detail, creating an experiential world that ‘feels real’ to the reader.
The contributions to ACE III are diverse in form and theme. As a composite picture the collection represents an expansive vision for short-form writing. We include work by authors from diverse cultural and geographical locations, including – Australia: Gadigal Country, Dharawal Country, Wodi Wodi Country, Wurundjeri land, Naarm, Jinibara Country, Whadjuk Country, Turrbal & Yuggera land, Ngunnawal Country, as well as Dallas (USA), Mexico City, Greece, Norway, Tbilisi: Georgia, NYC, Chennai: India, Singapore, and Saudi Arabia.
The authors examine the conundrum and contradiction of human experience through carefully crafted detail. The brevity of short-form writing makes it an apt vessel for capturing the haunting incompleteness of human experience. Through flash and traditional length short stories, creative nonfiction, memoir, and hybrid forms, there is a compelling ebb and tow of ideas, as focalised through highly idiosyncratic registers. The authors cultivate narrative detail with intuitive hands and minds, fashioning abstracted realities that linger well beyond the final lines of the text. The contributions leave the reader reeling, asking how it is possible that story-work can enter our affect cycle as if it were lived experience.
The emerging writers whose stories grace this collection engage in the play of symbolic action and detail, capturing sadness and imperfection through an apprehended fictional world—an abstracted reality. The stories resonate because they are intensely focused upon very particular forms of enquiry: Why do the characters see what they see? How do they know what they know? Perhaps it is this—the focus upon a very particular form of sensory apprehension—that lies at the heart of short stories that resonate beyond the final lines of text.