Newsletter #8
Good evening, dear readers. Contained within this issue are Greek heroes and UFOs, sneak peeks at the content for Issue #4, and the long-awaited announcement of our giveaway winners.

We come bearing exciting news! Issue #4 of ScratchThat, our first issue for 2021, is being released tomorrow, Friday 23 April.
You will be able to find Issue #4 on our website.

You are cordially invited to attend our launch party, held at The Grove Bar at QUT Kelvin Grove campus from 4-6pm tomorrow afternoon. The ScratchThat team has worked tirelessly to deliver this event, and we hope to see you there. Can't make it? No worries! We're livestreaming the event on our Instagram.
(More launch party info available here.)
Issue #4 Submission: Excerpt from The Sundance Kids by Claire Moman.
Find her @ClaireMoman on Twitter.

 “See you next week, Butch,” Cas gives a small wave to the security guard positioned at the door. Butch has been putting up with teenage hooligan bullshit for his entire career and he knows all the tricks of the trade, especially how to profile two expert teenage dirt bags. Unfortunately for Butch, you wrote the rulebook on teenage hooliganism. 

“I want those trolleys back in one piece this time.”        

“No clue what you mean, Butch, darling.” Cas grins and God that smile, it slides across his face like kerosene.

“Keep a leash on your dog, Cowboy.”   

“Dunno what you want me to do. He’s a wildfire,” you shrug.  

Piqued your interest? Read the full story in Issue #4 of ScratchThat.
What we've been consuming

With the recent victory of George Floyd’s trial in the United States, there has never been a better time to pick up The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Sixteen-year-old Starr is driving with her childhood friend when they are pulled over. Remembering what her dad has always taught her, she memorises the cop’s face, his badge number. She complies quietly with every order. Her friend is not so quiet, and Starr is the only one there to witness the cop shoot him three times. With unshakably-authentic prose and marrow-deep emotional clarity, this novel interrogates racism and justice. Starr’s grief is intertwined with themes of family and love, and her story is as necessary today as it has been for too long. 


Reading: Severance by Ling Ma is set in the USA after a worldwide outbreak of a mysterious fever. I realised 62 pages into Ma’s 2018 apocalypse-fiction-meets-late-capitalism satire that it’s a pretty unsettling read in a post-Covid world. 63 pages in, I came to another realisation: The most disturbing part of Severance isn’t the fever itself, or the symptoms of the victims, but Ma’s tight and unsparing comments on capitalism and belonging.
Viewing: William Yang’s Seeing and Being Seen exhibition at the Queensland Art Gallery. Of all visual mediums, photography is the one I’ve found most difficult to connect with emotionally. I respect the technicality of the art form, but giant glossy photos have never swooped into my gut and made me feel. William Yang changed that. His art is multimodal, and he writes on the pictures (in a gorgeous hand) their stories. There are several collections and portfolios on display, telling the stories of the racially-charged murder of his uncle, his upbringing as the grandchild of Chinese immigrants, insights into the early LGBTIQ+ scene in Australia, the AIDS epidemic, and parties and performances in Brisbane and beyond. His work is truly, deeply engaging – I spent close to two hours wandering through the exhibition, lost for words.
Entry to this beautiful exhibition is free, and it’s open until August 22. Go take a look!

Listening: Whatever Happened to Pizza at McDonald’s? True crime? Mystery? Satire? Comedy? Investigative journalism? Join Brian Thompson on his 202 episode, five-year long exploration of why McDonald’s removed pizza from their menu, and maybe you can tell me how to classify this one. With episodes lasting only two to 20 minutes, it shouldn’t take you long to catch up.


The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. If you've read the book already, simply the sight of the title should be enough to incite a ravenous reread. But if for some reason you haven't read this book yet (you should really get onto that), I'll give you some motivation. After Patroclus is exiled to the court of Achilles' father, the two boys grow up inseparable. Their relationship blooms, twists, deepens, regardless of the prophecies promising to tear them apart. 
Rarely is a book so breathtaking, so beautiful and devastating. Miller writes of a love that is almost painful to read – not because it's ugly or difficult, but because it makes you wonder if you will ever feel something remotely close to it in your lifetime. 
Issue #4 Submission: Golden Milk by Molly Grace.
Find more of their work at: @m2722_
A platter of ponderings

On Monday night, I saw a UFO. I was running – because this is a thing I do from time to time – down an Ashgrove street at 9.45pm. My mother gets angry when I tell her what time I go running. I would understand her concern if I lived anywhere else, but the only people in this suburb are the families from lawnmower commercials and old ladies. The houses are clean, the gardens well-groomed, the alleyways walled by jasmine hedges. Last Monday, the Marist Flats were moon-baking beneath Orion’s belt. Glenlyon House sat like a wedding cake on the hill. Possums twitched in illuminated trees, chittering back at the crickets. I was looking at the trees, dark green in the glow of streetlight, when I saw it.

I thought it was a plane at first, but planes are much smaller than this object was, and much less likely to be on fire. This object was on fire. It blazed down, out of inky atmosphere towards the earth, flaring and fast and red. It plummeted as if through gravity. I thought I was about to watch it crash into South Brisbane.

It plunged below the treeline and instinctively I braced for a tremor. Here, for a few minutes, I lived in science fiction. I imagined getting in my car and driving to Ipswich in search of a freshly-scorched crater. I would find it, of course, and kneel beside a smoking alien aircraft. Then I'd gasp theatrically when an omnitrix latches onto my arm.

There was no tremor. The world ticked quietly on. I went home and checked the news to find no updates, no stories, no reports. I called my best friend – because this is what I do when I feel completely insane – and we composed messages to ABC and Channel 10. Fifteen hours later, Nine News finally broke the story; a meteorite had been caught on camera from Surfers Paradise. I watched the video, read the description of an “extra-terrestrial flash” appearing to shoot down to earth. It was my UFO, identified at last.

I would not be getting my omnitrix. 


Writing and art prompts just for you
Create something set in a post-apocalyptic world. 

What is the cause of this apocalypse? The climate crisis? Aliens? Nuclear disaster? A giant meatball from a malfunctioning machine in the sky? (Wait, I know that one...)

Who survives this apocalypse? Where do they find food and water? Where do they live? Is the Earth even habitable anymore?

Show where and how they live, through words or pictures. What are their connections and their emotions like?

What’s the weirdest thing you could find in someone else’s rubbish? In the dumpster in an alley, an overflowing wheely bin, the tip outside a renovating home. Maybe it’s an obscure musical instrument. A shower curtain covered in a strange substance. A crumbling stone cherub that looks like it belongs on a grave, and which, when tipped upside down, will spew rotting plums from its mouth. 

Draw, write or paint the strangest thing, the unexplainable thing, the incriminating thing. What happens when someone finds it? Will they have to decide what to do with it? Will they make the right choice?

Giveaway Winners
Congratulations to our three lucky winners!

First: Tom Loudon
Second: Emily McLean
Third: Sarah Doyle

Thank you to everyone for your submissions – you kept us highly entertained.
We will be in touch with the winners via email in regards to prizes.
Happy scratching!
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