Newsletter #15
Hello again friends, and welcome to newsletter #15. Congratulations to everyone for making it to the mid-semester break (once again, not in the middle of semester). Even if you're out there feeling like you aren't worthy of patting yourself on the back - please do. Now sit back, relax, and enjoy today with us some thought provoking written content to itch your brain. We have some ScratchThat announcements for you, a great new podcast recommendation courtesy of the Blatherskite team, a curated list of book-recommendations to cover any scenario you find yourself in over the break, and a wonderful selection of art for you.

We are once again asking you guys to submit some content for us to publish in the next newsletter! If you have something that you love, but it has been rejected by others, please send it or an extract of it to us!
We love reading and want to hear more from our audience, so again, don’t hold back!
The only condition is that it must be 600 words or less.

The art in this newsletter has been brought to you by: Rhiannon Lobley 
The written content has been brought to you by: Callum Slaughter
ScratchThat Magazine submissions are open for issue seven! 

We accept:
  • Written pieces: fiction, non-fiction, and poetry in any style or genre. Submit up to 2500 words or a maximum of five poems.
  • Visual artworks: photography, paintings, drawings, and more. Submit a suite of up to 15 photos from a single series.
  • Digital works: short films, musical pieces, performances, and more. Submit up to ten minutes per work.
  • Podcast scripts: fiction and non-fiction content. Submit 10–20 pages of fiction or 10–25 minutes of non-fiction content.
To view the submission form, click here
 
 

QUT Literary Salon
Hey ScratchThat fans! Jackson here again with another Lit Salon update, and we have some wonderful things coming up for you guys! Our Sins salon is scheduled for the 6th of October - but this is more than just a regular salon. This month we're in partnership with QUT Guild's very own Glass Magazine. In honour of the Uni Writers' Festival held at UQ in St. Lucia from the 5th - 8th of October, the team from Glass will be co-hosting the Sins salon with us. We can't wait to see you all there :D

Don't forget to submit your writing to us HERE for our upcoming Sins salon - submissions close on the 30th of September. Good luck!

Please follow us at @qutlitsalon on Instagram and The QUT Literary Salon on Facebook to stay up to date.
7 Days, 7 Books 
This is inspired by Vogue's series: '7 Days, 7 Looks'

Monday: Book to read to a child (because you have to babysit your niece/nephew)
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Your older sibling found out that you're on mid-semester break, and because you're totally free, you're the perfect younger sibling to facilitate their night off from the kid. But what are you going to read them that you're going to enjoy too? The Little Prince is a children's classic about a pilot that crash lands in the Sahara desert, where they meet a young prince that travels the universe for knowledge. Not only is this book safe for children (ok, maybe the parents on Quora somewhat disagree with that), it's enamoured by adults too. In fact, it's largely seen as better appreciated by older audiences. Many readers revisit this book as a teenager, at 25, at 40, and find more meaning in it every time.

Tuesday: Book to read on the beach (because it's your day for r&r)
Little Weirds by Jenny Slate
It's Tuesday, lunch time. You've got the day off. You've been out of the ocean long enough that tiny flecks of salt have dried on the surface of your slightly sunburnt skin, but your hair is still dripping -- snaking down the back of your neck and clinging to your back like the tentacles of an octopus. You're laying in the shade of a little tree and you need to read something light and fun and funky. So you pull out Jenny Slate's book of essays Little Weirds. Her writing is beautiful and strange. A top tier combination. Slate has a marvellous talent for writing heavy and even at times dark topics like they're simply a weird and wacky adventure. The beach is the perfect place to relax and read a little essay about growing up in a haunted house, finding lost love letters or small deers eating grapes.      

Wednesday: Book to read while camping (because you've planned to spend time with your friends in nature)
The Princess Saves Herself In This One by Amanda Lovelace
If you love reading and ever go camping, you'd know that camping is the perfect time to catch up on all those books you've been waiting to read whilst also having some 'you' time. If you just want to have a light read that helps you reflect on yourself, this book is definitely the way to go. The Princess Saves Herself In This One by Amanda Lovelace is a book full of poetry that is sectioned into different parts. Each part explores a different part of life and each poem is both deep and light, easy to read with a bunch of relatable content. The poetry will help you to reflect, accept, heal and motivate you forward. It really is the perfect book to read while in a cozy tent among the trees or waves!

Thursday: Book to read at the doctor's office (because you've booked your covid vaccine)
Dune by Frank Herbert
Let's play match-maker. There is no place sexier than the doctor’s office (except maybe a good library) and what better demographic to scope for a hot date than hip, vaccinated singles. Dune is an intense sci-fi/adventure novel set on a desert planet Arrakis. It follows a lot of characters, but most centrally it follows Paul Atreides, the heir to a noble family who is expected to soon rule Arrakis. This isn’t a novel for sci-fi newbies (i recommend you start with The Martian), but it is one of the most iconic and important sci-fi stories ever written. You’re gonna find a seat nice and socially distanced from your target bachelor or bachelorette, and pull out the book. Start reading about halfway through the book and wait for them to bite. They’ll say something like “Oh, great taste, you must be so intelligent and respectable reading Dune and getting your vaccine” and you’ll say “oh i’m actually just re-reading before i see the movie” and then you’ll chat about hot people stuff, and next thing you know – you’ve got yourself a dinner and movie date set for the 22nd of October! Fear not – if no one in the waiting lounge strikes up a conversation, make sure you hold onto the book on your way into the nurse’s office, it’ll catch their attention for sure (just make sure you actually read the book before you see the movie!).


Friday: Book to read at home (because it's your day for yourself)
Trafficked by Sophie Hayes 
It's a Friday evening. You're exhausted from the previous week but want to read something that still stimulates your brain and makes you think about things you havent given much thought to... This book is on Friday for a reason, because you'll need the entire weekend to fully digest and comprehend it. Trafficked by Sophie Hayes is an award winning book that explores the real and terrifying journey of sex trafficking. The author writes her experiences as her younger self in this intense and awful story. Trafficked opens the eyes to real-world issues that people are experiencing every single day and reminds us how close to home these issues really are. This book is not an easy or light read, but a totally necessary read - it will keep you thinking and alert for a very long time and perhaps spark a need for change. 

Saturday: Book to read at a party (because you wanted to fit one social event into the week)
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Reading Gone Girl at a party comes with two advantages: 
1. You know when your friend's friend has brought a friend and he's giving off a real weird vibe? He's just giving off the kind of energy that makes you want to keep your distance? Whip out your Gone Girl paperback. Hold it up high and proud. Show him that you're essentially reading a manual on how to ruin someones life, and you're not afraid to utilise this information if necessary. 
2. Everyone knows about
Gone Girl. If they haven't read the book, they've seen the movie, which is great because if your conversation tumbles into an awkward lull you can simply lift up your book and bam! A new conversation is born. Thank you Gone Girl!

Sunday: Book to read before a breakdown (because you so do not want to go back to uni)
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
In all honesty, this book shouldn't be recommended to anyone in a vulnerable state. This book genuinely comes with every trigger-warning under the sun - and it's emotional impact cannot be understated! A Little Life follows four college classmates as they move to New York to make their way. It's a heart-breaking beast of over 700 pages that follows how (and this is not an exhaustive list) trauma, chronic pain, disability, success, failure, addiction, and pride, effects these characters and their friendships. So - in theory - if a mentally stable individual with a healthy support system around them wanted to conjure a moment of emotional release, this would certainly aid in the process. 

Make A Selection 

What we've been consuming
Sophie:
Each of us have our own unique life stories, and sometimes those stories carry some pretty heavy experiences. With the semester quickly chugging along, I know that some of us are experiencing some stress and anxiety relating to uni work and our own personal life. I thought it appropriate to add a book that has helped bring perspective and healing. The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris was recommended to me a while ago and I have only just begun reading it. If you’re struggling in any way or are interested and curious to learn more about your mind and how to unpack it, this book works wonders. The book discusses how people often put on a ‘happy face’ when in reality things aren’t so bright. It also looks at mindfulness and overcoming some of the most common mental health issues people deal with. If this book doesn’t sound helpful to you, it would definitely be helpful for a friend, so make sure to check it out!
 
Jackson:
Two things to know about me: i am a poet, i have a boyfriend. We’re at Dymocks, i’m flipping through Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur – a book he has very strong opinions on – and he won’t let me even consider spending $30 on it. i know that it’s validity as poetry is a hot topic, but it’s only right that i give it a chance and see where all the hype is coming from, right? So one day bf and i are op-shopping in the Mango Hill area and i find Milk and Honey for $3!!! A steal. Look, i wanted to be ‘not like other girls’ and disagree with the Goodreads rants – Rupi Kaur is a real writer, one that worked hard through copious rejections to get her work published (self-published). i do think there’s merit here, particularly in the first part – the hurting, which engages with themes of sexual assault, and toxic father-figures. But what’s missing is that publisher influence to tell Rupi that she’s used the same single sentence poem ten times with only slight changes that add nothing new at all. i felt especially in the section the breaking that it was a lot of drafts. Some poems say very beautifully and concisely what other whole essays attempt to say – but other poems feel like preachy platitudes. Her poetry works great for the online market of people who don’t want abstract – they’re looking for one profound sentence about the pains of love: i am a museum full of art but you had your eyes shut, or you made the danger in you look like safety. To be fair – i think these are two of the worst in the book. Yes, i’m giving it two stars on Goodreads, but i wish you the best Rupi. #girlboss
 

Isabel:

This week I've revisited my obsession with Hera Lindsay Bird's poetry. A couple of years ago in a lecture we watched her recite her poem Children are the Orgasm of the World in a YouTube video. I scribbled down her name in the corner of my notebook. In the break between that lecture and my next class I googled her, trying to learn as much as I could before I had to start the work I had due in an hour. When I got home that night I continued my research, sifting through her website, reading everything I could. I put her poetry books on my Christmas list. She writes with such an openness, such a... weirdness. And I mean that in the best way possible -- she connects one thing to another in a way I could only hope to emulate. I love it. You should read her work. 


H.AM Radio
Our fantastic podcast team has been working tirelessly this semester for some fun new content for all you Blatherskite fans - and it's finally here!

Here is a little teaser for episode 1: Frog on a Log!
Welcome to H.AM Radio! Join your hosts — Britney Richbish and Garreth Kirkegaard — for a morning of chaos as they bring you their latest dose of questionable local news stories. Today, Rodney the Second is investigating the impacts of deforestation while we welcome self-help guru and author Haley Roller-Roller into the studio for a chat with Garreth. Ciao! 

(My personal fave character is Haley Roller-Roller, I was on the floor you guys). But as of today, episode 2: Sacre Bleu is available for streaming - so make sure you check them both out. Episodes are available HERE on the ScratchThat website, but to stay up to date, go ahead and follow Blatherskite on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, or Spotify, and here is the RSS link.

Stay tuned for some exclusive insight into the behind-the-scenes of the podcast team ;)


2110
This story is part of ScratchThat's 2110 project, and contains themes of terrorism and anarchy in a dystopian society
313 DEAD IN TERRORIST BOMBING @VISYATLASSIAN
BREAKING NEWS 
Last night saw a major Mid Town VisyAtlassianTM factory bombed by terrorists. The explosion resulted in the killing of 237 Robots, 20 Synthetics, and 18 Humans. Alongside these lives lost, 38 under construction Robots were also destroyed. RiseGroup have claimed responsibility for the attack, and their anarchist insignias have been vandalised on the remains of the factory. Any information concerning this attack, or any other suspected RiseGroup activities MUST be alerted to authorities now on the tip-line. When asked for comment, a VisyAtlassian spokesperson said “the upholding of the Robots Rights Act (2110) is not optional. It has become clear that only by cleansing society of RiseGroup and their affiliates, that law and order can be restored to Meanjin.”.  
Contact the tip-line now anonymously @123-2110 with any information. Those found to be withholding information about the attack will be apprehended for questioning.

Find more 2110 content HERE in Scratchthat Issue #6

Spilled Ink

A platter of ponderings
Callum Slaughter

This Platter of Ponderings is presented to you by Callum Slaughter in the form of a video game review.
 

Pathfinder Wrath of the Righteous: A Review
 

Pathfinder (WotR) is a roleplaying game developed by Owlcat Games released on September the 2nd for the PC, and is intended to launch on all modern gaming platforms, excluding the Nintendo Switch, on March 1st, 2022.  

So, what's this lovely game about and why should you consider it a fantastic way to burn some time? 

Pathfinder (WotR) is a top-down RPG based on many mechanics utilised in the cult favourite Dungeons and Dragons. Character's morality is determined by a system of alignment ranging from lawful good to chaotic evil, while actions and combat are determined by a digital dice throw.  

In true RPG fashion, you can choose from a wide array of character backgrounds, races, and religions (or lack thereof), with each of these attributes defining in-game traits your character possesses. While this system isn't new or revolutionary by any means, it is an extensive take on already established systems used by other games such as the Baldur's Gate series. In the character creation screen alone, I spent nearly an hour detailing the affinities of my brilliant champion to be.  

Despite this in-depth and lengthy start, the pace picks up immediately, with the player, in true RPG fashion, waking up with no recollection of their exact origins (convenient that) and is introduced to the city of Kenabres. Soon after the player's awakening, demons assault the city, causing the earth to split and the protagonist to fall into the first of many dungeons. It's a fairly stock standard start, but it gets the job done and guides a smooth transition to the best aspect of the game; its characters and party system. 

During the protagonist's journey, they encounter a variety of recruitable characters, each with their unique alignments, world views, and goals. The dialogue for these characters is refreshingly well written, and it's clear that the voice actors put great emphasis on delivering their respective lines well. Two of the colourful characters you meet are Lann and Wenduag, both from a group of mutant people called Mongrels, and share your desire to reach the surface. Lann is a cheerful and kind-hearted but ultimately naive character that wants to reclaim his heritage as a descendant of demon-fighting crusaders, all while leading the Mongrel people to glory, and probably their deaths too. Wenduag is nearly his complete opposite, choosing power and practicality over morality at any turn. Like Lann, Wenduag also believes her people will play a crucial role in the upcoming conflict, only as living weapons where the strong control the weak, not heroes. 

Sadly, the player can only to work with one or neither, as the player is forced to choose between them, or attack and kill them both. Many other pivotal moments in the game follow a similar pattern, opening and closing specific paths and quests as the player makes their choices. This choice system also coincides with a secondary form of progression within the game, which defines what kind of 'mythic' powers the character has access to, adding a bit more complexity to the combat system. In other words, the way you choose to act directly shapes how your character fights and who your character can fight alongside. 

Ultimately, that's what Pathfinder (WotR) is about – choice. Feel like playing a heinous and villainous character with no regard for the lives of others? You can do that. Do you desire to bring justice and retribution to the land? You can do that too. Maybe you want to have some fun and cause a little chaos? That's also on the table. 

What Pathfinder (WotR) lacks in gameplay polish, it more than makes up for in a unique and immersive roleplaying experience. Right now, there really isn't any other recently released, modern, and complete alternative in this space of gaming.  

So, if the usual party of mates are unavailable for game night, why not take a chance on the digital dice and give Pathfinder a chance instead?  

Mixed Bag

Writing and prompts just for you

Writing Prompts - Introduction

Do you know what Nyctophobia is? Nyctophobia is the fear of night or darkness. I once saw a saying that went something like: “It’s not that you’re afraid to be alone in the dark, it’s that you’re afraid to be not alone in the dark.”
When you were a child, or even now, did you ever think there were monsters or demons or scary people hiding in the dark corners of your room during the night? Think of these times when reading on…

 

Fiction Writing Prompt
 
As your fiction writing prompt, we're asking you to think of the feeling of fear you get when you’re alone in the darkness. What do you feel when you know no one is there to protect you? What things might you start to think you’re seeing? Glowing eyes in the corner, or perhaps you can feel a bony finger caress your exposed ankle. Write about this feeling, how can you show it to the reader in a way that makes them feel afraid? Let your writing drift fear from the page without actually using the words “fear” and “afraid”. Do you think you will spook yourself out? May as well give it a try!

 
Non-Fiction Writing Prompt
 
As a non-fiction writing prompt, we’re asking you to think about reviews. Have you ever visited sites expecting to find some informational reviews on different things? Perhaps a book, a movie and TV show, or even a product or some clothes? For this writing prompt, write a review about this newsletter! Pretend you would post this review on the internet. What would you say? Is there anything you would change, or do you think you could do better? Perhaps you love this newsletter or hate it – what you need to do is convince someone else to feel the same way. Now, get to writing!

 
Happy scratching!