Long Jetty, Short Stories – Volume 2

Hope you can make it along to the launch of my third book. I will have copies available at a special cheap as chips price.

Part of the process of getting a book published, at least in my case with Ginninderra Press, is providing a back cover blurb. I look forward to the day when someone else will do this for me as I hate writing about my work and myself in this manner. Anyway, this what I came up with:

This big machine we had created, the latest iteration of human civilisation – who knows what future historians will call it – became so complex and unwieldy, that it didn’t matter which lever you pulled, the damn thing was spinning out of control, large chunks breaking off, the whole shebang destined to crash and burn. (Circa 2020)

Illicit drugs are done in seedy bathrooms or out in the park behind the shubbery on land stolen from native people and later cleared of ‘the idle and profligate hoi polloi’. Intoxication an absolute necessity in a world where an untainted view of reality is way too confronting for us mere mortals. We crave euphoria, a night of release from the prison of the modern anxiety state. (Too Cool to Cancel)

‘Don’t you have a boyfriend with a ute, or somethink?’

Somethink, she thought loudly in her head. What a moron. Maybe I’m gay, and have a girlfriend with a ute. Or maybe I’m straight and single and I have my own ute, and am capable of getting rid of the junk by myself! Have you thought of that? (Starting Over)

Inside the relative safety of Alexander’s bedroom, he and Josie eat their breakfasts. In one corner is a television with the volume down low. They watch the scrolling news ticker. Trees are down in several places on the train line between Newcastle and Sydney. There are major and minor flood warnings up and down the whole of the east coast of NSW. It is a one-in-a-hundred-year event, the second one this autumn. (Tribe)


Still at his desk in Long Jetty on the Central Coast of NSW, Australia, Sean Crawley continues his series of short stories and musings on life, death and navigating an uncertain world. Written between March 2020 and April 2021, his writing reflects the changes that did occur because of the pandemic and what stayed exactly the same.

If you can’t make it along and would like to purchase my book, which is available in both print and e-book formats, here are some links:

Purchase printed book direct from publisher

Print copies available at Booktopia, Angus & Robertson and of course Book Depository (which has free delivery worldwide)

E-books are available at Amazon, Kobo and SCRIBD

At the Cafe on the Hill

‘Can you check how many of my books are sold’ she says. ‘I’m too embarrassed to go in myself.’

I accept the mission. A $4.50 coffee in a mug provides cover. The cappuccino, it’s always cappuccino, is hellishly hot, which is not always the case. There’s no free WIFI.

Over in one corner sit a couple. They look to be in their seventies and they aren’t talking at all. Their coffees arrive and still they remain silent. Have they been together since they were young? Forty years, or more? Have they simply run out things to say? All topics of discussion well and truly exhausted. Their respective perspectives well known to each other. No need for any further clarification and definitely no desire for the same old justifications. They might be perfectly happy just sitting in close proximity. Old souls being at one with themselves and the universe.

Or, perhaps their silence is due to a recent disagreement? Simmering underneath their cool demeanour are words of anger and resentment. The cafe environment no place for what they would like to say to each other. Instead, a place where they cool down, count to ten and individually deal with whatever stuff they are holding inside the furnaces burning in their gut. Later at home, or in the car, later when they have formulated their feelings into more palatable and peaceful parcels, they will thrash it out, whatever it may be.

A woman dressed in the garb of a receptionist – sky blue blouse with a navy blue embroidered logo, black skirt and sensible shoes – enters the cafe and hands the silent woman a few sheets of paper. Even from a distance where not one word is readable, it’s clear the papers are medical test results.

The woman thanks the receptionist and says, ‘You didn’t have to bring them to us.’

‘Not a problem,’ says the receptionist, ‘I knew you were a bit anxious about it all.’

The receptionist leaves, the woman reads the results, her companion with his hand on her shoulder, reads along as well. Their shoulders relax, their faces soften.

I don’t hear her say, ‘It’s all clear.’ I don’t have to.

Now, back to my mission, how many books are left?

A Winter Morning’s Mildly Manic Metamorphosis

June, 2022

I am heading to Aldi1 at Bay Village2 for supplies. It’s fucking freezing. I have no qualms wearing the tracky dacks, ugg boots, beanie, scarf, and curry-stained sloppy joe3 which I put on when I got up at 4:22am4. In the car, I flip the radio back and forth between ABC 702, for updates on the political situation, and Radio Five-O-Plus 93.3, for those songs I remember as a kid. My parents’ music; I love it. They don’t make music like that anymore.

Turn back the clock 40 years: I am waiting outside the Neapolitan Patisserie in Avalon5 for a fresh-out-of-the-oven sausage roll. It’s not 4.22am but it’s not far off. Myself and other punters have been kicked out of Bip’s6 at 3am. I’m wearing jeans, a pair of Docs, and a way cool, carefully selected paisley skivvy, which I bought from the local Red Cross op-shop. It’s fucking freezing, but I don’t care. In the car, my radio is rusted onto 2JJJ7.

Once, I was cool.

I can’t listen toTriple J anymore. I don’t get it. They don’t even play songs. Seriously, have a listen, but don’t expect to hear anything resembling a chorus, let alone a well crafted middle eight. And whatever happened to bands? Nowadays, it’s artists featuring other artists. Even DJs are artists now. In my day, a DJ was the chap who turned up when you hired Moby Disc for a 21st birthday party, because you couldn’t find a band as they were all booked-out on the once-vibrant live music circuit. Remember bands in pubs?

Somewhere, somehow, at some point I lost touch, Man.

Driving home from Aldi, James Valentine reports how this is the coldest start to winter in thirty years8. James was once a very hip saxophone player for the very hip 80s band, The Models – RIP James Freud9 – who now does the morning show on 702. I feel in good company. But he has just fed ammunition, in the form of statistics10, to the crazy climate change deniers. I can just hear them saying: ‘So much for global warming, eh!’ so, I switch to 93.3 to hear Nancy Sinatra singing ‘These Boots Are Made for Walkin’, followed by Otis Redding, ‘(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay’. Verse, chorus, verse, chorus, middle eight, verse, chorus, outro.

Thank you, community radio, thank you.

I pull into my street in Long Jetty, the new hipster hotspot on the Central Coast. Hirsute young men sporting man-buns and beards, perambulate the main strip with their pram-pushing Boho-themed women11 from café to café,12 while deciding whether to purchase a cactus or a variegated Monstero deliciosa to funk up their pads. Long gone is the Jewel supermarket and roller skating rink. Long gone are the junkies and methadone clinic. The Jetty is being gentrified, or is it hipsterfied? All over the joint, classic old fibro shacks are being bulldozed to make way for multiple occupancy monstrosities. The pot-holed roads don’t stand a chance.

I’m a cranky old man. Out of touch. And fucking freezing.

Inside, I turn on the gas heater. I ignore the soaring cost of gas, due to the war in Ukraine, which I also ignore because I just can’t watch, or read, or hear of such atrocities anymore. Confession — and I may need to see a counsellor about this: I’m just as upset about the wrecked buildings as I am about the wrecked humans. Why don’t I get solar? As I’ve told the dodgy doorknocking salespeople who turn up at the worst of times, ‘My roof is in full shade, courtesy of those street trees there.’ I point to the trees. They ignore me and push on with a script they have rehearsed for this exact objection.

Yes, this morning I burn fossil fuel, despite being taught about the greenhouse effect in science13 at school in the 1970s14. We knew stuff back then. It’s just that we15 didn’t do anything about it.

As I unpack the shopping in my half renovated kitchen, the tranny16 on the fridge, announces that the brand spanking new federal Labor government has allowed the Nadesalingam family17 to return home to Biloela, and has also struck a unanimous agreement with the state energy ministers to actually do something about climate change!

How warm is hope? Especially after nine cold years of despair. Who’d have thunk a Pentecostal PM could have been so heartless?

My mobile phone goes ding. It’s a Messenger ding18. It’s my daughter, Bethany: Hey Dad! Is there any chance you and Linda can watch Birdie on Saturday? All good if you can’t! Love you x!

How warm are children and grandchildren? How cool is it to help out?

Sure, I message in reply.

I’m still in my daggy dad gear, but I’m back. Back in touch. In touch with what’s important.

1 A German supermarket company founded in 1961, which came to Australia in 2001 and broke the Coles/Woolworths duopoly.

2 Now officially called Bateau Bay Square, but still Bay Village to us locals.

3 Clothing names may vary outside of Australia.

4 An uncannily regular phenomenon.

5 Once an affordable location on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Now? Don’t get me started.

6 A nightclub upstairs at the Barefoot Boulevard, later to become PC’s, now a dance studio.

7 The ABC national youth broadcaster started on the AM band as 2JJ in 1975 and became 2JJJ (triple j) when it switched to FM in 1980.

8 https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jun/08/sydney-experiences-coldest-start-to-winter-in-30-years-while-parts-of-northern-australia-swelter

9 James Freud played bass for The Model’s and in 2010 suicided after many years of alcoholism.

10 Statistics taken out of context can prove anything. Not to be confused with raw data.

11 They may be hip and woke, but the women still push the prams.

12 Apparently, there is no limit to the number of cafés a village will support.

13 A system of observation, experimentation and rigorous scrutiny which informs us about the nature of the universe, and, which is in decline thanks to the rise of fundamental religion, New Age goobledygook, pseudo science and conspiracy theories.

14 A decade of hope ruined in the 1980s by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

15 I use the term ‘we’ very generously in this case. It’s the inaction of right winged political parties bankrolled by large corporations such as Chevron and NewsCorp who have done nothing about climate change.

16 Slang for transistor radio, not to be confused with transexual.

17 A Sri Lankan couple with two Australian born daughters seeking asylum, seeking humanity.

18 The human ear can distinguish between at least half a dozen dings made by their mobile phones.

Shameless Self Promotion – What Do You Think It Is, Bushweek!

Available as e-book or in print.

My second book, Long Jetty, Short Stories, Volume 1, is available online. Amazon have a FREE PREVIEW feature which allows you to get a decent taste of the writing contained within; which in this case is the beginning of the first story, Bush Week.

The book is a collection of 11 short stories which I have interspersed with blog posts I made during the period in which these stories were written. As the title suggests, and it it is true, the stories are all set in Long Jetty and its immediate surrounds.

Hope you enjoy the preview so much that you just have to purchase a copy!

IMPORTANT: Amazon is all over the shop with the prices it displays when you click on the link above. The print version of the book retails at $27.50 Australian Dollars and you shouldn’t pay more than that. So, if Amazon is not your thing, for price or other reasons, you can purchase print copies directly from the publisher, Ginninderra Press.



Lift Off

Big thanks to all who attended the launch of ‘Long Jetty, Short Stories, Volume 1, Before the ‘Rus’. The Savoy at Long Jetty proved to be the perfect venue with rumours that a handful of revellers kicked on and ended up at The Long Jetty Hotel. For some it was a very dusty Sunday, trust me I know.

I am thrilled to have had some great feedback on the book already. When I was reading through the final proofs of the book, I must admit to suffering from some serious self doubt about the stories. It’s all part of the process, apparently. Incidentally, my publisher, Stephen Matthews at Ginninderra Press, has just sent me the first galley proofs for Volume 2. So here we go again.

Special thanks to my three daughters, Hannah, who read a piece from the book, Bethany, who made a fabulous cake, and Bronte, who nearly sold the whole box of books I took along just in case someone wanted one!

Of course, I must mention, Linda. Call her friend, lover, partner or muse, she is all of these and more. And as I said at the launch, she got me into this caper. Thank you.

Anyway, enough chit chat, below are some photos courtesy of Adam Kroenert, who is not only a brilliant photographer, but now, officially, destined to become my son-in-law.

The card table with the merchandise.
Punters arrive.
Counting down by recounting stuff.
Hannah reading ‘Life and Death Are Not Simple Matters’.
Bethany cutting the launch cake.
Signing away.

Final Proofs

My second book, Long Jetty Short Stories, Volume 1, is being published by Ginninderra Press and will be out soon!

Below are some snaps of the final proofs I received in the mail.

Proof of front cover
Back Cover Blurb
Contents Page

So Long, Twenty One

Here we go again

We’re an impatient lot. One could hypothesise that the frantic race to get ahead in the game of modern capitalism has conditioned us that way. A once in a century pandemic comes along and we want it over with quick smart. Two years is way too long.

At the end of last year with fingers crossed we gladly farewelled 2020 and wishfully hoped that 2021 would return back to normal so we could go to work and to cafes and to sporting events without masks and without all the other rigmarole associated with disease control. But, the pesky ol’ epidemiologists were right, and along came delta, and now omicron.

Once again we are saying good riddance to bad rubbish. We are saying it to a year, a 365 day arbitrarily positioned measure of one lap of ol’ Earthy-poo around the good ol’ Sun.

Surely, 2022 has got to be better than 2021?

Oh dear. How poor and how short are our memories.

Take for example: 2016.

What do you mean? You ask. What about 2016?

We good riddanced that year. Don’t you remember? It was a shocker.

Terrorist attacks, mass shootings, and wild weather blacking out the whole of South Australia. Britain voting to leave the EU and the US electing the pussy grabbing Donald Trump as President. Had the world gone mad?

Then the deaths.

David Bowie died in January, and we didn’t even know he was sick! And thus a long string of musicians and other well loved celebs starting dropping off their lofty perches. Muhammad Ali, Prince, Leonard Cohen, George Michael, Carrie Fischer, Alan Rickman, Fidel Castro, and Gene Wilder to name but just a few. Our mortality, it appeared, had never been so evident.

So Long, 2016, we sang with optimism in our hearts.

Ditto 2017, 18 and 19. Remember when Australia burned, smoke everywhere?

Then 2020. Say no more.

Are we hard wired to view every year which is about to end as an annus horribilis [Lizzy Windsor, 1992]? Are we simply drama queens? Catastrophising, sensationalising, conspiracy-theorising animals? Never satisfied, forever wanting?

Will we ever get to the end of a December and say, ‘Wow this year’s been a cracker. We should be grateful if next year is as half as good as this one’s been!’?

Given the Conditions

Big thanks to Superlative Literary Journal for publishing my short story, Given the Conditions.

I wrote the story after a fellow member of the Long Jetty Short Story Writing Group requested I write a story about fishing.


2021 Journal Contributors

The Little Wild by Julian Grant

Dream by Liz Ainsbury

Given the Conditions by Sean Crawley

The Way of the Panda by Noah Guthrie

Ashes Rising by Michael W. Thomas

How To Play by David Hartley

The Highland Line by David McVey

Stoneheart by Lesley Evans

Diminishing Worlds by Karen Waldron

Short Listed

Some good news. For five days in September, Write Around the Murray (WAM) brings people together in Albury Wodonga for a festival of storytelling unlike anywhere else. They also run a short story competition. My story ‘The Consultant’ was shortlisted. Happy.