Laura Stortenbeker

About my TinyLetter

My letter is my collected notes from the week, which means it can be weird observations, notes from stories I’m working on, words I wanted to remember, lines of dialogue. It’s mostly an ongoing documentation.

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when I wrote of pressing a peach pit into someone’s mouth I wasn’t expecting to keep that thought, / a particularly bloody coloured flower / last time I was there, that monstera leaf in your room, stood under it / saw a sweater with a volcano as the knit thought I’d tell you about it / year in moons — 1970 / flowers (barely) / L light / how I can’t eat honey because it reminds me of you / persimmon, folds in shirt / imagine having a girl like that in love with someone like you / like it when words barely fit in songs / every minor highway has a neon point or part / ‘wanted me to love you like this and’ / we say california trick again because that’s what it is, a trick of the light, a light off the road, a beat-in headlight on a car that cuts over lines, it’s you in the backseat when I pick you up from work, reaching for my hand every time + touching my shoulder + my hair, it’s your face too close to the cinema screen, blue light then warm, felt too much, too close, how you sing under your breath even though you just learned the words + walking back to the hotel through an overlit city, one that was wired wild like me, and you, lit in colours flowers can’t grow into, not enough, there’s a kiss in a hallway, there’s an orange next to the bed, it’s meeting in the back of the bar, red lighter, what would you like to drink, + I’m sorry I just have to write this down, what you said means so much to me, it’s when we say similar things about each other + how hot you’d get in your sleep, it’s texas films, it’s a hotline call, my handwriting, your notebook, it’s not at all about california or other state lines, it’s you and me back in the desert or leaning low in the backseat filled with that sense of fate, or is it that fated feeling, ultra low light / kept a chart of the colour the sky turned each day after this and it’s almost always pink / ‘you need a thick rug for your bed, no wonder you get cold’ / + becomes ‘again point to light on walls hoping you’ll understand what I mean when I say I feel it that way, that seismic thing, this place’ / are you reading me still / putting a flower through the weave of your jumper / time we sat through a storm hoped lightning wouldn’t come over the edge, answered those questions, stopped to touch, light my cigarette for me, light yours for you / I’m still so glad I touched your —– / I’ll buy you breakfast, they’ll think you’re my wife – loudon comes back again / flowers (just) / sorta hopin’ that you’d / women in cars /



I wanted to feel more accountable to reviewing my notes every week so I decided to compile them and send them out. I think sending rough notes makes me feel less precious about my writing, and means I spend more time reviewing and cutting and expanding on notes that would sometimes end up forgotten, or at least not picked apart and made into new work.

What Is Your Experience of the Community?

The letters I subscribe to are all wildly different, from small pieces of fiction to more personal writing to political reporting. I love that range and I love that I can reply and tell a writer that what they’re been working on is good and meant something to me.

What Advice Would You Give?

For me, keeping to a mostly regular schedule works best and means I spend at least one evening a week doing some kind of writing work, but I don’t think anyone should be bound to that. I also read over old letters to look for connections. So my advice would be try to be consistent in timing if you feel like you need the discipline, read over your old work, and don’t be cautious of rushing a letter, I don’t think they’re meant to be perfect pieces of work.

Laura Stortenbeker is a writer and editor. Her work has been published in Overland, Meanjin, Chart Collective and Kill Your Darlings. In 2016 she was the recipient of a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowship. In 2017 she was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript.