Virginia Muzik | Creative writing – non-fiction and memoir
PUBLISHED ONLINE: Memoir and fiction
‘San Francisco Days by Chris Isaak’ (2021, Stereo Stories)
Music memoir, also featured in Stereo Stories’ ‘Love Stories’
I’m sitting on a rocky rise overlooking Ocean Beach, my last day here. I wonder if I’ll see a wet-suited Chris Isaak slicing through his hometown waves, when I realise, I’m a Chris Isaak song: fall in love fast, plagued by insecurities when it’s good, stricken lovesick when it ends. Forcing a fantasy that may never happen.
‘Ghost Ships by The Saints’ (2021, Stereo Stories)
Music memoir, also featured in Stereo Stories’ ‘The Grieving Stories’
It’s only in your absence that the song has more meaning. You loved chasing ‘ghost ships’, especially those shipwrecks along America’s Pacific Northwest coast. In the Nineties, when you lived in Oregon (before your drinking took hold, forcing us further apart), I spent a Christmas with you. One cold, wet January day, we bussed to the wild, windy coast, and were blown off balance by relentless gusts as we trudged along the sand, singing Richard Clapton’s ‘Deep Water’ – missing our home on the other side of those waves. It was as close as I’d let myself feel to you.
‘Glycerine Queen by Suzi Quatro’ (2020, Stereo Stories)
Music memoir, also featured in Stereo Stories’ ‘The Schooldays Collection’
I can’t stop gazing at the album cover. There’s Suzi in black and white, in the middle: tight jeans and leather jacket, hands on her hips, body facing sideways but her face turned front, eyes staring straight at the camera. She doesn’t look up herself or anything, just confident. Not fazed by the three tough-looking guys from her band surrounding her, all in singlets – one’s even swigging from a bottle of beer! She’s not worried what anyone thinks. Cos she’s Suzi Quatro! Little like me, but larger than life!
‘Your last breath: Saying farewell to our darling dog‘ (2020, Medium)
On my first experience with pet euthanasia and learning to let go.
I heard a soft, exhausted groan too, as you left us. Your last breath, carrying your last sound… my heart ached and fretted, thinking the sound meant your last moments were in pain. I wondered if it hurt to feel the fluorescent green liquid move through your veins.
‘Into Deep‘ (2000, Story Bytes)
Short fiction, published in Story Bytes Issue #49
That night, he went with her to her world, where his breath didn’t matter. Feeling safe in her cool embrace, the ocean welcomed him with a depth of promise and for a while he lost himself in trusting her. But the deeper they went, the dizzier he became. Dizzy with the pressure of the deep. His need to breathe returned with an urgency that frightened him and when she saw this, she let him go, seeing him safely to the surface.
BOOKS: Non-fiction contributions
Dogs That Make a Difference (2014, Penguin Books Australia)
Short memoir piece, ‘A Gentle Giant Finds His Feet’ published, along with two of my photos (far left image on back cover and a full page image inside the book)
… while Roxie settled into her therapy dog duties swiftly, Jett’s introduction later that year was slower. He’s a reserved lad and takes longer to warm to new environments, preferring instead to cling to my side, looking to me for guidance: What should I be doing now?
On our first visit, some nurses actually backed away from us as we walked along the corridor to the common area … I tried not to let my unease travel down the lead to Jett, but … he already had his tail tucked firmly between his legs.
Product 45: Australian Punk/Post-punk Record Covers (2015, Inner City Sound)
Short memoir/music review-style piece, ‘Cover versions: Reflections of a 7-inch picture-sleeve purist‘
The publisher also hired me to turn interview transcripts into engaging feature profiles on well-known Australian musicians, including Dave Faulkner (Hoodoo Gurus) and Stephen Cummings (Sports).
Countdown, and Sydney radio station 2JJJ were the drivers that got me into record stores to spend my precious pocket money. But even if I couldn’t buy all the singles I wanted, the artwork of some left an impression on me.
Mp3s are convenient and all, but they’ll never match the tactile gratification of holding a piece of petite arty perfection that is the picture cover 7-inch single!