More Random Thoughts on Life and Culture

Today I thought I might round off the Random Thoughts category, so this week’s stories are indeed random. Three of the stories draw on real life, and the fourth…well, the fourth is as fanciful as you can get!

On December 1, 1948, the body of a man was discovered on Somerton Beach in suburban Adelaide. The man has never been identified, neither has his cause of death. It has become Australia’s most well-known unsolved mystery and the internet is full of websites and videos examining it in the finest detail. I became enthralled with the Somerton Man to the point where I could only get him out of my system by writing about him. But I wavered. What could I say that hadn’t already been said? In the end I had no choice but to set down my own solution to the mystery in Somerton Man: the perfect murder or a tragic love story?

A Cuckoo in the Nest is also a true crime story, but I doubt many people outside of Cornwall, where it took place, have ever heard of it. After seeing the documentary, The Imposter, I thought I might try my hand at writing a short story along those lines. I was researching other similar incidents when I came across newspaper articles about a young woman who inveigles her way into a family and destroys it from the inside. It was a true story stranger, and much sadder, than any fiction I could have written.

I don’t have a pet. I don’t want a pet. It’s not that I hate animals. It’s just that I don’t want the responsibility. If you should ever wonder why I feel this way, the next story will explain it. On The Mortality of Cats and Dogs is a very personal reflection on the terrible fates of pets in my family.

The opera is renowned for its wonderful music, magnificent singing, grand spectacle and tragic love stories. I love listening to opera. The music and the souring voices touch my soul. As for the spectacle, I sometimes find it superfluous, and I could take it or leave it. However, there are times when I find the stories so silly that they detract from my enjoyment, and none are as silly as the story that finally drove me to write A Day at the Opera: re-imagining Puccini’s Turandot.

If you have any friends who enjoy true crime stories, love their pets or like the opera, please share this roundup with them.

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