My name is Anneliese Senn. I grew up in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, and after some years of adventuring returned so that my children could do the same. I am studying creative writing at WSU and I am obsessed with reading, writing, trees, dogs, and old things. I aspire to be a serious writer as it is the one thing that makes my heart sing.

One day I received a notification on Facebook. My friend Kellie had sent me the link to a post about a competition call Regenesis. I read it through and realised that the theme fitted my favourite story perfectly. I had written it just after the bushfires. The inferno had been burning one kilometre from my house. Nature had shown me its strength and proved how we humans are so helpless against its fury.

I entered my story, Absence, and was so excited to be longlisted in the competition. I went to the launch of the Regenesis anthology eager to meet other creative people in our community. I love to write and people often like my writing, but I’m at the stage that I want to learn how to share it more widely and be part of the rich community of creative people we have in the beautiful Blue Mountains.

So, I accosted Barbara at the launch, and she was kindly willing to help me in my endeavours. Now here I am, writing this blog, hoping to help other writers stay in touch and keep up to date on opportunities to share their work with the world.


Trees, trees, trees, as far as I can see

I feel them around me

They are in every breath


When I am elsewhere

I feel their absence



The gardens are large and neat. Every hedge is symmetrical. Every lawn mowed and edged. There are rows of big, old pine trees bordering the properties in straight lines. Garden beds are clearly defined. Every perfectly pruned tree weighs on her, judging her weedy garden beds and the messy edges of her grass.

Her second-hand whipper-snipper has broken down again. The lawn mower is holding on to life but releases billows of smoke every time she uses it. It’s not even second-hand. Only a few years old. An engagement present. Her fiancé had claimed it, in an archaic gesture of masculinity. Maybe he imagined mowing the lawn occasionally would make him a family man. He forgot to fill the oil and now that he has gone the smoke is just a reminder. Another way he invades her mind against her will.

Every weekend there is a cacophony of machinery. Purifying the neighbourhood. Whipping nature into shape. Maybe they are trying to forget the fierce wildness of the bush surrounding them. The danger encroaching from all sides. Bush stretching endlessly in every direction. Every weekend they furiously poke and prod at it, trying to reinforce their little island of civilization. To achieve false security.

She is stranded in her own messy enclave. Without the tools or inclination to fit in. The garden around her is becoming more overgrown every day. Is it the mess that isolates her or is the mess a result of her isolation? All around her she sees whole families. Living. Functioning. Keeping the wilderness at bay. Her family is weighted down by absences. By dead branches, brambles, choking vines.


Their son hadn’t been breathing when he was born. She had screamed and screamed while her fiancé held her. It was one of the few times she’d ever felt supported by him. They had quickly whisked the baby away but she would never forget his small blue body lying still. It wasn’t until they’d heard him cry that she had stopped screaming. She had taken her first breath then. Was reborn with him. Now he is strong and full of life. Running and climbing. As the little boy had grown stronger her relationship with his father slowly drained of life. Until it was blue and still. But this time she had no arms around her and she was not allowed to scream.


The old man across the road has a fancy ride on mower. He is on it every time she sees him. He has the most symmetrical hedge of all. She had never seen him outside enjoying all his work. Once he had ridden over and mown her nature strip when she had let it grow long. He never said a word. But she could hear his voice echo: “Mow your fucking lawn”. She silently screamed back: “There is more absence in you than me!”.