Willow Patterns: The Complete 24-Hour Book August 9th, 2016

In 2012, if:book Australia created a project that took a book from concept to print within a single twenty-four hour period. The book was written and edited using an online platform where every edit made to the text was captured and stored in a database. Willow Patterns documents the complete output from that database: authors and editors at work.

The first phase of this project opened the database up and made the book free to browse, search and download as a set of editing data. We explored the numbers behind the book’s creation, drawing stories from graphs and making connections between the book’s content and it evolution. We then invited a group of poets and students to conceive and create ‘remixes’: artistic responses that relied less on the book as a finished product and more on it as a process, a series of alphanumeric strings to be pulled apart and reordered.

Through it all, though, was a desire to represent the project beyond a 150-page paperback or a searchable collection of fragments. We wanted to capture the epic scale of the project and provide a sense of the undertaking in something tactile, something visceral.

We wanted to produce the database in print.

So we created Willow Patterns: The Complete 24-Hour Book


This book collects and reproduces every version of every story from the 24-Hour Book project and lays them out in ink and paper and in chronological order.

It is published as a lavish 28-volume hardcover with a continuous spine design.

If the future of the book includes print as an aesthetic choice, then Willow Patterns highlights the possibility of printed books designed for purposes other than reading, borrowing from print’s powerful symbolism without devaluing the collected stories within.

Find out more at if:book Australia

Figures in Waiting by Nicholas Powell December 6th, 2013


The votes are in. A weird viewing platform, inconvenient beneath your skin. A lazy view if I’d gone in. Events: the spreading jacaranda, rhythm on cigarettes. I could shriek in the aftermath of the things we vanilla. If you’re lucky, what was on its way isn’t. Watching the barista or whatever it was, for hours, apocalypse big or small. We rose and went to work. Quite right. All I could smell was investigated by someone. A moment to locate my mouth as it churned. The source: long legs displaying forty-eight walks, affectation in banks, inside entire outfits restless with animals, clothes distinctly unhappy. Fast naked, as far as I’m want to stay in their solutions. Yours Truly, chewing.

Over the bridge in footwear, quite skyward, raising my morning smoky blue. I was supposed to be piling up so you’d notice an expensive dress every so often, gutters with handbag to match hummed shoes. I owned a fracture in the hot blue, down into the sewers and face. A threat would be too much, so to speak. The city, she breezed past, letting out a wail part of me reaches, wherever it or I go, like that of a steam engine. I know now that she, we, I, watch on from my scream. There is no place in the library, that axes hovers. Only this new and alien venture across the land. A flock of primitive tools building tightly onto mine.

I let her go as wings, the final oranges. Spiders’ years arriving at the again and again, a trunk once filled with knowing. Laughing children, much they struggle. Again the studious teenagers. Woman sprays them. Policemen book, leaving us chirping away happily to the towers. We call to the hill. Part of us has been my bark, obliterating branches, a nozzle to the library. Man gets to it, an organ a fear drives. Left with suburbs, we live the houses.

Perfume wafting diminishing. Is there an actual new thing? She swore air with a single glare from the river. It’s never not my forte. The scar would never have the school. Pieces of porcelain had her. Clues survived my activities, the rhythm of steak knives in households, a burst of leftovers, empty enthusiasm for the tune. He shook his head from side to smile, his eyes were time. Tumble voice, that you’re not. She daily dispatches, her drunk moving along a sharp edge to clean the dark. I wasn’t going to make I do. Little girl, I’m a clue, all morning in the stacks, where many milk a slim paperback, the awful opening hopscotch and happy the horizon.

Come in, Handy. We name from the roof and wait for help, a helicopter off the competition, through an escape clause in the cloud. Either way, said world can end and I won’t window. Loaves of white waves, the tips turning to ham as they crest cheese, an ocean of seriously fell our way, a remark in a rare hull, song crumpled. Douché it down, I’m driving the dull voice of reason, bending some shambles, broadcasting down to the window. I’ll get you guidelines, whose mouth keeps us in effort.

Towards the glass the ceiling through her. Scratches to books, nothing to stand on. She ran back along the photograph: the story, Surely, Somewhere. The Courier Mail a symbol of their love. The waves of her skirt now, thighs against the glass express fists. Scissoring, she felt fact. Circumstance swept away from the glass body — Grace, gesticulating emergency when rains were stories by virtue of a head. Insistence a chain signalled Mt Isa, diagonal bleeding the only feasible baby-white balcony. Because we understand each clump, every kayak would sit up on the high winds and sketch little patterns on the levee. Heather was doing gumboots. Heather, I sit in the dark.

To be fair, injuries, diarrhoea due to phones. All these years splitting open a weak wedding acknowledged blue water, told torrents spraying rain over the city. Her back against the happiness he tied down, insured fairy floss. Into your trousers, shirt neatly tucked, but something in that smile psychotic, as if he knew something I didn’t. Didn’t, the usual story, like a hose staring into darkness. I, arms, pulled the axe from my back. That the library is air, I say to a shape. She lets out a long memory, but the sigh . . . Wind for the axe. A breath opens my eyes and library, my net full of fish. I, our people, close my door, replace the here. You’re wall.

My little fire, my room, a symbol for leap forward. Spider on my balance, olive green. She was filled with the radio. The point is bitten. She will be a new television show so disappointed with me. The world by storm like beautiful singer logic. Image, sharpen my axe on sharp clean fact. Mouth opens in his now. It lets out a large TV. Eyes blinked tomorrow. If that was true, strike. Before a life, the constant self down operation. Touché, library. That we will be leaping, replaced by someone. I looks exactly like him, corridor and all. Let the spider, spiders, move around, for I might matter in water. Drifting axe, stop in horror for this imposter, the country planted in the middle of the image. Water feature, drop from my hands.


He nods dark circles. Ordinary loss, gone to stay with relatives, pushes a button and hits people hard. Me as a question. Me hallways less tidy took time. The little filled with sand. Recovery for her: smoothed and rounded efforts are underway. She offered the story, Night In Beaudesert. Through enough myself to find wind, a trail of ruined camp. Black snake curled up on the State, just in case, gazed off into anything remembered, the distance at the broken impression. Trees and the army as soon as there’s a Her, we’re uncertain what to spread across microphone. Carpeted hallway, heavier sandstorm. Question peered down into the yard and Jimboomba, bright green. Your favourite new screaming inundates her dusk light. In nearby Boonah, sitting on the swing, her mouth opens and . . . the merest hint of a sway.

Horsemen caught up in this little Sydney. The girl a lost case anywhere north and west for a floating spot on the wreck. Her unnatural emails, undone oddities. The eternal stinginess was a clipboard under one arm. She laughs privately. I thought her hair venetians, not to alienate her. Evacuating the moment I pulled out my chipper, slipped, then handed over a thought you’d lost. Forward to shake her hand, the sepia-toned one. Her hairline, Rathdowney, south of how things are in books, with a future urge to knead my real. Good luck, sheep dip. Go, who knows what else has a pen tied to it.

Savoury mince, be done. Silvery expenses, tumble into blackened old jaws, along the riverbank until invoice. Disappeared under character voices, my heels wait on word, take care and keyboard. The best I can do caught sight of her in the purple towel. Purple barely a story. Hot wind and dirt walking across her face. News not out of the ordinary had left wheels spinning in someone else. At any rate, I range. The houses stood dark and we’d met, little cold fingers.

To the bottom line, rain fell like hope cried. Hair standing on end as if enthusiasts, wherever it had forever. This combed the wetlands once more. Waiting for me stood book, its connection to monotony. Occasionally it up and told them it was silence. It was afternoon from his keyboard in what slowed to a patter, but fake, made up to sell all. Marketing adverbs glimmer in the stream and the gesture tips over, so you creep up to something red. One of them, a woman, smelled like flowers flashed up. Her hair, ergonomic, caught in the corner of his music, pooled. Little backward jolt in a red dress, classic breath. Glare at remembering grabbing at nothing, sex on the ache the sandy last straw. I think he dies of a heart. He dies of a He.

Heather, a metaphor. Anger and writers through the dark night sky. Discussion nearby burst wind and currents, voicing an overdone sausage, eddying them ever upwards, disgorging their messy figures in the darkness. Statements amount to byways and waterways. They’d huddled in the obvious, watching three kayaks. Most writers raise submerged runways highlighting father’s stony lap, and stare into the flame. Against the glass, apologies swam. Children on a bush holiday, mantras open their mouths. He was stone when someone was new. Told a drunken story, Birds, Floods. I don’t do actual. No serious writer, their beaks touching, far too much my mouth, only to bite trees and bark the first word over a calm pool. Sentence belief had sat there, the vase on moments so close to light. Well after dark we searched her hair over, to insist it catch the light. Blue house on the clean words. The memory, white surface.

Applause and across to the nearest spoiled room, no sheet of paper. Before you can say, “not finished”, you’re stairs. Look, there is nothing. We have that in there. The voice around the corner, kind clowns pointing. In the writing, water, more broken chairs and a mandala being hosed. I, swollen books, in this low light, make a path, hum hard to keep our high. The crusting on our hands lifts some of the special dress, the hem a persuaded paper. Material frowns. She cries complete echoes, corridors, rows of birds on a handkerchief, where the real story is.

writer's statement

I cut and paste the stories into one document, three columns to a page, then performed various Gysinesque experiments, underlining interesting run-ons, vertical enjambments. These fragments served as the raw material, the third mind, as it were. I sifted and shuffled the parts, did revisions, replaced words. The result is both aleatoric and subjective. There is nothing new in the procedure, per se. It seemed to be a work that needed to float in a gas of abstractions, to be everywhere and nowhere at once. I suppose I was drawn to the suggestive, the threatening, the absurd, place names, slippery pronouns and tenses, grammar errors, rhetorical motifs, and other elements that seemed to invite and resist metaphor.

Just So by Sandra Thibodeaux December 4th, 2013

Not the pockets,
the coroner repeats –
the shorts, rocks in his shorts,
between his legs,
big as plates, spilling
as the boy is lifted
from the waterhole.
Rocks drop like crockery
on the inquest.

red singlet
pressed to his Nanna’s chest
the scent of her washing powder

Coroner’s shots:
1. Tracks lead
from safe place
to burial site.
2. Calloused toes press mud.
3. Shadows finger
the hardened prints, 4.
now on their way to another little boy.

careful selection
a red singlet
and navy shorts
for the shanghai shooter
who’s happiest on a horse
who keeps a red heeler
except that day

Point 80:
an ‘irrational focus’
on accidental drowning
swims into view.
No child would want to dive into that
shallow grave.
Destroyed swabs, drained eyes, cops
who need the dead to stay down,
and out of the headlines.

Years pass
before the singlet makes it home.

clothes just so
red piping on the shorts
navy stripe across the singlet
a shark logo

They were coming into town
for the old man’s funeral. One
tipped into earth while another
is held beneath water, rocks
weighing his shorts,
taking his breath.
Days later, his bare, brown chest lifts
and stirs an ‘irrational focus’,
a bad call, clumsy steps.

number 8 shirt nearby
XXXX can
DNA of a sex offender
inexplicable loss
of things
just so

delays and dirtied evidence
led nowhere
like prints that arrived or left
or scuffled to survive.
No, they fell
as children will
in the hands of police
with other things planned
for the weekend.

writer's statement

I was inspired by the following elements of Willow Patterns: the missing girl, her red dress, the things in her pockets, absence, loss, a police officer who is haunted by his own incompetence. I have long been disturbed by the story of a missing child at Borroloola who was eventually found, deceased. The death occurred in 2010 and the 2011 inquest report can be found here. Please note that the name of the deceased is mentioned in the findings.

I have written this poem with a sense of frustration that the little boy's murderer is still at-large due mainly to police mishandling of the case. It will take the death of another child to uncover the murderer, and this is truly tragic. As Superintendent Kristopher Evans said in his public apology, 'The community is entitled to expect better from their police force and on this occasion they didn't receive what they should have got.'

My condolences to family, friends and the community of Borroloola, and my apologies if this poem causes pain. My hope is that the poem will serve as a reminder to the police force about due care and the necessity to keep the investigation alive.

-- Sandra Thibodeaux

The Leak by Nathan Curnow December 3rd, 2013

after the nine writers of the Willow Patterns Project

a girl with a teacup raised to the sky1
the flood climbing over her ankles
an elephant song from a dungchen trunk2
her new adventures in animal dance
she’s the go-to-girl for the weirdest shit3
the mephisto waltz4 makes a splash
it’s a metaphor—I don’t do actual floods5
pump up the pathos pump it up6
counting 86 cats on the top of a roof7
the purring algorithms of surveillance
crowdfunding the Apocalypse in 24hrs
it's a radio stunt this is narrative8
wet frogs9 stuck to library shelves
or sailing the10 pink eye beanbags
books are floating as new soft wares
and new software clinging to tablets
isn’t she meant to be missing by now
beer and pizza and a certain flow
we all need a timeframe and target amount
the way water seeks its level11
here comes a luxury yacht down the river
here comes a surplus of male goats
towed by the current of an Eastern Brown
still rising no matter how bloated
all the captive meat with striated lips12
jet skis clash13 like gladiators14
which one of you fucked up the sand mandala
and rubbish like a weird mosaic15
where is the girl from the walk-on scene16
with no connection to pornography
to a furious horse with a furious vagina17
to the snake in the book return opening
a phone that snaps like a trap on a neck18
watch the door of the cuckoo clock19
high in the branches of arboreal time20
spontaneous in the spirit of the project21
can somebody please get a hashtag going22
I haven’t read Willow Patterns either23
perhaps if I did this would make more sense
it wasn’t meant to be so meta-narrative
we’ve all come down on a rope-burning rappel24
we know that spiders like doing words25
kicking off the cliff face of lust in memory26
and our relationship with our jeans27
I don’t even care where the little girl went
the papules28 spreading across our necks
something like a blooming fungus29
something like a vase and the must of ages30
something like a shiny snakeskin31
the water below and the plosive stops32
the brown bobbing bald head splodges33
it’s the leak that kept the Ark afloat
this boat sails better with a drink
congrats you’ve reached the flaw of the poem
put the tourniquet34 back where you found it
the final genre—Mediocre Bang Bang
if I had to pick from a line-up of nine
the American jumbuck Mr Amsterdam35
with a grudge and a jaffle iron36
now here comes a fire of Cloncurry dust37
here comes a red willy nilly high-five
you can plagiarise my balls and fetid burp38
2 hours of coffee and cigarettes39


Nathan Curnow's The Leak is a cento poem, stitched together from quotes, paraphrases, and references culled from the book's data and, in the process, transformed into something new. Each reference to the original author has been annotated below. Read more about Nathan's approach to the poem and listen to an audio version at if:book Australia.

1. Angela Slatter

2. Christopher Currie

3. Angela Slatter

4. Nick Earls

5. Nick Earls

6. Steven Amsterdam

7. Geoff Lemon

8. Nick Earls

9. Angela Slatter

10. Steven Amsterdam

11. Geoff Lemon

12. Angela Slatter

13. Nick Earls

14. Krissy Kneen

15. Nick Earls (from an interview40)

16. Krissy Kneen (from an interview41)

17. Reference to Chistopher Currie and Krissy Kneen

18. PM Newton

19. Angela Slatter

20. Rjurik Davidson

21. Christopher Currie (from an interview42)

22. Christopher Currie (from an interview43)

23. Krissy Kneen (from an interview44)

24. Geoff Lemon

25. Simon Groth

26. Geoff Lemon

27. Angela Slatter

28. Rjurik Davidson

29. Geoff Lemon

30. Krissy Kneen

31. Geoff Lemon

32. Rjurik Davidson

33. PM Newton and Angela Slatter

34. Rjurik Davidson

35. A reference to Steven Amsterdam

36. Nick Earls

37. PM Newton

38. Angela Slatter

39. Angela Slatter

40. An Interview with Nick Earls (Willow Pattern: Remixed)

41. An Interview with Krissy Kneen (Willow Pattern: Remixed)

42. An Interview with Christopher Currie (Willow Pattern: Remixed)

43. Ibid

44. An Interview with Krissy Kneen (Willow Pattern: Remixed)

I Will Say This Only Once by Pascalle Burton December 2nd, 2013

if:book Australia has invited remixes of its 24-Hour Book, Willow Pattern; not just of the finished text of the book, but the entire database of edits collected over the project's duration. Pascalle Burton has created a sound collage called I Will Say This Only Once, featuring all 3,500 words used just once in the book's text.

More information about this piece including an interview with Pascalle is available at if:book Australia.

Willow Pattern: Remixed by QUT Creative industries August 26th, 2013

Willow Pattern: Remixed is a project created by if:book Australia with students from QUT Creative Industries to gather remixes and new interpretations inspired by the Willow Pattern, a 24-Hour Book from 2012. It's time to see what a story can give and get from both readers, writers, and like-minded creatives.

Over the coming months Remixed will be delving into the possibilities that can come from the creation of a book. The physical, digital and intangible elements behind the Willow Pattern creation will be examined, and re-imagined from new perspectives with the goal of creating entirely knew pieces. The project also presents an opportunity for the public to engage with the writers and other members of the writing community by responding to their work. The possibilities are limitless andRemixed will begin to explore them. 


24h Growth Clock by Icelab April 15th, 2013

The web developers behind the Willow Patterns website and API, Icelab, have created the first showcase example using the API. It’s a 24 hour clock that shows how the book grew in word count over the period it was written. With 10 minute samples measuring the number of words in each chapter there are 12960 points of data powering this graph. Head over to the API page to see the full animated version and follow along below to see how it was built using javascript.

Data visualisation showing how the chapter grew in size over 24 hours