Tag Archives: Friday flash

Handwritten Pages #15

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     She ties the dressing gown around her waist. Lines up her toes where the metal coping separates the hallway carpet from the bathroom tiles. A diver’s stance. Anticipation of the tiles’ coldness.
     She steps. Plummets. Side steps the bath mat. Plants her feet squarely. Small ripples quickly subside. The cold tiles prickle the soles of her feet until it stings. Tapers off to an equilibrium.
     Repeatedly she will lie on her back on the bathroom floor undressed. Lets the cold of the tiles fight with the heat of her body. She relents. Acquiesces. Adds a layer of permafrost to her heart against the fire of her mother’s tongue.

Handwritten Pages #13

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Sonia waited on the platform, trailed by her shadow, for the last possible moment to board the train. She wanted to time her entrance into the carriage with the closing of the doors to separate her physical body from her shadow. So far, she had not succeeded.

Today’s Handwritten Page was inspired by this image. It was a  random prompt given to me by a friend. 

train-station

Handwritten Pages #12

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The boy said, “Daddy, you’re crying. Are you hurt?”
“Yes, I am.”
“Where? I can’t see it.”
“In my heart and in my head.”
“Why?”
“Because Grandpa, my father, died and I miss him.”
For the first time the boy knew a pain beyond the physical scrape of a grazed knee, the sting of Dettol and the salve of attention.
In the awkwardness of facing human pain he saw the wounded soul seeping out from behind an imaginary Band-Aid; a too small covering for a gaping wound.
He leaned forward and kissed his father’s forehead.

Handwritten Pages #11

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She imagines through the window a future she holds as fantasy.
Behind glass she views smudged with fingerprints and streaks of leftover rain.
Remembers there isn’t an egg for the cake she wanted to bake because it broke while making breakfast for an imagined lover who wreathed her in a sensuality of stockings that spoke of opportunity and a brashness to wear trousers.

Francois Kollar

The image above is the base for today’s Handwritten Page is a photo by Francois Kollar who was a vogue photographer in the 20’s-40’s.

Earlier this week I was speaking with a friend in another city via Facebook, talking about what we were working on (I wasn’t working on anything; instead I was recovering from a migraine and procrastinating). She was in the middle of working on bibliomancy poems – taking images and old books and cutting up the text to form poems, and gave me a preview of what she was working on. The photo was the foundation image for her poem.

In my usual flippancy I made a silly comment about what the woman in the photograph was looking at. Jodi provided a list of alternatives and I melded them into a single, obtuse sentence. In her usual fashion, Jodi downloaded a quick poem, sparked by the initial thoughts and posted it. I took a single line from Jodi’s poem and remixed it into the narrative.

If you want to buy some of Jodi’s works or place an order for a commission, drop along to her website.

Creativity can be sparked by anything, anywhere, anytime. Another little glimpse behind the curtain to spoil the mystery.

What have you been creating lately?

Handwritten Pages #9

 

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In the darkness of the bedroom, weighed down by the light sheet, he lay awake facing her sleeping form. He couldn’t bear to wake her with his fears and disrupt the stillness. There was a moment of envy of the softness of her breath, the sighing tide of peace.
In the blinds of his night he sought the warmth of her hand and found the cavern of her upturned palm. 
As if instinctively her hand curled around his. The gentle pressure allowed his fears to subside, washed in the gentle tide of her breathing.

 

Handwritten Pages #8

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She watched the rain fall in light sheets, imagining a giant cloth wiping away the crumbs of a broken day.
Yet in the morning when the rain had ceased and the dampness dissipated a thin film of dirt remained. The skerricks of an eraser left after rubbing out the pencil marks on a sheet of paper. To make the new day fresh required more work than she expected.

 

SIDE NOTE: When I was writing this, transcribing it from my notebook where I first scribbled the idea, I asked myself why I ascribed the feminine pronoun to the character of the narrative. It was arbitrary, without conscious assignation.

I then reread the paragraph replacing ‘she’ with ‘he’ and saw a different reading. As a personal reflection, I think I tend to write more from a female perspective than a male one. For purely unscientific research I did a gender breakdown on the Handwritten Pages.

  1. “I” (indeterminate)
  2. Couple (male/female)
  3. Female (2 sisters)
  4. Female 
  5. “I” (indeterminate)
  6. He
  7. Male (2 brothers)
  8. Female

In examining the content of each piece, the seemingly arbitrary allocation of gender pronouns was determined by its focus. The third Handwritten Page was inspired by a friend’s recollection of her childhood with her sisters so it was a natural response to use the feminine. 

In last week’s Handwritten Page I ascribed masculine pronouns, except to the “I” persona. In reality it could easily be the sibling rivalry between a brother and sister yet in my head it was between brothers; we tend to pair brothers with brothers and sisters with sisters in terms of sibling rivalry and not a brother/sister combination.

It also made me think about how the content of a narrative influences the reader’s understanding of gender. Does it affirm or subvert paradigms? Why or why not? Just asking.

But the distinction of female or male POV in a narrative made me think about how I read gender in a story (being male) and how others would read the piece above (male or female). I know men and women will read the paragraph differently based on their own gender, and their reading of gender. 

Try reading today’s piece replacing ‘she’ with ‘he’. Does it make a difference in your reading? What nuances or differences are borne out of a different reading? Does it matter? I’m interested in your ideas.

Handwritten Pages #7

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My brother and I sailed paper boats made from sheets of grease proof paper down the gutter after heavy rain. A peaceful camaraderie in a turbulent sibling rivalry. 
We raced them from our driveway, running alongside on the nature strip, swooping down to collect them before they were swallowed by stormwater drain eight houses down.
They were sailed until they were soggy and losing integrity before we let them disappear down the gaping maw of the stormwater.
One day I set my boat adrift, letting it chase my brother’s, but did not follow it. I watched it retreat before turning away, knowing its destination, and went inside.
Later I found two boats on the dining room table sitting on a plastic plate in a puddle of water. Two boats sailing calmly midst every storm.