All This (Friday Fictioneers, October 2013)

Copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Time for a change I think; a touch of melancholic philosophy for this week’s Friday Fictioneers

With these 100 word pieces it’s easy to fall into the same genre, same voice every week so I’m trying to vary my approach from time to time.  Sometimes it works, occasionally it doesn’t.  This week may well fall into the latter category. 😉

“Do you ever think we take all this too seriously?”

“All what?” I said, watching his lean fingers curl round the stem of his glass.

“You know, life.  Hanging on to it, fearing the end…”

Another of those conversations.  I sighed.

“Well?” he persisted.

“I think you should stop taking life apart and examining the pieces; participate – don’t ruminate.”

“But is there anything beyond this?  A revelation that puts all this – the joy…suffering… evil – into perspective?”

Exasperated, I slammed my glass on the bar and left.

Too bad.  I might have known he wouldn’t leave it at that. 

About Sandra

I cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and write fiction and poetry. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in Friday Fictioneers, Just Sayin' and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

83 Responses to All This (Friday Fictioneers, October 2013)

  1. Dear Sandra,

    Participate don’t ruminate. Great advice to all of us. Love the way you used the prompt as a jumping off point. Yes, this piece works. Well done and one of the reasons I look forward to your writing every week.

    shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

  2. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Sandra,

    Where’s the body?

    Aloha,

    Doug

    Like

  3. kz says:

    “participate – don’t ruminate.” sounds like good advice to me.
    this piece definitely worked for me 🙂 when i reread the story, i was able to imagine the man’s lean fingers curling round the stem of his glass while he speaks and it sent shivers.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      I started out wanting this to go in a slightly different direction, but then realised the inspiration was a bit ambitious for the word count available. Thanks for reading kz.

      Like

  4. I’m just wondering which method of departure he chose. I think what I enjoy most about your writing is that you lay out your stories in a deceptively simple format with no histrionics, yet there’s always so much there.

    janet

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    • Sandra says:

      Thank you Janet; that’s kind of you to say so. I have an aversion to sentiment and high drama, (a conditioned reflex) so it’s difficult for me to strike a balance with my work sometimes. 😦

      Like

  5. mike olley says:

    Mean and moody. I think I’ve been on the edge of that conversation. A nicely captured moment.

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  6. misskzebra says:

    A very interesting and intriguing snapshot of their interaction.

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  7. paulmclem says:

    Agreed with your intro i.e. people should use their 100 words to explore what they are capable of. The same story, style, characters, genre every week is a bore. Thankfully most don’t do that!

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  8. A clever and unsuspected end.
    I also enjoy variety.
    Photos really do speak clearly if the writer is willing to listen

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  9. DCTdesigns says:

    I say it works. As I was reading I thought “Good God this guy was made for me” being someone who often has “those conversations”. I tend to not only ruminate but marinate before participation. Great story.

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  10. Some people just rub others the wrong way. If you can’t ruminate over a glass at the bar, when and where can you?

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  11. Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold…. don’t know why I thought of Yeats, but here we are. These two are certainly out of synch/tune with each other.

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  12. First of all – it worked – secondly – this seemed almost nonfictional 😉

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  13. claireful says:

    I love how you didn’t take the picture literally for your inspiration – I’m not very good at looking beyond what’s put in front of me on a Wednesday. And great sentiment in this story, well written.
    Claire

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  14. Locomente says:

    Brilliant words…
    Liked the way you connected with the prompt differently…

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  15. Very insightful take on the prompt!

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  16. To some degree, we should all stop taking life apart, and examining the pieces… all in moderation, but I’ve heard this conversation too many times. You’ve done a fantastic job of recreating an ongoing dialogue, as so many ruminate. Really well done! Pulled me in, made me think, and held me until the end… then left me wondering. All markings of a great story!

    Like

  17. elmowrites says:

    It’s easy to hear without really listening, isn’t it? You say you’re not sure about this, but I think it’s a great story and gently told. Like others, I liked “participate don’t ruminate” – I suspect I’m guilty of the latter myself sometimes.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Yes, I’m a bit of a ruminator myself. I’d really like to be able to ‘marinate’ as DCT Designs said above; that sounds lovely. Glad you liked it Jennifer. I’ve just expanded this to 500 words for my writer’s group and changed the direction slightly. Thanks for reading.

      Like

  18. vbholmes says:

    Your last line leaves the story open to several different endings–any chance you’ll take it a step further or will you leave us to ruminate on the possibilities?

    Like

  19. Hi Sandra,
    I thought the dialog was riveting but I wasn’t sure which direction he was going to go in “not leaving it at that.” But then I realized that making me think about the possibilities made the story a success. Ron

    Like

  20. I’m definitely a ruminator. But I am also a participator, lol, so I think I can identify with both of your characters in this one!

    Like

  21. elappleby says:

    HI Sandra
    I love the little details in this – the fingers on the glass, the glass slamming on the bar – makes it feel very real. I’ve missed your stories and love how different they are each week.

    Like

  22. Jan Brown says:

    Participate, don’t ruminate. Very wise, indeed.

    Like

  23. JackieP says:

    You hit another home run Sandra!

    Like

  24. This definitely works! And I love how you managed to insert a sage piece of advice in there as part of the story 🙂

    Like

  25. Really enjoyed what you did with the idea. The way you avoided the obvious really appealed.

    Like

  26. Not sure what he did, but I’m fearing the worst. Trying hard to participate, but ruminating sure tends to take over. Intriguing piece, Sandra!

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  27. It definitely works, Sandra. And the advice, as others have already mentioned, is spot on for me, who over-analyses and worries far too much! I guess I marinate, too. 😉
    Always glad to see you’ve taken part because I love your Fictioneers stories. 🙂

    Like

  28. unspywriter says:

    I think, as writers, we sometimes ruminate more than we participate, and we need to balance that. Thanks for a wonderfully thoughtful piece.

    Here’s my much less philosophical effort: http://unexpectedpaths.com/friday-fictioneers/noisy-ghost/

    Like

  29. “Participate don’t ruminate” I think that’s the best advice one may get as far as living is…
    And, sure i found an ace I could keep in this one, thank you Sandra!

    Like

  30. annisik51 says:

    I like this: “participate – don’t ruminate.” Marks perhaps the incompatibility or at least contrast in nature of your two characters. Clever. Clever use of the prompt too. Subtle. A contemporary take on ‘The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg’? Take life apart and it ceases to work? Excellent Sandra. Loved this. 🙂

    Like

  31. Interestingly different from most contributions. He wouldn’t be the best of company at the best of times. I assume the narrator had been trapped into sharing a glass with him.

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  32. Could not help taking it further. Slamming the glass down on the bar, made me think it had broken, then you would take a piece with you in your coat pocket, so that when he came after you to apologise for being so serious, you could fulfil your mission, which was to reveal life’s secret to those wishing to know the final answer….

    Like

  33. Sandra says:

    🙂 That’s one way of taking it further. I actually did an expanded version of this for my writer’s group (500 words) taking it in a slightly different differection. So far half who read it haven’t understood it, so it seems that on this occasion less is more. 🙂 Thanks for commenting, and thinking about it Linda.

    Like

  34. Steve Lakey says:

    I liked the open ending to this! A great alternative take on the theme.

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  35. Cleverly created and excellent writing.
    Thought provoking piece, a lot in a little.

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  36. Sandra, oh your story is so timely. I just returned from a memorial where I thought the very things you touched upon in your story, that of living of full life right now, but also asking “why?” What’s it about? I thought what you touched upon was preciously the important bits that people consider when thinking about the big picture. Excellent!

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      I remember when I was at college, we used to hold numerous conversations like this. (In fact I think I was probably the one who initiated most of them!) I still think about this a lot, but I’ve learned to keep my thoughts to myself. 🙂 So I enjoyed the opportunity, brief though it was at 100 words, to give them another outing.

      Like

  37. Linda Vernon says:

    Ah yes. There is a lot to think about here, Sandra. But I won’t ruminate. I’ll simply leave this comment and then go participate! Great little story — it is easy to fall into a pattern on these — you have motivated me to mix it up next week! 😀

    Like

  38. sandraconner says:

    Well done. Now I’m left wondering if he committed suicide to find out what more there was to it all, or if he took a body apart to find out what the life inside of it was all about. Actually, the latter is what the main character in The Reclining Gentleman’s story used to do — probably still would if he weren’t locked up. Interesting combination this week.

    Like

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