Friday Flashing

I’ve meant, for a couple of weeks, to have a go at the #FridayFlash meme on Twitter. I don’t know if you sign up to anywhere – if anyone knows, can you let me know in the comments please? Much appreciated. Anyway, the following conversation took place yesterday on Twitter between me and @alisonwells (whose excellent blog is here). NB read bottom tweet first:

So, gauntlet thrown down, I went away and did just that and here’s my Friday Flash Fiction. It’s very unpolished, so be forgiving please!

Alison’s Story

The peace was unprecedented. The hot weather meant that the children were out in the yard with a ball. The chores were done. The fire crackled in the grate with the kettle just beginning to bubble, and Alison pushed the window open a little further before checking everything was set up on her desk.

The tealeaves were carefully measured out. The tea cup was perfectly lined up with the milk jug to one side, while in the centre of the desk a sheaf of pristine paper stared at her, beckoning her. The quill and ink pot were positioned carefully to the other side. Neat, organised, just the way she liked it but so rarely managed to achieve. She poured hot water into the teapot and sat down with a sigh, wondering for the umpteenth time what it would be like in a world where women did not wear corsets or petticoats or have fires roaring in the heat of summer just so they could have a cup of tea or hot water. Shaking her head out of her fantasy, she picked up her pen, carefully shook off the excess ink and carefully wrote, ‘Chapter One’.

“Mama!” Alison sighed and pushed back her chair, going to the window and asking what the problem was. “Jamie kicked the ball out of the yard. He did it on purpose, Mama, he did!” She went out, restored peace and recovered the ball, just before the coalcarrier’s cart went over it. Returning to her desk, she sipped her tea and recaptured the story that was still hovering at the front of her mind.

“Mama!” Alison sighed and pushed back her chair, going to the window and asking what the problem was. “Jack pushed me. He did it on purpose, Mama, he did!” She went out and presided over the peace process, gave the stew a stir on her way back through the kitchen (fearing her sister Jane’s wrath should she let it burn before she returned) and took another sip of tea. The story still danced within her reach, and she picked up her quill again.

“Mama!” Alison sighed and pushed back her chair, going to the window and asking what the problem was. “Jenny stole my marbles from me. She did it on purpose, Mama, she did!” She went out, discussed the stolen marbles and checked the washing on the line. Another sip of lukewarm tea helped her grasp an elusive thread of the story that was slipping away from her, and she picked up her quill again. This time she managed to write another word, ‘Once…’

“Mama!” Alison sighed and pushed back her chair, going to the window and asking what the problem was. “Joe called me a nasty name. He did it on purpose, Mama, he did!” She went out, delivered a short but pithy lecture on appropriate language, and returned to the desk, stirring the coals on her way past before they died to glowing embers. She stared into her cold cup of tea, wondering if there had ever been a story or if she had only imagined it.

“Mama!” Alison sighed and pushed back her chair, looking up to see a line of small faces in front of her desk. “Can we have some paper and your pen? We want to be writers, just like you.” Alison looked at the paper, the pen, then the hopeful gazes fixed on her. She pushed her chair away and, leaving them busy pouring their words onto the paper, she put the kettle on to boil again.


20 thoughts on “Friday Flashing”

  1. Ah thank you! Definitely give it a go, I really enjoyed doing this one. And I don’t know if you noticed but you made a cameo appearance.

  2. Forgive the spelling/punctuation here, but as the French say, “Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose.” Women have had to deal with family/household chores first and find a few moments to squeeze in writing where they can. I really enjoyed this. Made me remember that I’m not the first one to have ‘normal’ life intrude on my writing.
    Well done, Becca. Nxxx

  3. This sounds incredibly familiar!! I love the intro as well. Really enjoyed it, Becca… and welcome to #fridayflash!

  4. Thanks for comment Nettie! I really enjoyed doing it, it was one of those that seemed to flow. Probably a flash in the pan, boom boom! Sorry. I’ll stick to stories and leave the jokes, eh? 😉

  5. Thanks Rebecca! It was surprisingly easy to write – probably because we can all identify so closely with it lol!

  6. Nice debut, Rebecca. Although I did feel very, very sorry for the mama. She is so much more patient than me!
    I enjoyed your story very much. You have a fluid, natural writing style that I admire.
    Welcome to #fridayflash!

  7. Hi Cathy, thanks for reading and commenting! That is a very kind comment that I am taking to heart (about a fluid natural style), as it is so hard to know how it reads until a stranger gives feedback. Thanks again, and I will certainly be trying #fridayflash again!

  8. I had to laugh. This is was my Friday… trying to finish my piece. Thankfully, I don’t have to wear a corset or petticoats. I could quite possibly explode.

    Great job; excellent post!

    Welcome to #FridayFlash 🙂

  9. Perfect. Had a fairy tale-esque feel, a light-hearted touch and in the middle, I was thinking “hmm, substitue computer keys for quill and ink and this one’s about me!”

  10. Hey Becca, welcome to #fridayflash. I’m not sure if anyone has filled you in or you’ve figured out how #fridayflash works yet. Just in case you don’t know, I thought I’d say. You don’t have to sign up anywhere. You tweet out your story with the hashtag and can register the story at Jon Strother who runs the joint posts a digest of all the posts later. Since yours was in the digest, I figure you know most of what’s up. There’s nothing more to it save commenting on people’s work and connecting with the writers you like.

    Sorry about the double post. It’s late and my fingers slipped. Yours was a lovely story. I’m glad to see you hop in. Cheers!

  11. Hi Becca,

    I am so thrilled to be the protagonist of a story and such a well written one! This is so true to life. I love the attempt, interupption, attempt, interupption. As for the patience element, I don’t know if art is really imitating life there but I admire the woman’s stoicism. You have a natural writing talent that burns to be put on the page, I’m thrilled that you are going to do Friday Flash and let you take your light from under a bushel and your quill working even more often!

  12. Hi and thanks to everyone for commenting! It seems the story really hit a nerve with people which I’m so glad about and so grateful to you all for saying so! I’ve had another big boost from all of these comments and look forward to taking part in Friday Flash again. I love the comment about the ‘fairy tale-esque feel’, thanks pegjet!

  13. Hi John, thanks for the welcome. I’m on my over to Jon Strother’s site asap to check it out, I hadn’t heard of the digest before so thanks for that information. It’s great to be part of another writing community!

  14. Well it certainly struck a chord with a lot of people, and thank you so much for inspiring me! And thanks even more for the constant encouragement and praise, it means a lot coming from such a talented writer as yourself.

  15. Great story Rebecca, I loved it. Well done. Oh for a wee room to write in – where I couldnt see (or smell) the stove, see the washing line or be visible to the kids…. as others have said I take some small comfort in the fact that I dont wear a corset (most of the time)!!

  16. Thanks for that, yes I have the same daydream, although not sure I would still get much done lol!

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