white widow

white-widow-final
Hi friends and neighbours,

I rarely use writing prompts, probably because as a memoirist, I’ve never dealt in fiction. I have to admit, though, it’s fun to take a prompt and run with it; it seems to exercise a part of the brain that I don’t normally access in quite that way.

Responding to a prompt reminds me of writing workshops I’ve taken where at some point in the program, the facilitator gives you a scenario or a set of descriptive words and a time limit, and you write down whatever you can cobble together inside that time limit. It’s surprising how nimble and inventive the human brain becomes when there’s a short deadline.

On March 23, 2015, from somewhere on the internet, I wrote the following small piece based on the picture above and the prompt, “Why is She Fleeing?”  Here’s what I came up with:



White Widow

As she raced down the empty track, Ellen couldn’t help grinning gleefully to herself. She’d actually done it; she’d managed to get away this time before the wedding—and with the money too!

Right down to the wire, this escape had been, because she’d just changed from jeans and t-shirt into her wedding gown when she noticed that her fiance had left his fat briefcase, filled with large bills, tucked away in the cupboard where her veil was hanging. Now she didn’t have to go through still another wedding to yet another wealthy, well-meaning young man. It simply took too long to go through the divorce proceedings. Just grab the money, get away, go to another town and start fresh. Run!

Without even bothering to change out of her wedding gown, she yanked her boots back on, stuffed jeans and t-shirt into her fiance’s briefcase on top of the cash—hand hovering over, and then moving past, the Rolex belonging to her erstwhile bridegroom—then raced out of the motel, needing to get as much distance as possible behind her before he realized his bride was missing.

No problem; she’d be stocking up on a new wardrobe soon, and she’d be able to buy a dozen Rolexes if she wanted to.  She grinned again to herself.  There’d be no trouble at all paying for whatever she wanted.

As soon as she got to the train station, she’d ditch the dress and then travel to a middling-large city where she could become invisible.  She’d buy herself a suitably elegant yet unobtrusive wardrobe appropriate for an up-and-coming career woman.  Then she’d find herself a little job and keep her eyes open for the next well-heeled man—this time, perhaps, an elderly gentleman who might be flattered that a lovely, starry-eyed young woman was falling madly in love with him.

Ah, yes, an older man; why hadn’t she thought of that before?  It was the perfect solution. No messy divorces; just a quiet death and then move on. In fact, perhaps she could get a job in an upscale retirement home where she could play Lady Bountiful. Or, better yet, a medical office, where she’d have access to patient files. Yes, this could work out quite nicely.


The piece could use some fine-tuning, of course, but given that it emerged right off the top of my head, I thought it wasn’t bad. Perhaps I’ll find myself a daily prompt on the internet and do some practicing – although I must say, I don’t know how novelists manage to create multi-character plots. I love reading them, but I doubt I could write one.  They’re definitely a whole other ballgame.

Namaste,
Susannah

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12 Comments

    1. Flash fiction, eh? I’d better Google that phrase, because I have no idea what it means. Your idea sounds great, though, and perhaps it will inspire me to write a bit more. Thanks for your comment, Barb!

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    1. You’re Mary, right? Hi Mary! Thank you for taking the time to write. I had fun doing white widow, and it’s a pleasant change in thought processes from writing a memoir–from trying to remember accurately to allowing my imagination free rein. I haven’t any plans to write long pieces for awhile once my memoir is finally published, and playing with shorter work would be a nice change. The memoir has taken me more months than I like to count, and it’s still only at the penultimate edit. Whew (wipes sweat from brow)! I enjoy getting away from writing for a bit, but I always miss it after awhile.

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  1. Great start, why not continue?
    Writing fiction is huge fun! And very liberating. It’s an outlet for all those random ideas you (or at least I) have no other outlet for, and would feel like a self-indulgent fool expressing any other way. There are lots of short fiction competitions around which also have the benefit (for me) of adding a touch of discipline. They have deadlines!
    Go for it. A whole new source of entertainment!

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    1. Oh no, not yet another hobby (read: addiction) to add to my list of serial obsessions!

      At this rate, that closet (you know, the one that’s filled stem-to-stern with luscious yarn waiting to be knitted into sweaters, shawls, hats, and scarves) will never get emptied in my lifetime. And then there are the piles of unread books lying around all over my house; not to mention the stones and wire and jewellery makings waiting patiently for me to get to work; or the paper, watercolours, ink and coloured pencils that, as I write, are gently calling me from my studio to come play with them too….

      The thing is, I need to live another 75 or so years to get it all in. Jill-of-all-trades, master of none, that’s me.

      Okay, fine, you ladies have convinced me. I’m going to give it a try, by George!

      🙂

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  2. Sue, I loved that piece, you have a natural talent! I started reading and had to go right to the end out of shear curiosity. I’d actually love to have a go at a prompt with a photo, but I don’t think I’ve noticed one on WordPress. Well done! 🙂

    Now I’m wondering if she’s picked up a little old widower while working in a tea shop!

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    1. Jude! Thanks so much for your kind words, although it might just have been a fluke too….beginner’s luck, you might say. I’ll have to continue on and test it out. As Martha says, practice is the ticket. Perhaps I’ll post this type of thing again before too long. Cheers!

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      1. I really did enjoy it, and the story just fitted that picture perfectly! I felt as though your writing rather ‘flowed straight out of the pen’ so to speak, naturally, without a lot of work. 😁. Maybe you’re hiding your light under a bushel!

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  3. That’s what I mean about a fluke, Jude. The story jumped into my head pretty much full blown as soon as I saw that image, and even the title jumped out at me, so it felt like a real freebie. Which must have been beginner’s luck, because mostly, writing is WORK. I love it, but it isn’t always easy, as I’m sure you well know.

    However, you’ve sparked an idea that I might well try: perhaps I should experiment with using IMAGES as story prompts. Maybe lightning will strike twice–or even regularly….

    At any rate, I’ll explore under that bushel for a wee light, for sure. Thank you!

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