Friday Fictioneers: White is White

Posted: October 26, 2012 in Friday Fictioneers
Tags: , , , , , ,

copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Running quite late today.  I considered not writing a story at all this week, but I did for two reasons: to support Rochelle on her first week in charge, and to overcome my own laziness.  However the story turned out, I reached those goals.  I struggled to find a title for this drabble.  If you can think of a better one, please feel free to share.  And when you are done here, head on over to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields blog (the new home for Friday Fictioneers) for more great flash fiction.

I welcome critique and comment.

White is White

I stared out the window at my parents’ perfect garden while Mom brought me iced tea in a pink tumbler.

“We always did the yard work ourselves.  I suppose you could hire someone if you need to.”

Condensation slid down the side of the glass.  I reached for a packet of sweetener but the white dish was empty.

“Nothing artificial in this house,” she sneered.  It wasn’t personal.  She was thinking of Dad’s hospital room.

I grabbed the sugar, poured some in my tea.  Stirred.  Sipped.  The saltiness was a shock, but I waited until she left to refill the dispensers.

  1. I feel sorry for the changes and the difficulties they’re facing. The salt instead of sugar is a small thing in comparison but an apt metaphor. “Sneered” seemed harsh compared to the rest of the piece but maybe that’s what you wanted to convey.

    • keliwright says:

      Sneered–one of those words that is exactly what you mean, but in a short piece it’s hard to develop the background to support it. Still struggling with what to leave in and what to leave out. Do you leave it, hoping the word itself carries enough power to deliver the underlying emotion without a framework, or dump it because it doesn’t flow well?

      • If sneered is what you want, that’s good; leave it. It then gives a new angle to the entire relationship and I think you’re probably right that the 100 words isn’t quite enough. However, “sneer” does what you want. Prior to that word, I’d gotten the snarky feeling from the mom in the first comments, but “sneer” then lets me see what’s she’s really like more clearly. I’m guessing then that the salt was on purpose, rather than the distracted mistake I first thought.

  2. Hi Keli,
    Your story is great with a resounding double twist. And I think the title is just fine. Ron

  3. tedstrutz says:

    I loved the last line. Volumes in a few words…

    here’s mine…

  4. Sandra says:

    This was very good, caught the mood perfectly. I agree about ‘sneered’ but can identify with the difficulty in finding the right word here. It’s not easy to find a word to reflect something said with bitterness that isn’t directed at the other party. Interesting. Nice work.

    • keliwright says:

      That’s exactly my difficulty. It’s bitterness directed at the universe, not the other person, although that’s kind of how it comes out. Isn’t that how we are? I’m annoyed by a rude driver so I yell at my kids? I tried to find the right word, unsuccessfully. Perhaps this would be the time for the much-avoided adverb?

      • Sandra says:

        May be so. The adverb that would capture it for me would be ‘ironically’ but people don’t say things ‘ironically’. So you end up with a construction like ‘in a voice heavy with irony’ and bang! there goes your word count. 🙂

  5. If the mom’s trying to ease some tension with a practical joke then sneer is definitely too harsh. “Smirk” maybe? Apparently the daughter isn’t giving her the satisfaction of a reaction. Interesting. I, too, am glad you decided to post, Keli.

  6. I like the spite in this. Very like families

  7. Oh, wow. That’s a lot of story packed into a little narration. Very impressive.

  8. billgncs says:

    I felt it, and thought the metaphor strong. I liked it.

  9. interesting how many mentioned artificial sweeteners in their stories. Great job.

  10. Russell says:

    As parents get older, we see little mix-ups happening. At first, I went into denial. I guess I just wanted to believe they’d operate as they always had forever. Nice piece of writing here.
    I was okay with sneered, although I liked Rochelle’s suggestion of smirk too. Also, think of a stronger verb for slid on the condensation sentence–slithered??

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