Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Five Words into Fiction

The idea of taking five words and creating a post with them is floating the internet. It was so fun to take part, and if you'd like your own five words to play with, let me know. I'd be happy to offer you some.

My words, from Wendy Miller of All In a Day's Thought, were contentment, water, childhood, grasp, and art. I wanted to create fiction with them, and I hope you'll enjoy this vignette I've written.

***

People ask about my inspiration. Much like the attention of artist-hungry women, I’ve come to expect the question. What inspires you? And I have to steel myself before every show, bite the inside of my lip before I answer.

Of course, they pick up on the water theme woven throughout; it’s plain in every painting. But they assume it’s all borne of contentment, a man’s life spent on the lake. And they want to hear tell of creation spurred by deep, happy memory.

They’re right. That’s part of it, because I grew up at the water’s edge, and in its depths. It defined my childhood, my activity, the cool, smooth personality friends have long insisted is mine. It explains the fluid peace of my outer world. Fuels my art, too.

But what they don’t see, what I ensure is impossible for my audience to grasp, is the loss each piece represents. They’d never guess my work isn’t just from memory; it’s also in memoriam.

My brother’s initials are forever tucked away, whether carved into the fluff of a cloud, hidden beneath a boat stern, along the bushy tail of a treed squirrel. And in the twists and twirls of current, in the blue wisps of slight wave, I again and again feel the emotion of the day he died on the water we both loved.

Sometimes it’s too much. Other times, not enough. And I can’t stop, either way, because I’m driven. It is what inspires me.

It's what I can’t tell them, those people who ask.

41 comments:

Diane said...

Very lovely and almost flowy like water. Really! :O)

Natasha Fondren said...

That's awesome! Aww, that's so sweet. I've always wished, and I know this is silly, for something like that woven through my stories. I'll have to settle on themes, I guess. :-)

I totally connected with the painter!

Tamika: said...

What a smooth flow. I loved the vignette.

I could have read more and more!

Happy writing...

Melanie Avila said...

Wow. This is incredible. Have you thought of making this the start of a novel?

The emotion pulls me right in and I want to know what happened.

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

You made me proud! I'm with Melanie...the paragraph beginning w/ bro's initials caused me to want to read more and more.

Well done!
~ Wendy

Susan R. Mills said...

Lovely, Janna! My word verification word is notbad. I think that says something. :)

Analisa said...

Lovely and what a wonderful way to remember someone.

JLC said...

Profound. Nicely done. It reminds me of the 'Authur' books by Marc Brown. Each book contains the hidden names of his children in the illustrations. Whenever I buy one of his books for my children, I try to find the names. :)

Deb@RGRamblings said...

Beautiful and touching, I loved it. And as others said--I could have read more.

I love the five word idea, so will take you up on your offer of sending five my way :)

Joanne said...

Janna, I always love your flash pieces. This is so good, and what amazes me is the voice. I'm very familiar with your "blog" voice, and always enjoy it, but I don't see it in this fiction piece, which I find fascinating, and imagine to be difficult to do. I wanted this story to continue!

Deb Shucka said...

You worked magic with those five words. What an amazing story!

Sharla said...

OH!!!! Janna, I have goosebumps. Love it love it love it, I love things that surprise me and are kind of haunting.

This would be a great longer piece! I want more.

Oh, and I want some words too please?

Stina Rose said...

Love it!

Melissa Marsh said...

That was wonderful, Janna. Well done!

Janna Qualman said...

Diane - I was worried about its flow, so I'm glad to hear that. Thanks!

Natasha - That isn't silly. What a neat layer to add to one's work!

Thank you, Tamika!

Melanie - No, I hadn't. Maybe I'll squirrel that suggestion away...

Thanks, Wendy! They were great works. I have a lot of fun linking them together.

Susan, that's cool! And thanks.

Analisa - I'm glad you liked it. :)

JLC - I didn't know that! I'll look closely next time we have a book here from the library. Did you ever notice there's a mouse drawn into every page of The Little Critters' series? So cute.

Deb - Thank you! And I'll hop over to give you some words in just a bit.

Janna Qualman said...

Joanne - Thanks for saying something about that, it's a huge compliment! I had written this thing near to its end before I realized the voice was a man's. So then I went back to tweak a bit, and take out some phrasing that was mine. I'm glad it worked!

Deb - Thanks! I wish I could say my WIP is going just as well.

Sharla - Awesome! Thank you! And I'll be over to give your words shortly.

Christina - Thank you!

Thanks so much, Melissa.

Jill Kemerer said...

I love this. Love it. It has such a longing and tenderness, and there's loneliness. Beautiful.

septembermom said...

Really beautifully written! It flows and moves with emotion and calm. I would love to read more too!

Amy said...

Lovely! Thanks for sharing your talent with us!

Heather Sunseri said...

That was beautiful, Janna! I too could have read on and on.

Janna Qualman said...

Neat, Jill! I'm glad you saw all those things.

septembermom - It would seem you all want me to write more. ;)

Amy - Certainly. Thanks for being so willing to read what I put out there!

Thanks, Heather!

Jessica said...

Wow, in memorium. I loved that line. Beautiful post.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Wow, that's beautiful. The part about those initials is haunting. it makes me want to look for them!

Kathryn Magendie said...

(Janna, if you could read the story of mine that was just published in FRESH, you'd go "oh!" the title is "at the water's edge" -- a brother dies in the water....she can't tell anyone what really happened or how she feels...but, also...soon is the anniversary of my own brothers death - I hide things about him in my novel - his birthday, and other things...)

this is gorgeous -- tonight I am reading such beauty that I am blown away by the gifts of our blogging commmunity -

so glad I came by here....

Janna Qualman said...

Jessica - I'm glad to hear it had punch. I was hoping! :)

Kristen - Thank you!

Kat - You're kidding. That's very cool! But sad at the same time. And thank you.

Lori said...

Wow. Beautiful. How can you do that from only five words? Why am I never so inspired. It brought me to tears.
And the "artist-hungry women" -- I liked that a lot.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Janna -

Wonderful piece! I hope you're planning to submit it somewhere, perhaps expand it into a short story.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Karen said...

You wove the threads seamlessly together. Great post!

LeSan said...

The piece read quite beautifully. I was impressed with how you portrayed the artist and viewers. They do always ask that question and they do seem to have their own expectation of what the answer should be. It never appears to be what they are looking for somehow. Well done!
By the way, I don't think you needed the five words. You did just fine on your own. ;-)

Terri Tiffany said...

Wonderful! You wove juch a beautiful DEEP story out of so few words! Again, I love your voice and style:)

Terri Tiffany said...

PS I agree with Melanie. It's the perfect start to a book!

Janna Qualman said...

Lori - It didn't come immediately. I'd started one way before this came to mind. And don't you talk like that! We're all inspired in different ways. And your writing is special.

Susan - Good suggestion. Thanks!

Karen - Thank you!

LeSan - I'm so glad you liked it. Thanks.

Terri - That makes me happy. :)

WendyCinNYC said...

That was lovely, Janna. Thanks for sharing.

Beth said...

Breathtaking...truly.

Stephanie Faris said...

You did such a good job of this! I wouldn't have even known you were trying to incorporate five words if you hadn't posted it up top.

Janna Qualman said...

Wendy - I love for my writing to be lovely! Thanks. :)

Beth - That's a really great compliment, thank you.

Stephanie - Yay! That means it was a success! :)

Kara said...

How beautiful. I love it and also want to know more:)

ElanaJ said...

Beautiful! I really enjoyed this!

Jeanette Levellie said...

Oh my gosh! You are brilliant. More, more, more. I love your voice, Janna.

I want my own five words, please.

Janna Qualman said...

Kara - I wish I had more to share. :)

Thanks, Elana! I'm so glad you did.

Jen - No, I'm not. It's just that I like to write. ;) I'm hopping over to give you five words now...

Nadine said...

Beautiful!! I loved every word!!