The weekly gathering of the Fictioneers has commenced.  Bring out the halt, the lame, the blind, the murderers and aliens, vampires and vamps. Look carefully and you might see a human or two.  Take them all, stir thoroughly, add a dollop of disbelief, a soupçon of silliness. Dip a spoon into the resulting slumgullion:  each recipe meticulously prepared, marvelously rendered, tasty to the tongue.  Your personal recipe is solicited or feel free to simply feast and go away replete; perhaps not always uplifted, but with your brain stimulated.

Thanks to our fearless leader, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, and this week’s photographer, David Stewart.

Copyright David Stewart

Copyright David Stewart

                                                          Exist-tense
Dreary, grey, distorted.
     Everything out of kilter, as if I’m in a foreign country.
          Can’t interpret the signs around me anymore.

A statue frozen in an empty plaza, surrounded by a city. Living people move along the periphery, 
     no one willing to come near.

Torn apart. Fragmented.
     Reaching, stretching. No one takes my hand.
          Crying out. No response.

Can’t anyone hear me?  I’m right here.  Why won’t you see me? Don’t you know that I exist?  

Perhaps…

Perhaps I don’t exist.
Perhaps I’m simply trapped. Forever a statue. Living but ignored.

Acknowledge me.  I need that to give me life.



Comments
  1. I like both very much – thanks for sharing :o)

  2. kz says:

    damn him, if only he knows, he’s more than “acknowledged” 90 something writers are going crazy trying to write stories about him.lol ^^ this was very well written as always and it’s such a pleasure to read your introduction — had me smiling from ear to ear 🙂

  3. That sounds like a nighmarish situation to be in, to exist and be aware but forever ignored. You did a great job with it, and even your introduction to the Fictioneers at the top! That’s deserving of a story all it’s own. I feel like I’ve read a double-feature. 🙂

  4. Nifti says:

    I think therefore i am. Nicely done.

    • Or others validate me, therefore I am. Either way, I’m glad you liked it.

      janet

      • Nifti says:

        Yes, got that 🙂
        Better to believe in oneself than in others. Try to tell my students that everyday!

      • You’re exactly right, but students, being young, can have a difficult time believing in something that is for them, still so tenuous and so often they don’t really know what their selves are or only see them as reflected by others opinions of them. Aren’t you glad not to be that young anymore??!! 🙂

      • Nifti says:

        Yep! … So I ask them, “we’ll, what do YOU think?” Not what your friends think, but YOU. I find it weird that so many kids have such high opinions about their peers’ lives, and not much about theirs. I try to find ways to help them balance their ‘need to belong’ with loving themselves. And to understand that these go hand in hand.

      • Good for you. I tried to do that when I was teaching, whether at the high school or home schooling our girls. What’s sad, too, is that so often the lives they want to emulate are nothing worth emulating! One thing I learned by not being part of an “in” group in high school was to feel comfortable with myself and by myself, so I’m rarely lonely and even though I value the opinions and friendships of others, I don’t depend on them to an unhealthy degree (at least usually. 🙂

      • Nifti says:

        True. And adults really can rarely get through. Hoping to get a good group of students (who are worth emulating) to start some sort of peer discussion series. Or even a peer mentoring series. Who knows…

  5. yerpirate says:

    Doomed! Very nice build up, really carefully crafted. I like the care and attention taken to format..

    • Something about this picture just screamed depression to me. The formatting of this sort of thing on WordPress is a bear so I’m especially pleased that you mentioned it. It took forever!

      janet

  6. deanabo says:

    This is Brilliant! My favorite so far.

  7. When I saw this prompt this was my first thought I didn’t go with it but I am glad to read someone that did. I liked this.

  8. vb holmes says:

    Great mood piece with a touch of the supernatural to give it “life”. Creative take and well done.

  9. Dear Janet,

    I acknowledge you. This prompt is drear and gray, isn’t it. Reminds me of the two times I was in Korea. You nailed the story and you had the perfect recipe for an introduction.

    Aloha,

    Doug

  10. Loved your intro. Your poem was just… sad. Thank you for the reminder to notice.

    • What a good thing to take away from what I wrote! I did want to remind people that there really are people around them who need some attention and to whom that attention will mean so much. The piece was meant to be sad, so that’s good. I’m pleased you enjoyed the intro, though, in the sense of enjoyable.

      janet

  11. Dear Janet,
    What a terrible place to be. Your piece is a magnificent, yet horribly accurate, description of clinical depression. Wonderful writing as always.
    Shalom,
    Rochelle

    • Thanks, Rochelle. Thankfully I’m not there but everyone, I think, has had a bad time or two that would lead to this feeling if left unchecked, un-helped or unrecognized. Maybe this will nudge us all to say that word or two to someone with whom no one else speaks. If so, it was worth writing.

      janet

  12. Sheila says:

    This photo does bring out those feelings! I love how you showed the desperate isolation, to the point of feeling trapped. Beautifully written and so true.

  13. This one makes my hair stand on end! Such a good expression of the feeling of being lost and ignored. I wonder how many statues we pass every day without noticing the person inside?

  14. Tad says:

    I like the way you describe the Fictioneer’s. Very nice.

  15. Sandra says:

    The first two paragraphs reminded me about the throes of depression, that sense of grey detachment. This is beautifully done, Janet.

  16. Iris says:

    The title is just beautiful. A perfect reflection of the angst-ridden story. You made me feel claustrophobic!

    • I appreciate you noticing the title, Iris. I try hard to make the title work as hard as the story. And claustrophobic is what I was striving to portray. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. May your Valentine’s Day be filled with much acknowledgement!!

      janet

  17. Parul says:

    The statue does seem to reach out to you.
    very nice angle.
    I guess all landmark statues in busy cities could join this cry.
    And I absolutely loved your introduction! The potion you whipped seemed quite delectable! 🙂

  18. Good verse; good name.

  19. Here’s the perfect antidote for my story (and also appropriate for Valentine’s Day)…from David Frum…(or from Frum)…

    “I’ve never liked the Valentine’s Day holiday. Our culture celebrates romantic love morning, noon, and night 364 days a year – and then sets aside one special day every February to really rub the lovelesses’ noses in it. Not so nice. So: if you are lucky enough to have a sweetheart, of course you must kiss her (or him) today. But if you want to do a good deed, give a thought to the many lonely people around you: the divorced, the widowed, the unlucky – and maybe, if you have a spare dollar or two, you might want to send a small anonymous bouquet to one of them. Oh — and send it to the office, where everybody can see. “

  20. Excellent. Enjoyed reading.

  21. Jan Brown says:

    Very original! Brings an other-worldly feel to the gray realism and intrigue of the photo.

  22. Wow. I like your intro a lot this week, too. I love your title! I love all of your word choices . . . I can relate all too well to the sentiment, so it hits close to home.

  23. JackieP says:

    Ah I think we all feel like a statue sometimes, ignored. Really well done Janet. 🙂

  24. Excellent story, Janet. I really enjoyed this; it’s powerfully told.

  25. unspywriter says:

    This is brilliant! Thank you, and, yes, we all feel this way sometimes.

    Here’s mine: http://unexpectedpaths.com/friday-fictioneers/suzuki-method/

  26. Tom Poet says:

    On one hand it is nice to be seen , on the other hand isolation is a gift..To teach others to recognize those in need of acknowledgment is not easy nor is it easy to teach people that it is OK to be alone. Very well done. Thought provoking..Love yourself and it spreads outward from there…
    Tom

  27. A fine take on the prompt 🙂

  28. elappleby says:

    Now I’m going to have to go round acknowledging all the statues I ‘meet’ – just in case 😀

  29. rgayer55 says:

    I loved the way you used the gray box to frame your story. The story made me think of Lot’s wife turning to a pillar of salt. Watch out for those pesky pigeons.

  30. This poetry about being trapped is such a scary metaphor for something else… I shiver. Well done,

  31. k~ says:

    I liked the poem, but I loved the way you introduced the fictioneers challenge 🙂

  32. denmother says:

    Very difficult human thoughts given to a statue. I like what I imagine to be the universality of the feelings. Great job.

    • Thanks. I wrote it more as a human trapped inside him/herself because of feeling lonely and unnoticed, using the statue as a metaphor for that, and experiencing loneliness and depression. But I’m glad you enjoyed it either way.

      janet

      • denmother says:

        Yes I can certainly see that. I looked at it the other way around as a statue actually trapped as a statue longing to be human. I guess that’s what makes the story great – it’s versatility. I really did enjoy it. Thanks, Janet.

  33. Very neatly done, cleverly crafted.

  34. rich says:

    this line: “Living people move along the periphery, ” i know that periphery is a perfectly accurate word, but it feels kind of technical compared to the rest. consider using “edge” instead. it’s rougher, more direct and sharp.

    just a suggestion.

    • Good morning, Rich. I just re-read my story several times, using “edge”, then “periphery.” I like “edge” a lot, but “periphery” has a feeling to me of a large circle some ways in the distance with nothing between the edge of the circle and the person in the middle, which is a bit more the feeling I was trying to convey. Thanks for the suggestion and for taking the time to read in-depth enough to offer it!

      Hope you’re getting some sunshine in NJ this morning,

      janet

      • rich says:

        snow flurries here but thanks for the wishes. yes, i agree, periphery has a feeling of being outside of something, either not allowed in or not yet ready to go in. i see what you mean.

  35. Sunshine says:

    i love everything about your interpretation on this photo. the statue really seems to scream what you describe…reaching, stretching but finding nothing. inspiring.

  36. Very good story. Every day we pass people who are trapped. We’re so busy in our lives. Sometimes we just need to stop, listen and reach out.

  37. Joe Owens says:

    I can imagine real people feeling like this every day. All alone yet very noticeable in the public’s eye. Such are the struggles of people with various mental issues. A nice take and description.

    • Good morning, Joe. Glad you stopped by. I think it’s not just people with mental issues who feel this way but people with low self-esteem and, at times, many of us, although hopefully not for long. This was about real people and I’m happy that came across.

      Have a lovely Sunday,

      janet

  38. sandraconner says:

    A fantastic take on this week’s prompt! I love this piece!

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