Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Beautiful Day - flash fiction

This flash fiction was inspired by an image called The Exit Alternative by artist Arthur Blue. I love this guy's artwork and this image got me thinking about what it would be like to live in a place like that. Is it a future utopia or something a bit darker? Why is it there? The beauty of artwork like this is that everyone who sees it will have their own take on it, their own interpretation. Which is what I think art is supposed to do. Make us think, and imagine. So... here's my take off the top of my head.

A Beautiful Day 

I walk out of the tunnel into the sunshine. It's so much warmer here than inside, with the sun's rays slanting down and a gentle breeze skittering some leaves into the Structure. Those will have to be swept out, of course. But such a pleasant day. I take a deep breath, filling my lungs, and as I do so I notice others doing the same thing- stretching out cat-like in the sunshine, or sitting and reading, or just staring off into space . The sound of the birds chirping, the gurgle of the canals... it's all so relaxing.

It's times like this that I wonder if it is really necessary, to stay here and be so limited? I mean life isn't bad here, but we were made to grow, to expand, to explore... weren't we? Not to hide or play it safe. Yet that's what we're doing. At what point do we take a chance, maybe risk it all, to see if the outside is ready for us? Or if we're ready for it?

Well it's not going to be today. May as well enjoy the warmth and the sunshine. It's a blessing to be able to do this, after all, and I'm determined to take advantage of it. I hear a splash from somewhere up above and see someone taking a swim on the upper level- what a great idea! Looks like fun, as long as they don't go over the edge. But hey you have to live a little, right?

The gardens are in bloom alongside the canals and the buzz of insects combine with the sunshine to make me drowsy. A few people pass by, most absorbed in their own thoughts, but a couple nod or say hello. I don't see anyone I know though. One person actually leaves the Structure and sets off across the grassy hills- I wish them a pleasant walk as I consider doing the same and then discard the idea. I'm pretty happy right here at the moment, thank you very much. I have to get back anyway, Maya and I were going to try and do something tonight. Maybe we'll come back here and watch the sunset... who knows?

I must have dozed because the sun is lower when I rouse myself. Yikes, what time is it? Time to go. I get up, a little stiff, and with a glance back at the beautiful day head back into the tunnels. It's immediately cooler here but comforting in a certain way too, and I hurry along since I've lost track of time. I pass an attractive woman heading in the other direction, with a bag and a towel over her arm- we smile and say hi. She must be going for a dip too.  I pick up my pace, my pulse racing as I think of Maya. She's probably off by now, and I'm starving. Maybe we can grab some dinner.

Before long I'm at the crossing and I turn left, towards the noise and activity of the Hub. I miss the peace and quiet of the outer works, the sound of the canal gurgling along in the cool dark tunnels, but Maya is probably wondering where I'm at. Maybe she'll feel like a walk, and we can go back and enjoy the rest of this beautiful day.

30 comments:

  1. Interesting take on the picture! And nice writing :-)

    Something I noticed while reading, you might not have intended this, but there's no indication of whether the POV character is male or female. I started reading with a completely random assumption that it was female (maybe cuz the person in the picture looked female), but then I realized like halfway through that that wasn't necessarily the case. So now I am making no assumptions lol. That's happened to me before in a book or two though, that I thought the POV character was one gender before realizing I was wrong. I guess it's like they say, when you write, you're supposed to write a character, not focus on gender stereotypes. Makes me wonder what it'd be like to read a whole book in which the gender of the character is never revealed.

    Also, this artist's pictures are amazing! I'm gonna go keep looking at more of them now lol.

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    1. Thanks! And you know, I intended the POV to be male but you're right, there is no way to know and I guess it's ambiguous. And now that I think about it I kinda like that! I was originally going to do this in third person but then changed to first person, and I think it feels a lot more immediate that way so I'm glad I did.

      And you're right the figures in the pic are female, so that could definitely be confusing. I agree, that would be fascinating to read where you're never really sure!

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  2. Great post! Reminds me of some of the writing prompts I had to do when I took a composition course in college. I love your take on this photograph and your writing style. All of the questions you raise in that second paragraph are probably my favorite part. I kept thinking I'd totally read a book that explored that idea.

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    1. Thank you! That second paragraph is actually what the whole piece is about- I saw this Structure as a haven but is it a prison also, where people don't stretch themselves and explore? And the world outisde is beautiful, not a dystopian, so do they really need to hide?

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  3. Great job. You really captured - what I see anyway - in the picture.

    For What It's Worth

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  4. This is really amazing! That picture is gorgeous!
    Loved it! :)

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  5. What an awesome description! I can totally believe that this person is a part of the artwork. This is fantastic!

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    1. Thank you Carole! That means a lot.

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  6. This is so great! I find the picture fascinating, and now I want to know what is happening in the story, too! I looked through a lot of the pictures, and the story definitely fits. I love that it seems so nice, but there's that element of something amiss. Because let's be real, no way is this utopia. (I think it's the red lines? Idk.) Love this!

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    1. Thanks!! I love that picture too, and it does look off- like a bit utopian but also why is it there, why are people there? I get a dystopian vibe even though it doesn't LOOK dystopian. Glad you thought the story fit. Looking at some of the other similar pieces from that artist I got the same sense- something not right at this place. :)

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  7. Great job capturing the vibe of the picture, Greg! I agree with other commenters: there seems to be something a bit unsettling about the art, and your flash fiction mirrors that perfectly. It's also making me yearn for summer. :)

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    1. Thanks Danya! And I agree- it looks so utopian (or something) but why is it there? That's what I wondered. :)

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  8. You did a great job capturing the feel of that image! I liked your take on it, and I really enjoyed your writing style -- it felt very real; it was easy to picture what you described and imagine myself in that scenario. Awesome flash fiction! :)

    ~Mckenzie

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad you could imagine yourself in that. I was trying to go for the feeling that it was a pleasant place (maybe too pleasant?) but beneath the surface something isn't right.

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  9. I love this! It was such a great take on the picture, and I love the idea of using a piece of artwork as a jumping off point for fiction.
    I especially like how the place in the story seems so perfect, but the character is musing on how he would like to go further afield. I definitely think that no matter how nice a place is, it's still a prison if you can't (or won't) leave, so it's interesting to think about that. Great post! :)

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    1. Thank you! I enjoyed doing this a lot, and yeah that image inspired me. It looks so peaceful and utopian at face value, but why are people there? And I loved the idea of it looking perfect on the surface but there being a rot underneath.

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  10. I really enjoyed reading this. I'm not skilled at writing and so I'm loving how much text you were able to supply from the inspiration of a picture. Poems are about as far a I've gotten and just between you and I, they aren't that good LOL. Thank you so much for sharing this piece. It's rainy here so you transported me to a lovely scene for a bit.

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    1. Yay! And thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it and that it was entertaining. And don't be too hard on yourself- I'm sure your poetry is quite good! Do you ever share it?

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    2. No, I use it as a way to get some emotions out. I throw them away after awhile when whatever it was isn't bothering me anymore. Kind of a releasing exercise. I guess it's so personal and I'm a pretty private person so I don't think many have read any of what I've written.

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    3. I totally get that. I've never been good at poetry so I respect the fact that you use it for dealing with things :)

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  11. WOW, Greg, this is WONDERFUL!! It sure sounds like either the start or part of a dystopian novel. I would sure love to see more of this! LOVE your writing -- it's so descriptive and heartfelt. Are you by any chance considering expanding this into a novel or short story? If so, I'd DEFINITELY LOVE to read it!! KUDOS TO YOU!! WOOT, WOOT!! <3 <3 :) :)

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    1. Thank you. I did get a dystopian vibe from this, for sure. I hadn't really thought about expanding it but now I'm wondering. You never know!

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  12. P.S. I just took a look at the picture this flash fiction is based on. I know....I should have done that first, right? Lol. AWESOME picture!! I need to look up more of this artist's work! Anyway, once again, GREAT JOB!! :)

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  13. I just love it when a picture inspires you. Thanks for sharing your writing. Bring on the Dystopian novel????

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  14. Fun take on the pic! I think you definitely did it justice, and I love where your imagination went with it.


    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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  15. And of course, as with the other FF, I want more! I need to know what they are protecting themselves from! Thanks for posting this. I enjoyed it immensely. I think you should post a monthy Flash Fiction feature. :)

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  16. I went back to the photo first to really get a good look at it again and a feel for it. You're right - there's so any different ways to look at this and I'm curious to know if you're going to expand on this? Why are they there? What are they hiding from? Or who? Since they are able to enjoy the outdoors ... Or is that also limited?

    You've definitively made me think and I liked the writing - I thought male actually, but it could be ambiguous and that's also nice. I like the questions and the dismissals and the way the character carries on with life and the routine.

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    1. I wasn't going to expand on it, but since then I've wondered? I initially just anted to explore what that pic might be of. It seemed to me like a place where they hiding from a dystopian future, in spite of the fact that it looks idyllic. And I wanted to explore the idea of them being able to leave... albeit not going very far- since that would create ambiguity as to what the threat is? In my mind it's kind of a take the risk of you dare kinda thing, and NO ONE does it at night. :)

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