I was really struggling today. I have all my prompts, seeing as I knew the rabbit trail that would ensue if I needed to go searching for one each and every day, but it felt like nothing was speaking to me. But here it is, in all it’s gory detail, yes I know this is not up to my usual standards, but it is done! Warts and all.
Today’s Prompt: “Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.”
My dearest granddaughter,
I write this for you as my time is coming to a close. There are things you need to know about our family. Something that seems to skip a generation and always hit the next and this is why I am passing along the tales to you. We are the tellers of tales. We keep the histories and share the stories of the lands of far off places.
I am ever so sorry that I will not be able to teach you this in person. To watch you grow and learn and see your tales first hand, but my quill grows dry, my eyes tired, and I am weary of all the tales that plague me. It is time for these old bones to rest. But for all of that, this is not a chore, nor a burden. You will see for yourself how glorious a gift this really can be.
Do not fear the bubbling well within you. Instead, let it out. It is a wellspring, overflowing within, and that is why we write my dear one. Always listen to that inner spring, for as long as you write you live. The stories need to come out and they need to be told. Without them we are no more. That is not a bad thing though, as there are always more tales to be told. Follow them, play with them, explore them and share them. They are always meant to be shared. Stories that are not shared are very sad.
So, all of this is to say, follow your heart and trust your dreams. Write, always keep writing the stories welling up inside and know that will always move your life forward, for when you stop writing, it will all end. There will be no more, for the stories you tell are also your stories.
I will live on in you, in your tales, and you can always hear from me by reading my stories and living them through the hand that penned them, for through the pages they will live on forever, they can not die.
Always & Forever,
your grandmother, The Scribe
How about you? Do you sometimes find it hard to write, even when you have tons of ideas and things that interest you? Days where every letter is like pulling out teeth… Well, no matter I will press on, and I hope you will join me on the journey! Share your thoughts on my flash piece, or share your own ideas! I love hearing from you.
2 thoughts on “Flash Fiction a Day: Jan 4”
When my first child was born, I felt like there were stories he needed to know when he got older. Stories about family he may have never met, like my grandmother who died a few years before he was born.
My grandmother who was the only grand-anything I ever knew, the other three having passed away before my own birth. And she had great stories to tell — of the town witch in Rotenturm, where she grew up before coming to America; of Uncle Balz being killed after being struck in the back by an ax. She had the best vegetable garden, made the best garlic bread. I thought these stories were important. That it was important for my son to know a bit about where and who he came from.
I suggested to my family that people should write down the things they could remember — the things that stuck with them — about these other family members and about their own lives so that the next generation would have them.
Nobody really responded to my suggestion. Me included. But a year later, my parents came over to bring something to me. My dad, who is a writer, delivered to me the story of his life. My dad is not much of a talker, having a conversation with him is like pulling rusty nails from an old piece of wood. So, his life story in the written word was the best gift he could have ever given me.
In that piece were the stories of his childhood, his time in the Air Force, his marriage to my mother, and of our lives together as a family. All those stories would have died along the way if he had never put them on paper.
So, now, 28 years after my grandmother died, I have a project in mind. I’ve started it with a few tentative pages. i’ve got some basic information about her life, details my mother has provided, and some of the stories of her life I remember. I think of them as the building blocks for a story — a creative non-fiction piece in which I tell the story of my grandmother.
I hope to finish it while my mother is still alive, still able to appreciate what I come up with — a lot of it will be fictionalized, but I hope it is consistent with how she actually lived her life. I’ll never know for sure because of the stories that have died along the way. I want to write this story to ensure it remains.
But it’s difficult, the challenge to fill in the blanks and tell the story of a young Swiss woman who emigrated to the United States when she was 18 and considered it to be a great adventure, who married the man of her dreams but who then died when she was pregnant with her second child, and who spent the rest of her life caring for her two children, puttering around her vegetable garden, and eventually enjoying her seven grandchildren. It’s in some respects a pretty basic tale, except for a couple of twists along the way.
But, damn, filling in those blanks is a hard thing to do. Wish me luck in keeping this story alive.
So, that’s not flash fiction. It’s flash non-fiction. 😉
I think that is an AMAZING project! I have done something, I gave a book to my family and asked different members to write down a favorite family memory, especially holidays, as it was supposed to be a collection of family holiday recipes along with the memories. You totally can make it something amazing. One idea for you, contact different family and “interview” them. Get more memories from different perspectives. You will find it totally worth it in the end. I LOVE what your dad did, that is really amazing! I could only imagine how amazing of a gift that would be!