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Last Fragrance Day

19 Nov

This challenge more and more shakes up my notion of what makes a story. I love this but just like all good educational experiences, the more I learn the more I discover my own cluelessness. Today’s shorty took hold once I settled on a playful conversation between a woman and her father, sitting at a dining table, waiting for dessert. And I found I wanted to stay firmly in that conversation—the story begins with the mother walking away from the dining table and ends when she returns. There is nothing approaching a traditional beginning, middle, and end, and there’s no story arc to speak of. I tried to develop an unspoken conversation beneath the surface of the exchanges, but I don’t know that I was terribly successful. And is this a story? It is a fiction and I was very conscious of my own decision about how to begin it and how to end it. But does that make it a story? All I know is that for the purposes of my Daily Shorty challenge, it is. And the photo today is pulling double-duty. The dessert our protagonists await is an apple pie. Let’s enjoy this gorgeous pie, too, as a celebration for completing Week 29. Yahoo!

Working Title: Apple Pie
1st Sentence: “I wish I could live in an apple pie,” my father said, as we stared at the two-crust wonder my mother had placed in the center of the table before leaving to fetch the pie server.
Favorite Sentence: “If a person has to ask herself—is this a pie, or is this my father—then you have a profound pie-definition problem.”
Word Length: 839

Photo by Dan Parsons 11/2004.

Fragrance Day 6

18 Nov

This morning’s fragrance was… Worcestershire sauce. Nothing smells quite like it, yes? A big whiff of it made me think of my mother preparing the kind of food you take to a party—dips, sauces. Which in turn made me think of deviled eggs. Which in turn made me think of family reunions.

Working Title: Family Reunion
1st Sentence: When Aunt Edna got to be too tired to bully us, we stopped having family reunions.
Favorite Sentence: Jittery cousin Maura, eyeing her pony-tailed husband, wondering, like the rest of us, if the rumors were true.
Word Length: 500

Photo by Qurren 11/2011.

Fragrance Day 5

17 Nov

Oy, another tough one. The husband had trouble coming up with a scent for the day so when we went out this morning he drove to the gas station to fill up and I rolled down the window to get a whiff. Doesn’t show itself much in the shorty but the smell of gasoline was indeed its inspiration.

Working Title: Word Game
1st Sentence: The doctor pushed his glasses up his nose and shifted from one hip to the other, his pants straining from an obviously recent weight gain.
Favorite Sentence: I like that, when I soften my effect on the world.
Word Length: 635

Photo by Derek Jensen (Tysto), 9/2005.

Fragrance Day 4

16 Nov

Having a really tough week because I’ve got other commitments that are taking a lot of time. I pulled this one out, inspired by the fragrance of a burning match, but only just. I think I’ve got something that could come good in revision, so okay. Onward!

Working Title: Burning Dreams
1st Sentence: A fire.
Favorite Sentence: First a parakeet, then a hooting owl—ooh, a sage with its warning call—and then a raven, surely Poe’s raven, quoth the raggedy, blue-black pest, and never say never, mom will you shut up.
Word Length: 435

Photo by Fir0002.

Fragrance Day 3

15 Nov

My husband enjoys few things more than a huge bowl of Cheerios. Whenever he eats Cheerios, which is almost every day and often twice a day, I am struck by the very specific scent of that cereal and I have commented on it. So no surprise when I woke up to discover a giant box of Cheerios as the fragrance prompt the husband chose for my day. I opened the box and sniffed the cereal multiple times but in the end I couldn’t come up with a story until he came home and fixed a bowl for himself. And there it was, the smell I know so well. Maybe there’s something about his eating pleasure that adds to the scent.

Working Title: Today’s Menu
1st Sentence: For breakfast, you will feast on a generous bowl of Cheerios, served in a sturdy, delightfully lopsided old margarine tub, with skim milk, and, BONUS, the fresh, local blueberries your neighbor brought over yesterday!
Favorite Sentence: Whatever your choice, enjoy as you return from the snack room a cool slice of fuck-you, flung as you pass her cubicle by Jenny, who is still totally pissed off that you got the Hennicker account.
Word Length: 679

Photo by Conrad Irwin 2008.

Fragrance Day 2

14 Nov

Today’s fragrance was a “Christmas Cookie” scented candle from Yankee Candle that was hanging around our apartment somewhere. The husband left it at my bedside this morning. I smelled it. I smelled it again. And I was stumped. I smelled it once more. Still stumped. So I filled my day with other things and then very, very late, thoughts about baking cookies led to thoughts about candy led to a childhood memory led to a complete story. Ergh. Next.

Working Title: Candy Man
1st Sentence: Supposedly his only child, a daughter, had died as a teenager—a car accident, said some, no, no, it was tuberculosis, said others—and then his wife died of cancer (or possibly heartbreak over the girl) not long after.
Favorite Sentence: “I don’t know what’s going to happen to these kids,” he said to my mother as he left, and he sounded so anguished that I stopped making wolf-eyes at the candy boxes and focused on their talk.
Word Length: 677

Photo by Adam Zivner 4/2008.


13 Nov

Today marks the start of a week of shorties inspired by fragrance. This morning’s fragrance: freshly sliced orange. I also wave goodbye to Week 28, so I need to post a virtual treat. This lovely orange cake will do very well, yes?

Working Title: Sitting Tangerine
1st Sentence: She held the tangerine in her right palm and looked at it, turning her hand this way and that, so as to see it from all angles.
Favorite Sentence: Each tiny segment was a clean, unmarked slice of tangerine, birthed and scrubbed and whole and perfect.
Word Length: 794

Photo by LG1991 3/2998.