• “And what did you do after you saw the text on Michael’s phone?” the lawyer asked me. Her face was  without emotion – she was just gathering facts. 
    I shrugged. “I had just been coming to terms with what Emma-Leig […]

    • What a great scene. Alma, so cool, in the face of Michael’s denials. Micheal on the back foot. Peony looking like she’s going to be uncontrollable and E-L an HSP. You used the setting well. Public space keeping everyone under control but not enough to avoid having some kind of conversation. Distress and denial amplified by a busy, distracting space. Then focusing in on small details, the phone buzzing distracting Michael. Alma controlling her face, tiny micro movements only someone very familiar with her might notice bringing back into the readers’ minds that Michael and Alma both know each very intimately and yet hardly at all. Cliffhanger ending. Big thumbs up!

    • SM replied 4 days ago

      HI Hanri,
      I remembered that Alma had gone to see a divorce lawyer but that was a few scenes ago (I think) so maybe an italicized reminder at the top would help. In the novel, when you have your sequence down, it probably will not be necessary.
      I really enjoyed the cat/mouse nature of the conversation with Michael, especially as he makes deals with himself about what Alma may or may not know. And the public setting of it all, forces them to be restrained when she would much rather not be. Great tension–I liked it.

    • Hi Hanri,

      Ooooh, that line – don’t stop the call on my account – it says everything, we’re finally catching a glimpse of Alma unchained. I doubt she will be able to control the enormity of the emotional tsunami that is going to hit her, but she’ll be able to defer it’s impact e.g. right now, this is going to push her into a sort of survival mode where she’ll be thinking clearly but be dissassociated from the situation, and when it’s done and wrapped up, the fallout will hit her and she’ll have to deal with that. I love the complexity of your characters and the many facets you show us of them.

      What I really liked about this scene was the fast forward to the divorce laywer to explain her action and then the return to the scene. Fastastic scene with lots of tension, I’m looking forward to the next instalment!

  • 38_
    After the lesson, Lilli sank into in deep thought for the remainder of the day. During her lunch break in school, she barely managed the barest of conversations with her colleagues. After her last lesson, […]

    • Hi Susanne,
      John knows as well, doesn’t he, that she Lilli is pregnant? When Lilli went into the pantry, I feared for a moment that everything would come crashing down again. Bit that is were all the important things are. Her mother’s dress. I remember this is not the first letter she finds in there.
      Everything is coming together nicely. Well done.

      I wonder, when you are talking about the mid eighteenth century photos, maybe you mean mid-nineteenth century photos, as in 18xx. I don’t think there were photos in the 17xx’s.

    • Hi Susanne, Oh my yes, the idea that one can drive for miles and not be conscious of driving…you captured it well! I like the concept of interstellar tumbleweed carried over from last scene. Oh boy, do I want to know what’s in those letters! I feel a big surprise coming. I’m seeing another similarity with our stories (journal = photo album). And, thanks for reminding me that I will get 2 mother’s days now (I suppose that means there are 2 father’s days, too). When I was in London 2 years ago, I happened to be here when it was mother’s day, and for a while I was wondering why they started selling Mother’s Day gifts/items so early. Quick typo fix for you: “albul” should be album.

      • Nope, Becky – Fathers’ Day is the same all over the world! UK celebrates Mothering Sunday in March, Mothers’ Day eslewhere (including in SA) is in May !

    • Hi Susanne, oh my, those kids really rattled Lilli’s thinking (as kids do of course) with their interpretation of family.
      Damn John for coming home on time, we need to know what’s in the letters 😊

    • Hi Susanne – I was also sorry John came home – that time just sitting and going thro old photos and letters is so transporting…I also felt transported whwn Lilli drove home on ‘auto pilot’… how often have we all done that?

  • Three years after Danny created a Facebook profile, I filed for a divorce. We were still living together, but my husband was a married man in the throes of a midlife crisis at the ripe old age of […]

    • Hi NetaQ!
      Your story reminded me of “The Gone Girl” as I was unsure whether your MC was telling the truth. Was Danny a perverse manipulative man? Or was she trying to convince herself of that just to appease her own guilt? I read the story twice I still cannot tell.
      What I can tell is that you depicted very well the pain of your MC. My heart sunk as I read it. My favorite part was the phrase: “Shadows of emotions trickled like a broken faucet, through my veins…”
      As for a minor suggestion, I believe in “I’m hungry,” Aunty, the quotation marks should go after Aunty.
      Great story! Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Neta
      This is so beautifully written. It had me so enthralled, just to read these carefully-chosen words, making this compelling, heart-rending story. I thoroughly enjoyed this read. The only critique I can really give is that the dialogue was a bit confusing. It wasn’t always clear who was saying what. I did have to go back a few times, and I did get the general idea eventually, but it made me stumble on an otherwise brilliant flow. Well done, overall. Really excellent writing. Thank you for sharing.

  • “So, is there anything to inherit here?” my brother asked. He looked around, stepping through the tiny living room of our childhood home before joining my parents at the table. 

    By that time, my father was alre […]

    • Very touching. The structure works perfectly to deliver the message.

    • Hello! I enjoyed reading your memoir of your schooling/studying and your father. I like, in particular, the the description of the smell of the stationery store … (the smell of life’s purpose). I have sharp recollections of that… my gosh, that smell! And the music teachers and those scales… Your writing evokes many memories and its a gem of a piece. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • HI Hanri,
      A beautiful portrait of your father and the “inheritance”. I loved the smell of “life’s purpose” of pens, pencils and paper–I’ve always loved the promise in that smell. Your father sounds like he was a driven man who was determined to succeed and that his children should succeed also. That his children’s success was a big part of his accomplishments. A wonderful memoir about your father and what was passed on to you.

  • „Hear ye, hear ye!“

    Lilli stepped into her classroom as the student heralded her.

    “The Mistress of Revels has arrived!”

    Lilli plopped her bag onto the desk and straightened her velvet cap. Wonder if this st […]

    • Hi Susanne I love these glimpses into Lilli’s school life and how much she loves the kids. There are many teachers can only dream of having learners as imaginative and receptive s these guys! Ffun but making a point about names, which Lilli would do well to take on board!

    • Wow Susanne! I think you have the most fun with these classroom scenes. So so creative, just like Lilli’s students. I like this, “Where you come from is meaningless compared to who you want to be. ” I love the whole concept of “Romiet and Julio”. Just so clever. While I do think Lilli could learn from her students (and the MCs) entirely scrapping tradition and names, a part of me hopes she hangs on to a little family past and tradition, doesn’t have to be with her last name. But don’t listen to me, I’m adverse to conflict! I also wonder what the Matron Saints think about all this (the MCs verses the MSs — haha). Superb scene!

    • Hi Susanne, that was so much fun and so creative! Although I was slightly alarmed by kids bringing nunchakus into school, I hope they’re the harmless rubber kind. I also loved the underlying discussion where Lilli errs on the side of tradition whilst the kids are rewriting the rules and making such a compelling argument to do away with family names. I wonder how Lilli is going to react to that…

    • Hi Susanne,
      This is great. The student should come dressed up like this to her wedding. Such great costumes. Seems like the young are the wise here. But they do have a point. This ties in nicely with Lilli’s dilemma.
      You should write a timetravel mash up as a sideline. Honestly!

  • “One lump or two?” Bertha’s words made her choke as soon as they had come out. “Well, you got both implants out, right? Was there anything else?”

    “Yes, I got them out.” The surgeon smiled. “And no, I didn’t se […]

    • Beautiful work here. Such grace. I took care of my grandfather when he was dying and your story took me back there, the immense gift of being there.

    • This is such a moving story. You really feel the love between Bertha and her daughters. It really feels like you are drawn into their lives. Beautifully written and life like.

    • Becky replied 1 week ago

      Hi Susanne, lovely, moving story. This was a great line, “Yet love works miracles and moves mountains but not cancer cells. ” I wonder how why the daughters had been instructed on dealing with death already, or maybe they’d just talked and prepped alot with Bertha for her own death? I like how you jump right in with dialogue and specific details (the silicone leaking). Well done!

  • Note to readers:  This scene is positioned somewhere between Prompt 7 (PT meeting) and Prompt 24 (Too Sensitive) and definitely on the incline before the event in Prompt 35 (Obsession). While Alma is be […]

    • Hi Hanri,
      I liked how you showed the sense of helplessness that Alma feels when being interrogated by the school therapist. And the “HSP” label and what it entails sounds like a journey that Alma has to take in order to decide whether the school therapist has something important to say. You have a great skill at balancing the spoken dialogue with the internal monologue which was done quite well here. I hope we get to see what Alma decides after she reads the book.
      Good scene.

    • Hi Hanri – this scene is interesting as Alma is almost mirroring Michael in his resistance to professional support for E-L. That being different is somehow wrong. What I am curious about is the moment where Alma feels or believes she is being criticised for not accepting her daughter for who she is. In panic she flies off the handle. For Alma why is that such a great sin? Is accepting people for who they are (no matter what their behaviour (Michael) or struggles (E-L) a way Alma doesn’t have to notice her own prejudices or a reflection of how she has tidied up her own personality; not accepting herself? Or has she flown off the handle because Iris might have more expertise than her and Alma likes to think she knows what is going on and is across it? Just so interesting how Alma made this all about her rather than about her daughter (just like Michael makes everything about him).
      And while Alma, unlike Michael, can reflect on her own behaviours, she has blind spots. And this is where it gets interesting. Is E-L falling into the gap between her parents’ blind spots about themselves?

    • Jan replied 1 week ago

      Hi Hanri,

      Very interesting and lovely dynamic between the two. I enjoyed the opening as you set the scene – Iris’ green walls and her green eyes (and Iris is both a flower and part of the eye, green takes us back to nature, to our mother, to our “roots”) – and so she “sees” and has good intentions, and speaks to the mother about the early beginnings.

      The energy between the two is also interesting, we are staring to realise that Alma’s world is closing in on her and she’s snappy and confontrational like Mike. It’s a reflex from the ego, because – it’s completely understandable – the woman is implying that she’s done something bad or untowards, or failed at her job – but she’s not implying that, it’s Alma’s perception, because inside she has reached a point where she is questioning everything around her, especially herself. So I find that wonderfully rich and authentic for a complex character as our Dr Lindley.

      I’ve heard of hypersensitivity – these are the people that can hear e.g. the electricity in overhead powercables (I think) and I like that we’ve can put a name to what’s ailing Em and how that adds a layer of complexity on the Lindley household – moving from “What”, to “Now What”.

      Beautifully done Hanri! Well done on Nr 36!

  • Lilli took a bottle of water out of her purse and rinsed her mouth. She knew it wasn’t proper to spit the water onto the lawn. She didn’t have a choice.

    Throwing up on a graveyard…don’t think anyone has ever do […]

    • Hi Susanne, I loved how even though Lilli wanted a break from talking about “what’s in a name”, she wondered if the bees knew each other’s names. She just cant escape from what’s on her mind. I felt it was a bit abrupt when she went to the hairdresser–perhaps you want to add a sentence in which she bids goodbye to the spa, or is the hair salon in the spa? You’ve given us a very apparent symbol: when a woman changes her hair, that certainly signifies a change within! Thanks for writing, well done!

    • Hi Susanne – this is the first time I have read your work so I don’t know the backstory. That said, you have written a powerful scene on being alive and filled it will lots of examples of life insisting on continuing in spite of death as well as a trip down memory lane. Your descriptions of the park and architecture along with Lilli’s backstory fill out her character. I agree with Becky, the decision to get her hair done signifies a shift in her attitude and energy. My only recommendation is that you could tighten up the scene – for example – in the graveyard she could take a slug of water and spit it out, then glance around to make sure no-one had seen her. That would show us she knows better rather than telling us she knows better. cheers Leona

    • Hi Susanne I liked the descriptions of the town – made me think of Wiesbaden which I have visted a few times – I think the hairdresser just coincidentally having a cancellation was a bit too handy but at least it perked Lilli up enough to face whatever’s next!

    • Hi Susanne, It’s amazing what a wander around in the sunshine in beautiful nature can make to one’s spirit, mind and well-being. I read your scene and spent a happy hour searching for things on Google, like the Bad Glauburg park (couldn’t find it. Google thinks NY Central Park is the only one in the world), the Art Nouveau bath houses – did find those, and Mary Janes. I didn’t know shoes like that had an actual name. I’m not really a shoe fanatic. I know, as a woman that’s really bizarre, but there you go. Although now I am a lover of Mary Janes! Thanks for a very beautiful visual scene. I’d love to see it in real life.

    • Hi Susanne,
      Thanks for putting the image of a yodelling Johnny Weismueller in my head. I hadn’t seen that film in ages. The outward change of hair (Rapunzel effect?) brings life to her determination to make changes. Like Becky, I do think Lilli is pregnant.

  • Note to readers: positioned around the midpoint 


    Yet another call from Pete came through on the SUV’s speaker system. Michael gave the display a weary glance before killing the call.

    “It’s been the third on […]

    • I have been waiting for this to happen. And clever of you how Michael go so overwhelmed by the offer to judgeship and Emma-Leigh fainting, that he lost his cool, calculated cover-up. It was good to see Michael’s POV–he is not very likeable, but I felt that I could understand his motivations throughout this scene.
      I am eagerly awaiting how Alma will handle this terrible truth–it is quite shocking for her, I’m sure.
      Also, I hope that we get to see the incriminating message.
      Great scene Hanri with very good buildup. I liked the “judge’s voice rummaging through the silence…”

    • Another fast scene.

      At first I was confused by Michael’s reaction to the news. I thought he’d be excited? Or was he just shocked?

      I don’t remember if Em has been so “sensitive” to other people’s feelings? If she’d been mad at her dad, would she still be so in tune with his feelings?

      Well done – this is a key scene!

    • Oh my – Michael is in trouble now! But will Alma face reality or let it slip past her to keep the family intact. I don’t know if I missed it somewhere earlier in the story, and if so this next part is redundant, but I felt lost, as a reader, why Michael had such a powerful reaction. And given it was strong enough to make Em faint then perhaps add a little more visceral, body description in there – what was interesting was his natural suspicions as to the reasons he was being appointed. So that makes for a juicy internal dilemma and shows us he cannot trust because he is untrustworthy. Very cool. Another thing, if its ok, is that I wondered about Em getting woozy rather than fainting and refusing her father’s arm or hand, letting us know she is harbouring anger or suspicions about him. That’d tie in nicely with Alma reading the message on his phone.
      well done Hanri. this story is getting more and more interesting and I’m invested in the characters.

    • Jan replied 1 week ago

      Hi Hanri,

      Apologies I am very late this week and catching up –

      That was an intense rollercoaster of emotions and events, well done! Like Sudha says, this was going to happen at some point, and we were waiting for it. What is appreciable about this scene is the hope that you give us from Mike’s side – he’s getting over Peony, she’s annoying him, he wants to get to his family, the flash of appreciation from his wife warms his heart, his daugher is going better, and then, to sweeten the deal, he gets that one chance to repair his broken dream, a chance he never thought he could get, and then… he gets busted.

      The constuction and buildup of these events are beautifully executed, with the wicked surprise at the end. So now I can only imagine – Alma has (we know this) suspected that something is us, and now she knows, she has that irrefutable evidence in her hands. (We think, because we don’t know what the message is – it could be code talk “making photocopies” which may refer to things happening on the photocopier… And Alma may be none the wiser…) All this time she has held herself in check, brought herself down, and now finally you’ve got her backed up against the wall, and you are going to force her hand to act. I think, I suspect, it will be impressive!

      So I am off to read the next one – well done on Nr 35!

  • Today would be a good day to die. Gabby looked up into the sky and enjoyed the cornflower blue color, bright, yet calm. The few clouds up there were like candy cotton, soft and fluffy. Gabby sighed and continued […]

    • That’s lovely, the perfectly clear and sunny love between mother and child, between child and mother. I wonder if you might somehow include a line or two from the hymn?

    • This is beautifully written. If only it could always be so peaceful.

  • “Emma-Leigh has always been a bit reserved. As her mother you know that better than any of us, I’m sure,” Sten Albers said.  He pulled vigorously at a bush with an extended root system, tenaciously clinging to the […]

    • Hi Hanri,
      I really liked this slow, POV. We the reader will hopefully know more than Alma whenever this scene appears in your final draft. It reads very well that way–we are looking for Alma to gather some of the clues that are apparent in this scene–the change in EL’s behavior, the timing, the migraine, her body language around her father. Since this is scene from Alma’s pov, we know that she’s seen these things but hasn’t strung them together. Yet. I liked the inner dialogue that contrasted with her conversation with Mr. Albers. We get to see how she modulates what she says and at the end, her need to defend Michael–something she doesn’t understand–perhaps she’s questioning her his role as a father?
      Really well done–loved the aerial view that Alma and Sten were taking–literally and figuratively–that was a clever idea.

    • Hi Hanri,

      As Sudha says, the slow POV worked very well here – it’s that beautiful languidness from where they’re perched, looking down on the subjects they are concered about, weeding, concentrated on their work, two people interested in a solution, friendship, willingness to seek a solution, mulling over possibilities, removing the ‘alien’ plants to get to the ‘root’ of the problem. Beautifully done. The outside world you describe here is a very elegant mirroring of her inside feelings – feeling disconnected, looking, noticing things, trying to make connections but too far removed for now to really be sure (1) or to take action (2) but knowing deep down that at some point, she’ll have to come down into the thick of it, and get her hands dirty.
      The risk also that their situation is precarious despite their vantage point – they can roll down from there like the wattle they uprooted, things can come crashing down.
      (sorry I got a little carried away!)

      What I also like it the gestures of kindness from the teacher towards her – if I’m not mistaken we’ve not had this with her before and it was very reassuring.

      Well done on Nr 34 and on this beautiful scene!

    • Hi Hanri – I agree with the comments by Sudha and Jan. This scene is replete with metaphors and the all-too-human experience of joining the dots when you are doing something else. It may be my imagination but it seems as though Alma might be comparing Sten to Michael and harbouring a secret wish for a partner who can meet her at an emotional level but hasn’t yet admitted it to herself. And then there is E-L and her mood swings and so on. Well, that’s par for the course for being a teen but it where she directs her anxiety and angst that is interesting. Cold shoulder to father. Anger to mother. Is she taking the rage she feels towards her dad and handing it to Alma? What will Alma do now she sees the cold shoulder from the ‘on the hill’. It seems like something that can’t be unseen. Will she turn away from seeing her husband as he is (narcissistic) and recognise the impact on her and E-L. Will she trawl through her diary and look at what was going on in august/sept? Alma is highly intelligent but you’ve cleverly given her this quality of letting the obvious slip right past her on the home front. Nicely done.

    • You used the setting well to convey the goal of the scene. Others said it better than I could.

      My only thought is, would Alma had brushed off Em’s behavior as just typical teeage mood swing?

  • 35_
    Lilli stared at the bleakness of the gravestone for what seemed to be an eternity.

    It’s bleak, black, like a black hole, it sucks in life and it doesn’t even say whose corpse it has. This is the blackest hol […]

    • Poor Lilli! I admit I was anticipating that ending the whole time–since you revealed it on the zoom session. I love that Lilli was drawn back to her mom’s grave, subconsciously. I also love this line, “Trudi did not answer. ” And, I love that her husband was the voice of reason, and so she needed to instead call her sister who would share in the emotion. I understand this 100%. Although, Anne did provide some reason for her, after all, more to consider in her decision. She’s not pregnant, is she? (how can a reader not consider that possibility when a woman throws up?) One suggestion, maybe don’t use the expression, “asked him straight to his face” — unless it was a video call with Godfrey (which I don’t think it was). Even though that phrase it doesn’t need to be taken literally, it made me verify it was just a phone call. Well done on this scene, I’m impressed that you were able to keep the setting in the graveyard for another one!

    • Hi Susanne – Lilli’s sense of family is so very strong, it overrides all her other emotions . She needs to decide how she feels about the Tinners and embrace them or let them go.

    • Hi Susanne

      This was a deeply compelling read, not just because I haven’t been following the story in detail. I love the way you make a whole scene debating wills and graves though! The characters are complex and I get a feel for them right here too. Fascinating to see how you pulled this together.


  •              halls
    visiting many halls
    hours later
    I couldn’t think of anything else
    but those halls around me
    oblivious to everything
    but my own feet
    having walked down the gardens
    of king’s college chapel
    rig […]

    • Hi Charles
      If I interpreted this poem right, it is either about somebody dying or somebody leaving. Either way, the emotions comes through effectively and clearly – “tears on the screen” and “sore eyes” work really well to convey the mood.
      I do like the contrasts you’ve used in the moods created, such as “peace of the choir” followed by “impending foreboding.”
      Some of your imagery is really beautiful; I love the words “flakes of an echo.”
      I wasn’t completely sure if you wrote this about a specific artwork or just the concept of being moved by art in Cambridge; but I liked how you seemed to compare the present reality with the past portrayed in art.
      You have managed to create a lovely atmosphere with your words!

    • Part of me craves punctuation in this poem, but part of me sees the lack thereof as reminiscent of the endless halls you reference. It gives the poem a rambling feel and one can get lost in it.

      I’m not sure if a work of art is references here, unless you’re using the buildings on campus as a work of art, and that arguably works.

      I noticed the added spacing in some lines and am curious how the poem was spaced on the original page. I know this site sometimes tweaks format.

      In all, lovely read. I second Riana’s comment about “flakes of an echo.” I love that.

      Thank you for sharing.

    • Hi Charles, I enjoyed your poem. All of your poems are very deep. This one pulls at my heart, I can really empathise with it at the moment, and it really hits home. Well done.

  • Minato was nervous. He had just passed his final Ninja exam. He ruffled his blonde hair and zipped his orange jacket open and shut again. He started to chew on his fingernails. He was only 21 years old, he had no […]

    • Aw, your teen son helped! this was really good. I wanted to know how he’d solve the puzzle and pass his final test. And I liked that you did a lot of it with dialogue. Well done.

    • How great you wrote this with your son. Great project, wonderful story, powerful message. 👍🏽👍🏽

    • Excellent fable. I liked the storybook quality, I can see illustrations going along with it. Great that you used dialogue so effectively. How great that you got to write this with your son.

  • “Mmmmh.” Kimberly breathed in the scent of freshly brewed coffee in her favorite mug. It said “Mommy” on it. She loved this time just before the house woke up, everybody stirred into action. She would have to hurr […]

    • I love that time in early morning when I have the sense of the world to myself. Before my world wakes up. You piqued my interest with the missing picture on the wall. I love how you used a memory wafting from the scent of strawberries to conjure the missing sister. Well constructed tale.

    • Interesting connection to be made with the family and the child’s wanting a different kind of jelly with his PBJ. Went full circle in a way I didn’t expect. Nice work.

  • „Where does this boat go?” Ramona jumped onboard the only boat where the captain was revving up the engine. The ropes had already been thrown on deck.

    “Dragonera,” said a dark-skinned young man with a full be […]

    • Joyce replied 1 month ago

      I loved the story and it held my interest and I want more what about the rocks I gther they were diamonds which are a girl’s best friend. in her pocket and where is she going to swim to, the three guys will wait for he on shore. I am curious and want more. You kept me thinking… cheers Joyce

  • An open field buffet,
    To pillage and conquer
    Dipping and soaring
    Our wings blanketed
    Days into nights.

    We laughed and cry,
    Scraven for the succulent
    beholden to the charity of the
    Walking ones, who scurried
    To […]

    • I really enjoyed reading this – you captured the sense of the painting so well.

      It feels a bit like poems within a poem to me. You could almost take any three lines throughout your piece and they would stand alone as another poem. That gave the poem a sense of a mirror or maybe even a fractal. I can look into it and see deeper fragments and deeper levels and deeper meanings.

      I don’t know if the above makes any sense at all. It’s just the feeling your poem gave me. It swirls and dances like crows above a wheat field.

      • Thank you for reading and commenting! I love your insight and your awareness of the instinctual sense of lifting and soaring and belonging.

    • So many things to love about your poem. The perspective of the crow is perfect. I love the lines:

      We laughed and cry,
      Scraven for the succulent
      beholden to the charity of the
      Walking ones, who scurried
      To their hollowed out
      Caverns before lights out.

      It’s a wonderful perspective. I also like all the nods to the associations we’ve made with crows and ravens, harbingers of death, scavengers, messengers of the dark. Great work. Really enjoyed it.

      • Hi Christy,

        Thank you so much for reading and commenting! This piece was a revelation and I felt almost transported when envisioning from the crows’ perspective.

    • Hello Neta,
      I like the way you have written from a crow’s point of view. Your poem captures the carefree nature of the birds who swirl above the wheatfield. Thank you for sharing it.

      • Hi Christian,

        Thank you for reading and commenting! I love that you sensed the carefree natures of the crows. I also wanted to portray a conflicted viewpoint of soaring and flying as beautiful and instinctual and a part of them burdened with feeding or looking for food.

    • Sue replied 1 month ago

      Your poem takes the reader/viewer straight there. The inner rhythm of the words captures the flapping of wings and gliding of the crows.

      • Hi Sue,

        Thank you for reading and commenting! I am happy you sensed the overall theme in the rhythm of the words. This painting is so full and vibrant and no one piece/poem can fully capture the subtle nuances of each brush stroke.

  • „Flight LH 356 to Frankfurt, final call for boarding!“

    The loudspeaker in San Joan Airport in Palma de Mallorca was a bit croaky. Jill couldn’t wait to get onboard the plane. When she finally plopped down on he […]

    • Great response to the prompt Susanne! Dialogue was great….I am glad he finally started paying attention! Finca is a new word for me… i love that.

    • Oh I loved the call back to the first part and the domestic happening pre flight. Dialogue flowed well between the two- very believable as a couple where the spark has gone.

    • SM replied 1 month ago

      Hi Susanne,
      Definitely a couple a little out of touch with one another. At first I thought Jill was a whiner but as she explained the things that bothered her, it made sense. Really natural sounding dialogue.

  • Lilli sat there on that bench across from Trudi’s grave, looking at her mother’s gravestone at least for an hour. She lost track of time just looking at the grave she and her sister had chosen for their mot […]

    • Deryn replied 1 month ago

      Hi Susanne I have an endless fascination with graveyards, so I loved the setting of this time for Lilli’s reflection. I think you need to change up grave and graveyard with tomb/tombstone/cemetery and any other words you can find (vault, catafalque…) as there was a lot of repetition. of vocab, otherwise another interesting scene.

    • Becky replied 1 month ago

      Hi Susanne,
      I enjoyed the unique setting of this scene, and that you kept us there the whole time. I wonder if we need more of Lilli’s thoughts at her mother’s grave–an hour is an awfully long time, unless she is also tending the grave during that time? Or mostly daydreaming? I can imagine her zoning out and losing track of time. Does she talk to her mother? Great line here: “his full beard groomed only slightly better than the Tinner grave.” there’s a sentence with the word “also” twice near the beginning, may want to fix that up during your edit phase. I wonder if Lilli is going to take on the responsibility of the Tinner gravesite? When Godfrey asked her about it initially, I thought he was asking if she would want to be buried there when she died (this was in an earlier scene), but now I realize it’s just to take care of it, like she does for her mother’s. If she thinks there could someone else buried there and it is meant for 4 graves, then it’s already full.

    • Hi Susanne, I liked that you brought in the cemetery gardener to have a conversation with Lilli, I think that worked well in breaking up her inner monologue and adding some tension and a timeframe to the story (as the grave needs to be fixed before the inspection).
      I have a little suggestion if you don’t mind. Your mention of the Jewish section in the cemetery was really interesting and I think it would make it even more so for the reader if you maybe described the differences of the Jewish tombstones. I’m no expert but I think they would have the star of David but also, I understand that people do not leave flowers on Jewish graves but that they place little stones instead. It wouldn’t be crucial to the story but as you are exploring the importance of family and honouring and remembering departed loved ones, I think that would work nicely – what do you think? xx

    • Hi Susanne,
      The reader can easily follow Lilly’s walk through the cemetery. You used the differences in the two gravesite to great effect. They perfectly symbolise the difference between Lilly’s and her father’s respective idea of what family is. Well done.

  • At night, when those rows of lavender bloom,The air gets heavy with scent and gloom:As the moon shines bright on a starry night.*The fields of blue scent the Southern air,Mixed with desert winds, hot as a […]

    • I was transported to the brilliant night skies of the Karoo! I’m curious as to why you chose to associate Lavender with gloom – it stands in stark contrast to the uplifting nature of the rest of the piece. I wanted to fly!

    • Jane replied 1 month ago

      Hi Susanne, I really like this painting, and it is very famous indeed. I love your poem, the rhyming structure, and verses, they fit the image beautifully. I personally found the lavender mentioned in the first verse didn’t really mix with the gloom in the next line, I saw them as separate entitities. A lovely poem, thanks for sharing.

      • Hi Jane, thanks for your kind words. Yes, the lavender and the gloom are seperate entities. Glad you liked my poem.

    • Kim replied 1 month ago

      I get the undercurrent of gloom/menace in your poem it speaks to Van Goghs state of mind as he worked on his paintings I assume?

      I like the magical quality your words evoke and feel I can just fly away with your words into the night sky- such a lovely feeling of freedom.

      I thoroughly enjoyed this, thank you!

      • Hi Kim, yes you’ve got it just right. when I looked at the painting I wondered why Van Gogh painted the nighttime sky in these swirls. My interpretation is that this is his unconscious at work. Don’t know if I can explain that very well…I am glad you enjoyed my poem and that it gave you such a pleasurable experience.

    • Deryn replied 1 month ago

      Hi Susanne – a clever rendering of this iconic painting!

    • Hi Karin, I am glad my poem gave you the sensation of flying. I don’t know the Karoo, so I found that very interesting. The painting itself shows the Provence. As to the lavender and the gloom: they are actually separate. The lavender grows in big fields in the South of France and you can see it almost anywhere. In my poem, the smell rises, along with the gloom of our dreams – both get carried away to the stars.

    • Becky replied 1 month ago

      Hi Susanne, I love the words you use to complement the swirls of this popular painting. For example, the dragon and then flare (though not sure if it was your intent, I likened the flow to a flame with these lines), and the imagery of weaving.

    • amazing work reflective and thought provoking

    • Hello Susanne,
      Such a wonderful painting and your poem does justice to Van Gogh. I like your three line stanzas and the rhyming pattern you have chosen. Well done.

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Hardly Haiku

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