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The Lily Pond (1 Viewer)

starsofclay

Senior Member
The Lily Pond

I was half raised by that pond. Well, to be exact, grandma's house was directly in front of it; sitting on thirteen gorgeous acres within view of the Blue Ridges in Georgia. I spent entire summers there, every year, until she passed away very suddenly when I was sixteen.

The house sold too quickly for one last visit, and my parents too wrapped up in their social-elitist lifestyles to care. When grandma passed it took a while to realize how truly alone I was; but when it hit me I dove my head into school and didn't come back up without a master's in architecture. The lily pond weaved into my dreams for years to come, and I made peace with the fact that I'd never see it or my grandmother again.

My parents always wished I'd end up rich--probably because as the years counted down, so had their income and savings. (I don't know, I didn't stick around to ask.) Not long after my thirty-second birthday, grandma's house was listed for sale. I paid well over the asking price and twenty eight days later here I am, standing at the same pond which taught me patience, reverence and admiration.

Grandma's house is in shambles and I'll probably have to rebuild it from scratch. But that's ok, it was never about the house. We spent more time out here and in her garden. I remember her reading fairy tales, sitting on the stone bench under a latticed arch of white jasmine now lost to time; and me half-listening while catching elusive butterflies and picking wildflowers for the dinner table. At night we chased golden fireflies by the pond's shore, filling a large glass jar with our own little version of the twinkling stars above. When we released them, grandma always said she could make out fanciful constellations as they fluttered away, but I never saw it.

It's all just weeds and reeds where the roses once were; but sometimes in the corner of my eye, I can almost see grandma bent over, snipping thorns on large crimson spotted bushes, or sitting peacefully by the bank holding a makeshift fishing pole. Tomorrow I'll clear it all out the best I can.

For now I'll just sit by the Lily pond, making up dramatic stories about the times and troubles of the resident frogs, like we used to. It's nearly dusk and they are getting loud and lively; and even though grandma isn't here to speak for the wise old hoppers, I'm finding that I come up with things quite similar to what she would say.

************
Art used by special permission from artist Patrick J McCollum, for MindVenture Club on Facebook.
 

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yft

Senior Member
I like the little details that say a lot: her becoming an architect and returning to a dilapidated house, the "weaving" pond drew up the image of vines and weeds, the slow decline of her parents' wealth. It reads well too.

Apart from minor spelling issues, my main issue is that we don't really see a lot in terms of her actual relationship with her grandmother. We do see her conflict with her parents, but that only gave a very faint hint that she turned to her grandmother for the love she couldn't find at home. Yes, she was supposed to be close to her, but I'd like you to show it. How did they spend time in that garden? This is also an opportunity to describe the pond itself more than just a "lily pond". Maybe she spent evenings sitting on the grass listening to her grandmother explain the different frogs and snails in the water.

That said, it's still a nice story. Short and sweet. Well paced, well ended.
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
Another beautiful piece, Stars. If it was fiction, it sounds personal. It certainly invoked my memory of my maternal grandparents, particularly "Mama", which we called my grandmother. I spent a lot of time being raised by them while my parents both worked, and both traveled. When I was eleven, a drunk driver stole them from us. My younger brother and sister never embraced the responsibility or values my grandmother engendered in me, and they suffered for that. I never think about her without remembering certain events and scenes which influence me still, and for the better. Oddly, she did a much better job raising me than she did my mother, who had a very loving facade over an utterly selfish and manipulative inner soul. I'm thankful every day for my grandparent's influence on my life.
 

starsofclay

Senior Member
Another beautiful piece, Stars. If it was fiction, it sounds personal. It certainly invoked my memory of my maternal grandparents, particularly "Mama", which we called my grandmother. I spent a lot of time being raised by them while my parents both worked, and both traveled. When I was eleven, a drunk driver stole them from us. My younger brother and sister never embraced the responsibility or values my grandmother engendered in me, and they suffered for that. I never think about her without remembering certain events and scenes which influence me still, and for the better. Oddly, she did a much better job raising me than she did my mother, who had a very loving facade over an utterly selfish and manipulative inner soul. I'm thankful every day for my grandparent's influence on my life.
Thanks! Yes it's fiction, my parents were very loving to me. Though I did grow up adjacent to my Grandparents house, and there was a cattle pond in between. It had a tiny island in it which was very inspiring.
 

starsofclay

Senior Member
  • masters -> master's
  • payed -> paid
I have been thinking about the advice you gave, and how I could implement more info like that. I really did like your advice. But since I've posted it, I've had four people open up to me about their own grandmothers. So I feel like leaving it on the vague side allowed for readers to fill in those blanks for themselves, and have an emotional experience. Plus, I wrote it from the perspective of a man, but never told anyone. Looks like it worked! 😊
 

Llyralen

Senior Member
It’s so relatable that it doesn’t feel like fiction and that is an art too… because I really care about this character now.

By the way… I feel like I’ve learned a lot from the trees and Mountain View’s at my parent’s home. I do feel like they taught me things like peace and patience. The apple tree I climbed pretty much daily is here I read books and reflected on the happenings of my life, so I also feel it helped create me, but I did wonder in this piece about what she said she learned and if there were stories behind how she learned from the lily pond, and that was the part I was looking forward to hearing more about but also the idea of going forward. It would be nice if there was a book in this, and it reminded me that just making something personal (fictional or not) can make something very interesting.
 

starsofclay

Senior Member
It’s so relatable that it doesn’t feel like fiction and that is an art too… because I really care about this character now.

By the way… I feel like I’ve learned a lot from the trees and Mountain View’s at my parent’s home. I do feel like they taught me things like peace and patience. The apple tree I climbed pretty much daily is here I read books and reflected on the happenings of my life, so I also feel it helped create me, but I did wonder in this piece about what she said she learned and if there were stories behind how she learned from the lily pond, and that was the part I was looking forward to hearing more about but also the idea of going forward. It would be nice if there was a book in this, and it reminded me that just making something personal (fictional or not) can make something very interesting.
Accidental double post
 

starsofclay

Senior Member
It’s so relatable that it doesn’t feel like fiction and that is an art too… because I really care about this character now.

By the way… I feel like I’ve learned a lot from the trees and Mountain View’s at my parent’s home. I do feel like they taught me things like peace and patience. The apple tree I climbed pretty much daily is here I read books and reflected on the happenings of my life, so I also feel it helped create me, but I did wonder in this piece about what she said she learned and if there were stories behind how she learned from the lily pond, and that was the part I was looking forward to hearing more about but also the idea of going forward. It would be nice if there was a book in this, and it reminded me that just making something personal (fictional or not) can make something very interesting.
Thank you, great suggestions! I have updated the story, please let me know how you think about it now. Thanks for all the kind words too.

I should mention I want to keep my flash fiction minimalistic, because in my creative arts club we also make music and YouTube videos displaying the story and art, so short and to the point always works best for this.
 

Matchu

Senior Member
I'm so glad it is fiction. Phew. In that case why not twist up those 'unreliable narrator' elements and turn your MC into a total & complete egomaniacal bore? That would elevate your piece, just more dabs, those faint indications of the 'me, me, me & me...' - more of the 'I loved grandma' but say nothing at all about grandma. More of the 'me & my bootstraps.' Maybe 'accountancy'? Maybe 'when Pop returned from the war he just sat in his rocking chair like a slug...' and so forth-forth :)
 

starsofclay

Senior Member
Another beautiful piece, Stars. If it was fiction, it sounds personal. It certainly invoked my memory of my maternal grandparents, particularly "Mama", which we called my grandmother. I spent a lot of time being raised by them while my parents both worked, and both traveled. When I was eleven, a drunk driver stole them from us. My younger brother and sister never embraced the responsibility or values my grandmother engendered in me, and they suffered for that. I never think about her without remembering certain events and scenes which influence me still, and for the better. Oddly, she did a much better job raising me than she did my mother, who had a very loving facade over an utterly selfish and manipulative inner soul. I'm thankful every day for my grandparent's influence on my life.
Thank you for telling your story, I have enhanced my story if you'd like to take another look.
 

starsofclay

Senior Member
I'm so glad it is fiction. Phew. In that case why not twist up those 'unreliable narrator' elements and turn your MC into a total & complete egomaniacal bore? That would elevate your piece, just more dabs, those faint indications of the 'me, me, me & me...' - more of the 'I loved grandma' but say nothing at all about grandma. More of the 'me & my bootstraps.' Maybe 'accountancy'? Maybe 'when Pop returned from the war he just sat in his rocking chair like a slug...' and so forth-forth :)
Haha... Thank you? I have to admit I'm pretty confused... But thank you. 😅😊
 

Matchu

Senior Member
It's just a 'way to go.'

It's a very nice piece. Some of the reaction was projection - with no offence to those people "projecting" - the write is deserving of a golden glow type of response. But it does have potential to be read on two levels.
 

Llyralen

Senior Member
Thank you, great suggestions! I have updated the story, please let me know how you think about it now. Thanks for all the kind words too.

I should mention I want to keep my flash fiction minimalistic, because in my creative arts club we also make music and YouTube videos displaying the story and art, so short and to the point always works best for this.
I thought about what you wrote all yesterday as one of the best things I’ve read for months. I thought a lot about the art of making things personal and how relatable and therefore interesting it is for most of us. I really learned a lot from that. Please do expand your writing! I would love to hear more and please let me know when you do. Oh, and I should now re-read. :)
 

starsofclay

Senior Member
It's just a 'way to go.'

It's a very nice piece. Some of the reaction was projection - with no offence to those people "projecting" - the write is deserving of a golden glow type of response. But it does have potential to be read on two levels.
Ah I see! Good, I like that it's open ended enough to inspire multiple interpretations! And allows one to project into it 😁
 

starsofclay

Senior Member
It's just a 'way to go.'

It's a very nice piece. Some of the reaction was projection - with no offence to those people "projecting" - the write is deserving of a golden glow type of response. But it does have potential to be read on two levels.
Ah, wait... Are you saying you preferred the minimalistic quality of it? I have expanded it a bit due to the suggestions, do you think it's lost anything?
 
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