FFfAW — Eye of the Beholder

The two friends were heading toward Columbus Circle. As they walked by one of the buildings along the busy boulevard, Susan suddenly stopped short. “Oh my god!” she exclaimed. “What the hell is that?”

Craig followed her gaze to see what it was that she was looking at. He stared at the sculpture for a few minutes before declaring, “It’s a work of art.”

“It’s monstrous,” Susan said in disgust. “How can you call that thing ‘art’? It makes me feel sick to my stomach.”

“The purpose of art is to communicate ideas and to generate strong emotions. It’s intended to elicit a response, which is exactly what it did with you.”

“It’s totally gross,” Susan said.

“You don’t have to like the artist’s work to appreciate the art.”

“Isn’t there enough violence without creating ‘art’ to celebrate it? I’m going home.” Susan turned around and started walking away.

Craig called out, “It generated strong emotions. That makes it art!”

(160 words)

Written for this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers prompt from Priceless Joy. Photo credit: Jade M. Wong

You Are What You Eat


“Why do I always seem to get involved with the wrong types of guys?” Lizzie asked, bending over slightly, her head resting on her palms, her eyes moist with tears.

“The Law of Magnetic Attraction,” Dr. Singer responded, “states that we are like magnets. We attract into our lives everything that corresponds with our dominant thoughts and emotions.”

Lizzie looked up at her therapist. “So you’re saying it’s my fault that every man I fall for turns out to be a piece of shit?”

“I’m not assigning blame, Lizzie. I’m just pointing out, to put it more colloquially, you are what you eat.”

“Right. And I eat shit, huh?”

Dr. Singer took off her glasses and leaned in toward Lizzie. “What we think about most of the time, how we think about things, and the emotions we experience determine the people that we tend to attract into our lives.”

“Oh jeez,” exclaimed Lizzie. “What are you going to tell me next? That I think, therefore I am?”

“No,” Dr. Singer said. “I’m going to remind you that the people in our lives are reflections of your attitude and emotions. They are mirrors of your inner world and of your psychological posture. Look in the mirror, Lizzie. Reflect on who you are. If you’re unhappy with the kinds of people you attract, you need to change how you think, feel, and act so that you can attract different kinds of people.”

“And how, exactly, am I supposed to do that?” Lizzie asked.

Dr. Singer stood up. “Our hour is over, Lizzie. I’ll see you again next week.”

Written for today’s one-word prompt, “magnetic.”

The Pretender


This quote by author Kurt Vonnegut resonated with me. Don’t we all, at times, pretend to be someone we aren’t but perhaps would rather be?

The quote struck a chord not so much with respect to my real life, but when it comes to my blog.

In real life I am who I am, for better or worse. And I’m at the age where, with more than six decades behind me, I’m not likely to be changing who I am. I guess you might say that I’m set in my ways.

But on my blog I am not limited by the physical properties of the real world. I’m not just some random senior citizen, an old fogie with internet access who has time on his hands and who rants and raves to anyone and to no one.

On my blog I can be whoever I want to be — or at least I can pretend to be whoever I want to be. 

When I write my posts, whether they are political and societal rants, casual observations, or short works of fiction, my words transcend physical and environmental characteristics. My age, gender, background, where I live, what I do, and my life situation are not important. It’s what I write that defines who I am to those who take the time to read my posts.

That doesn’t mean I’m living a lie or that it’s all just an act. I may be making up stories out of my imagination when I write my flash fiction pieces, but the opinions I express in my non-fiction posts are my own. And they are deeply held and voiced with conviction.

Yet I’m not sure I would share them the same way or to the same extent in the real world as I do here on my blog. Because, in the real world, people see me for what I am — or for what, to them, I appear to be.

Thus, their perceptions of what I have to say are colored. They may dismiss my rantings and the expression of my opinions and perspectives as those of some old coot who doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

And so, in the real world, I tend to keep my mouth shut.

But here on my blog I can be a writer of short stories. I can be a pundit, a pedant, a journalist, an editor. I can act as if I know what I’m talking about. I can pretend to be witty and engaging. I can pretend that others are interested in what I have to say about whatever is going on in the world around us; that my opinions matter to anyone other than to me and that they are worth sharing.

Most important, I can pretend to be the person I’ve always wanted to be.

And if, as Vonnegut says, we are what we pretend to be, that works for me.