Is it real or is it memory ?

From Rosemary Cox, my friend and fellow member of our local writing group … The Parkland Café … I give you another flash fiction prompt:  The life I am living doesn’t come close to the life that swirls around inside my brain.

And as a treat for you and her, the cafe’s second resident poet, I end today with homage to that part of my imagination that has persisted for almost six decades.

sounds of the city


The sounds of the city revolve in my head. The din of rush hour traffic, the roar of the subway trains in the long tunnels, hanging off the bridges, horns honking, children laughing, music and mayhem greeting me each morning, sending me off each night. And the life I am living doesn’t come close to the life that swirls around inside my brain. Reality pales by comparison to the bright lights of imagination.

Frequently faces are called forward by the sound of music playing in the back of a room, the song on the radio on the way to work, or the album covers collecting dust in my closet. Each day as I walk along the streets, the back of a head, the scent of an after shave or perfume, the sound of someone laughing on the other side of a restaurant; each night shadows of images appear in a half dream.

We collect their images in photographs, save tattered cards or letters that remind us of one of them. We touch and stroke an old doll, a battered fire engine or the lovely vase they left behind.

We dare not empty the trunk in the attic, the box wrapped with worn twine in the basement, the bags stuffed in the back of a closet.

I collect the stories in my head, like a child collecting wild flowers in an open field. Soon, the child is joined by another or on the way back home she meets a stranger. Would that be you, rushing, head bent against the changing winds? Rushing to fill the void with family, friend … familiar … they become the palate for your next canvas.



Ode to a harmonica man

 Reaching inside
Knarled dreams
Solid wood
Sliding over

In the dim light
Smoke swirling upwards to
Unknown Gods

Reeling in your mind that
Low down blues man

Gone too soon
The harmonica man
Pushing life through
Tarnished from time

 In the dim light
Smoke swirling upwards to
Unknown Gods

 Reeling in your mind that
Low down blues man

Who fills your head with the images of your imagination?

How have you used that reality to write a story?

fOIS In The City



Filed under Flash Fiction

16 responses to “Is it real or is it memory ?

  1. I have an imminent second novel that manages to be about computers without featuring any science. The images came from childhood books, movies, and just keeping up with the news.


  2. What an evocative picture of that old man (above)! Wow. With that in your mind, one’s imagination could take off and write many things. I can feel myself walking the streets with you, Florence. Loved it.


  3. I was driving to Jazzercise today and the thought passed thru my brain: Am I living the marriage I thought I’d have? And then it occurred: I had no preconceived notion. I thought with Handsome there would be a home, children, pets, and doing stuff. Yep, we’ve done that. Am happy.


  4. christicorbett

    Music helps bring me back in time. I hear a song or a band and the memories start rushing forward, clamoring for attention, reminding me of when I crowd surfed at concerts and did lots of other things I never want my twins to know about 🙂

    Christi Corbett


  5. Perhaps the overflowing trunk in the attic of my mind was the impetus to start me really writing. There was no more room in my head, I had to get the ideas stored on paper.

    Lovely post, as always, Florence.


    • Thanks, Sherry … the trunks we stuff with “stuff” are great fodder for our stories, aren’t they? I love the image of your head also being “stuffed” and I love what you do with it all 🙂


  6. Everyone and everything around me provide images and ideas upon which to build. Today, since I’ll be joining my nieces, nephews and their children along with my sisters for a gathering, I’m wearing my sweatshirt with the caption, “Careful, or you”ll end up in my next novel.” Because my family provides such an abundance of ideas–always.

    Love the poem and your snippet developed from that prompt which I remember from last spring. Good job, Florence. 🙂


  7. Terrific blog, as always, Florence. I have times when I don’t dare open the door of the atic, too much remains jumbled together.


  8. Great post! I had one of those childhoods you don’t want to look back on . . . but I’d do the past 15 yrs all over again in a heartbeat 🙂 Songs and movies tend to take me back!


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