Flash fiction - a personal ramble that even gets to music

It is suggested that Ernest Hemingway, a writer of some repute, won a bet by writing a tragedy in only six words. Now there is considerable solid evidence that suggests that in fact the story had been around since before EH was born, and a version, less succinct, was published when EH was merely 10 years old.

Nevertheless, the story, in its entirety was as follows:

For Sale: Baby shoes. Never used.

... ... ...

Now this sort of simple and yet powerful writing I confess I find daunting, for I am sure I could never manage to access such sublime skills. I sometimes feel I overdo the 'old fashionedness' of Julina, but I deem it is necessary to keep in character, both of the woman herself, and also of the less modern nature of the country in which she resides.

Other short and succinct phrases crop up every so often.
I find one of the most powerful mental images raised in this 'genre' is actually in a lyric of a Jimmy Buffett song ('A Pirate Looks At Forty') where he encapsulated the entirety of sea-borne transport, ranging from the quinquiremes of Nineveh up to modern vessels, in the simple phrase: "... watched the men who rowed you switch from sail to steam ..."

My thoughts were then dragged back onto the subject of human development and so on (after all that is a major theme of Julina's tale), and I realised with a shock that an old favourite song of mine had been buried under masses of memories, events and developments. The power of the lyrics was what dragged my mind there.

Mark Knopfler wrote a song which covers the growth and death of a town in an unspecified location.

It starts with the words:

"A long time ago came a man on a track
Walking thirty miles with a sack on his back
And he put down his load where he thought it was the best
Made a home in the wilderness
He built a cabin and a winter store
And he ploughed up the ground by the cold lake shore
And the other travellers came walking down the track
And they never went further, no, they never went back"

The simple story told by the song continues.

A town grows.

A city grows

" ... Six lanes of traffic, three of them moving slow ..."


" ... I used to like to go to work, but they shut it down
I've got a right to go to work, but there's no work here to be found"

The song sort of finishes with the words: "... From all of these signs saying, "sorry, but we're closed" ..."

It came as a great shock to me that these words were written 37 years ago!
'Telegraph Road' was released by Dire Straits back in 1980.

37 years!

Shit, where has it all gone?

I just hope that I can improve my skills before my time runs out. And that I can at least help someone else, sometimes.

37 years!


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