Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not; practising flash fiction.

The Short Life of Lucy Butler – #gargleblaster176

with 36 comments


‘Congratulations. Kids next then?’

‘Not until we’ve finished the house.’


‘Good turn out.’

‘She was well loved.’

‘Always ran everywhere. Always busy.’

‘Thirty years I knew her. Never finished their house.’


‘For someone so busy, I often wonder what she did.’






Written by Sarah Ann

August 25, 2014 at 7:31 pm

36 Responses

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  1. You’ve said so much in few words. Nice one!


    August 25, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    • Thank you. It took a while to get the right words in the correct order 🙂 The number of times that second conversation changed emphasis! Glad the effect worked.

      Sarah Ann

      August 26, 2014 at 5:29 pm

  2. I liked this, Lucy was a busy bee, huh?


    August 25, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    • She was, and very popular, and always worrying that she never had time….

      Sarah Ann

      August 26, 2014 at 5:30 pm

  3. Quite true. I suppose she never got around to the kids then? There are so many people caught in this rut.


    August 26, 2014 at 1:43 am

    • She didn’t. It was never the right time, she always had something else to do at work, or with her parents… sometimes you have to take a leap of faith.

      Sarah Ann

      August 26, 2014 at 5:32 pm

  4. I’d love to comment on this but I don’t think I have time. Too much stuff to do!
    This was fun.


    August 26, 2014 at 4:16 am

    • Sorry you’re so busy. Maybe catch you later? Happy you enjoyed.

      Sarah Ann

      August 26, 2014 at 5:24 pm

  5. I read this as a wake-up call–thought-provoking!

    Jennifer G. Knoblock

    August 26, 2014 at 10:02 am

    • That’s good. As I wrote, I felt I should take some of my own advice 🙂

      Sarah Ann

      August 26, 2014 at 5:25 pm

  6. So much in so few words! I feel a bit sad that presumably they never found the time to have kids.


    August 26, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    • No they didn’t. So many of us are good at putting off until tomorrow, waiting for the perfect time. Sometimes we just have to go for it – life will settle down around us again afterwards.

      Sarah Ann

      August 26, 2014 at 5:28 pm

  7. I really like the way you tell us so much about Lucy without saying it directly. Nicely done! 🙂


    August 26, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    • Thank you, Suzanne. I knew what I wanted to say about Lucy but didn’t want to be direct (and predictable). Then it was a case of how – which took a while to work out. I like the indirect/ ‘less is more’ approach to writing, and am gratified when I manage to pull it off.

      Sarah Ann

      August 26, 2014 at 5:36 pm

  8. What a great analysis of society; busy being busy, but what’s the purpose of it all?

    • Thank you. I’m not sure about society, but I’m always telling my husband I haven’t got time and I haven’t done half the things on my list. Taking a step back and seeing the world doesn’t end (fall apart without you) when you stop is important to do occasionally.

      Sarah Ann

      August 26, 2014 at 5:38 pm

  9. When I read this without paying attention to the title(I am very absent-minded), I thought about the title to be – a busy life of … and I was quite close :). This piece stands on its own. And yesterday, like Lucy, I read it quickly and liked it but I kept reminding myself that I have to tell you what I thought while reading it.


    August 26, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    • I often read without paying attention to the title too and find out what’s going on when I read the comments. Now I’ve used the title as part of my story (is that cheating) I’m going to make sure I take more notice of others’. Thank you for coming back. Lucy might have thought about it, but I think she’ll have been too busy to follow through 🙂

      Sarah Ann

      August 26, 2014 at 5:41 pm

  10. First I thought aw, she missed out on having kids. That’s the best part of living. Then I read Thom’s comment above and died laughing. Life really is too short.

    Melanie L.

    August 26, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    • Thom’s comment is very apposite and I’m glad he fitted me in to his hectic schedule. Life is too short. We have to grab on and make the most of it. Tomorrow may never come (not that I’m trying to be miserable or anything!).
      Good to know Thom’s comment cheered you up after Lucy’s childlessness left you sad.

      Sarah Ann

      August 26, 2014 at 5:46 pm

  11. Lucy was so busy it appears she never had time to nurture friendships or get to know others well which is kind of sad. Fun piece!

    • Thanks Kathy. I think she had friends and probably spent too much time worrying about seeing them to concentrate on other things – they became another excuse, which is even more sad.

      Sarah Ann

      August 26, 2014 at 6:00 pm

  12. I thought this was well done. I know someone like this, as I think we all do. I know I need to redefine “busy” sometimes or I start missing out on life. Great job.


    August 26, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    • Thank you, Dawn. Redefining busy is necessary. Sometime jobs can wait, or just don’t need to be done.

      Sarah Ann

      August 26, 2014 at 6:27 pm

  13. I wonder if Lucy would do it all differently if she could, or if she never made time for children because she didn’t want any. Maybe she just didn’t want to tell people for fear of judgement? I could see it go either way here.


    August 26, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    • Thanks for that. It’s sad that people are still judged for not wanting children. In the story I wanted her to be too busy. If I try to look into her motivations, maybe being busy stopped her taking on her greatest fear. Going either way is good – at least I imagined I can please more readers that way ? 🙂

      Sarah Ann

      August 26, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    • I have to add that, having just shown my story to my husband, he said Lucy was avoiding kids all along. So you get his prize for being the only one to spot the correct meaning of the story.

      Sarah Ann

      August 26, 2014 at 6:24 pm

  14. Interesting story. My husband and I waited longer than many do (seven years), and then we finally jumped in. We heard advice that there would probably never be a perfect time.


    August 26, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    • The perfect time for many things is hard to see when it arrives. It’s one of those things that becomes clearer once it’s gone.

      Sarah Ann

      August 27, 2014 at 7:21 pm

  15. So often I feel that I’m Lucy!! Kids get short shrift, too, when we run around like a chicken with its head cut off, tending to all that important stuff that can’t wait! Love this post, Sarah Ann!


    August 27, 2014 at 1:05 am

    • Thanks Kymm. I often feel like a headless chicken, but I worry more when things are calm and settled – worrying about when the peace and quiet will end.

      Sarah Ann

      August 27, 2014 at 7:23 pm

  16. I love the story, it reminds me a bit of Edgar Lee Masters “Spoon River Anthology”. Great take on the prompt!


    August 27, 2014 at 4:56 am

    • Thanks for your comment and the reference. I hadn’t heard of the anthology before – now I’ve found it, I’m hooked.

      Sarah Ann

      August 27, 2014 at 7:16 pm

      • I read it in HS and I haven’t forgotten about it in all these years! 😄


        August 27, 2014 at 7:22 pm

  17. Great story in a few words! One does wonder what kept her so busy indeed.


    August 27, 2014 at 9:03 pm

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