Sarah Ann Hall

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

#FridayFictioneers – 5/1/18 – (In)Substantial

with 47 comments

Every Wednesday Rochelle Wisoff-Fields publishes a photo prompt to inspire writers to write 100-words of flash fiction or poetry.

At any point during the following week, the Friday Fictioneers post their 100-word tales. Read the other stories by clicking below.

I think I’m stuck in a semi-autobiographical rut. I wrote a story for last week’s prompt all about spinning plates, and ran out of time to post it. I have to say, I’m a much more linear-thinking person than my protagonist below.

© Roger Bultot


(Genre: general fiction; 100-words)

Her life is a notice board of lists and torn out articles, held together with pins and tangles of string. It confuses everyone but her: the whorls of disparate events and their non-interconnectedness. It is the only way she can make sense of the world.

Linear is shaky, too straightforward and can be pushed off course by the slightest collision. Single gossamer threads break easily. Nets and webs allow for movement, change, adaptation.

She knows life didn’t used to be this complicated, but forgets when it became so. This is how she copes: loops and convolutions leading to clear sightedness.




Written by Sarah Ann

January 5, 2018 at 2:36 pm

47 Responses

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  1. This could be a note for something much more substantial. I like the idea


    January 5, 2018 at 3:07 pm

    • Thanks Neil. I’m starting to imagine what’s on the noticeboard and how it all links up now…

      Sarah Ann

      January 6, 2018 at 10:04 pm

  2. Dear Sarah Ann,

    I could relate to this woman’s disorganized organization. That’s me to a T. Glad you posted this. Well written and so true to life.




    January 5, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    • Thank you. I think I’m more of a organised disorganised – I like to have things in order and still never get them done. Oh well, must continue to try harder 🙂

      Sarah Ann

      January 6, 2018 at 10:04 pm

  3. Rochelle is right – it is true to life for some. Well phrased sentences.

    Eric Alagan

    January 5, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    • appreciate praise
      for well phrased sentences
      repeatedly worked

      Not true to life for you then? I don’t imagine so!

      Sarah Ann

      January 6, 2018 at 10:31 pm

  4. I heard such lifestyles referred to as organized chaos. My shop is that way. It’s a mess of clutter, but I know where everything is–so don’t move anything.


    January 5, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    • As long as you know where everything is, and can find it when the customer wants, that’s all that matters.

      Sarah Ann

      January 6, 2018 at 10:07 pm

  5. Your two metaphors (notice board and web) are excellent, really powerful. They really do demonstrate vividly the way your main character functions.
    To retain plenty of options is a great idea if you can manage it. I’ve known one person just like this. It made her rather difficult to talk to, though, because her train of thought was always oblique.
    With best wishes


    January 5, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    • A mind flitting all over the place, considering all the options, can be difficult to talk to as you say. The conversation goes off at all sorts of different tangents – good for creativity, difficult for fulfilling simple daily tasks.

      Sarah Ann

      January 6, 2018 at 10:18 pm

  6. I want to be a linear person, but life keeps getting in the way! Nice way to look at the prompt.

    Iain Kelly

    January 5, 2018 at 10:03 pm

    • I’d love to be more linear, or maybe more focussed. My problem is having fingers in too many pies and never finishing anything. A web might be easier to deal with?

      Sarah Ann

      January 6, 2018 at 10:16 pm

  7. Sounds like a junk journaler..heheh! Seriously, though, I like this. Life is a convoluted maze to wind through and you captured that perfectly.


    January 5, 2018 at 10:19 pm

    • And just when you think you’re heading the right way, a hedge jumps up and blocks your path 🙂

      Sarah Ann

      January 6, 2018 at 10:14 pm

      • Happens everytime…pesky hedges… LOL!


        January 7, 2018 at 12:21 am

  8. We are what we are not. This character sketch made perfect sense to me – and their are definitely more threads and webs and dangling and swinging noticeboards this protagonist might use in a longer piece. Just a thought. Thanks for posting Sarah.

    Kelvin M. Knight's blog

    January 6, 2018 at 12:42 am

    • Neil suggested this could be a longer piece too – I’m going to have to look at it again. I like the image of swinging noticeboards. 🙂

      Sarah Ann

      January 6, 2018 at 10:13 pm

  9. She is just a typical representative of today’s world 🙂


    January 6, 2018 at 6:04 am

    • Unfortunately I feel that might be so. For some there is too much to do/ cope with.

      Sarah Ann

      January 6, 2018 at 10:08 pm

  10. Just like life. It seems to get more and more confusing as it progresses. Nice one!


    January 6, 2018 at 6:32 am

    • All those gadgets meant to help and make things easier are just something else to confuse or worry about!

      Sarah Ann

      January 6, 2018 at 10:09 pm

  11. A subtle take comparing this with life. Restricting life to a linear equation may leave out many of the variables – yet it may be the simplest path to explaining it to young or for deciding every day actions.
    The profoundness of this is subtle piece in simply great.


    January 6, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    • Thank you for such a wonderful comment. The linear is never as simple as we would like it to be, there are so often to many influencing variables as you say.

      Sarah Ann

      January 6, 2018 at 10:11 pm

  12. I loved this and can totally see myself here. Though at times I actually do get lost in my own chaos, most times I know exactly where I am…


    January 6, 2018 at 9:30 pm

    • I think there are days when we get lost on our chaos. And then I tidy away and might find a list of undone jobs months later…

      Sarah Ann

      January 6, 2018 at 10:12 pm

      • Yep… sounds like me too…


        January 6, 2018 at 10:36 pm

  13. OMG! This simply vows my mind. Every single needs to be pondered and tasted!


    January 6, 2018 at 10:30 pm

  14. i can relate. i’m one of those who believe that a clean desk is a sign of a sick mind. 🙂


    January 6, 2018 at 11:02 pm

    • I like to tidy my desk in preparation for writing, but it soon gets cluttered again.

      Sarah Ann

      January 8, 2018 at 11:58 am

  15. You’ve perfectly described a person who has Attention Deficit Disorder.


    January 7, 2018 at 12:41 am

  16. I think your semi-autobiographical phase is working well for you. I really like this and identify! You should see my cork noticeboard.


    January 7, 2018 at 11:09 am

    • Thank you. I used to have a cork noticeboard. Now I stick things I pull out between book pages and find them months after they had any relevance.

      Sarah Ann

      January 8, 2018 at 11:56 am

  17. This works extremely well… the metaphor of a tangled life, and maybe in the end we need a bit of linear, but if it was only that I think it would snap for me.

    Björn Rudberg (brudberg)

    January 7, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    • You’re right, we need both the linear and the tangled. Some tasks fit one model better than the other. Writing is definitely more weblike then straight lines, for me anyway.

      Sarah Ann

      January 8, 2018 at 11:57 am

  18. This underscores how disorganised I’ve become, and, like your character, I don’t know how or when it happened. 😦


    January 8, 2018 at 5:40 pm

    • I’m sure that’s not true. But if so, recognition is the start of the journey to recovery 🙂 At the bottom of today’s to-do list it says, ‘look at other lists,’ which makes me organised in my disorganisation?

      Sarah Ann

      January 10, 2018 at 1:17 pm

  19. What a terrific character sketch. She is so enigmatic. 🙂


    January 8, 2018 at 7:35 pm

  20. wow, I love the thinking going on here. So many things happen on a daily basis and it takes many ways of responding to deal. We all multi-task in different ways. I see the connectedness of life here.

    Laurie Bell

    January 9, 2018 at 12:24 am

    • Indeed people react to and deal with things in different ways. This character likes all her dots to join 🙂

      Sarah Ann

      January 10, 2018 at 1:14 pm

  21. Deftly done. Love the description, Sarah Ann.


    January 9, 2018 at 10:15 am

  22. A great metaphor for the ‘complicatedness’ of life and how we make it so ourselves but cannot resist doing so for fear it’ll all fall down. Lovely, thought provoking piece


    January 9, 2018 at 5:56 pm

    • Thank you. I suspect you’re right and it is us making life more complicated for ourselves than it need be.

      Sarah Ann

      January 10, 2018 at 1:12 pm

  23. I really feel like I know this character so well – and in just 100 words – that is some succinct writing – and liked the various parts
    but favorite line was this:
    “life is a notice board of lists and torn out articles, held together with pins and tangles of string”

    feel like that was me back in 2008 for a little while there….


    January 14, 2018 at 8:03 pm

    • Thank you for such a great comment. I think this might be me in 2018, if only I had a notice board. I’m still trying to hold it all in my head.

      Sarah Ann

      January 15, 2018 at 2:17 pm

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