What is the mystique of a woman if not her ability to create? A home. A family. Give her an apple, she’ll make you a pie; yarn and she’ll knit you a hat. Give her a Sharpie and she’ll make signs and march on Washington, DC to express her heart, mind and voice.
A women’s role is whatever she creates it to be. Yet she’s often faced with standards or expectations she didn’t create. Some women crave the safety of traditional roles, and others won’t stop creating new ways until the glass ceiling rains shards. Writers this week explored this vast territory of women and what, how or why they create.
The following is based on the January 26, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using the theme, “women create.”
Stirring False Creation (from Rock Creek) by Charli Mills
Joseph mumbled, “Sorry, Nancy Jane. I wanted to borrow a suit from Irish Hughes.”
“He borrowed my whiskey, too.” Hughes shot Joseph a dark scowl. Cobb unbundled a fiddle, leveling the bow at Hughes. “He’ll return it.”
“Put that away. This is a burial, if you men please,” she said.
“I’ll play for your child. I’m no preacher, no devil either.” A soft, mournful strain rose from the strings.
Nancy Jane had never heard the like in her life. It stirred creation in her womb, as if the notes could resurrect her son. But men have no such power.
Creation Comedy, Starring Trump, Bill Gates and Freud by Anne Goodwin
In the beginning, says God, was the Word …
In the beginning, says Bill, was Microsoft.
Ahem, Wordperfect was created long before your Word.
In the beginning, says Donald, is and was the phallus, source of power and pride. And who needs words when 140 characters can express the deepest truths.
Or lies, says Meryl (the overrated actress), and the women in their pussy-hats raise a defiant cheer. Besides, the Creator must be female; it’s She who bears the child.
As a penis substitute, says Sigmund. Born of envy.
Yours or ours? says Anna, as she confiscates his pipe.
Women Create by Melissa G.
Change is a constant. The action of change is something that’s always enabled personal growth and eventual peace. One mom’s journey shows how two babies inspired fierce feminism.
She read the test, it was indeed positive. She was pregnant. She was both shocked and amazed. We create babies.
Baby number one was here for six months. Baby number two would arrive in another nine months. We create unplanned babies.
Baby one and baby two are amazing. Mom is inspired to truly make this world a place where girls can do anything their little heart’s desire. We create strong children.
Prize Pies by Norah Colvin
“Life’s not on a plate. It’s what you create.”
Two little girls in their Sunday best
Snuck outside when they should have been at rest;
Splashed in the puddles, laughed in the rain,
Shared mud pies and murky champagne.
Two young girls with flour in their hair
Climbed on the bench from the back of a chair;
Opened up the cupboards, emptied out the shelves,
Less in the bowl and more on themselves.
Two young women watching TV
Decide master chefs are what they will be;
Enter the contest, invent new pies,
Wow the judges and win the prize.
Monday by C. Jai Ferry
I tried to create a feel-good dinner
but burned the onions and rice
(the carrots were still edible).
I tried to create harmony
but people-pleasing? Not my forte.
I gave up pretty quickly.
I tried to create smiles
By telling stories about my muddy dog
who has more Facebook friends than I.
I tried to create awareness
but my friends asked why my wall is so depressing.
It’s not me, I said; it’s the world.
I tried to create hope
but was trolled on Twitter.
Hope’s so trite these days.
I tried and tried.
I will create again.
And On The Seventh Day…by Geoff Le Pard
‘Mum, are you a feminist?’
Mary titled her head. ‘Sure. Not the burning bra sort.’
Penny pulled a face. ‘Eww. You didn’t?’
‘No but your grandma might have.’ Mary shook her head. ‘We made posters once, and hats. Your grandma loved making things.’
‘What was the protest?’
‘Nuclear weapons. Seems a long time ago. I was ten. Grandpa stopped me going but grandma went. She cooked for the campers. At her happiest doing that. Creating.’
Paul looked up. ‘She was pretty good at creating a fuss too. A pacifist but never passive.’
‘Can I get a pussy hat, then?’
What Women Create by Florida Borne
Proudly I raised my flag, “Feminists unite.”
A matronly woman smiled, walking over to greet me. “What did the women of Egypt in the 1950’s, Iran in the 1970’s and the USA in the 1940’s have in common?”
“They wanted equal rights?”
“They had more rights than at any other moment in their history. Those rights were taken away overnight,” she said. “Remember Mileva Marić?”
“Einstein’s first wife, a physicist. She deserved equal credit for his work. What women create, men will take. Until all men recognize that women are equally as important, we will never have equality.”
The Other Woman by Jules Paige
Butterflies? She thought of pupa, remembering pinned winged
insects at the museum. She could not create an image with a
nice nose – while waiting in the ward bed. She thought first of
mice, then of rats – She wanted to collectively sear mankind.
Grab a triptych of insufferable egotistical men and ramble
pleonasmic about their faults.
The pregnancy had been difficult. The stillbirth…cruel. Once
a mistress always a mistress? Yet…this other man, he said he
loved her with undying passion. His children became hers…
She created a new life filled with honorable love. And just a
Flash Fiction by Michael
She’s a small woman, not the type you would say stands out in a crowd but within her is a feisty energy.
I was first attracted to her passion and compassion, the way she reached out and touched the lives of so many. I don’t know how we connected as we come from opposite ends of the social and cultural spectrum but we have. She has created network of support, of encouragement and of love.
For me she showed me it is never too late to love again. I’m eternally grateful, this tiny sassy woman, created desire within me.
Flash Fiction by Pensitivity
She’d ruined dinner again.
No going to the takeaway this time to cover her inadequacy,
he was due home in fifteen minutes.
The scene was set for romance, candles burning seductively.
A kiss on the cheek, and a cold beer in his hand, he sat.
Wearing nothing but a smile and an apron, she lay the plate before him.
In the flickering light it looked intriguing.
He took a bite. Grimaced. Spat it out.
She bolted like a scared rabbit.
‘I’m sorry,’ she blurted. ‘I can’t cook!’
‘I know’ he said, ‘but you sure are creative in disguising it!’
Dana’s Song by Kerry E.B. Black
The Apocalypse destroyed Dana’s beauty as it ravaged the world, and Henry dreaded looking at her. No more diamonds danced in her eyes. Manicures gave way to peeled, raw hands, and bony-bare and charcoal-grey described her once lush, nubile figure.
She prepared the protein they pretended was beef and set it sizzling over the fire. She swiped a wisp of mousey colored, anemic hair from her wrinkled brow as she turned the meat, sprinkling it with chopped greens scavenged nearby. A sweet sound eclipsed his stomach’s growl. Her song of better days somehow brought beauty to their hideous state.
What Darkness Inspires by Liz Husebye Hartmann
There was little light in the cellar, but it was nothing to the darkness of the army of boot heels sinking into the bloody ground overhead.
Their families had been murdered in the homes they’d built with their bare hands, burned in fields they’d tilled with the muscle in their backs, and watered with the sweat and tears of desperate hope and determination.
They’d been purged.
They were the lucky ones, hidden underground. And because they were the lucky ones, they would squeeze out their remaining life force to start again.
Clasping one another’s hands, they bowed their heads.
A Bookish Woman by Bill Engleson
There is something in the way she holds the book, a ratty old 1951 Penguin edition, dust-covered, that draws me in.
“I see the way it is now,” she smiles. Her smile is etched with a twist.
“And…?” for she is deeper in thought than me.
“When Orwell says, ‘Perhaps a lunatic is simply a minority of one,’ “Well, we know who that is, don’t we?”
“We do,” I confess. “So…?”
“We build a resistance. We have no choice, love.”
My heart sinks. I am a peaceful creature. But she, she is not.
I will follow. She will lead.
The Rebel by Allison Maruska
I squeeze my hankie as I approach the massive cathedral. The veins in my old hands stand out, and my husband’s words echo in my mind: You’re one of the only ones left. Who else will attend the service?
I ignored him. The woman created an escape from the ghetto. Because she rebelled, I lived.
Even if I’m alone, I have to attend.
A young man opens the door for me, and I freeze at the threshold.
The foyer is packed wall-to-wall with people, families of those she saved. Smiles and tears coexist.
Because she rebelled, we all live.
The Idea is Everything by Sacha Black
Two things were wrong. First, the morgue was warm. Morgues aren’t meant to be warm. The second, her skin despite the heat, was cold and skin shouldn’t be cold.
I took a deep, lasting breath and bit back the tears. “You started a rebellion,” I say, brushing my fingertips over her icy hand, “and now I’ll turn it into a revolution.”
She did so much more than just organise a group of heretics. It was the idea she created that was the power behind us. The hope of freedom.
“Goodbye, Liza. I loved you in ways you never knew.”
Freedom by Sherri Matthews
Another. Fresh. Start. That’s what she told herself as she stared at the ceiling. More like another sleepless night she thought as she slid out of bed.
She hadn’t wanted to move again, but this was her escape, shabby, cold bedsit or not.
“Damn him and damn his lies” she said to the peeling papered walls. “He can keep the house and I’ll keep my sanity.”
She shivered and grabbed her knitting bag. At last, she could do what she wanted without him. A warm scarf first, she thought and for the first time in too long, she smiled.
Flash Fiction by Pete Fanning
Julia held court, serving Bud, Jack, and Jim to Bud, Jack, and Jim. She’d heard it all, which wasn’t much. But the rules were clear: One word of politics equaled a searing blast of Fiona Apple.
She found Hank, roughly her father’s age, eyeing her rear. “I’ve got a new drink just for you.”
“Hell no. Your last creation had me pissing stones.”
“I don’t think it was the drink, Hank.”
The bar erupted. Julia spun off, wielding objectification like a super power. She let them look. And she left each night with $300 and a girl named Guy.
Last Stitch by Ann Edall-Robson
Her vision was not what it used to be. Too many hours doing close work without good lighting. Back in the day, there were chores that needed her attention. At day’s end, when the house was quiet, her hands created beautiful pieces she stored in the cedar chest in the closet. Intricate, hand stitched quilts and doilies for new brides and new borns.
The elderly widow tucked the needle into the cloth. Sewing the ends in would be for tomorrow. She turned off the lamp, sitting for a moment. Her eyes closed. The hoop slipped from her frail hands.
The Diary by Gordon Le Pard
“Nothing, I have been wandering all day and nothing.”
She looked up from her writing, her brother was always irritated when he couldn’t get an idea for a poem.
“I am supposed to be the writer, yet you are writing. What is it?”
“Just my journal, I am writing about the trip we took across the lake, do you want to see?”
He looked, read for a moment then his eyes glazed over.
“flock, no host” he muttered.
Dorothy smiled and left to make tea. Later she returned to see him writing furiously. Looking over his shoulder she read;
‘I wandered lonely as a cloud …….”
Many scholars believe that William Wordsworth’s great poem was inspired, at least in part, by an entry in his sister Dorothy’s journal.
Creating Jane Eyre by Luccia Gray
“Who’s the author of this abhorrent attempt at a novel?” asked Lady Eastlake.
“Currer Bell,” replied Mrs. Mozley.
“Who on earth is he?” asked Mrs. Rigby.
“Some say he’s a woman,” said Mrs. Mozley
“Women don’t describe such coarse and shameful relationships between men and women,” snapped Lady Eastlake.
“Unless it is such a woman who has long forfeited the society of her own sex,” said Mrs. Rigby.
“It’s unchristian. We should make sure it’s banned,” suggested Mrs. Mozley. “Just in case it’s a woman’s creation. Imagine how degrading it would be for the rest of us.”
Woman Writes by Elliott Lyngreen
Yes. the same for generations. like women preparing newborn nieces.
That escalates quickly. She snaps upon getting dressed. Over shoulders. Like Waiters.
Shredded flag. Stripes separate wind. Lets remember to provide pull strings for future cabling. In the conduits.
She twists off the holder. grabs a shovel. Spring enters, a tidal wave of white-dark.
11 puppies Zen. 3 did not survive.
She thinks as i am the poor, tired, weak insides.
And i will never my love tell your name. Or the song she begins. Yes, them women can write. Even best, are where stories been heard.
Women Create (Jane Doe Flash Fiction) by Deborah Lee
Jane shifts the notebook balanced on her backpack balanced on her lap, twisting her wrist so pen meets paper.
How long since words flowed like this, since a concept glowed so brilliantly inside that she has no choice but to give it voice? She scribbles, oblivious to the lurches of the bus, other passengers brushing by, gabbing into phones, herding children.
Words flow, like the river behind a broken dam.
She pauses and looks out at the bus stop shelter just in time to see the sign, “poetryonbuses.org,” and almost laughs aloud. She feels free, and not alone.
What a great collection! I love this. I’ve been thinking about joining in the flash fiction challenge, just haven’t jumped in yet. I do enjoy writing flash fiction, though, so I’d love to get involved.
Thank you, Lisa! I hope you join in! The idea is to make it easy and friendly for writers to participate. You can leave your flash in the comments or leave a link to your blog post. Writing flash fiction is fun as a form. The constraint has surprising benefits like writing tight. It’s “raw” and might lead to ideas or breakthroughs with longer works, too.
I’ve been doing a little bit of it with a six sentence link up for quite a while and I just entered a contest (yikes!) that was for “short short” stories. I love the constraints – forces me to choose words carefully. I definitely will jump in soon. Thanks, Charli!
Good for you, entering a contest! “Ride” with us, any time!