Half a century seems to carry the weight of wisdom. Yet, wise words can come from any age or background, and growing older doesn’t guarantee growing wiser.
This week, writers were asked to contribute wise words through the literary vehicle of flash fiction. As expected, the unexpected also made its way into the collection. Perhaps wisdom is less in the stories and more in the act of storytelling. Perhaps wisdom comes nt with age but with reflection.
The following are based on the May 18, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a wise story.
On Wisdom by Lisa Listwa
“Am I wise?” I asked the Sky.
Can you balance dark and light? Hold within you the vast potential of the future?
“Am I wise?” I asked the Sea.
Can you wash away just enough of the past to refresh yet leave a lasting impression?
“Am I wise?” I asked the Earth.
Can you take root and cling to what gives strength?
“Am I wise?” I asked the Wind.
Can you take flight when your time comes? Touch all else around you?
“Am I wise?” I asked my Self. “I have much yet to learn….”
Knowing this is wisdom.
The Light in the Empty Room by Elliott Lyngreen
In an empty room save for a fixture absent a bulb, yet with its string; doors exactly cater-cornered of parallel walls; after opening one, walking through only led him into another room perfectly mimicking the previous.
So he tried the opposite door, diagonally, again entered yet another inversion.
After exhausting attempts to leave, he only re-entered flipped patterns – one after another; lone empty lamp holder.
He decided to pull the string; over, around his arm, down himself like pulling open a sleeping bag or circumventing a body bag, unzipped the room, and became the light, illuminating ideas within vision. . . .
Wisdom by FloridaBorne
I glared at my sister, Myra, her brown eyes shining with youthful expectation. Her shapely body filling out a tight t-shirt and slinky jeans, she still looked 35.
“Where are you going?” I asked, leaning on my cane for support.
“You’re 50. It means you’re old!” I said, shaking a finger at her. “When will you understand that truth!”
“Never,” she said, running a brush through naturally thick, brown hair.
“I’m 57 and have the wisdom to admit I’m past my prime. Why can’t you?”
“Because old will always be travelling 7 years ahead of me,” Myra giggled.
Happy Birthday! by Ruchira Khanna
“Happy Birthday Angie” shouted Tiffany as she shut her car door and walked towards her friend who was seated on the patio.
The birthday gal squealed with delight upon seeing the bouquet and after a quick embrace dashed in to put them in the water.
Angie was chattering nonstop.
When the birthday girl came out with two cups of hot beverage, she found Tiffany’s head on her hands, “What’s wrong?” she inquired.
“Oh, Angie! start behaving your age!” Tiffany was quick to comment.
“Age is just a number!” she responded as she exhibited her bright white dentures.
Grey Wisdom by Kalpana Solsi
Combing my long silky tresses, I admired my reflection in
the mirror.Tessie grimaced.
I turned to face her.
Her celluloid image had painted nails, each hair in place
and a made-up face hiding all its flaws while my oils were
a connoisseur’s prized possessions.
“Silver streaks in your hair”, almost gasping.
“I know”, a calm and confident me.
“Let me fix an appointment with Yasmine’s Colour
Parlour”, Tessie panicking, “You have hit fifty”.
“I have accumulated streaks of wisdom in half a century
and will unabashedly flaunt it”.
Thud…… Tessie’s cell -phone lay on the floor, broken,
Flash Fiction by Pensitivity
I was brought up to respect my elders.
In fact, I have always got on better with those some twenty or thirty years older than me, and my first little job at 12 was working with then pensioners who I probably drove mad with my jokes and pop music!
One of the best bits of advice I ever received was from the supervisor I worked with 1980 – 1981. As he was breaking into her car having locked her keys inside, she nudged me, grinned and said ‘Keep him. He’s useful.’
So I did. That was 28 years ago, and I’ve never regretted it.
That Thing That’s Before Godliness by Geoff Le Pard
Paul looked at his wife’s face. ‘Looks like you need more than tea.’
‘That woman is impossible.’ Mary accepted the wineglass. ‘Mrs Wise. Talk about misnamed.’
Paul settled back into his seat. ‘Go on. What now?’
‘Milk in the washing machine. She thought it was the fabric conditioner.’
‘Aren’t the bottles different?’
‘She cracked the conditioner so decanted it into an old water bottle last time. I labelled it carefully. Calling her a cleaner is such a misnomer.’
‘We could look for a new one?’
‘Like Miss Peaberry? Remember what she di wit your toothbrush?’
‘So more wine?’
Growing into Wisdom by Norah Colvin
“My Dad knows everything!” bragged six-year-old Billy.
“Parents,” grumbled Will E., at surly sixteen, “They know nothing.”
For thirty-year-old William, at the top of his game, conversations were strained. One more “In our day…” he’d surely explode.
By forty-five, with kids of his own, “But kids are different these days,” Will would state.
Dad would wink and suggest, “Not that different.”
Throughout the fifties, his recalcitrant teens mirrored those years of his own.
Into his sixties, with kids gone and more time for chatting with Dad, he discovered, almost too late, they shared more than he had ever appreciated.
Flash Fiction by 40levenreasons
Today, I let my tired body slide down the school yard fence and I took a moment to reflect.
At what point, on my journey through life, did I decide the road less travelled might be the best?
Recently, my post, “Is 50 Too Old To Start Again?”, saw me tentatively enter the blogging world.
I did not envisage myself feeling beaten so soon. I sat, now, sweltering in the Pilbara heat, looking upon my punctured bicycle tyre, thinking, “What next?”
How the Universe might respond to my innocent query, left me feeling sombre and unsettled.
What next indeed?
Insurance by Reena Saxena
“Turning 40 heralds middle age, and 60 is retirement. What is it about 50?”
“Well… Life spans are lengthening, and work spans are shortening. So, you never know, where will you be?”
“Oh, Uncertainty!” I exclaimed dramatically, “Do you sell insurance or retirement plans?”
“The pathos lies somewhere in between – the inability to plan in the fast-changing scenario, and the millennial epidemic – ageism. People above 50 are treated as they don’t exist. There is no insurance against changing mind-sets.”
“Hmmm … Can you insure my ability to reason, to fathom the deeper meanings, rather than just reading status updates?”
Wisdom by Michael
Oh, to be wise he thought as he read through the student’s exam papers.
He turned over the effort from Betrice Walker, the smartest girl in his class. In amazement, he read her literary genius. He felt humbled that someone so young could evaluate the question so clearly.
For goodness sake he thought, she’s a child still, what will she be like in twenty years?
So much wisdom in one so young.
He wrote an A on her paper.
Tomorrow he’d watch the glow on her face knowing she’d be pleased.
Sipping coffee, he picked up the next paper.
A Valuable Piece by KittyVerses
Little Myna got into a lot of trouble that day. This wasn’t something new, and it bothered her parents much.She was always carrying tales of one person to the next, people were apprehensive of her.
Punishments were meted out, she was reprimanded and isolated but to no avail. One fine day she was asked to collect the water that was emptied from the bottle by her mother.
Well, did she succeed? Words once lashed out can’t be taken back as much as the water which was poured.
Never to forget,the things we learn as kids shapes our identity of tomorrow.
Crab Apple Crisis by Anthony Amore
She thought it ridiculous their son had been stuck for hours in that tree.
“Help him now,” she told her husband.
Through the slider he saw the boy caught in high crooked branches, “He”ll figure it out.”
“Two hours,” she folded into a harsh angle pointing. “Go.”
With a nod the ladder was gotten, but his son had fallen shirtless to the ground. He sprinted to him.
“My back’s scraped,” he said. “Apples are safe; tied in my shirt.” Four crabapples the size of chestnuts rolled free, “Mom can make pie.”
He kept quiet, saying, “Very wise move, son.”
Mother’s Support by Diana Nagai
“My daughter won’t talk to me,” I vented.
I saw my mother’s expression which showed amusement and compassion. Shame filled me as I remembered myself as a teen. Once, I gave her the finger when I thought she wasn’t looking. I don’t remember why I was angry, but I carry the guilt that she witnessed my outburst. My shoulders slumped. “I’m so sorry for what I put you through.”
She pulled me into an embrace of comfort and wisdom from “the other side”. Right then, I knew we’d survive these teenage years together.
Flash Fiction by Mike Kempster
I have no way of winning any battle with my 14 year old daughter. She’s right, I’m wrong and there’s no way that’s going to change even in the face of all reason. We’ve had some blazing rows. At the end of a row there has to be some reconciliation and one person ends up reaching out to the other. Mostly that’s my job; however, yesterday morning, after a huge row the night before, she sent me a text saying, ‘any breakfast service running this morning XXX.’ For a change she’d reached out and showed she has some feelings.
Flash Fiction by Carrie Gilliland Sandstrom
I watched as she moved ever so slowly, as she always did, living as if time had no meaning. I bit my tongue to swallow my reprimand. “Charlotte, I am going to tell you something that my Mother told me when I was 7, like you are now.”
Her yellow hair glowed in the sun creating a halo around her face as she looked at me, waiting for my words of wisdom.
“Your husband is going to have to be a very patient man.”
She only paused for a heartbeat and replied. “I don’t know any patient man’s.”
Seeking to Understand (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills
“Does your creative outlet help you, Jen?” asked Danni.
“Does interviewing war widows help you?”
“Feels like I’m doing something,” Danni answered.
“Me, too. Same with the brothers. They want to feel useful. Do something good. Let me ask you, why did you stay?”
“You mean when Ike left for Iraq?”
“Yes. This was new to you. You must have felt deserted. Why did you stay?”
Danni paused, reflecting on all her earlier turmoil. She could have left the day she took Ike to the airport. Had she gained any wisdom? “I stayed to take care of his dogs.”
The Getting of Wisdom by Anne Goodwin
It’s easy, they said, as easy as breathing, just follow this five-point plan. It’s hard, camel-through-the-eye-of-the-needle difficult, but, if you give us the money, we’ll show you how it’s done. No-one can tell you the answer, you’ve got to seek it inside yourself. There’s a pattern, proofed against any fool prepared to apply herself to the task. There’s so much to learn, you can’t waste a minute. There’s so much, you might as well not try. What’s wisdom, the nub of ice that melts in your fingers or the mountain of knowledge the ocean obscures?
Intuition by Liz Husebye Hartmann
They circled the pit, noted the downward spiral that curled into thick darkness. Dropped a stone and waited for a splash, a thud, the clatter of a change in angle.
“Hell bent?” she quipped.
He sniffed. “No smell of sulphur.”
He tipped his head, brow knit.
“Never mind,” she scanned the landscape for dust devils, signs of life or breath. Nope. Only them: isolate, arid, no stars nor moon above.
“Ladies first,” he nodded towards the pit.
Always leaping, never moving.
She senses a curl of light, a sweet new scent, opens her hands and steps down.
Alien Anthropology by D. Avery
“Strange. They develop automation, even as they suffer obesity, depression and anxiety. They have many devices for communicating, but they aren’t saying anything. They desire access to information but don’t seem to value knowledge, with no apparent interest or ability in interpreting or analyzing information.”
“They are poisoning, mining, and bombing what’s left of their natural environment… They are ruining this planet. We should just take over.”
“No, our orders are to just observe and to seek wisdom. We shall consult their older people.”
“Yes, and we’ll visit the ancient sites and natural wonders.”
“We’d better hurry.”
The Battle by Allison Maruska
The apprentice watches as I light the incense. “How can you stay so calm?”
“Trouble will always find us, so why worry?” Wafting the smoke, I channel the spirits to help. “This battle is not a new one.”
“I think it is,” he says. “We’ve never fought anything like this.”
“Of course we have.” Picking up the lantern, I head outside. “And we will do what we always do. Pray. Fast. And fight if needed.”
An echoing roar reaches us. Our gaze follows the beast sailing through the sky.
“I don’t think fasting will help this time,” he says.
The battle was Monks vs. Dragons.
Told you it was kickass.
Flash Fiction by 40levenreason
An old friend
Unseen for years
Through unshed tears
She said, School was hard
Not how she’d planned
The loneliness daunting
The taunts out of hand
Yet through all of her pain
What stays with her best
Was my warmth and my kindness
I was not like the rest
Little did I realise
What small gestures might mean
To my quiet young classmate,
Broken spirit, unseen
I read her messages of thanks, 35 years later, and looked upon my punctured tyre.
My wise words from a 50 year old?
Do unto others…….
AND CARRY A REPAIR KIT!!
Withdrawn? by Jules Paige
Richard picked up the thirteenth pottery shard never expecting
to be found hidden – engulfed in the weeds. The colors reminding
him of Janice’s eyes…
A short elusive keta with the magnitude of a heavy chair being
thrown across the room, and hitting his head allowed the elusive
emotion of disgrace to flash across his mind. Janice wasn’t the
traitor. Was he?
How had Janice been so wise, to know how broken he was.
That she could not fix him, she had to leave him… Richard,
behind the shed in her yard…wanted her – she wasn’t home…
Where was she?
Flash Fiction by Pete Fanning
Kylie handed over the bow. “They were late, right? Doesn’t seem wise to me.”
“Here we go,” Nat grumbled, steadying the arrow. “It’s the three WISE MEN.”
Kylie arched her brow, fixed her ponytail. “If you say so.”
Nat’s eyes pulled to Kylie instead of the can. His shot sailed wide. Again. He was down 3-0.
Kylie scoffed, snatched the bow and yanked back the arrow. “Now, Margaret WISE Brown…”
“Goodnight Moon.” The arrow was gone in a wink. Nat heard the clink of the can without looking. Kylie stood, her smile spreading like wildfire. “4-zip.”
Old Skills by Kerry E.B. Black
Aunt Amaryllis gripped the table. Veins rose from translucent skin, yet her voice remained sure. “Remember, control the material.”
Kirsten fed silk into the machine, but it snagged.
Aunt Amaryllis’ perfume accompanied her nearness. “Slow and steady. Even pressure on the foot. Gentle guidance here.” The cloth flowed with her direction, stitches marching along the seam. She handed Kirsten a seam ripper. “This tool’s your friend.”
Kirsten groaned but removed the snag. She pressed and sewed.
Aunt Amaryllis smiled at the complete the garment. “What a fine wedding gown!”
“I wish you’d be there.”
Aunt Amaryllis dabbed Kirsten’s tears. “I will, in spirit.”
The Wizard of the North by Gordon Le Pard
“Walter Scott has no business to write novels, especially good ones.”
“But Jane, nobody knows who wrote it. How can you be so sure?”
“Because it is just like him, but it’s not fair. He has Fame and Profit enough as a Poet, and shouldn’t be taking the bread out of other people’s mouths.”
Cassandra smiled as her sister picked up the book again.
“I do not like him.” Jane continued, “And do not mean to like Waverley if I can help it – but fear I must.” Silently she thought, “I wonder if he will like Emma?”
Seeing the Other Side by D. Avery
I’ve got a lot of stories, none have been told
I’m not very wise for someone born old.
I’ve long been a miner, never seen the lode
I’m the chicken just starin’ ’cross the road.
I’ve got lots of where I’ve been, got lots of what’s behind me
But I still don’t know where I am, and don’t know where to find me.
I’m not exactly fleeing, ’though I’d like a place to hide
Crossing isn’t just about seeing the other side.
I’m walkin’ and I’m walkin’, some might say I’m lost
I’m that chicken that finally went across.
What a totally fabulous collection, Charli. You sure roped them in with your 50th bash. I think this must be the most submissions to any prompt, is it? We obviously all had to share our wisdom. What great pieces, from the first by Lisa, all the way through to the last by D. So many different, thoughtful, wise ideas. What a collective wisdom we have here.
Definitely a fabulous collection and among the largest, though I think we’ve tipped 30 before. It’s always good to see a robust response, especially with nuggets of wisdom.
Hey, you snagged the poem from shiftnshake! Well, a Ranch is a good place for a chicken poem. Thanks.
And yes, the collection is a good looking one, they flow together nicely in the round-up.
This is wonderful…what a great collection! Ya done good, Charli!
A lovely collection of flash fiction pieces and poems, Charli.