Friday Fictioneers – Storage Solution

k-rawson
Photo Prompt © Karen Rawson

We call it The Event. The moment when everything changed, when we lost writing. Ink refused to lock onto paper, and just drifted in the air like dark fog. Neither quill nor printing press could force the binding. Every time we opened a book, the letters sprang from the page and roosted in the rafters. Servers were wiped clean

I believe I’ve found the solution. Listen.

“Once upon a midnight dreary

While I pondered weak and weary….”

We will remember and recite.

 

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here

99 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – Storage Solution

  1. So imaginative. Writing takes its revenge for all the horrors perpetrated in its name. 🙂 Sign me up for a full rendition of ‘To Be or Not to Be’ and ‘When You Are Old’ by Yeats.

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  2. Good to recite – needs must if the words won’t stick to the paper any more. Ink refusing to lock and letters roosting in the rafters – poetic. Bare servers terrifying! And I love the aside about the plumbing manual.

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  3. An interesting reflection on the prompt. It provokes the idea how the ghosts of the past are always present, but no one is listening. In today’s technological age the servers, and internet, are as ubiquitous as the air we breath – what horror if there should be a five minute outage. (Ask the TSB customers – their lives are ruined- so they say).

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      1. I doubt you’ve stolen it. Such things are bound to occur from time to time. It was the film’s answer to books being illegal to possess and read, and also to preserving their contents by making each person a living book.

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      1. It’s what they used to do in the days before ordinary people had access to books yet it terrifies us having to revert to actually learning stories if we want to pass them on. As for pinching the story, don’t they say that Homer has already told them all already?

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  4. Neil, this was fantastic. Well thought out, and that sort of thing I’ll describe as “realist imagination” where the imagination seems very real.
    I wrote a series of letters to dead artists for the A-Z Challenge and was researching Leonardo Da Vinci last week. Obviously, he was such a genius none of us can ever hope to get to the bottom of him, but I was researching about the Renaissance and cramming my brain full of context in a very short space of time. I knew about the Middle Ages and an overview of the Renaissance, but I read this wonderful fact that the knowledge of the Greeks and Romans was lost to Western Europe for 1000 years. That I believe, was largely due to the control of the Church. I then spoke to my husband who works in IT, and he spoke about how books are being uploaded into the cloud etc and loads of people are throwing away books, if they’re even buying them in the first place. I am a book hoarder so I figure I’ll be right as long as your premonitions don’t come about!
    Here’s a link to my post: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2018/04/26/v-leonardo-da-vinci-letters-to-dead-artists-a-z-challenge/
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

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  5. Thank goodness my parents asked me to memorize a poem for little extras I wanted. Horseback riding lessons ~ memorize a poem. Fencing ~ guess what? Dance lessons ~ you got it, a poem. I think I’d do well in this world.

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  6. I loved the magical imagery! What a spooky and horrible dystopian vision you’ve conjured — losing centuries of writing, only retaining the few things that people could remember and pass down as oral traditions. It would be the dark ages all over again! ((shiver))

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  7. What a horrific vision. The end of civilisation as we know it. As you quite rightly point out in the comments, even moderately advanced technology like a sewage treatment plant depends upon the written word (although constructing and operating a basic unit could be done, but you wouldn’t be able to advance from that).
    My take on this at first reading was that it made a rather good allegory for Alt-News and the post-truth era. If words become so debased that we could no longer trust them at all, they might as well not be written. We would then become reliant on the echo chamber of our friends – an oral tradition of daily news if you like – and we would only be able to interpret what we learned about current affairs through the lens of our own experience.
    Super story, Neil. Well done!

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  8. The Fahrenheit 451 film is also pretty good, just as an aside since I also made the association.
    What can we do to coax these naughty letters roosting in the trees back on the page? Maybe value them more? Or maybe this is our hour, the flash fiction story tellers. We’re so full of ideas, we just sit down and tell our stories. Sewage treatment… plumbing… that can be reinvented. The poetry and literature through the ages… thankfully we have the microfiches in the salt mines… no paper to jump from, no servers to be wiped. 😉

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  9. Lately I’ve heard people talking about reading “real” books, as if ebooks weren’t “real.” But your story makes me think of how stories originated, around the campfires, sharing tales. Those weren’t the “real” books that people go on about, but they were real stories, shared and handed down. Revered.
    I love the playfulness of the letters roosting in rafters.

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    1. Sometimes realism escapes me. But yes, underneath the whimsy, the point is that real stories were recited. Parents at the time probably worried about the unhealthiness of those new fangled pamplet things

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