4 January 2013

Published January 2, 2013 by rochellewisoff

HAPPY NEW YEAR and LET THE GAMES BEGIN!!!

WELCOME TO FRIDAY FICTIONEERS

If you’re looking for a good time with interesting people you’ve come to the write place. ;)

  We are a growing community of blogging writers who come together each week from all parts of the globe to share individual flash fictions from a single photo prompt. The prompt goes up early Wednesday morning  CST to give each writer time to compose a story by Friday. Some use the photo as a mere inspiration while others use it as an illustration. Use your imagination and think outside the box.

WARNING! This is an addiction for which there is no 12 step recovery program.

THE CHALLENGE:

Write a one hundred word story that has a beginning, middle and end. (No one will be ostracized for going over or under the word count.)

THE KEY:

Make every word count.

THE RULES:

  • Please copy your URL to the Linkz collection. You’ll find the tab following the photo prompt. It’s the little white box to the left with the blue froggy guy. Click on it and follow directions. This is the best way to get the most reads and comments. PLEASE BE CERTAIN YOUR LINK  IS SPECIFIC TO YOUR FLASH FICTION. 
  • Please make sure your link works. If you find that you’ve made an error you can delete by clicking the little red ‘x’ that should appear under your icon. Then re-enter your URL. (If there’s no red x email me at Runtshell@aol.com. I can delete the wrong link for you).
  • If your blog requires multiple steps for visitors to leave comments, see if you can simplify it.  Please, for the sake or our writerly nerves, disable CAPTCHA –that wavy line of unreadable letters and numbers. This mainly applies to Blogspot.  It’s frustrating to have to leave a DNA sample, your blood type and your shoe size  just to make a comment. (So I exaggerate. But hopefully you get the picture).
  • Make note in your blog if you’d prefer not to have constructive criticism.
  • *NOTE-If your link is to an advertisement or any type of platform (be it religious or political) it will be deleted.  And on that note:

  • TALK ABOUT CHANGING HORSES IN MID-STREAM
  • For those of you who have a problem with labeling your story with genre for whatever reason, fret no more! While there was a good reason for it, it appears the cons far outweigh the pros. I maintain that it’s a good idea to know your genre for professional purposes. But for Friday Fictioneers purposes and my own precarious sanity we’ll let it go. PLEASE exercise  discretion when commenting  on someone’s story and blog. Keep the comments respectful and kind. This is not the place to promote political or religious views. If you have a severe  or hostile difference of opinion with someone please take it to email or other method of private messaging.
  • Thank you for your patience and support as I learn to steer the bus.
  • ***My story will follow the photo prompt for those who would rather write before reading other stories. Like everyone else, I value your comments and critiques. ;) ***

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Atiya Townes -January 3

David Stewart -January 4

Erin Leary-January 10

(Let me know if you have a birthday this month.)

This week’s photo prompt from Lora Mitchell seems to be just the right one to launch the new year.

Copyright - Lora Mitchell
Copyright – Lora Mitchell


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…………………….

Genre: Historical Fiction

During China’s Song Dynasty (970 – 1260), seen as property,  a woman’s sole purpose was to please her husband.  Officially sanctioned, foot-binding became the essence of feminine beauty. The smaller a woman’s foot, the better her chances of marrying well. The practice continued into the 20th century until China came under Communist rule. To read more on the subject, click here.

GOLDEN LOTUS

             With highly prized feet that fit a man’s palm, bones bound and crushed in childhood, Zhen Xi’s youthful beauty caught wizened warlord Han Donhai’s eye.

            Every night she endured the beatings that followed his inadequacy. She feared he’d too soon discover her secret and she’d suffer the same fate as three past wives who died under his sword for failure to conceive.

            Seven months after the wedding, fireworks spangled the sky in celebration of Donhai’s nine pound heir.

            Hours later his blade flashed above her.

            “You faithless whore!”                      

            She smiled. Her child would live while her unbound spirit ran free. 

.

.

.Chinese girl with bound feet

80 comments on “4 January 2013

  • Dear Rochelle,

    You have crafted an uplifting tale of the spirit’s triumph in a world where the deck is hopelessly stacked against your protagonist. Sometimes dying well is the best revenge. Her smile perfectly punctuates her life and your fine story.

    Aloha,

    Doug

  • That’s a great and very different take on the picture. I like the final line, about her “unbound spirit”. It brings it all together. I haven’t even started thinking about what I’ll write for it yet. Friday is my birthday, so I’ll have to make it something special. :)

  • I would be in big trouble in any days when small feet were the rage. (I know they were artificially small, but still.)

    You used the bound and unbound contrast to good effect and I like that you let us figure out the reason for the lack of children. Then you turned that on its head by having her have a child, then demonstrated her love for that child by your ending. I guess his love of having an heir, whether his or not, would overcome the fact that it wasn’t his child but I did wonder if he might kill the child as well.

    Trying to decide how soon to post my story, since I already posted this morning. The difficult decisions…

    janet

  • Yes, agree with the comment above, hope the child will be safe after all. What a strange custom that was, the binding of each foot, and or once not religious either – referring to mutilation of babies/children,in particular females. The revenge is powerful.

  • I knew about the way the women were treated back then. What surprises me is the fact that he allowed her to come to term. There wasn’t much mercy back in those days and if you were found to be disloyal AND producing and illegitimate heir, I’d think you’d be banished on pain of death – or worse.

    This is a fascinating story, as they were a very fascinating people. Their view on the foot size just baffles me…you’d think you’d want your wife to be able to stand up or do things that could please you (as a man), right? Hm. Anyways, I enjoyed this tale of freedom in unexpected places Rochelle.

    Happy 2013!

    • Dear Tony, It is after all fiction. My thoughts are that he took the baby from her (as I’ve read in other historical accounts…mostly fiction also) where he might have given the child to another wife because he’s desperate for an heir and it’s pretty obvious he’s never going to produce one.

  • My laughter over the lack of a twelve step recovery program faded as I read your beautiful tale. “With highly prized feet that fit in a man’s palm, bones bound and crushed in childhood…” set a somber tone for this full and emotional piece. Very well done, Rochelle.

  • Excellent story, and skillfully crafted Rochelle. It’s so easy to get ‘tell-ish’ but with careful construction you managed to get the essence of the story across – the premature/paternity issue. It’s a barbaric custom, and having reached the stage where my feet perpetually hurt, I can only empathise with these poor women. At least I had the ‘joy’ of staggering around in winkle-pickered stilettos to account for my discomfort. ;)

    • Thank you, Sandra. Beside reading the article (above link) I watched a couple of You Tube videos. Indeed the custom went beyond barbaric.
      Your “winkle-pickered” comment has me rolling. I’m a flat-shoes person myself.

    • Just realized I wasn’t following the rules…Hey what else is new? There Now is a warning on my post. Although I do not curse in my post there is a good chance I will in my comments. I try to be respectful of cursing on other writers blogs but to be fair I push the limit when I think the blogger can handle a profanity or two. But on my page please feel free to vent, curse and bring up touchy subjects..I just love that kinda….stuff. That was the word I was looking for! Stuff….sigh.

      Tom

  • This is a very unique and thoughtful story Rochelle. A story of triumph and vindication – sad yet hopeful. It was a barbaric custom and it is unfortunate how women have been treated across cultures and countries and centuries.

    I can’t praise your story enough. It’s a masterpiece – intricate, complex and yet so simply narrated.

  • This is a powerful story, Rochelle. I read it a few times through to absorb and get the full impact. I agree with David, the last part about her unbound spirit tied it all together well. Very provocative, and inspiring for me, personally. You started the year off with a bang.

  • Let me be the first to say what a great story you wrote this week, Rochelle. Oh Wait… I’m not the first? Oh yes, there’s all those early birds… Let me agree with them and all who follow… A beautiful piece again…. You do set the bar high. Wonderful photo by Lora… tell her we’ve missed her.

    My fans have been asking that I not wait till Friday to add my story to the Fictioneers. So I will be joining the Wednesday Fictioneers this week. And, so they do not have to wait to click the Frog… here it is… http://tedstrutz.com/2013/01/02/friday-fictioneers-horror-bright-lights/

    • Dear Ted,
      Maybe we should change the name to weekly Fictioneers? On the flip side of that I have people still posting Tuesday and sometimes after that. The frog goes live at the same time as the page.

  • Can’t say I share their foot fetish. Long slender feet with pretty painted nails are more to my liking.

    Once again, I must commend you for an outstanding story. Like Janet stated, excellent use of bound & unbound to bring the tale full circle.

  • Hi Rochelle,
    That gazebo does look like a shrine, and fireworks were invented by the Chinese, but, honestly, have you been watching a lot of samurai movies? I thought you found a different and interesting take on the photo. Maybe the child will exact revenge. Ron

    • Dear Ron,
      I write whatever the voices tell me. The first thing that popped into my head was the Chinese connection with fireworks. I’ve a fascination with Asian cultures and the subject of foot-binding lodged itself in my head. From there the story bloomed.
      Um…Saurai were Japanese.
      Thanks for your comments. Loved your story this week.
      Shalom,
      Rochelle

  • Hi Rochelle. Loved the story you wrote and read about this custom for the first time. Such a barbaric custom. But you gave it a pretty positive feel.
    This is my first time trying to write a story for your group. I ended up with 2 different stories. :-)

  • Dear Rochelle, a very powerful story. Though footbinding may not still happen, there are still plenty of other tortures perpetrated across the world, so this raises our awareness as well as being really well written. (PS I don’t think her feet helped her marry ‘well’ on this occasion, though it may have seemed so.)

    • On the contrary, Anne. The articles I’ve read, including the one in the link in my intro, the Chinese set great store by those teeny feet. The smaller her feet, the better chances she had for a wealthy husband. That’s too bizarre for me to make up.

  • A powerful and well-written story, Rochelle. Like others, I fear for the child, but the mother’s faith gives me hope, and her own fate is ultimately uplifting as well as tragic.

  • the beauty of historical fiction is you learn something new in an enriched sort of way…like having a full body flavored coffee instead of the bland mild cup. hopefully the foot binding custom is buried deep below in some ancient Chinese temple.
    thanks. :)

  • So sad, and her only possible release from bondage. Having desirable “golden lotuses” didn’t benefit her at all, did it? It was such a cruel custom…it’s shocking to realize that millions of women had to live with bound feet for centuries. I’ll join everyone else in hoping that he was so eager for an heir that he raised her baby as his own child.

  • By the way Rochelle – I want to say this as gently as I can, but I am a little worried about the request for genre labeling, mostly because I do know several people personally who won’t even look at fiction in some genres (I don’t mean categories like erotica; I mean they won’t read fantasy, or won’t read historical fiction, or whatever.) I hope we don’t turn out to have problems of this kind within the Fictioneers group – I suppose we’ll have to see what develops.

  • oh, in case you’re interested, i didn’t put anything about the genre because i didn’t want to give anything away about where the story was going. looking back, i should have done it anyway because i didn’t do very well this week. so just an FYI.

  • Hi Rochelle,

    this was a fine story, however stories like this make me a bit sad ( as the father of two daughters ) for the thought of women as little more than cattle. Still she fought as much as she could.

  • Hi again! Been a little (ok, a lot) remiss in posting recently, so I thought I’d grab your prompt once again and see where it took me. Hope it doesn’t go -too- far off-stream. ;)

    As for your story, wow. As an amateur mythologist (real word or my own creation? Does it matter?) I read a lot and a lot of obscure history and myths and legends, so was very aware of the foot-binding custom, and even have some of my own theories as to the why of it…but going from that to the political drama of the ancient and “inadequate” (that giggled me) Emperor and the woman (bound in three different respects: bound feet, bound in marriage, and bound as in determined) who gave her country an heir and her child an Empire, even at the cost of her own life, was inspired. In so few words you encompassed an entire era of history, two (even three, considering how much concern has been shown the newborn Emperor) fascinating and intense characters, and a reinstatement that no matter what we (women) may feel we’ve been through (and no, I’m not excusing anything), like everything else, there is always someone, somewhere, who has it worse. In other words, awesome story! *grins*

    Btw, are you aware that the process of foot binding is not so ancient as all that? There are still elderly women alive in China today whose feet were bound as children!

    Yours,
    KC

    • Dear KC,
      I’m happy you liked my story and found it to ring true.
      In my intro I site that foot-binding continued into the 20th century until it was abolished by the Communist regime. There’s also a link to a highly informative article in the intro.

  • Wow! That story is (an understatement incoming . . .) awesome! I really don’t know what to say other than that. Great direction to take that picture. Just really brilliant. Wondering how much research you put into that. Mine (which I threw into the mix, finally) seems to be mostly just whims tossed onto a page lol… Not much thought into it, really. But that story, wow!

    • Dear Robert,
      You overwhelm me with praise. Thank you.
      I enjoy research almost as much as I enjoy writing. For me it’s important for the stories to ring true. Then internet is a magnificent tool for finding obscure facts. Some stories don’t require me to do research…but most do in some way or another. The ones that make me dig are my favorites.
      Admittedly, I’m obsessive and rarely spend less than two days on a flash fiction. Everyone has their methods and priorities.
      Shalom,
      Rochelle

  • Hi Rochelle
    Fabulous story again this week – I didn’t think historical fiction would work well in 100 words (due to having to set up a ‘period’ feel to it etc.) but you proved me wrong. Well done :)

  • Hi Rochelle, your story is very moving, and, leaves us with much to think about, in so few words.

    I love your FF opportunity. I forgot to look on Wednesday. I was inspired to write a story to the picture, just the same. Hope it’s ok I post it here for you to read?

    Thank you, Shelly

    A New Year’s Tale
    Genre: Romance

    Bath bubbles were everywhere, including my hair, and my wine. Heading for a  refill, I saw the message light. Bubbles bursting, did he do it again? Click, the voice, my weak knees, telling… he did.

    New Years’ Eve, like many nights this past year, I was alone.

    The harbour lay gracious outside. The old year was fading into new all over the world, resolutions, kicking in. I ran to the fireworks. Taking the stairs, I tripped into the lobby, falling into his arms. By the water, sparkling with fire drops as far as we could see, we kissed. He had made resolutions, too.

    • Dear Shelly,
      Cute story and welcome to Friday Fictioneers. However, while you’r not hurting anything by posting your story here, you’re also not getting much viewing time from others in the group. If I were you, I’d go ahead and paste the prompt on your blog with your story. Then come back and post your link in the links tool. Click the blue froggy guy just to the side of the photo.
      Granted it’s a little late in the week but not out of the question. Some of us go back and look at the list over and over to see if we’ve missed anyone. I’ll be posting the next prompt Wednesday morning.
      shalom,
      Rochelle

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