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Rochelle at Friday Fictioneers offers her community of writers a weekly opportunity to write a 100 word story in response to a photographic prompt.  This week, the photo prompt is provided courtesy of Courtney Wright.

As an English teacher, I sometimes also struggle to get texts I've read or am teaching out my head; some texts just linger.  As such, this story also functions as a response to Ali Cobby Eckermann's 'Black Deaths in Custody', a poem I recently taught to my Year 8 class.

They push the rope under the door of the cell.  The twine, matted together by blood, catches on the concrete, leaving behind a path of red.

It slithers, snake-like, coiling beside me.

The silence follows, skulking in the corners and erasing the walls, dissolving space.

I feel unsafe.

The silence sidles up to me, making a cage within a cage.

The silence patrols my body, its fingers pummelling the skin mixing blueness with black.

When the silence points to the rope I know what to do, know I have no choice.

The silence helps lift my boots off the floor.

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Rochelle, host of Friday Fictioneers, challenges her community of writers each week to compose a short (100 word) story in response to a photographic prompt.  This week, the prompt is provided courtesy of Connie Gayer.

The Forest
When asked to draw a family tree she sketches a forest.  Charcoal pines stalk the borders of her page, their blackness billowing behind them like warnings.  With each smudge they creep closer; a crowd sneaking towards the centre.
There, another pine.  A sapling, perhaps.  Smaller than the rest.  Slight.  Leaves curling inwards around arms that cross, that say NO WAY, that say GO AWAY.
Bark and branches crackle.  The sound fills empty spaces and slaps into subservience words that dare defy their desires. 

When next asked, she again sketches a forest.  This time: a hole where the sapling once stood.  

"Word-work is sublime"

Toni Morrison, in her Nobel Lecture, tells us that:

"[w]ord-work is sublime... because it is generative; it makes meaning that secures our difference, our human difference - the way in which we are like no other life."
By this she means that the beauty, joy (and sometimes terror) of language is that it has the capacity to facilitate emotional, intellectual and physical change in ways unique to humans.

I am keen for my students to engage in the process of change and creation; I want them to write worlds that have been, worlds that exist and the world that will come.  I want them to use writing to better know themselves.

If I am asking them to take that risk, to put in that work, it seems only fair that I too participate in the process.  After all, how can I be a writing teacher, let alone the write type of teacher, if I am not also writing!


Rochelle at Friday Fictioneers offers her community of writers a weekly opportunity to write a 100 word story in response to a photographic prompt.  This week, the photo prompt is provide by Rochelle herself!

In a world without mirrors I…
Search for myself in the kitchen, piecing together fragments to make a Picasso-esque portrait of youth:
nose distorted by the curve of the faucet irises lost in the dark window of the microwave hands segmented by the patterns in the crystal.
Seek out my silhouette in magazines, only to find that ‘Kardashian’ does not quite fit.
Turn to him, hoping that the baritone of his voice will help sketch the pieces of me that are missing.
In a world without mirrors I must find another way to see, another way to be… me.