Tag Archives: hope

The song of the old country

I’m lying in a hospital bed after having had knee surgery, writing this on my phone. That’s right: nothing stops me from doing Friday Fictioneers!

image

The Song of the Old Country

“At first it was a scuffle, and then a big kerfuffle. How we all did grieve when we had to leave.”

Grandpa’s songs always started like that. Then he would sing about the paradise of the old country before the war.

Grandpa’s light-hearted songs could not prepare me for the reality. Even as an adult and wearing a radiation suit, my eyes filled with tears as I looked out over the blighted wasteland.

I turned to go when a flash of green caught my eye. A clump of clover had burst from the poisonous ground. Grandpa’s old country was returning.


The Sun Blossom – Visual Fiction

Visual Fiction is back, although I’m sure most people did not realize it was gone. This is a story based on a picture that I took myself. The point was originally for other people to take the picture and write their own story as well, although not many have. Still, you are more than welcome to write your own story if the mood strikes you. This story is dedicated to my dad and mom, since I think they’ll like it.

taken in Jeonju, Korea

taken in Jeonju, Korea

The Sun Blossom

What do you do with something so wonderful, so precious that finding it is the highlight of a lifetime?

Rex found the sun blossom when he was going out to drown himself. It wasn’t because of one big thing–no divorce or financial catastrophe–just years of tiny negatives that built up like a black hole under him, undermining all his hopes. He planned on walking into Carson’s Bay and not coming out, until he saw the sun blossom, shining with the unbearable intensity of the tiny star that it was. The impossibility of something that marvelous existing, while at the same time being without a doubt right in front of him was shocking. It hit him like a sledgehammer of hope, right in the heart. He could almost hear the shower of tarry despair tinkle down all around him. He had to take the sun blossom with him, so he carefully dug it up and carried it home, getting second-degree burns all over his face in the process.

He took pictures, video, even called his friends over to see. No one believed him, of course. “Fake,” they said. “Photoshopped, clearly.” They even called it fake when they were looking at it with their own eyes, which confused Rex a bit. After a while, he stopped telling people.

It was like nothing he had ever seen before, so otherworldly, yet so comforting; so perfect, yet so fierce and wild at the same time. He left the plant in a pot on his window sill one day and came back to find the house burned down. All that was left was the sun blossom, still glowing in its pot and surrounded by a house-worth of ash and soot. Rex was a little perturbed, but the sun blossom was unharmed, so what was one house compared to that,  really?

He loved it and never wanted to leave it anywhere, but at the same time, he felt bad for keeping it all to himself. Finally, he went down by Carson’s Bay and built a shack out of driftwood and replanted the sun blossom by the shore. He put an ad in the local paper: “Want to commit suicide? Carson’s Bay is a great place!” A few people showed up and then more and more. Some days there was a line of potential suicides twenty people long, coming down to the bay past Rex and the sun blossom. Not one of them made it to the water but more than a few hugged him with tears in their eyes and thanked him for his ad.

The sun blossom soon became big news. People in expensive suits began showing up at Rex’s shack, offering him endorsement deals for the use of the sun blossom in their ads (“Drink Redbull! You’ll glow like the sun blossom!”) The city adopted it as their symbol. Some people began claiming it cured cancer and athlete’s foot. One person said it whispered the future to him. Rex was sure this was all nonsense. But he didn’t own it; he had only found it. There was a lot of confusion and lots of money being thrust at him, but in the end, Rex stayed in his shack. He talked to anyone that wanted to hear his story and he listened to others’ as well. They met around a fire on the beach and everyone talked and had a good time together. No lies were allowed, just open honesty.

Rex wants me to pass on a message (he ran out of money for newspaper ads). If you’re lost in the darkness of despair and keep banging your nose on unseen walls and stubbing your toes on hidden obstacles, swing by Carson’s Bay. The sun blossom is waiting.


Visual Fiction – Birds of Hope

I had toiled many days through the snowy mountains until my strength and spirit were almost gone. I was about to despair when I came to an area where stone lanterns sat, capped in snow. Nothing was moving, save a few small birds, which filled the air with their chirping. I tried to move on, but they fluttered around me, always blocking my way.

Stone lantern

Taken in Odaesan National Park, Korea

I finally held out my hand and one of the birds came and perched on it. It may have been my fatigued state, but it seemed to me that the bird spoke to me. “There is hope,” it said. “You have wandered many days and do not know, but today is Christmas. It is a day when all people can find hope, for it was the day that the great Hope came into the world.”

friendly bird

With that, it flew away and although it would not come back to my hand again, I followed the birds to a hidden path and found myself at last in the land of life and hope.


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