across flowerless gravel the drift of a passer-by’s perfume
Beachcombing for the Landlocked
Kaspa writes: We’re just under half-way through the small stone challenge and I’ve enjoyed seeing the huge variety of small stones appearing in the comments here, and on Facebook and twitter using the #smallstone hashtag.
My favorite small stones show me something as if I’m experiencing it for the first time. In a few words or lines the writer invites me to stand next to them and be in that same moment. In my favorite small stones the writer almost disappears.
The sharp-eyed of you will have spotted that I’ve featured a small stone today that we also featured a couple of days ago. I think this small stone is a good example of what I’m talking about, and (if I’m honest) I forgot that we used it earlier.
In that small stone, by Mark Holloway, a whole world is conjured in just one line. I am standing next to him smelling the same perfume.
There is something about loss in this small stone. The gravel is explicitly flowerless, the passer-by has used her perfume to provide a beautiful scent the flowers would have made if they were still there.
I like that the loss isn’t spelled out here, Mark doesn’t say how he feels about his encounter with this moment, although I think the very act of contrasting the gravel and the perfume gives us a clue to his feelings.
If Mark had told us directly how he felt, I think it would be harder for me to stand where he is standing, and experience the loss for myself. I would be reacting to his feeling, instead of feeling my own reaction to that moment.
I think it’s a powerful small stone for this reason. I am allowed to have my own encounter with the gravel and the perfume.
Can you get yourself more out of the way in the next small stone you write?
We’re on the fourteenth day of the January Mindful Writing Challenge – please post your small stone in the comments below.
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