Flash Fiction: Numb

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PHOTO PROMPT © Sarah Potter Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers. Other stories featuring the prompt can be found here.

TANNILLE: Why is everything I write crap? So flat, colourless. 

MUSE: You place too many restrictions on me. No more killing Muse, only be happy Muse, the world doesn’t need another sad story Muse, too dark Muse… 

TANNILLE: OMG you killed Ken, Dionysus and Pandora, last month – you bastard! 

MUSE: Those deaths are impactful as South Park bumping Kenny off every episode. You’re trying to be happy when you’re grieving. You smother me with appointments, emails, shopping, renovations. Distractions only work for so long.

TANNILLE: Life in Perth is better than pretty much everywhere on the planet, can’t complain.

MUSE: So, you pretend life is unicorns and kittens for yourself, while you worry about everyone else?

TANNILLE: It’s worked up until the past week. Pete would want us to keep writing and inspire. What do you suggest?

MUSE: Feel.

~ * ~

Story in context…

Early October,  someone dear to my heart unexpectedly passed away.  For 10 years, Peter mentored me like a protege. We facilitated local writing groups together, shared stories, discussed writing topics, tortured ourselves with NanoWriMo, celebrated Halloween and Christmas, and drank a hell of a lot of coffee. We had a reoccurring argument over the existence of writer’s block.  Ironically,  I won that one the last time I saw him. This post is my 100th, and as my biggest champion, he would have celebrated the milestone. 

For three days I was a mess and then calm. I thought the grief passed; I picked myself up and carried the torch for the both of us. However, the past week or so has been hard. I wrote a short story and Peter was always the writer I turned to for feedback. Ouch…  From a writing stand point, since his passing, stories are taking a lot longer to write and are hit or miss. Sometimes the ideas are there, but the words don’t come. Odd. Focus can be an issue. 

The worse part is I’m disconnected from my internal worlds. Playing in fictional lands is my escapism, keeps me sane and euphoric. The realm feel lost to me. 

Time heals… Grief is like catching a wave on the ocean, hop on and ride to shore. No point fighting against the tide. 

Who knows, maybe The Muse will hand me back the keys to my kingdom sooner than I think… In the meantime, “Oh my God Pete, you killed Tannille’s muse…” 😈


  1. Truly sad to learn about Pete.
    He’ll be giving God company.

    May God give you strength.
    Loss of a dear one is tough to bear.
    Time heals. You take care.
    Keep writing. Pete will like that.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Dearest T. I feel your pain. Losing a close friend, a partner (of any type), a confidante, a (fill in blank here) is never easy. We feel lost and untethered. Your muse is there. Hell, he/she comes out when you think you’ve got nothing. Just breathe. It is still raw and fresh. Sending you hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m toying with the idea of giving up on the larger stories (they feel lost at the moment) and seeing if I can create something new, or revisit some old flash fiction gems and work on expanding. But you’re right losing someone you care for is the hardest thing in life, and worse still, you know they would want you to follow your dreams. It’s an emotional rollercoaster!

      Thanks D

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nothing wrong with that. Good ideas, for sure.
        And, just so you know, that roller coaster is gonna run for a good while. Hell, next month will be six years for my hubs and it feels like I’ve missed him more this year (course, COVID didn’t help…)

        Liked by 2 people

  3. It has to be much harder to heal when your escapism is the same thing that reminds you of the pain. The pain and numb will end, and you’ll find the joy in writing again. Keep at it.

    Poor Kenny. I miss the days when he died in every episode.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think I might have to give up on ImmorTales play for a while (something for the new year). Might try something new, less intense. Maybe revisit some old flash fiction that I wanted to expand.

      I started watching some of the newer SP episodes from a few years back. Not into the new format – over arcing storyline and no killing Kenny. Not sure when they changed it. I did laugh the last ep I watched, Cartman fell in love with Google’s Alexia because she agreed with him over everything. Hahaha.

      Thanks N

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Writing begets writing. I wrote my short story, slowly, bit by bit over two-three weeks. After that, I jumped back into the chapter I was stuck on in my book. Ideas started flowing. Now, I have direction. Write what you can. Break the block and let it flow.

        South Park hasn’t been the same since they went to the serialization format. It’s still funny. The humor remains, but few shows can maintain 20+ years much less continue to improve. I miss their Christmas episodes. That was always the best part about Christmas, South Park Christmas episodes. They haven’t done one of those in years.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You are correct 99% of the time and 1% the magic just doesn’t happen. The story I wrote is as flat as I feel. I’ll try again when I have time. I’ve started planning for 2021. I think space will help. 2020 has made us jailed in our own homes.

        Aww you just miss Mr Hanky… No sure what it is with you and doodoo. 😀. I think the first seasons of SP were quotable. It’s still watchable

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You are correct 99% of the time and 1% the magic just doesn’t happen. The story I wrote is as flat as I feel. I’ll try again when I have time. I’ve started planning for 2021. Next year I’ll go back to treating writing like a job. I think the new work space will help. 2020 has made us jailed in our own homes, climbing the walls.

        Aww you just miss Mr Hanky… No sure what it is with you and doodoo. 😀. I think the first seasons of SP were quotable (oh the memories). The new episodes are still watchable. So yeah, it’s held up well. On S22 now.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. This trapped at home should have been the perfect time to get writing done, but I haven’t been in the right mindset. I’m hoping I’m finally breaking through.

        Doodoo’s funny. 💩 Howdy ho!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yeah strange how that works – the more time you have, the less time you have.

        Doodoo’s funny? You’re still a kid at heart. I bet you’d mail me some if you thought you could get away with it?

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Yep. That’s why it’s easy to write kids’ stories. Fart jokes abound. Of course, I would mail you doodoo. That’s a festive Christmas tradition here, in America, in honor of Mr. Hankey.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I bet you make fart noises with your arm pit too… 😀
        Hmmm something to look forward too in the mail… but I would prefer something less smelly, so don’t go posting yourself… 💩💩💩

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I totally get where you’re at. I felt much the same when my mom passed. I’ve struggled since, and for a long time I didn’t write a single word. Slowly it coming back but not the same.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aww B *hugs*. Worst part is, I’m sure she would want you to write. Not that easy though. I suspect the key is to keep trying but don’t force it? Accept if the mind draws a blank?

      Thanks B!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m sorry for your loss. Losing people close to us is so very hard. You’ll have to play his part now in reviewing your own work. You know what he would probably tell you. Read them aloud and he’s probably there listening.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. So sorry for your loss. I lost a dear friend 12 months and the sharpness of the grief still hits me when I’m least expecting it, as if the world can never be the same without her in it. I’m sure your Muse will be supportive.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s the worse part, it sneaks up like an assassin and stab, stab. I’m sure our muses will return in full swing… eventually.

      Thanks S, it’s comforting to know I’m not insane… well no more than usual.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. So sorry for your deep loss. Being able to right about it could be therapeutic—not sure if that was a statement or a question :). Anyway, I enjoy these exchanges between you and your muse, but this one felt different, and now I understand why. Blessings to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Congratulations on your 100th post! Even though the muse is quiet, your conversation with him/her is entertaining. I lost my mom in late summer. Have been “locked-down” in another country and didn’t get the chance to say goodbye. But she made a little video for me. It’s too hard to watch too often, but she told me to “keep writing.” So, even if it’s crap, I keep writing and hopefully at least some of it isn’t. Keep writing, T! Pete’s proud!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s the hard part isn’t it? We know our passed love ones would want us to write but there are blockages. They would hate that. I’m sorry about your mom, I think that would be the hardest loss for most people. And the lockdown, what a double punch. I think you’ve done great blogging. On step at a time, one word at a time. Many hugs.

      Thanks B

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m so sorry for your loss T. My condolences. What you say is absolutely correct, grief is like a wave and it will pass in its own time, we don’t get to choose the timing. In the meantime I think Peter would say the same thing to you that Muse said, “Feel.” Wishing you the best as you cope with the loss of your friend and your muse.

    Liked by 2 people

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