Tuesday, November 16, 2010

They Gave Me 125 Words

ferns autumn

This past week, Gordon Atkinson wrote a beautiful tribute for a friend who died. The week before, David Rupert had been charged with the task of putting his father's life into 125 words. David found the task daunting, and considered what it might be like to write his own obit.

All of this got me thinking (writing), which first appeared as a comment on Gordon's piece. Some of you have probably, therefore, already seen this...

Upon Writing My Obituary,
I Exceeded the Word Count by 14

She loved a good poem, a good chickpea with garlic and spices,
and a good afternoon of finding orange mushrooms or wine berries
in the woods. She once fixed an iron, tried to save her grandmother’s chair
(but the butter-yellow paint came off in bits), and tried to fix words so people could maybe find their own fixing within. When she was a girl she had short wavy hair, with a curl in the middle of her forehead. Her mother read her that rhyme about the girl with the curl who “when she was good was very, very good” but “when she was bad she was horrid.” She wanted you to know (as if you couldn’t have guessed) that even though she grew up and styled her hair straight with a blow dryer, the curl was still really there.

This post is offered for One Shot Wednesday.



Blogger Kathleen Overby said...

It is fun to imagine people as children. You are no exception. Precious child.

8:18 AM  
Blogger David Rupert said...

Brilliant! Glad you got inspired. It just makes you think about what's really important. And for you, it's very apparent.

Now, just keep the family from ruining it!

8:19 AM  
Blogger SimplyDarlene said...

Oh miss, we do find our fixing within your words because we see how His beauty constantly intertwined with your forehead curl.

So, you love a good dish of hummus? Do you scoop with bare fingers and lick the bowl clean of lemon pulp and garlic bits too? Or do you just use crusty bread?


11:38 AM  
Blogger Maureen said...


We live in our details. . . and these are so much more enlightening than the usual stuff of obits.

12:23 PM  
Blogger Glynn said...

You left out a line (yeah, I know it makes the word count go higher):

She gave them words,
and they sang.

1:47 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I love this, LL . . . and chickpeas ;)

1:51 PM  
Blogger Kathleen Overby said...

I like girlfriends who make fresh hummus, yes I do. Will you be mine? :)

3:30 PM  
Blogger Louise Gallagher said...

This is a brilliant piece! Wow! And I'm going to use your words to fix myself within a peace of my own!

3:39 PM  
Blogger Steve Isaak said...

Good use of images.

5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a lovely, sweet prose poem. So much wonderful little detail throughout. Thanks so much for sharing it.

6:02 PM  
Blogger Deidra said...

Absolutely perfect!
You are a fixer, in a good and wonderful way.

7:55 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

I like that girl immensely! I think it is brilliant to know yourself so well L.L. You area gift - little girl.

8:03 PM  
Blogger Beachanny said...

Oh the girl who wants to save and fix might have a temper perhaps, but was never really horrid...difficult perhaps, but never horrid. Life is a series of redefining who we are. Probably ought to write one of these every so often. This, well done.
Thanks, Gay @beachanny

8:34 PM  
Blogger Misha said...

I love that poem - and love this idea. Well done!

8:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Writing one's own obituary reveals what is important and it is clear what is important to you - I enjoyed reading this.

10:13 PM  
Blogger Matt Priour said...

A 125 word obit would be very hard to actually capture the arc of life in. I think you do a wonderful job of capturing a snapshot of essence that blossoms into so much more in your mind with this poem.

I submitted my 1st poem to OneShotWednesday at http://dragonbutter.posterous.com/erosion

1:11 AM  
Blogger Jerry said...

We often sing that rhyme around here. Lots of girls. Lots of curls.

8:22 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

I'm sorry you died - you sounded like such a nice person. (LOL!)

Writing one's own obit is an interesting idea, but I'm in too good of a mood to attempt it just now.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Jenne' R. Andrews said...

This is made powerful with the things in it that carry the weight of the meaning-- brava! xxJenne'

11:17 AM  
Blogger Shashidhar Sharma said...

Dear LL Barkat
Its beautiful..
ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya
Twitter: @VerseEveryDay
Blog: http://shadowdancingwithmind.blogspot.com

12:19 PM  
Blogger Marshy said...

loved this...maybe i should try? not just yet eh? cheers Pete

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Heather Grace Stewart said...

Loved this--having fun looking around your blog.

9:52 PM  
Blogger Brock S. Henning said...

L.L., there's that curl again! ;)

"...a good poem, a good chickpea with garlic and spices...orange mushrooms or wine berries."

Those words immediately kick-started my worn-out-late-in-the-day senses. Very nice. :)

7:05 PM  

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