Let’s Play Around with Symbols

Certain things are easy symbols. Thunderclouds suggest trouble ahead. A warm fire in the fireplace is welcoming. Five inch heels suggest an interest in hooking up. A rusty pickup truck signals a struggling farmer or rancher. A German Shepherd dog is trouble. A poodle is not serious. A waning moon means someone is failing. A tuxedo means wealth. Sunrise is hope. And so on. None of these associations is purely true, but when writers stick them into a story, they create an unconscious assumption on the reader’s part.

Can you put these items into a story without using them to suggest their usual association?

Warm fire in fireplace
Five-inch heels
Rusty pickup truck
German Shepherd
Waning moon

23 responses to “Let’s Play Around with Symbols

  1. It was rather difficult to type with one finger down my throat, but I finally got a piece written about the Dreadful Duo and posted it back there under cover of “I’m sure you saw this coming…”

  2. Early this morning, much before the dreaded sunrise and my journey back into reality, I awakened to a snoring which vibrated the air like the growling of a German Shepherd. I rolled toward her, seeing only the back of her head, her coiled and curled hair looking worse than a drowned poodle.

    She turned to me and wrapped her abundant blackness around my skinny Anglo body until together we looked like a rumpled tuxedo after the senior prom. Her poochy lips whispered to me that I needed to warm the fire in her fireplace.

    When she was finished with me, I watched her walk to the bathroom. Her rump rumbled like thunderclouds across a west Texas horizon. I watched her drop her scarlet thong as the vision of a waning moon settled in my mind. How she kept her balance on five-inch heels without crashing like a rusty pickup truck into the toilet I couldn’t understand.

  3. Thanks for making my night!

  4. You just droned a passle of cliches.

  5. The waning moon didn’t deter her. She was intent on lighting a warm fire in the fireplace of seduction. To approach him with thunderclouds rolling in her eyes and strike him repeatedly with bolts of passion.

    Five-inch heels clicked with her every step. Closer she strode towards him, in the direction of a rusty pickup truck where he sat.

    Her Parisian poodle elegance tugged at the German Shepherd curiosity in him. No longer could he resist the temptation. His world once cast in tuxedo contrasts now lit with sunrise brightness.

  6. Well Jeff – I certainly did not have any of the usual associations with any of Ann’s suggested symbols in your piece. Not sure I wanted that picture in my brain but it sure did put a vivid one there. Thanks for the journey.

  7. That’s my Jeffery, LCherry

  8. Thanks, Jeff, for the invitation.

    Fool around, sure, why not? lol

  9. Sunrise dawned wet, dripping, and thunderous, a nasty omen of things to come. The thunderclouds threatened to tear the sky apart, but miraculously dropped a gentle rain, watering the olive crop with vital fluid. The dirt-poor eunuch sharecropper farmer patrolled his wet fields, wearing his usual costume of a tuxedo and 5-inch heels. His rich-as-sin banker rushed up in his rusty pickup – in the bed was his poodle, Killer, and his German shepherd, Fluffy. The banker cried out to the farmer, “Your warm fire in your fireplace got out of hand and is burning your house down! Come quick!” When the farmer sped back to his home, he was relieved to see that the fire had indeed burned the house down, but it was the other house on the property, the one he wanted demolished anyway. The farmer was grateful for his good fortune and as the waning moon rose that evening, he could feel his luck changing.

  10. She wore the threadbare tuxedo with pride to her wedding, its lustrous fabric rippling like a fluffy white thundercloud on a brilliant sunny day. It was the only piece of clothing she owned, because of her homelessness, besides the 5-inch heels she used in her fledgling landscaping business to aerate lawns. Oh, wait, she also owned a poodle skirt she wore to job interviews – maybe that’s why she never got called back. She thought fondly of her gentle father, walking her down the aisle, a shepherd outside Berlin who had a flock of 3,000 sheep and who was very wealthy. Where had she gone wrong? Perhaps she shouldn’t have been drinking so much that day, when she threw a bottle of 120 proof bourbon into the fireplace, setting off a firestorm that burned her house to ashes in less time than it takes to say, “Anyone want ‘smores?” and burning her skin to a crispy, crackling hide of leather. Her guru and officiant for her wedding, Sun Myung Moon, was also certainly on the backside of the hill of success, and his rising son, Moon Unit Zappa, was as hopeless as Obamacare in the land of plenty. Later that day, driving away from their wedding celebration in the borrowed rusty pickup truck, the hapless bride and groom discovered a stash of krugerrands and stolen World War II-era Jewish artwork under the floorboards, which they immediately fenced for a cool $18 million, ensuring that they would now be able buy their own health care insurance, except for the existing condition of her burnt skin, and even own their own fleet of Predator drones, which they could use to harass neighborhood kids who tried to sell them tasteless cookies, stale popcorn, and wrapping paper that ripped like wet toilet paper in a raging thunderstorm.

  11. Jeff sits, stares, his twitching fingers a momentary distraction to the skitzing running rampant through his mind. He needs a fix. A hit. It’s been a day short of two weeks since his last prompt. Nights have been tormenting, mind racing, incoherent thoughts strung together like bead work in some elementary school craft class. He wants to rearrange the keys on his keyboard and type with ferocity believing that the printed results will make perfect sense. To hell with commas piss on punctuation. That’s his point of view. Why won’t she post. Those damn classes of hers. Yea, a gal has to pay the rent. That’s what the hookers say, right? He wants to be faithful. They’ve had this relationship for over a year. Sometimes bitter; other times sweet. Other places catch his fancy, whispering promises empty of truth. They tell him the things he wants to hear. Needs to hear. He feels ashamed. He strays.

  12. Sounds like bricolage plus to me! Nonetheless, no gnawing on keyboards is allowed! Yes, I’ve been bogged down with the way the courses keep growing. I don’t know why people have to be so dang interesting! But they are, so I read and I post (and post and post).

    But I do hear you. I shall post tonight and invite you to dive into the black hole once again.

  13. I had fun with this challenge. It was a good one, Ann.

    It was like something from a mystery novel. I’ll meet you at the Waning Moon lounge at seven. I thought I was going to be late because my poodle was in a fight with the neighbour’s german shepherd and I had to drop the shepherd off at the vet on my way. I need not have worried, I might have a rusty pickup truck, but it has a surprising amount of getup and go. I ended up arriving unfashionably early, so here I sit sipping on my Tequila Sunrise and eating strawberries wearing little tuxedos of white and dark chocolate. I am seated with my back to the warm fire in the fireplace, and I as the minutes tick toward seven I can feel the sweat trickling down my back. Thank heaven I wore black.
    Thunderclouds of faux fog began building from the stage and the band, Five Inch Heels, just started their second set when he walked in the door. The identifying carnation tucked into the lapel of a seventy’s style blue leisure suit.
    Why did I say yes to Martha when she said she would fix me up with a friend of John’s from work?

  14. good one! It’s nice to see John and Martha making an appearance.

  15. eating strawberries wearing little tuxedos of white and dark chocolate. – excellent!

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