Friday Fictioneers: The Escape of Meaning

Madison Woods outdid herself with this week’s photo prompt. I just can’t make sense of the picture; I thought I was going to have to skip Friday Fictioneers this week, until I thought of sending my character to an art show where she’ll have to deal with –

The Escape of Meaning

Interesting. Eccentric, but why not? Old-fashioned, too. The guide was a few sheets of paper, stapled together and rustling in the breeze; conceptual art, a tribute to modernism as Picasso knew it.

I’d enjoyed the show, but I just didn’t get this piece. For one thing, I could barely see it, way up there…animal horns pointing in random directions, and was that a skull?

The guide claimed this was the most important work of all.  “Climb the tree, look down from above,” it instructed. I reached for a branch. The guide slipped from my hand and fluttered away, flapping its pages like a misshapen butterfly.

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25 responses to “Friday Fictioneers: The Escape of Meaning

  1. Great concept. The title really makes a strong statement to open the story, and then is tied in again at the last sentence. I really enjoyed it, thanks!

  2. ah… art resembles life, if only life were art, but then perhaps it is.

  3. Like you, I almost skipped today’s post. But now I really like what I came up with. Yours is great, too. Well, that presupposes mine is great. Hmmm. Please check it out, then you can tell me! http://photocitations.wordpress.com/2012/08/17/bury-them-friday-fictioneers/

  4. Wow, what an interesting take! I actually feel this way about a lot of modern art, but that’s just me. 🙂 I like your description of the guide floating away.

    • Thank you! Really, I enjoy lots of modern art – though sometimes what I enjoy is that you can snark at it! (For example, there really is an artwork(?) that I’ve seen in a museum – I think in the Hirshhorn in Washington – that’s just a board painted white.)

      • There are some things (I can’t dignify them by labeling them “art) in the modern section of the Cleveland Museum of Art, that are like things my girls did when they were only a few years old. I was surprised that I enjoyed the Lichtenstein exhibit at the Chicago Art Institute so much. But I did have a blast one year doing a running, but quiet commentary on a Picasso exhibit when a friend and I went. 🙂 Not really into cubism.

  5. Hi Sharon,
    Very clever of you to solve the enigma of this week’s photo by setting it at an art show. Must remember this trick to use myself! Liked the description of the art show and the MC’s stuggle to relate. Great story. Thanks for reading and commenting on my story. Ron

  6. Your story sort of describes my experience of first looking at the prompt. Nice descriptions!

  7. one of these days you will write the book 🙂

  8. a lighter take on the skull in the tree being part of an artists show, nicely done.
    Here is mine yaralwrites.com

    • Thank you! My first thoughts were to write something weird or sinister, but I couldn’t come up with anything that didn’t feel as if my version would be stale and overused, so I kept prodding the image until this version surfaced. Yours is weird, sinister, and fresh – congratulations!

  9. Really unique take on the picture (which I simply saw as an animal’s skull with horns in the crotch of a tree).

    I’m here: http://worksbyclaire.wordpress.com/2012/08/19/short-story-recipe/

    • I think what bothered me about the picture was that the horn on the left – if that’s what it is – gets wider as it grows away from the skull, then ends abruptly. I’ve never seen an animal with horns like that, even in photos of exotic critters; usually horns grow from a fairly wide, solid base and narrow toward the tip. On the other hand, maybe somebody or something just repositioned the horn – that would fit the spirit of your story, I think.

      • I think you’re right, the horn on the left has been repositioned so that the skull and the horns will fit in the gap, and the only way it would do that and stay there for the photograph was the narrow end to be shoved in first.

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