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The Photograph

by PaulaBlake 

Posted: 23 January 2005
Word Count: 400


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Mum has cut my hair again, badly. We havenít been able to afford luxuries since she and daddy stopped living in the same house, trips to a real hairdresser included. Today is Sunday, bath and hair wash day. My long fine hair has gone fluffy and due to my mother being scissor happy, my fringe seems to have decided not to like my eyebrows.

My sister and I hate having our picture taken. Mum doesnít just take a few snapshots, she has to set the scene (usually with a backdrop of a sheet, or carefully arranged furniture and a daffodil or two) she makes sure we look ok (as ok as you can with one inch of fringe), tries us in several poses while we wriggle about making each other giggle to releive the boredom, then she is happy and takes a single picture. She must know what she is doing because that single photograph is usually perfect.

We have a big big garden with a few fruit trees, a greenhouse - where my grandad grows giant sunflowers and tomatoes, a vegetable patch and swing ball. Unfortunately the railway runs along the bottom, and we have to keep away in case we suddenly get run over by a train. We have a big double fishpond with a bridge over it. I dipped Molly in there once, feet first, I thought she might like the water but she wasnít pleased and ran away for a while. I didnít know cats donít really like to swim.

Once we had a pet rabbit, Thomas, he was a lovely, grey ball of fluff with one white rabbit paw. He didnít stay long, and went to play with the angels one day after next doorsí Alsatian came to play with him.

Mum has got me sitting on the bridge over the pond holding one of her roses (that happens to smell like Nanny) up close to my nose. She hasnít taken the picture yet because the wind is blowing my hair across my face. I donít know how long I can sit still in this itchy brown polyester dress of mine.
ďlook over at the greenhouse, thatís it, hold still, no you're squinting, look at the house, and back at the greenhouse, try to stop your hair going in your faceĒ Mum is funny.

Whereís my Sindy doll? I wonder if she want's a swim?








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Comments by other Members



bjlangley at 14:22 on 24 January 2005  Report this post
Paula, I think you capture the young mind well here, thinking about some things, yet accepting others without question. As a story, it's going off on all of these tangents (like the rabbit and the Alsation) that I think would work better if the main part of the story was built up a little more. Perhaps more focus on the photograph, with the mother trying to get the position right, whilst the young girl keeps getting distracted by remembering the train, the rabbit etc?

All the best,

Ben

Becca at 18:47 on 24 January 2005  Report this post
Hi Paula,
I do agree with Ben regarding the jumping about. The story is called 'The Photo', and yet taking photos is only one aspect of it. I felt that the story beneath was about the relationship between the girl and her mother.
It's done in monologue style and so I don't know if you intended to weave a story into it or not, but as disjointed thoughts there's not a lot to 'get into', if you see what I mean. This could be the beginnings of something with quite a lot of depth, and the innocent tone could be a counter-point to something more mysterious, or intriguing. The absent father for example is one throw-away line, could something be made of his leaving and the mother's photography?
Becca.

PeterOC at 00:46 on 29 January 2005  Report this post
Hi Paula and welcome to the group.

This is a nice piece, all right it does meander a bit but as it's told from a childs perspective that kind of narrative feels about right. It did leave me with a few questions though, like is there anything that happens later that makes these photos so special? I'm kind of assuming that this is the start of something longer though you haven't mentioned this. I certainly would like to see more.

All the best,

Pete

Dominic at 16:24 on 01 February 2005  Report this post
Very nice scene. Liked that it wasn't toatally dominated by the separation mentioned early on. I'll look forward to seeing your next piece.

jdsharpe at 22:28 on 23 February 2005  Report this post
I really liked this, you really captured the mind of a child and had me drawn into that mind. Really wonderful. And the line "my fringe looks like itís had a fight with my eyebrows." Made me laugh out loud.

James


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