Eustace Diamonds (100)

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To see this week’s photo or more flashes prompted by it, and to learn more about flash fiction, visit Madison Woods and explore the Friday Fictioneers.

When Eustace becomes the dragon, I laugh hysterically. My dad is reading and I can see the tragic comedy captured in this fumbling, speechless boy-turned-dragon on the sand. To me, this is not a parable on greed. It is the ultimate embarrassing moment.

Maybe it sinks in over time because later I am an angry person – and so unforgiving of injustice. I wish I could be a dragon that I might fly in the face of money, or hoard treasure and make friends with lonely people. I wish I could be a dragon that forgets, not an elephant, always remembering.

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54 responses »

  1. I wish I could be a dragon that I might fly in the face of money, or hoard treasure and make friends with lonely people…That’s my quote for the day…Thanks for bringing this on but i couldn’t relate it to the post…is that deliberate? Well Done!

    • Thanks, Charles! It related to the prompt in the sense that it’s about treasure/jewels/gold/money, and related to the rest of the post as I try to explain to Doug below — he asked a more general question so I gave a step by step of the whole piece. Thanks for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

    • Hi Doug! Don’t worry, I think the number of references here are hard to follow and so I’ll give some quick explanations:

      1. The Eustace Diamonds is a book about a woman who refuses to relinquish a diamond necklace (heirloom) to her son even though it rightfully belongs to him. I haven’t read it, but a friend of mine thought it would be a good title for this piece — still I think it might be something of a read herring.

      2. Then Eustace (referred to in the first sentence) is Edmund and Lucy’s cousin in Voyage of the Dawn Treader who gets pulled into Narnia with them and is being a big jerk until he finds enchanted gold and gets turned into a dragon. The scene is hilarious. And terribly sad.

      3. So much of what C.S. Lewis was doing with Narnia actually was in a parable-like form, although I didn’t know that until long after I had read the books and fallen in love with them.

      4. The second paragraph is more a poetic/lyrical turn, although when I say “I wish I could be a dragon that I might fly in the face of money, or hoard treasure and make friends with lonely people,” money basically means capitalism, hoarding treasure is what dragons do, but I was thinking a little Robin Hood style by implication from the previous sentence and lastly, the lonely people are like the little boy in Puff the Magic Dragon.

      5. So it’s a turn about growing up and wishing that things might be different, or as simple as when you were a kid. It’s the expression of a wish that one might be able to become something else in order to save or change things.

      6. The last sentence is a play on the line “an elephant never forgets” and has both a lyrical purpose and an echo, clarifying element to the sentence about hoarding treasure — that I would rather grow up forgetting and being happy than remembering and being sad.

      7. Some hyperbole in there for sure, but I think this explanation will help!

      xo THE (slightly-allegorical-today) LIME!

        • Thank you! I think you might have posted a youtube link on accident…? But I think I read yours this week, so no worries on my account.

          I’m glad you enjoyed it and that you didn’t mind having to be told explicitly about the references. It was a fun week for me despite being somewhat convoluted. See you again Friday!

          • LOL! Oops. I was doing a million things yesterday. Sometimes my cut/pastes get messy. I usually catch them though. Sorry about that!

            Oh, no. My favorite poem is The Wasteland. It is a work that NEEDS every reference to be known and understood to grasp the full significance of the work. This is the sort of stuff I dig reading.

            (I hope you didn’t end up with ‘Everybody Dance Now.’ I was running a joke motivational writing thread yesterday.)

          • hahahaha… I’m just really glad you weren’t sending me a secret message by way of obscure youtube links. I would have needed some help breaking the code πŸ™‚

    • Yes, “plaintive” is a good word for it. I admire all of the allusions you were able to pack into this story, though I didn’t get them myself. I still felt the emotional impact at the end.

      • Ah! I’m glad to hear that, a.m. Sometimes the emotional sensation is the most important thing — and I didn’t really expect everyone to understand/know the background behind the references. I thought it would be good to write back to Doug with a complete explanation because I knew if he wasn’t getting it he would definitely not be the only one. Thank you for the read and the comment!

  2. Lime,
    Like Doug, I had trouble following as well. I really like the boy-turned-dragon concept, but it feels like something is missing.

    This line was really good–“I wish I could be a dragon that I might fly in the face of money, or hoard treasure and make friends with lonely people” Yes!

    I’m no great shakes at writing stories so take what I say with a grain of salt. It is just my opinion. πŸ™‚

    http://thewriternubbin.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/flash-friday-fictioneers-the-voice/

    • Well, Jeannie, thank you for your opinion! I think this was not my strongest week on the concrete front, but I’m probably ok with that. I’ve been writing a lot of very concrete things recently – editorial type stuff that just needed balancing out with a little off-the-wall imaginary stuff.

      Thanks for reading and commenting — I really enjoyed yours!

      • I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings Lime. I’m sorry if I did. I like it–I’m not familiar with some of the imaginary points you had in there and was having trouble following. I’m a bit “aged” and don’t get it sometimes. No, fault but mine. πŸ™‚

        • Oh! Jeannie! You didn’t hurt my feelings at all. I think sometimes it’s hard to read the tone of comments, but I was very grateful for your comment. I think you’re right that something is missing. Carlos pointed out that it might be that I was just reaching for too big a subject matter this week, and I think that may be just what you were also placing a finger on.

          By no means was I offended — I so appreciate the help and thoughtfulness you put into your comment! Thank you thank you!

          • Alrighty, just so you know I’m still learning too and am not an expert by any means. If we’re square, I’m good! Have a beautiful day πŸ™‚

  3. I totally thought you were referring to the most recent Narnia movie when the self-centered irritating kid was turned into a dragon. It changed him in a lot of good ways in the end.

    • Haha — I have to say, the movie was good, but the scene in the book is absolutely a million times better. If you have a chance to check it out, I would definitely recommend it.

      Thanks for the read and the comment πŸ™‚

    • Thank you! I’m glad you felt that POV came through — it was definitely not intended to be too serious, but serious as a child is, if that makes sense. And C.S. Lewis is a champ — woo hoo!

  4. Hi Lime,

    This one totally worked for me, I totally got the Narnia and Puff references (common youth here?!) and thought you lead me through the real to the more introspective second part well.
    My only comment is that in the very last line, I thought it should be “not an elephant, alway remembering”, because that would keep the same structure as the previous phrase about the dragon.

    But otherwise, I loved it!

    I’m over here, taking the prompt much more literally:
    http://elmowrites.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/friday-fiction-15

    • Oh yay! I’m glad you were down with it, Elmo. It’s nice to know that at least someone out there is familiar with some of the same cultural cues.

      I’ll check out the line you mentioned and think about it. I definitely appreciate the thoughtfulness of the comment and suggestion. Thanks πŸ™‚

    • Thank you, Janet! That’s so kind — I love the idea that I helped get anyone’s brain working. The truth is, I think I was just needing to write in metaphor and let myself fly away this week. And I guess that’s really what I did. But it seemed unfair to expect people to figure out where my mind had gone, so I’m glad Doug asked up front so that I could provide some explanation.

  5. Interesting tale, Lime. I too wanted to be a dragon, but only so I could be strong, courageous, and fly everywhere I wanted to go. I even envied Eustace for his luck to be given such an opportunity. Of course, he didn’t see it that way. πŸ™‚

    • I like those reasons for wanting to be a dragon. I think I envied Eustace, too, although it was a long time ago now and I can’t remember much but the laughing. Thanks, Siobhan.

  6. Hi Lime,
    I think I understood the story without knowing the references, that it is about growing up and coming to terms with a very dysfunctional world. As a story, I felt it didn’t flow, mostly because of the two-part organisation of it. A noble effort, perhaps a bit ambitious, or maybe over-thought, for 100 words. It did, however, contain some very effective writing, the last two sentences and the description of the boy.
    I wrote a very quick one as I’m traveling (you get the last laugh: it is unnaturally freezing in LA and now I’ve got a cold).

    • Mm, I think it’s ok that it didn’t flow this week, although I’m glad you let me know that you felt that way reading it. Do you think some additional line breaks might help? Or is it just that it needs more words/more substance to fill in gaps?

      Thanks for the read and comment, as always.

      I’m sorry it’s unnaturally freezing in LA. I hear London is the same, but St. Andrews is sunny skies like crazy. Totally awesome.

  7. I always struggle bringing meaning out of a poem, and this piece definitely rings poetic to me. Certain lines really resonate with me, and those that don’t I just skim over (this is just how I read poetry). But the line I really loved was the first line of the second paragraph. So often do I just skim over things, but then as they percolate in my mind I’ll find more meaning to them and my response become much more emotional.

    Mine’s here: http://threedescriptors.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/flash-fiction-12-the-caper

    • I think that was the exact right way to read the piece. I think I just approached writing it from a more poetic perspective anyway. Thank you for that how-to guide (maybe I should direct confused readers to your comment this week, haha). xo

  8. Actually, I really liked this story and although I didn’t know who the hell eustace diamond was, I figured it was a children’s book I had never read, but I really liked the way you wrote about this bitter person – and their desire not to be so forever. I thought is very touching.

  9. A difficult piece for me to ‘get’ as it were, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. There’s a certain charm to that off-the-wall approach, flying in the face of the more traditional stories found in the ‘Fictioneers club!

  10. Wow, this actually affected me quite deeply. I too grew up with tales of Narnia and Puff the Magic Dragon (among many others) and your story seemed to me about someone growing up in a world at odds with such flights of fancy. That they have trouble reconciling such things and almost losing that sense of wonder and adventure… I don’t know, I find this sad. I hope such a thing never happens to me. I wouldn’t say I have my head in the sand but I still find time to push open the back of that wardrobe…
    I thought your story was very well written and stirred both my thoughts and emotions in ways I hadn’t expected. Thank you πŸ™‚

    • Thank you, Andy. I think it was sad — melancholic, maybe, and certainly nostalgic. I think I can still get to the wardrobe myself, but sometimes it seems very far away. I can’t tell you how glad I am to hear that you could feel all this in the post, though, because I do think it’s evidence that this is a piece written for a particular audience — who happens to have experienced the works referenced.

      Your comment was very kind. Thank you again!

  11. I was confused and flummoxed only because I never grew up reading the Narnia and Puff the Magic Dragon tales and had no idea how it related to Madison’s ph. prompt. Your explanation to Doug was informative and opened a new world for me. Made me realize what I had missed. I went back, read it again and saw a brilliant poetic piece. The other comments helped to sort out the puzzle for me as well. Nice work. Here’s my simple one:
    http://www.triplemoonstar.blogspot.com

    • Lora — thank you for taking the time to go back and forth like that! I realize that it may have been a less coherent post for people without that cultural reference point and I’m glad I was able to give a line by line so early in the comments because I think it helped a lot of people find the piece more enjoyable.

      I promise not to be so esoteric next week πŸ™‚

  12. I liked this. Maybe because I *do* feel like the dragon, which is perhaps why I love the loose stones so much and I don’t have much of a memory for details regarding past insults or hurts (except for very specific ones that for some reason stick). A scorpio born in a dragon year only heightened all that, maybe πŸ˜‰

    • Ah, thank you Madison. I do think it was a less “popular” post this week, but I was looking for that more imaginary, off-the-wall space and I’m glad to have done it here and I’m glad that it was enjoyable for you. I think I might be a dragon year baby as well, although now I can’t remember.

      Thank you for hosting as always.

      P.s. Love your new gravatar, very nice picture πŸ™‚

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