Flash Fiction Friday: Feeding the Father (inspired by a true story)

Hello everyone. It’s my birthday today so I’m hogging the FFF slot and I was going to write something new but sadly ran out of time. So I’ve chosen a piece from my Fifty 5pm Fiction Collection which mentions today…

Feeding the Father (inspired by a true story)

048 jelly 216738“There we go, Dad,” I say, putting down the bowl of jelly. Dad don’t say much these days. In fact we ain’t spoken for weeks. He just stares at the TV. ’Neighbours’ coming up… his favourite.

I don’t mind doing everything. He and Mum looked after me for years so now it’s my turn but sometimes it gets a bit lonely, just talking to myself.

Dad looks smart today. I put him in his favourite jumper, the blue one. I can’t change his trousers as he’s too heavy but it don’t matter as he don’t go nowhere. I must get him some more aftershave as he don’t smell too good.

Things started going wrong after Mum left. If she hadn’t of gone, everything would be alright. Said she couldn’t take it no more. I know she meant me. Blames me for being stupid. They had rows. Know they had no money ’cause they had to look after me. So, now it’s my turn. Look after my dad.

He’s not hungry tonight – left his food again. He’s not been hungry for a while. “Need your strength, Dad,” I say but he just stares at the TV, looks straight through me.

There’s the doorbell. Don’t answer ‘cause it’s nobody’s business. I can manage just fine on my own. But then I’m not on my own – I got Dad. I turn the TV up loud when they start shouting through the letterbox. If I can’t hear them then they can’t hear me… us. Not that Dad says anything. He don’t seem to mind people shouting at him. I never shout at him. I love him, see.

The letterbox voices have gone quiet.

‘Neighbours’ starts and I laugh. “Everybody needs good neighbours” the voices sing to me. Well, we don’t. Neighbours are nosey. Shouting and banging on the walls. We keep us-selves to us-selves. Don’t need no one sticking their beaks into our business.

When the banging starts again I shut the lounge door. Thump…thump…thump. I feel the room shake then there’s a crash. Voices! The lounge door bursts open and I look at the faces. One man looks at Dad and gasps. Dad don’t look back, he’s too busy staring at ‘Neighbours’.

One of the men grabs me to take me out the room, but I don’t wanna go. Can’t leave Dad… he needs me. Another man goes upstairs and shouts down, “The mother’s up here”. There’s no one up there. I know. Mum left us, she ain’t there. It’s just Dad and me. Me and Dad.

I get bundled in a van and taken to hospital. I don’t like hospitals. Went there when I was seven when I broke my arm. It hurt. And they kept poking my arm to see how much it hurt. Couldn’t they see it did ’cause I was crying? Don’t need no doctors and neither does Dad. He’s got me, he don’t need no one else.

They sit me in a chair and give me a cup of tea with lots of sugar. I like it, it’s sweet. Then they start talking.

Did I know my Dad was dead? “Course he ain’t dead,” I say. Dad just likes watching TV. I feed him so he don’t need to go nowhere.

Then they talk about Mum. I don’t want to talk about her, ’cause she left us. They ask me when I saw her last and I say it was my birthday, 19th August. Dad said I was sixty, but I ain’t that old. No one’s that old.

I tell them Mum left ’cause I was hard work. I know I was hard work but not any more. I do the work. I look after Dad. That’s what I do.

The man then left the room and I heard him talking to someone. Then he came back in and brought me here. I like it here, apart from the voices, but I miss my Dad.

“Mister, when can I see my Dad?”


And here is the article that inspired this piece…

Feeding the father article



Guest post: Fiction Writing: Finding Inspiration within Real Events by Barbara Jolie

Tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of taking inspiration from our surroundings, is brought to you by Barbara Jolie.

Fiction Writing: Finding Inspiration within Real Events

For many, one of the most difficult aspects of writing fiction is finding inspiration. Fiction writing requires a careful balance between writing stories and ideas that are fantastic and magical, while also being believable and approachable. Finding ways to create stories, plots, and characters that demonstrate your creativity, but are also relatable to the average reader can be a challenge. That being said, almost all authors will agree that some aspects of their fictional writing consist of aspects from their actual lives. Whether it is merely a character or an aspect of a character that is inspired by someone you know or it’s an entire plotline that feels very familiar, we pull inspiration from events that actually happen a lot of the time. This doesn’t make our writing any less fictional. It is these real events and real people that help inspire our writing and enable us to write pieces that feel familiar even among the fantastic.

At one point or another in every author’s career inspiration becomes a challenge. Struggling with finding a writing subject, moving a plot forward, or developing a character can be one of the most difficult aspects of writing. It’s easy to feel defeated when inspiration fails us. Don’t give up hope. Of course, there will be times of struggle and times of success in any pursuit. If you find yourself struggling to find a writing topic or you just don’t feel inspired by what you’ve already started working on, take these thoughts into consideration.

The best way to write something that you really believe in is to write about what you know. To some degree this means that you are writing from your own experience. Now, this is not to say that you have to write a memoir or a non-fiction piece; it just means that you need to draw from your own personal experiences and stories. Some of the most engaging pieces draw from real life events. Creating characters that truly feel familiar to readers usually involves writing off of someone you actually know. The character does not have to resemble that person exactly by any means, but you can draw things from that person to place in your character. Even just taking a situation that you or someone you know has dealt with and building your characters responses to that situation from a true event can help to inspire a truly meaningful reading (and writing) experience.

Many writers draw from their own experiences to perpetuate their craft. Take, for example, one of the most prolific and celebrated authors of our modern age Joan Didion. Didion has written within the fiction genre, non-fiction genre, plays, screenplays, and essays. Her work is critically acclaimed and draws inspiration from numerous events and characters within her real life. Her memoir The Year of Magical Thinking and her most recent piece Blue Nights examine elements of her family life and the circumstances of her husband and daughter’s deaths. These books (though not fiction) demonstrate how unfamiliar scenes can be made accessible through familiar feelings and character responses. Both novels spend much of their immediate plots sitting in hospital rooms, exploring doctor’s discussions, and examining medical terms. Didion draws on her experience with illness, hospitals, and eventually death to illuminate the very human feeling of grief, helplessness, and loss.

Think about your own personal experiences and what you can draw from them. Of course, many times we insert aspects of our actual lives into our fictional writing without even really realizing it. This is what writing is all about. But, if you find yourself struggling to really make a character or scene feel real and accessible to the reader, consider your own life. Think about college roommates, important life events, walking the line at graduation, studying the first subject in college that really inspired you—these aspects of your own life can help you create scenes and characters that come alive. To some degree or another, you have to place yourself in your craft. Think of how you or the people around you would react when they are placed in the situation that your characters are placed in. Even if your characters aren’t college students or lying in a hospital bed, those feelings, emotions, and responses you have in those situations may translate well to your character’s situation.

As fiction writers, we can gain from these moments of self-exploration the significance of human emotion in our writing. Even if the setting or plotline is completely unfamiliar (as a college dorm room scene may be for some of us or a fairy kingdom is for all of us), it is the underlying human emotion evoked within our writing that makes a story successful.

That was great, thank you, Barbara!

Barbara Jolie is a full time freelance writer and blogger for onlineclasses.org. She writes about advantages of online classes and is particularly interested in writing and language education. If you have any questions email Barbara at barbara.jolie876@gmail.com.


If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please”.

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