Daily Archives: February 15, 2013

Friday Fiction – Mirror

This week’s picture comes from David Stewart via Rochelle and the Fictioneers. I’ve included some previous drafts, although as ever if you just want to read the story itself, that’s cool too.

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Mirror (Genre: Modern Fable)

The artist called the sculpture Mirror. The critics were perplexed. Some described “A man, reaching toward his destiny, held back by his personal demons”, others talked of “One man, dragging another out of the gutter”.  “If it’s a mirror, it belongs in the fair. The man is elongated and distorted,” said one, refusing to be drawn on meaning.

Years later, the sculptor finally broke his silence. “In itself, it means nothing. A mirror doesn’t change,” he said. “But show that mirror to a thousand men, they will all see something different … and they will all see something of themselves.”

 

V1

The artist called the sculpture Mirror. Critics were divided: many questioned the choice of name. “If it’s a mirror, it belongs in the fair,” said one, picking up on the strange perspective of the piece.

Describing it, some talked of “A man, reaching toward his destiny, held back by his inner daemons”, others of “One man, dragging another out of the gutter”. “The Chinese figure is depicted standing on one leg, the other elongated and buried in the sand behind him,” said The Times, refusing to be drawn on meaning.

Years later, retired and fading, the artist finally broke his silence about the sculpture. “In itself, it means nothing. A mirror doesn’t change,” he said. “And yet, show that mirror to a thousand men, and they will all see something different … and they will all see something of themselves.”

[The hardest thing about this piece, once I’d come up with the idea, was the order of it. Because it doesn’t really have a beginning, middle and end, I wasn’t sure what to put where. So many of the changes are to the order. I’m still not sure it’s entirely right. Interestingly, this is also a problem i’m having with my novel editing, although for slightly different reasons.

The other problem was length, this is 140 words, and didn’t feel as though it included much fluff.]

 

V2

Critics were divided. Some described “A man, reaching toward his destiny, held back by his personal demons”, others “One man, dragging another out of the gutter”.

The artist called the sculpture Mirror. “If it’s a mirror, it belongs in the fair. The man is elongated and distorted.” said the art critic for The Times, refusing to be drawn on meaning.

Years later, the sculptor finally broke his silence. “In itself, it means nothing. A mirror doesn’t change,” he said. “And yet, show that mirror to a thousand men, they will all see something different … and they will all see something of themselves.”

[Almost on point for length, this still didn’t feel quite right for order. And the emphasis seemed to be in the wrong places. Hopefully, the final version feels more balanced.]

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