Friday Fiction – Perms and Combs

I’ve been convinced it was Wednesday since Monday, but apparently today I’m finally right! I’m like a broken watch – correct twice a day 😉 So, in celebration, Rochelle has put up the prompt, her own photograph this time, and one that gave me several ideas. In the end, I went for this one. If nobody else, I think my Mum will like it. Those who read my post on Numb3rs might also wonder whether I was prompted by the episode I just watched (Season 6, Scratch) and they’d be right.

Anyway, enjoy, and – as always – I welcome your feedback.


Perms and Combs

“I can’t do it,” Shelley yelled.

“Do what?” I asked.

“’kin Maths!”

I ignored the curse.

“It’s pointless.”

“Pointless?” I needed a way to connect with her, then it came to me. The poster on her wall. “Maths is what makes The Slash a genius.”

Slash,” her voice dripped with contempt, “is a guitarist.”

“I know. How many strings on his guitar?”

“Six. I can count, Mum.”

“Six strings. And how many notes does he play? How many songs? All different. That’s Maths.”

She looked at me as though I’d flipped. But she looked at me. We were making progress.


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

39 responses to “Friday Fiction – Perms and Combs

  1. Great example of how to make the connections that make and excite learning. As a former homeschooler, I appreciate that. 🙂 Of course, it’s well-written as always, Jan. Thanks for only putting, ” ‘kin”, BTW!!


  2. Delilah

    That is exactly how I would teach math. I would always try to find a way to connect it to something they found important. I love that you connect it to Slash! (some headbanging and air guitar is so happening right now) It’s also funny because I work for a guitar company now so it all just came full circle for me.

  3. That sounds a lot like something my father would say.

  4. Maths problems used to make me feel like I was banging my head too. Nice lateral touch.

  5. You’ve all of this to come Jennifer – bet you can hardly wait to get stuck into the homework. Enjoyed this, very realistic and very convincing. But best of all you said ‘mathS’!

  6. I love this. She is striving to teach and connection even if only “a look” is truly progress. Also thank you for the clue that “kin” was a curse. Silly me, it took a few reads for the meaning to sink in. Odd because I hated math as a kid and could completely relate. Wish someone had sought to show me math in my language. Perhaps it would have helped.

  7. Love Slash. Love the way a mother tries to get through to her teenager. It’s never easy but very satisfying when successful.

  8. pattisj

    I enjoyed your story, especially ending with the possibility of communication between the mother and daughter.

  9. Wow! You’ve packed so much about this relationship into 100 words. It has a strong emotional impact on the reader. Thanks for the great read.

  10. HI Jen, I had a music teacher when I was a kid who tried to tell me I would be good at maths if I played the piano better. Well I didn’t pay piano well and my maths was equally appalling.

  11. Dear Jennifer,

    I related to this story as both a mother and a daughter. I’m smiling and laughing as I write. So well done. This is one of my favorites for the week thus far. I’m sure it will remain so.



    PS I’m so right-brained. The calculator was invented for such as I. 😉

  12. Dear Jennifer,

    A genius story from a genius writer. This was like watching three elevated trains snaking though the downtown skyline, sparks flashing, wheels clacka-crunching, rails thrumming all syncopated and sexy. A very cool tale from a great mom to a child in whom realization will one day blossom.



  13. Helena Hann-Basquiat

    Most musicians don’t even realize all the mathematics intrinsic in music. Well done with the story.

  14. Hi Jen,
    I have to think this one comes from real life parenting experience, maybe not literally, but you show you’ve been there and know how to cope with the situation. But the best part, I learned a new curse word. Ron

  15. Homework, and maths homework, has never been my forte, but it comes with the territory. I like the way she made a connection for her child… I got a little lost and had to re-read, but sometimes I’m slow on the uptake. I like that you took something so real and simple (helping your child with hw) and tied it to the keyboard.

  16. Lovely and left me wanting to hear more from the characters.

  17. Oh, I need to play November Rain! I love how your characters connected through the music (Mum saying “The Slash” really made me grin). Most children have no idea music and maths are so intricately linked. 🙂

  18. Very clever and an inspiring way to connect with our headstrong kids. I really enjoyed how this was written.

  19. A great story about the often difficult and doubly difficult relationship of mother and daughter/mother and teenage daughter. Great tension in the dialogue. I got ‘kin. And also appreciate Maths over Math, neither spelling helped me at school – I was kicked off the GCE O-level course! Ann

  20. Loved that. I don’t have television so can’t understand the relevance of your inspiration, but still a great story. Sometimes all they need is a seed 🙂

  21. Baby steps – Shelley will get it eventually!
    I hate maths, though I do enjoy “Numb3rs” 🙂

  22. Math.. that was something I thoroughly enjoyed… give me a slash and I’d divide 🙂 but I love your way of motivational speach

  23. Very clever take, well written.

  24. I’ve used nearly the same metaphor to get my own daughter interested in math. Still, the natural side of me rebells at the fact that music is so SO mathematical – and that is why we tap our feet to it. Can’t be denied, but yet, the intuitive side of me hates it.

  25. Nice. 🙂 With teenagers, it’s all about baby steps sometimes, right? I like her way of connecting math to real life.

  26. Great job of making this experience real. A number of parents out there could take a lesson.

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