Friday Fiction – Decisions

Something very much out of the blue for me today, thanks to Erin Leary’s curious photo.  I normally keep my personal life out of my writing, but we’re deep in the throes of a difficult decision and this story (story? It’s more of a rant!) burst forth from that. I’ve tweaked it into fiction, so if you know me, don’t read too deeply into it as though it’s pure fact, but still, I can’t deny the grain of truth inside the pearl of fiction.

Your feedback is always welcome.



The thing about life is, it thrives. Everywhere. In the deepest depths of the ocean, without light or air, 4,000 species of foraminifera make their home. Put damp shit in a dark cupboard, and bingo! Mushrooms in spring. Ice floes, deserts, oceans … name a place; something calls it home.

So I sit here, with spreadsheets and binders, pros and cons, glossy brochures and coffee-stained print-outs, all weighing in on the dilemma of where to live, and I think “pretend you’re a foraminifera. Wherever you go, you can thrive”, but really, I have a suspicion I’m more like a mushroom.




Filed under British Expat in Canada, Friday Fiction, Writing

43 responses to “Friday Fiction – Decisions

  1. Ha of course I had to look up foraminifera .. love the word.. finding a home is not easy.. sometimes it feels like a lottery…. so maybe spinning the wheel is one alternative.. Personally a big factor was the name of the street (it has my name in it)

  2. Foraminifera (at least the photos I saw online) are quite beautiful, Jen. Thanks for the intro to them. I really do hope your not covered with damp shit right now, of whatever figurative kind, and that your decision works for the best. Your story raised some interesting questions in my mind, though, about my own life.


    • Lovely to know I got you thinking, Janet, and I’m glad you saw that last line in all its glory. I’m hoping it’s one of those situations where there’s no wrong answer – even if we land up in the shit, we’ll continue to grow!

  3. I knew nothing about foraminifera so thanks for the introduction. It’s true we can all live pretty much anywhere, it’s the getting up and moving that makes it hard – at least for me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. May all go well.

  4. Dear Jennifer,

    If ever I heard Winter talking, it’s in this story. I could be wrong, and probably am, but the image of you finally having had your fill of living in the ice cube tray of the world and feverishly hunting for anyplace that has more than two seasons (11 months of winter and one of summer) has me chuckling. Tell me I’m wrong.

    Lovely story, my sweet, unique and frozen friend.



    • A little oversimplified, but not entirely wrong. Canada has much to recommend it; the winters are not in the list though. Technically it’s apparently Spring now, but the 8cm of snow and power lines down because of freezing rain we’ve had this week tell a different story!
      To misquote the Bard: now is the winter of our discontent; we look forward to glorious summer.

  5. gahlearner

    I’ve lived in Alberta for a while, and loved the winter… but never mind. Great take on the prompt, and remember: making something as tasty/valuable/hallucinogetic/deadly out of shit as fungi can do: this is very special.

    • Fungi are incredible – life is incredible and I genuinely believe it (human and otherwise) can thrive in some amazing places. The winters aren’t all bad here, and I suspect even harsher where you were, but it’s a long time to wait for Spring!

  6. I liked this a lot…the images are so clear…and you probably write about your personal life more than you know…it has a way of sticking its nose into your prose, as it were. Nice writing.

    • I agree it does, but I also write a lot of characters and narrators who very much aren’t me, like last week’s dog person. There is something of me there, of course, but the headlines are other. If that makes sense.

  7. home will always be where the heart is. no ifs and no buts… 🙂

  8. Dear Jen,

    Do I foresee a move for the Pendergast clan in the not too distant future? At any rate, your story made me smile. I’m sure you’ll bloom an thrive wherever you’re planted.



  9. Go towards the warmth and light and leave the shrooms to fend for themselves.

  10. Having moved house a few months back, I feel your pain. We spent the best part of a year waiting for the right house; it can be a frustrating time, so just hang in there. Great story btw!

  11. Oh dear! Feeling as if you’re growing in shit in the dark? Come out into the light and smell the flowers, love 🙂

  12. Ah, comparing your life to a mushroom. I think I am a dandylion (sp?) – the wind is blowing me all over the place – and I am losing my hair.

  13. This was a heartfelt one – I feel your indecision and feel your pain. ‘Bloom where you are planted’ is something my ,other used to say to me ( we moved a lot growing up) but sometimes, when you land in fertilizer, it still stinks. Best of luck on your decision!

  14. Ha! Great take on it.

    I’m going to assume that a foramanifenifanemanera is a type of eagle/crocodile hybrid.

  15. I used to go out with a guy who was studying floraminifera, so I know a bit about it (a lovely word, isn’t it?). And a great ‘story’. I especially like the line ‘put damp shit in a dark cupboard’!

    • Thanks Claire, I thought it had that ‘l’ too, but wikipedia said not. Pah, never trust wikipedia; I think you’re right.
      And I’m glad you liked that line, it’s one that was meant to convey the narrator’s angst about the whole affair, so I’m pleased it resounded.

  16. No, no. You’re a foraminifera, not the product of damp shit in a dark cupboard. Be strong, find a house.

  17. Great story, Jen. I hope all works out as you and your family do some decision making. My guess is that even mushrooms have an innate flexibility that is closely tied to the survival instincts of all living things.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

  18. Oh my, don’t we all feel that way sometimes. LOL! Loved your twist to the prompt. 😀

  19. Very thought-provoking. It’s such a difficult process to decide on a new home. I love how you did this.

  20. pattisj

    I’ll be interested to see where you land, Jen. 🙂 Hopefully, not amid the mushrooms!

  21. A very educational piece, Jenn. I was not familiar with the term foraminifera. After we built our house and moved in, I told Connie I wouldn’t move again until they hauled my rotten carcass to the cemetery.

  22. So many of your stories leave me wondering what’s fact and what’s fiction… it’s the subtle bits you infuse in each piece. Love the way you do that, Jen! This piece is so perfection… as if you were chatting with the reader, but leaves me drifting and thinking. Wonderful!

    • Love to make you think, tales, and thank yuo for saying such nice things about my writing in general. This week’s (11 March) is definitely fiction, so you can take a break from wondering!

Feedback feeds the muse. Join in the conversation here:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s