Friday Fictioneers: Clouds In His Coffee


Welcome to Friday Fictioneers, the best weekly flash fiction around. Join our merriment, or just enjoy the other stories. Rochelle Wisoff-Fields makes it hard to resist. Check out the details here.

I am honored to have my photo featured this week. It is of a bathroom in Barbados, strangely enough. I found it striking, to say the least. However, why it took me to the continuation of this story, this morning… is the mystery of writing.  Click on these links to read parts one, two, and three, if you’re interested.

I always welcome constructive feedback or a thoughtful comment. My goal for 2014 is to really build my blog and FB page. It’s my birthday (1/9), so help me celebrate by stopping by Tales From the Motherland, or the TFTM Facebook page, and hit Like. I will smile all day. Thanks for reading!

Copyright- Dawn Quyle Landau

Copyright- Dawn Quyle Landau

(100 words, exactly)

“Joni Mitchell?” Henry nodded toward the young woman wiping the counter.

“Sorry? Joni, who?”

“The song you were singing– Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell.”

“Maybe. Something catchy I heard. You know it?” She grabbed a ketchup.

“It’s a song about love, my wife Marjorie’s favorite–” His voice trailed off as she poured his coffee.

“Does she sing it too?” She asked absently.

“She’s gone now… Along with my fairy tales of love.”

She turned back around with napkins in her hand. “What was that?”

“Nothing.” Henry stared at the milky cloud in his coffee and stirred it silently.

Now, enjoy Joni Mitchell, singing one of my favorite songs:

© Please note, that aside from the writing on this page is copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland. If you care to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

Any ads at the bottom of this page are not endorsed by Tales From the Motherland. I am just not willing to pay extra to have them not appear.

About Dawn Quyle Landau

Mother, Writer, treasure hunter, aging red head, and sushi lover. This is my view on life, "Straight up, with a twist––" because life is too short to be subtle! Featured blogger for Huffington Post, and followed on Twitter by LeBron James– for reasons beyond my comprehension.
Aside | This entry was posted in Honest observations on many things. Bookmark the permalink.

112 Responses to Friday Fictioneers: Clouds In His Coffee

  1. This is great and I like the tie-in with the song. Beautful picture as well. I’m sure you’ll be interested to see how everyone uses it. 🙂

    Like

  2. Cathy Ulrich says:

    Love the pic, Dawn. Very interesting place for a bathroom! Your story continues to grow and develop. I look forward to seeing where you take it. Might be interesting to do longer installments as a serial novel or short story on the blog outside of FF?

    Like

    • It would be interesting, Cathy… but not sure I want to go any quicker than this. I don’t know where it’s going, until the right photo shows up. 😉 Glad you like the photo too. Yes, it was a very strange place to find it… never did get the story of why it’s there.

      Like

  3. I was waiting for “You’re So Vain” but you tripped me up. A bathroom?? I was wondering but never would have guessed that.

    janet

    Like

  4. kz says:

    thank you for sharing this picture; it’s an awesome photo 🙂 i liked the story, the sadness was intensified by how the waitress (or probably everyone around him) was too busy to notice his loneliness.

    Like

  5. Lillian says:

    LOVE that photo! I was just joking with my husband that we’ve officially become old and parents now that we sing bits of songs that remind us of things and the kids look at us like we’re crazy because they don’t know what we’re talking/singing about. I love the milky cloud detail – it’s my favorite part of a cup of coffee and one of my endless photo challenges. I’ve missed bits of this, thanks for the links above, now I’m curious to see if the characters come back:)

    Like

    • Hey Lillian! So good when you come by. 😀 Hard to know what will happen with these characters, as the photos dictate it. I haven’t thought into the future with either character; I simple see a prompt and it take me there, or doesn’t. When I submitted the photo, this was the furthest thing from my mind. Welcome to the crazy parent’s club! I joined eons ago. 😉

      Like

    • For my birthday today, I am going out on a limb and asking my fellow writers (only on my own post) to stop by my FB page to hit Like. No obligation, but my New Year’s resolution was to push myself to advocate for my writing and “platform.” This is me, pimpin’. https://www.facebook.com/TalesFromTheMotherland

      Like

  6. Carrie Rubin says:

    How cool that your picture was chosen! What an interesting bathroom. And I loved your story. 🙂

    Like

  7. Love that song too. Great photo.

    Like

  8. A good story I went back to the beginning it follows through nicely.

    Like

  9. DCTdesigns says:

    Lovely story with its melancholy nature. I went back and read them all in succession and knew Marjorie was speaking to him in the cafe. P.S. love the photo and even more so now that I know its a bathroom. Though I wish I had written my story before I had that info. Oops.

    Like

  10. susanissima says:

    Great photo! Looks like a fine place to … meditate. I saw Joni Mitchell several times when I was far wee-er than now, but she was most remarkable at the Hollywood Bowl. She was very young, beautiful and shockingly talented. I still get goosebumps when I hear Song to a Seagull! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBGqGZ9GWzE

    Like

  11. Yara Damaj says:

    Ouf. That’s the first and only thought that came to my mind after I read this week’s Friday dictioneers. It’s a good ouf, I guess, the one that makes me think about “too late” and if it is ever “too late” unless, well, someone dies. Eeesh.
    Thank you for the wonderful short story!!

    Like

  12. helenmidgley says:

    Aww such a lovely tale, I’m loving Joni Mitchell 😉

    Like

  13. mike olley says:

    I was away and had missed the third installment of this story. It’s building into a nice series. Love the way you wrote this scene.

    Like

  14. vbholmes says:

    Read all the installments of your story and look forward to more. Well done. Great photo (rather curious about the logistics of that bathroom, however).

    Like

    • Thanks so much for taking all of that time! I really appreciate the effort and the feedback. The bathroom, well that remains a mystery. My guess: either the building that housed it was destroyed in a storm, leaving only this… or, well hmm… it washed up? 😉

      Like

      • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

        Hi Dawn, just dropped in from Lynda’s Farmlet… Call it crude, but I’ve a sneaky feeling that it’s not just that the building is intended for “washing up” but, more importantly, a question of what “washes out”, if you get my drift? TRUE outdoor plumbing and not too far to carry the water LOL!

        Like

  15. Linda Vernon says:

    I like this little clip of life. A scene that probably happens more often than we could ever imagine.

    Like

  16. Jan Brown says:

    Interesting slice of life, and I am always a sucker for musical references. Well done!

    Also, thank you for such an original photo! It has inspired such a wide variety of stories–a perfect choice for a Friday Fictioneers prompt 🙂

    Like

    • Thanks so much Jan. I was excited to see my photo there, and have all day today to read the stories… can’t wait! For my birthday, I am going out on a limb and asking my fellow writers to stop by my FB page and hit Like. No obligation, but my New Year’s resolution was to push myself to advocate for my writing and “platform.” This is me, pimpin’. 😉 https://www.facebook.com/TalesFromTheMotherland Thanks again for taking the time to read and comment! Much appreciated, Jan.

      Like

  17. draliman says:

    A lovely clip of life, and I love that song!
    Amazing photo – a very strange bathroom in Barbados! 🙂

    Like

  18. Dear Dawn,

    Another Joni Mitchell fan here. Nicely played. Two of my favorite songs in one story. You captured the man’s longing and loneliness in a natural setting. Beautifully understated and touching.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

    • Thanks so much Rochelle. I’m so glad that so many writers have loved the photo! What a surprise to see it on the page, when I clicked your post. 🙂 I’m honored that you like the story. Personally, it’s hard to imagine anyone not liking that song! Your time and kind comment are much appreciated.

      For my birthday today, I am going out on a limb and asking my fellow writers (only on my own post) to stop by my FB page to hit Like. No obligation, but my New Year’s resolution was to push myself to advocate for my writing and “platform.” This is me, pimpin’. 😉 https://www.facebook.com/TalesFromTheMotherland

      Like

  19. claireful says:

    My favourite piece so far this week. Just wonderful dialogue, where both characters are engrossed in their own heads, but are still communicating. Lovely.

    Like

    • Wow, thanks so much Claire. I really appreciate that kind and thoughtful feedback. This story has taken on a life of its own. All 4 parts just came when I saw the photo, and it’s been fun to imagine what will come next. Honestly, I try not to think too much ahead, but wonder what photos will come. Given that this was my photo, funny that it hadn’t occurred to me before. 😉 It was the fairy tale image that caught me off guard. Thanks again for your generous comment.

      For my birthday today, I am going out on a limb and asking my fellow writers (only on my own post) to stop by my FB page to hit Like. No obligation, but my New Year’s resolution was to push myself to advocate for my writing and “platform.” This is me, pimpin’. 😉 https://www.facebook.com/TalesFromTheMotherland

      Like

  20. elmowrites says:

    Funny how many of the fictioneers are fans of Joni Mitchell. I think she crops up somewhere most weeks!! I liked your dialogue here – great example of talking without speaking, as it were. Thanks for the photo – I found it tough but got there eventually.

    Like

    • I am spending this morning reading the posts and really having fun seeing where my photo took people. Honestly, I hadn’t thought of this story when I sent the photo to Rochelle, some time ago. And yes, the Joni piece does seem to be a trend with our fellow FFs! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment; it is always appreciated.

      For my birthday today, I am going out on a limb and asking my fellow writers (only on my own post) to stop by my FB page to hit Like. No obligation, but my New Year’s resolution was to push myself to advocate for my writing and “platform.” This is me, pimpin’. 😉 https://www.facebook.com/TalesFromTheMotherland

      Like

  21. Pingback: Pay No Attention to the Cabana – Friday Fictioneers – 10 January | Joe's Musings

  22. MissTiffany says:

    How sad and sweet! Very heartfelt. I just want to reach out and put my hand on his shoulder in comfort. Congrats on getting your photo featured…it must be cool to see all the stories being inspired by it! I can’t believe that is a bathroom…interesting.

    Like

    • Tiffany, I think he could use that hand on his shoulder. This (now) 4 part story just has a life of its own. I’m not sure what Henry will do, or Marjorie for that matter. The photos dictate. Ironically, when I sent this photo– a while back, this story was no where in my thoughts! Yes, it was really fun to see my own photo out there and it has been great reading the stories so far! I had no time yesterday, but I’m taking this morning to get through as many as possible. Thanks so much for taking the time. 😀

      For my birthday today, I am going out on a limb and asking my fellow writers (only on my own post) to stop by my FB page to hit Like. No obligation, but my New Year’s resolution was to push myself to advocate for my writing and “platform.” This is me, pimpin’. 😉 https://www.facebook.com/TalesFromTheMotherland

      Like

      • MissTiffany says:

        I’ve really been enjoying the story so far, even if it is sad. I look forward to seeing where else it will take you! How ironic indeed. Funny how things work out that way. I won’t get to my story contribution until tomorrow, but I hope you’ll have a moment to see it! You’re welcome. 🙂

        It’s your birthday? Well, happy birthday! I hope it’s been a wonderful day for you, and that you will have many blessings throughout the next year. 🙂 Of course I will hit the like button! This may just let me see your posts even faster. 🙂

        Like

  23. Lynda says:

    This is poignant. I enjoyed your attention to the waitress’ actions. It helped to put the reader right in the middle as an observer. I never let myself read anyone’s stories until I have pushed the publish button on my own. Apparently, you and I were on a similar wavelength. Love Joni, and your picture. Thank you for sharing it!

    Like

    • Lynda, I’m spending this morning reading as many stories as I can today, as I was gone most of yesterday. Like you, I never read other stories until mine is done– too influencing. So, it’s always fun to find ones that run on a similar wavelength. It happens fairly often… either with my own stories, or other stories that I notice are similar to other stories in the collection. So glad you liked the picture. When I sent it, my story was nowhere in my thoughts; funny how that works!

      For my birthday today, I am going out on a limb and asking my fellow writers (only on my own post) to stop by my FB page to hit Like. No obligation, but my New Year’s resolution was to push myself to advocate for my writing and “platform.” This is me, pimpin’. 😉 https://www.facebook.com/TalesFromTheMotherland

      Like

  24. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Oh shoot! Forgot to say thanks for a little hit of Joni (did you notice how BIG that guitar looks?; ) LOVE this song; it rips my heart out no matter how many times I hear it…
    (Also enjoyed your little note re plagiarism and advertising – right on!; )

    Like

  25. Happy Birthday, Dawn! I already know you had lobster and chocolate cake, so I have a feeling you are enjoying your birthday and doing it in fine style. Way to go! I enjoyed this a lot. I’ll be interested to see where you take this. Fairy tales of love…will he ever trust love again?

    Like

  26. pattisj says:

    Happy birthday! This is a great photo, I had several directions for a story come to mind. I thought of it as an elevator and office cubicle…but not a bathroom! I always liked that song, too.

    Like

    • Thanks Patti! I am having a great time reading the different directions people went. When I took the photo, I certainly never imagined all of these photos! 😉 Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment; it’s always appreciated!

      For my birthday today, I am going out on a limb and asking my fellow writers (only on my own post) and readers to stop by my FB page to hit Like. No obligation, but my New Year’s resolution was to push myself to advocate for my writing and “platform.” This is me, pimpin’. https://www.facebook.com/TalesFromTheMotherland

      Like

  27. rgayer55 says:

    The line “clouds in the coffee” made me think of “You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon. I love “Both Sides Now” too. But then again, I really don’t know clouds at all.

    Like

  28. Sun says:

    i felt the man’s pain over his loss…love your story and thank you for the interesting photograph. Happy birthday and happy 2014! 🙂

    Like

    • Thanks Sun! This story has been continuing and I’m curious to see where it will go. I’m so glad the photo and story touched you. They both are special to me. 🙂

      In the meantime: For my birthday (Jan 9th), I am going out on a limb and asking my fellow writers (only on my own post) and readers to stop by my FB page to hit Like. No obligation, but my New Year’s resolution was to push myself to advocate for my writing and “platform.” This is me, pimpin’. https://www.facebook.com/TalesFromTheMotherland

      Like

  29. DeDivahDeals says:

    Awesome – you are definitely blessed with talent!!!

    Like

  30. JackieP says:

    Happy Belated Birthday! Great story, a bit sad, but very well written. 🙂

    Like

  31. A great story and I love Joni Mitchell and the song was such a treat! Thanks and hope you had a great birthday! Nan (from Kansas)

    Like

    • Thanks so much Nan! I’m happy that you enjoyed both the story and the music. My birthday was indeed nice; thanks. I appreciate the time you took to read and comment; it always means a lot. 🙂

      So, for my birthday January 9th, I am going out on a limb and asking my fellow writers (only on my own post) and readers to stop by my FB page to hit Like. No obligation, but my New Year’s resolution was to push myself to advocate for my writing and “platform.” This is me, pimpin’. https://www.facebook.com/TalesFromTheMotherland

      Like

  32. I think it says a lot of how men would express sorrow.. For only an instant reaching out, and then he deals it with himself.

    And the picture was great.. Had never guessed a rest-room. A belated birthday greetings.

    Like

  33. A bathroom, huh? Well I would have never guessed that! Your story made me melancholy. I am unable to view the YouTube right now but your title has me singing one of my favorite tunes.

    Like

    • Well apparently I confused a few people. I didn’t know there was a Carly Simon title Clouds in My Coffee the song is Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides. Alas I’m either totally clueless or brilliant enough to have thought of the same title that Carly thought of! 😉 Sorry the story made you melancholy. It’s part 4 of a fairly sad story. I think the theme of lasting love has its own redemptive importance, but I see why so many people found it sad. Right now I’m working on a longer version of the story (using all 4 points and expanding it) for an online magazine who asked me to send a short story. Thanks for taking the time, Dawn there are tons of uplifting tales this week, so I’m sure you’ll find something to lift your spirits! Ironically, when I took this photo, I saw only fantasy and color.

      Like

  34. Subroto says:

    Love that song – Neil Diamond has done a great cover of it too http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYaRlH82K2M.
    But back to the story – I loved it and Clouds in his Coffee is an apt title. Toilet in Barbados huh? Who would have thunk…but thank you for providing the prompt then.

    Like

    • Thanks Subroto! I love this photo, and was totally surprised when I went up those steps and found a bathroom! Never learned the story behind it, but love the stories all the FFs are coming up with! I’ll check out Neil; I’m a long time fan. 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my story; much appreciated!

      Like

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