Friday Fictioneers: The House My Mother Built

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers– a most addictive weekly flash fiction challenge. Use the photo prompt to write a 100-word story and join this group of Kool Kats, from all over the world! Check out our fearless leader Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog Addicted Purple, to read more stories, learn more, or join in. The photo this week was sent in by Jennifer Pendergast.

As always, I welcome honest, constructive feedback; please leave a comment and tell me what you think.

© Jennifer Pendergast

© Jennifer Pendergast

The House My Mother Built

All of my life we were stuck together– tangled.

I drank your Kool Aid, desperate to feel safe, to be loved, to believe

in the world you painted for me.

But the paint you used was toxic,

and I am poisoned.

Searching for cracks in the surface–

I peel and chip away at what is there, and find layer after layer of ugly.

Rebuilding this house of hard, this world of untruths… brick by brick.

Digging in old wounds is my Syrup of Ipecac

If only I could ask you– why?

But that train has left the station.

(98 words)

*     *     *

GIPYHelp Me Reach My Goals! I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 700 likes in 2015. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, where I’m forced to be brief. Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  ©2014  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

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.
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71 Responses to Friday Fictioneers: The House My Mother Built

  1. Shivangi says:

    that was wonderfu
    l…hard hitting…kudos.


  2. Carrie Rubin says:

    “Digging in old wounds is my Syrup of Ipecac”—I really like that line, Dawn. Very clever.


  3. I like the image of chipping away the layers of toxic paint. This piece really conveys the thoughts you expressed on Monday night; there’s a lot of emotion here.


  4. ansumani says:

    This takes me to a place that feel is familiar …but not exactly the same. Nicely done.


    • Ansumani, welcome to Tales From the Motherland. I appreciate you taking the time to read my work and share your thoughts. I’m sorry that this is familiar– but we all have our own journeys. Thanks for stopping by.


  5. Amy Reese says:

    I didn’t know what syrup of Ipecac was until today. Oh, a lot of despair in this, Dawn. I hope if the train is gone, you can still piece things together. Sounds like things have been tough. I hope you are okay. I’m here if you need me. 🙂


  6. Mike Lince says:

    Your story reflected your opening thoughts about you having a lot going on at this time. The emotions in your piece are raw and abraded – ‘the paint you used was toxic,and I am poisoned.’ And ‘I peel and chip away at what is there, and find layer after layer of ugly.’ Whatever is going on, it is clear you tapped into the torment and let it serve as inspiration for your writing. You packed a lot of power with your words in this poetic piece.

    I hope you find relief from whatever is challenging you. I always hope for my friends to feel the joy after the sorrow. – Mike

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your insightful feedback, Mike. I always appreciate your meaningful words. Thanks for taking the time, and for your kind thoughts.

      I’ve removed the intro– best to let the writing stand on its own. 😉


  7. susanissima says:

    This is a sad piece that left me feeling worried about you unless I know that, if it’s written from personal experience, you’re feeling better. ❤


  8. wildbilbo says:

    Hi Dawn, I liked this poem – it had some real rawness and pain to it that really comes across… but some of the ideas seemed a bit… mixed? I’m not sure if that’s the right way to express what I mean – for example, you mention Kool Aid, a Jim Jones, buying into a belief or cult reference, but then she’s poisoned by paint (when the Kool Aid was in fact itself poisoned -‘Drinking the Kool Aid’ is shorthand for buying into a toxic lie). The paint (lies) doing double duty in being both a poison and in being a cover for the cracks and wounds was quite effective however.

    It’s not wrong (is there a wrong in poetry?), but I did find it slightly jarring.

    Ultimately, the poem does what it should, it gets across a sense of strong, angry emotion, a sense of terrible betrayal. This quite an achievement in 100 words.

    Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • wildbilbo says:

      …I just read the other comments, and I think I must have read this after you deleted the intro. I didn’t realise there was some personal aspect to the poem – I trust that everything is ok with you, and please take my comments as constructive (and note – I’m not a poet!).
      All the best.


      • KT,
        I removed the intro, because I didn’t want the personal message to impact what readers saw, or had to say. So, I’m glad you didn’t see it and shared your thoughts honestly. I sincerely look for that– in all of my writing. So, no harm or foul there. 😉

        I can’t say that I wrote this as a poem, though I see that it inevitably reads a bit like one. It’s more a stream of consciousness… with mixed messages because the story behind it is itself so mixed and confusing. I appreciate your observation about Jim Jones/Kool Aid and the paint… both worked for me, but it’s a really good point you make. I’ll think a bit longer about that one.

        I always appreciate your feedback, KT– Thanks for your concern, but bumpy roads are inevitable in this life. I’ll figure this out. Thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow Dawn, where did that come from? Have you been in my head?
    And then I read the comments and the idyllic life of yours I always picture is humanized. I’m sorry. But this too shall pass.
    AND in the mean time you get stuff like this….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Dawn. No doubt there are plenty of heads with stuff like this… but yes, I absolutely get it. If you mostly read my FF entries, things can look pretty idyllic, but trust me far from it. There is a lot of old stuff to work out, and I’ve recently been thrown the curve ball of all curve balls… yes, this too shall pass, but I’m guessing it will take a good long while.

      What interests me most is how things can look “idyllic” when they’re not. In general I have few filters and share pretty openly. There has been plenty of rough stuff that I’ve put out there, but I think it gets overshadowed by trips and the way various people fill in the blanks. Life is strange that way. I imagine there are quite a few bloggers I read, who are living very differently than my imagination has led me to believe. Thanks again, Dawn– I’m glad I’m a bit more human. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Dawn, Rebuilding this house of hard – Wow! There’s some things goin’ on with you. This is harsh – as it was meant to be, I think, just sad about what might have brought it all on. Take care, sweetie. Alicia

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I hate that I can identify with this piece so much but I love that you made me ponder, deeply with each line. Why do we dig? And vomit? Is it really cathartic ? Is it Necessary?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Nan Falkner says:

    Dear Dawn, Everyone has bad things happen in their lives and I doubt anyone would think we have had bad stuff – but we REALLY have had BAD things happen – but then we have wonder of wonders happen and still have all my babies – so the rest is just garbage. I am so sorry you are having a bad time – I wish I could say something to you to help – but we have made it through some pretty horrible nightmares that took years to get over. I pray for help for you Dawn – I think you are a wonderful and good person. Good luck hon. Nan 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Sandra says:

    I’ve read this several times now, trying to put together what I feel about it. I suppose it boils down to this: Each allegory is magnificent: the safety… the poison … peeling and chipping to find something. Each would stand alone beautifully. But together – too much I think. The beauty and impact of each concept is swallowed up or overshadowed by the next concept. I suppose what I’m saying is that the sentiments are something that should be woven into a much longer piece. And I’m not wild about that last line, but maybe that’s just me. I’m sorry if you’re going through a difficult time right now, but I’m sure, using work like this as therapy, you’re going to make a full and strong recovery. Let time pass.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sandra, I so appreciate your constructive feedback. I think both you and KT hit the proverbial nail on the head. Since his comment, I’ve considered reworking it… but I will let it stand in FF for this week, and play with it later.

      That you read it more than once, is touching and much appreciated. Writing is indeed therapy… thanks so much!


  14. Dear Dawn,

    A lot has been said here so I’ll be brief. I get the impression from the comments that this piece is born out of life situation. For that I send my love and support. I hope the writing of it was cathartic.
    The images of poison and syrup of Ipecac (had to administer it to one of my kids once) are caustic and powerful.

    Much love and shalom,



  15. Cathy Ulrich says:

    Powerful writing as others have said, but don’t forget to breathe, dear Dawn. Thinking of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Dawn, if this is written from feelings you’re suffering through right now, I’m so sorry you’re experiencing something that difficult. That was a sad, biting piece, but so very well written. I know you feel things deeply. I hope everything works out for you. — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  17. milliethom says:

    This is incredibly powerful writing, loaded with personal emotion – which I only know from comments. Your suffering emanates from each carefully constructed line. The lines, ‘the paint you used was toxic’ and ‘Digging in old wounds is my Syrup of Ipecac’ are particularly telling. I’m so sorry you’re suffering so much at present, Dawn, and sincerely hope things improve for you soon. Millie


    • Thanks Millie. I want the work to stand alone, but originally included a brief explanation… wish I hadn’t, only so that it can stand as strong writing without the connection to my experience. If that makes sense? I appreciate your feedback, and thank for the kind thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Dawn, this is such a beautiful piece that I wish I could say something insightful about it. Unfortunately, after a long week, I am exhausted to the limit, so I will just say that I liked it a lot and leave the eloquence to others for tonight. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Wow – this feels like it comes from the heart! There’s a lot going on in it, which I can see lots of people have expressed. All those metaphors might still be able to stay if it was longer, and they weren’t so close together. But whether you rework it or not, I hope writing it is helping to express some emotions.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Dee says:

    This reads almost like a stream of consciousness piece, the words just tumbling out one after the other, raw as the emotions you feel. Your pain is clear to see, I hope you can write your way through this Dawn, I know you can. Sending a huge hug 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Francesca Smith says:

    A wonderfully and poetic story you have written. The line “Digging in old wounds is my Syrup of Ipecac”, is great too.
    It also makes me wonder as to why we continuously dig?


  22. helenmidgley says:

    So many layers with so little said, your writing always moves me. I didn’t see your intro so have only seen the comments, but what ever mud your wading through I really wish you well x


  23. plaridel says:

    this is a good example of effectively using metaphors to tell a story. well done.


  24. Stunning, from beginning to end; like the 50 yd dash of word smithing. Hit after hit right to the finish line. And as with Ansumani, this also takes me to a place that rings familiar, but different.


  25. I think life’s emotions are like an onion. The more we peel away, the more layers are left to peel. The ones at the bottom aren’t as dark or catastrophic but getting to the ones below takes a lot of painful work.
    A thought provoking write. I liked it very much and hope the onions peels more smoothly in time.
    Isadora 😎


  26. The final lines ties all those feelings together.. what happens when you’ve crossed that line of no return-


  27. Dale says:

    I’ll say what Rochelle said: I dearly hope writing helps you get through whatever it is you are going through. I can tell you, it sure helps me! I truly hope that once all the ugly has been peeled, you find the beauty.


  28. Margaret says:

    Your story speaks of pain and regret. Your images convey the powerful feelings and anguish of a relationship gone wrong. Hang in there and thanks for sharing. Cheers, Margaret.


  29. elmowrites says:

    The toxicpaint analogy is very strong and it carries the bitterness through to the last line of the story / poem. I found the later analogies worked less for me, but probably because it’s not my culture so I didn’t immediately understand them.


    • There are too many analogies here, Jen, so I’m sure they just don’t work for everyone. If I were writing it over, I would remove the Kool Aid piece and stick with the paint, which was my main focus anyway. Glad that part worked. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts; I always appreciate your feedback. Dawn


  30. Once we are ready to talk about it, the worst part is over. And once that train leaves the station and we are left standing alone on the platform, it is time to let it go, look up and search for our rainbow. Sending you one big hug!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Pingback: Friday Fictioneers: Burnin’ Down The House | TALES FROM THE MOTHERLAND

  32. oneintercessor says:

    I’m praying for you. Haven’t stopped by in a while, just busy with life, but I’m sorry for your struggles. God be with you and your family member/s that have HD.

    Liked by 1 person


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