Written by Stella Pierides

Even though Nikolas was born on an island – which he left at 18 to study abroad – he hated the sea. He never swam in it, or even walked by this unpredictable medium. Water was not his element. It introduced a level of uncertainty for which he was constitutionally unprepared. You can imagine his surprise when his publisher asked him to write a novel set by the sea, with boats, swimmers, fish and sand in it. Add the whole damn lot, he had said, even sea shells. Even sea shells. Nikolas, despite bearing the name of the patron saint of the seafarers, felt his heart sink. However, not wanting to miss a deal in this climate, he bought a ticket for one of the most advanced, and at the same time exotic islands on earth, which was bound to inspire and inject vigor in his writing. An island so far removed from his everyday life that it was bound to help him overcome his hydrophobia: Japan.

It took a lot of courage for him to stay in the quiet fishing village. He forced himself to walk next to his imaginary foe, learned to breath-in deeply the salty air and watch the sunrise over the horizon. In fact, when the tsounami surprised him, he had been standing right next to the sea, lost in thought, marveling at two tiny sea shells in the palm of his hand.


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Filed under Stella Pierides

10 responses to “Written by Stella Pierides

  1. Nice example of fate, Stella.

  2. quite the shock! great job!

  3. this is beautiful writing. i could see it expanded into a much longer piece, maybe without the tsunami until further down the plotline.

  4. guy

    On the other hand, i like it as is. The irony stands out, and it’s good irony. Confronting his irrational (?) fear leads to his demise.

  5. There’s a line in a Victoria Williams song: “that what you feared the most could meet you half-way.” The sea seems to have found this reluctant son, and carried him home, kicking and screaming. While the last paragraph does seem rushed, it was still a satisfying ending. I agree with Susan: lengthen it, rather than shorten the intro to fit the count.

  6. Thank you all for reading and commenting. Your suggestions in particular are food for thought and much appreciated.

  7. I have to say I like the brevity of this. Sometimes the smallest packages pack the largest punch. Like Guy, I appreciate the skillful way you’ve woven the irony into the poignant piece.

  8. Pingback: Week #45 – Broken shells | 52|250 A Year of Flash

  9. Greetings, Stella. I’m not sure I believe in fate, but I love the irony. I also love your phrase “constitutionally unprepared.” Would have made a great theme. I’m off the the Amazon and I think I’m constitutionally unprepared. How “interesting” if I am swallowed by a snake thicker than my waist. Why, you ask, am I doing this… “to inject vigor in my writing,” of course. Doris

    • Hi Doris. Have a great trip. It takes a lot of ‘vigour’ to go there! I am sure you will come back with tons of stories and a lot to say. Re snakes thicker than your waist: my way of dealing with this is to make sure my waist is as thick as it can be! :)

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