Spell: 99 Word Flash Fiction


© irene waters 2017

The Macquarie dictionary is the dictionary of choice for Australians as it is resourced in Australia using Australian vernacular. It too will be different from the Oxford dictionary as it will sometimes determine that in Australia we have adopted the American spelling of some words.

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© irene waters 2017

Aarifa’s daughter curled in a ball on her bed, sobbing quietly. “Orenda honey,  what’s wrong?” From her own experience she knew a new school is daunting without adding race and country differences. 

“Mum. Mr Alkamil taught me all wrong. I flunked spelling today but I got them right. Colour – C  O..L.O..U..R.” Ararifa listened to her daughter spelling  word after word perfectly,  except now they lived in America.

“Darling. Words are like people. Different the world over. You can get upset. Go to war over them or embrace the difference. See they’re the same no matter what clothes they wear.

In response to Charli’s prompt where she asks:

August 31, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a speller. It can be one who spells or a primer like Lawrence once had. You can deviate from the primary meaning if magic catches your imagination. Go where the prompt leads.

Respond by September 5, 2017 to be included in the compilation (published September 6). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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15 Responses to Spell: 99 Word Flash Fiction

  1. jeanne229 says:

    Ah, interesting to note what spelling our colonial sisters follow. For anyone interested in language, it’s endlessly fascinating to note the differences in not only spelling but vocabulary. Certainly kept me entertained when I lived in England for 3 years and had to buy nappies and beakers for the babies and ride on the motorway whilst on holiday. And nice flash incorporating that peculiarity of the English language. Your mother here is very wise! Good message for these times!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes I too find the differences fascinating and at times confusing. We had a nurse from Texas work in ICU in Australia for a time. Initially none of us understood her hand over reports – she would say “he was in a wreck” We thought who cares what the car was like what happened. We didn’t know that a car wreck equalled our car accident.
      Yes I think the mother was indeed wise.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I really like this piece of flash fiction.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. julespaige says:

    I like that words as clothes. Some of us hide behind them, others bare their souls… figuratively speaking that is 😉
    I remember when I started blogging I had to explain to someone that my American Spelling wasn’t wrong just because they had a different version of it.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Norah says:

    Your piece very cleverly points out that not all, or any, differences are worth worrying about. We just need to get on. We’ll all be gone soon enough. Well done, Irene.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You nailed this one! Well done writing, Irene.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Charli Mills says:

    I didn’t realize Australia adopted some American spellings. I wonder if Canada has? Another difference is punctuation, and quotation marks were confusing with different rules and yet in the anthology different authors used them differently than their country’s rules! Staying true to country of origin, I think we edited best we could for consistency and country. So I feel for your young character. Her Mom has wise words of response.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The rules are difficult because you learn them and they change. You really have to buy the style guide each year to check what is currently acceptable. Mostly they now accept Americanisms but the entire document has to be with American spelling. I now find this difficult because words ending in o u r I use our but I now get very confused whether to use s or z and from whence did each originate. As for dialogue marks – I grew up using double and learnt to type during that time and I find it impossible to us single marks. I have to go through every article I want published and change the lot. I think you did a great job on the editing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Charli Mills says:

        Does Australia use the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook? That’s the one I go by for writing articles because it takes all the loose ends of varying styes and makes them consistent for magazines, newspapers, journals and web content. But in literature, it’s Chicago Manual of Style. And it’s another for science papers. It’s not until one does a lot of writing that one realizes there’s not much standard to the standards! Thank you for helping with the anthology!

        Liked by 1 person

      • No the Australian Government has put out since 1966 a publication (book) called The Style Manual which covers print and electronic publishing. The latest edition has taken into account a more global approach due to the effects of the internet. I agree however that standards aren’t standard.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Spelling « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

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