Six Attributes – Picture it and Write

Picture It and Write is a weekly writing challenge, posted every Sunday by Eliabeth, the author of Emiliablog. The challenge is to write a piece of fiction or a poem in response to the photo prompt supplied by the host. Here is this week’s photo . . . steampunk-pens and this is my story . . .

‘Choose wisely, my son. The implement you select will show little remorse should it sense resistance to its flow.’

I nod as my father smiles, gesturing to each pen as he expounds. ‘The first will show you as an honest man, straight paths laid out before you: a man who cuts no corners to the truth. Think on it … is that really you?’

I frown at the implied dishonesty, but my father’s finger moves to the right. ‘This pen has a pleasing design: straight threads leading to a central core. The spider-web design will show you to be a man of ambition: blinkered to all else that life has to offer until he reaches his goal. Could that be you?’

I touch the badge on my jacket, identifying me as Sergeant Matthews of HRH Queen Victoria’s Police Force. Did my ambition to be Chief Inspector blind me to other aspects of life?

Father’s finger hovers over the third pen from the left. ‘Here we see shapes of varying size and shape. This pen will reveal the writer to be a thoughtful man, willing to consider a variety of issues placed before him. Whereas the fourth pen…

… will show the grid-iron nature of a man unwilling to adapt to outside influences, too fixed in his comfortable existence to share his life with others.’

I wonder … is that what I want, a comfortable yet solitary life? I picture the lonely years ahead – and baulk at the scene.

‘As to the fifth pen,’ my father continues, ‘its design resembles the brickwork of a house. The tilted effect suggests some creativity in the architect, a man who will experiment a little and explore his own strengths.’

I nod again, considering such attributes within myself.

‘Now to the last implement in my collection … Note how the irregular shapes fit perfectly together, as would a jigsaw puzzle. The user of this pen will be shown to be a complex man, capable of multiple emotions, ambitions and desires; a man able to deal with any obstacle placed in his way.’

I reach for the sixth pen to my father’s nod of approval. ‘I confess to having a little of all of the qualities you describe, Father, but none to the exclusion of all others. I believe this pen would suit me admirably. I shall write to Gwendolyn immediately, assuring her that once we are wed our life together will be one of honesty, exploration and love. We will face all obstacles together.’


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