American Pie

The Daily Post hosts a Weekly Writing Challenge which I thought I would try.  This week, Vincent Mars challenges us to write our ‘First Fifty’ in this way:

‘For this week’s challenge, you must write a fifty-word story. Not five thousand, not five hundred, but precisely fifty words.’

Here is my ‘First Fifty’:

Spring Blossom against a Dark Sky (c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

Spring Blossom against a Dark Sky
(c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

American Pie

Out walking her dog, she never saw it coming.

The car careened across the road slamming her into a wall and the last thing she felt was her dog’s tongue frantically licking her face.

Back home, her husband hummed along as the radio played ‘American Pie’, his wife’s favourite song.

*This story was inspired by true events.  Yesterday, I was shocked to notice a smashed wall draped with police tape and several bouquets of fresh flowers placed by it on a street where I regularly walk not two minutes away from where we live. I later found out that somebody had lost control of their car and driven into a woman walking on the pavement (sidewalk) early Sunday morning.  Although unknown to me, I dedicate my ‘First Fifty’ story to the woman and send prayers to her grieving family and all concerned in this tragedy.

About Sherri

Sherri has worked in both the medical and legal fields in the UK and California, where she lived for 17 years raising her three children. Chasing her writing dream throughout, she began her writing career in earnest from home while caring for her Aspie daughter. Since then, Sherri has been published in a variety of magazines, anthologies and company websites. Today, she lives with her husband, daughter and two cats in the West Country of England where she keeps out of trouble writing her memoir, blogging, walking and taking endless photographs. Her garden robin muse visits regularly.
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64 Responses to American Pie

  1. Sometimes writing a fifty word story is more difficult than 50,000. You did a wonderful job with this, Sherri. We had an incident like that recently in our area…the woman was in her front yard, watering her flowers and a driver lost control of his car.

    • Sherri says:

      Oh Jill, what a terrible story, to be in her own front yard like that. Just awful. The same for the poor woman walking quietly on a Sunday morning…horrible.

      Thank you, it is harder than it sounds writing with so few words! xo

  2. I lost a young friend this way — she was only 30 and had 2 young children. It’s the kind of shock you never really get over.

  3. Yikes, very sad! Good job on the exercise. I like the part about the dog licking her face.

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you Maria. It’s amazing how hard it is to convey just what you want to say in so few words!
      Yes, a very sad story indeed, still can’t believe it happened just down the road and on a quiet Sunday morning. Waiting to get this week’s local paper to see exactly what happened. It’s horrible having to go past the wall all smashed up and with the flowers lying against it…

  4. lilkaraphael says:

    i hate that you had a real life topic to work from but that is an excellent “fifty.” Sometimes the hardest part is starting….

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  6. longandluxe says:

    Oh how terrible. Makes us think how blessed we are to have every day, every minute. A beautiful tribute to the sacredness of life in your first fifty.

    Thank you for sharing :)


    • Sherri says:

      Thank you Allison. You are so right, every minute is indeed a blessing. I knew the first line right off the bat but getting the rest to fit into the required fifty wasn’t so easy, when I knew just what I wanted to convey. I can’t even imagine what the woman’s family are going through right now. Life is a precious gift indeed.

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  8. Heyjude says:

    Such a tragedy and shock for the family, but what a great tribute from you. Yes writing with a restriction is hard, 50 words practically impossible. But you succeeded – well done!

  9. Tom Merriman says:

    Well told, Sherri, but so sad. It is difficult to get the full story into fifty words, you did well!

  10. restlessjo says:

    What a shock, Sherri! You just never know what’s coming. You did a good job with the experience.

  11. Rachel says:

    Oh wow! Great story but awful that it’s based on true events.

  12. Your story is wonderful, Sherri, but the real situation is so sad. Unfortunately, some of our writing prompts for good ideas come right off the evening news.
    Last summer we had an 88-year-old woman borrow her ‘elderly’ neighbor’s car to drive and pick up a prescription. She parked in front of Walgreen’s, and as she was leaving she confused the gas with the brake. She drove through the front of the building where a mother and her two young children were waiting in line to check out.
    Angels were on their side; the mother swept up both kids AND also pushed aside the clerk, and no one was harmed.

    • Sherri says:

      You are so right Marylin. I know this is a gruesome subject but I felt that I just had to write it. That’s how it goes doesn’t it? It weighs on my heart, being so close to home and for all those impacted personally by it. Thank you though, I’m glad you liked my story.
      Wow, what a fright that must have been. Thank the Lord that everyone was ok in that situation due to the mother’s quick thinking. Hardly bears thinking about…
      I walk another way now but still, you just don’t expect someone to veer off the road like that do you, wherever you are? A reminder to pray for peace and protection every day…

  13. Well done with the story, Sherri. It’s really sad though. The incident near you, reminded me of a few years ago when the same thing happened just outside our house. A guy who’d been drinking came over the brow of the hill too fast, lost control and mounted the pavement on the other side of the road, killing a domestic worker on her way to work. Such a tragedy.

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you Syliva, although yes, it is a very sad story. It seems that a few of us have similar stories and they are so tragic. What an awful thing to happen just outside your house, and from drunk-driving too. Makes it even worse…

  14. Sherry, I shared this blog post on my google plus account. I find this interesting and I think I will try the same in a new blog post. And I like your ‘first fifty’.
    In what you write about yourself, I found some similarities as well.
    Keep up the path you took!

    • Sherri says:

      HI Mirjam, and many thanks for sharing this on your Google plus account. I do have Google Plus but I rarely use it. I only have one or two links to others in my circle as I’ve been focusing on LinkedIn and my Facebook Page. I’ll try to find you over there!
      I appreciate your comments very much and that you took the time to come over here and read my blog, and thank you very much for your kind wishes. I would say the very same to you :-)

      • To be honoust, I’m not that far advanced with Google Plus myself. I mostly use it to mention a new article, with a follow-up link, I wrote on my website. I just started out my blog website. The end of March to be precise. I did blog since even before 2006, but only in my native language. Now I’ve dived into WordPress and I still have a lot to learn, lol.
        I agree with you that you have to prioritize the social marketing. So mine are basically Linked In, Google plus and I do have a Facebook page, but I haven’t done much with that one yet.
        Thank you for passing by on my blog, where you left such nice comments. Are you under this name on Google Plus? I like to add you.

      • Sherri says:

        My pleasure, I look forward to reading more of your blog! Yes, I use the same name for all my social media, it would be good to ‘join up’ over on Google Plus, I’ll go over there later today :-) Thanks Mirjam.

  15. Awful story behind this Sherri, but you have done a great job in capturing a story in so few words. I’ve never been able to write flash fiction – I struggle to capture something in so few words, so my admiration goes to you.

    • Sherri says:

      Yes, it was so shocking and tragic. Just read about it in our weekly Gazette and it seemed that there had been another accident the other end of this road (we had noticed that smashed wall too ) same thing, but this time nobody hurt thank goodness. There are calls for traffic calming along the road now but how sad that it took this tragedy to get something done about it at long last. People have been driving far too fast along there and it is often full of school children too.

      On a brighter note, thank you very much Andrea for your comments about the story. I am enjoying flash fiction I have to say and want to do more of it. It is amazing though how hard it is to fit just the right amount of words, no more no less, in a challenge like this.

  16. Denise says:

    Very vivid.  Wow.


  17. Powerful Sherri. It was before we knew its origins and even more so after. You did a great job of fifty words. Its not easy.

  18. What a well-written challenge as well as such a selfless act. I hadn’t heard about this tragedy. Thanks for bringing it to light for us.

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  20. Life can change in an instant. A sad and sobering reminder of how our lives can change in an instant. I will be keeping the family in my prayers. xoxo

    • Sherri says:

      Yes it can, without any warning. I was stunned and shocked to see the damage and then with the flowers knew that something awful had happened. It’s very sobering going by it every day. Thank you my friend for your prayers for the family concerned. xoxo

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  32. Wow, Sherri. This real event is sad and so close to home, but you got emotions going in 50 words: the dog licking her face. Ouch. Heartbreaking, but great reading.

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  36. How did I miss this? This is a great 50 word story! I am going to have to take up that challenge. Hmmm….what can I write about? I’ll be thinking on it! Thanks for sharing, Sherri. But what a tragedy for that woman and her family. Very sad.

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