Saturday, July 07, 2007

Balloon: Which came first, the girl or the balloon?

Girl: I came first, and none too soon.

Balloon: You were a wish that I created!

Girl: You are a thing that I inflated!

Balloon: But I can float to outer space!

Girl: With a few quick squiggles I drew your face!

Balloon: I can prove that it was I.

Girl: Whatever you prove will be a lie. But please, let's hear you certify...

Balloon: It was like this: One day, floating along the shore, I spied a boy alone on his towel wishing for a girl. Since wishing for girls is what boys do best and since issuing wishes is my finesse, I hovered to the boy and presented him his complementary wish. Well, of course he wished for you! I dipped into the sea, patted some jellyfish together, added some seaweed for hair, some salt for preservation. And there you were! End of conversation.

Girl: Jellyfish!? Seaweed!? Salt!? My softness and huggability have nothing to do with jelly! And my hair is perfectly the opposite of algae! And last and never least, I am sweet, not salty! Your ravings are nonsense times triple and double - you're but a stick of gum I chewed and blew into a bubble!

Story #402

Note: Today's found photo is a self-portrait by Jenny, an Austrian photographer with galleries at where you'll find many sensitive images of femininity and an Alice in Wonderland kind of charm. Stop by and tell her what you think of her photography! And thanks Jenny, for your kind permission to repost this lovely photo.

You're invited to post your own spontaneous stories, captions or impressions to this photo here in the comments section. Sunday morning I will post a new photo for stories.

Second Note: The form of this story was inspired by Doug's delightful audio post "The Bath" at Waking Ambrose. I listened to that and had to start rhyming things.


Vivian said...

"Oh, mon dieu, I did not know ze balloon is filled wiz ze poisonous gas when I took it. Au revoir... my arms are too tired to hold on any longer."

Thanks for stopping by my ViviLulu blog and for the nice comment!

Unknown said...

She sits alone after an hour at the fair with her father-who was never really there for her through out her childhood. and as she sits and stares at the balloon he gave her before recieving "an important business call" she ponders about in the past trying to remember a time where she did wrong. such an immoral action to have deserve such a father as him...

Riri said...

Little Jeanne sat on the chair, holding on to the Death Balloon which her big brother Pierre-Francois gave her. The Halloween Party preparations were in full swing. She could hear Pierre-Francois laughing and shouting commands in the basement party room. The balloon fascinated her, the skull looked almost real and three-dimentional. Jeanne remembered that game they used to play with the other village children, where every one whispered a wish to their balloons and let go of them. The highest flying balloon means a wish that'll come true. Jeanne giggled. She decided she will make a Halloween wish...

Russell CJ Duffy said...

very nice photo. disarming, charming, fragile.

April's Place said...

She stares at the balloon, not knowing whether to pop it, or just enjoy it. Her mischevious side tells her to pop it, while her childlike whimsical side tells her otherwise. Her life is totally irony...and the balloon she picked up at the circus is just a symbol of this....she realizes....

DW2 said...

She pulls the string. "click" The skull is outlined in gentle luminescence. Again she pulls the string. "click" She is in the dark. "click" Light. "click" Dark.

"How long has she been like this, Doctor?" Cook rubbed his eyes and turned away from the glass for the first time in hours. "Since third shift came on. I'm not sure that the belt is making much of a difference." He looked back into the cell.
"Nurse Strummer," Her magenta hair fluttered as she turned "Yes, Doctor?"
"Make a note on the chart that there has been little progress. Have that orderly...Casale is his name I think...fetch some Doc Martens from the surgery and help you get them on her. And turn up the speakers for a few hours. Let's see if that helps."

Candid.Answers said...

Looking for something interesting to read this summer?


Anonymous said...

It was a murky kind of day. She felt as if her mind had ran into a fog bank. All her thinking was forced through some kind of stagnant sludge, and wisps of oddly disquieting pictures- were they memories or her imagination?- drifted through her consciousness. And now this strange balloon, drifting its lazy way through the window, marked with the sign of danger and death. What did it all mean?

She sat and stared at it, thinking as best she could in her foggy state. Her face was a question. The world had become a puzzle. Surely there was a solution?

She tugged it gently and let it go. It drifted to the widow on some quiet breeze. She followed it and peered out at the gray misty world, with the streetlights glaring harsh yellow, and a faint red glow, as of sunset, which was hours away... people staring in the streets down, a hissing, sucking sound... she gasped and ran inside as the glow flared and the people ran in a wild tide away in the streets.

And the balloon escaped the window and drifted serenely over the chaos below.

Anonymous said...

"Oh dearie my," sighed Samara. "If only my hands weren't so cold. I'll never find a man that can bear my icy touch. Maybe if I send up this balloon with my wish, the deities of death will bring someone who is undead like myself for me to make love to."

Anonymous said...

Woman, desperate to recapture her fleeing youth, constructs pretentious self-portraits with child-like cues. The knowledge and experience of adulthood, however, are more important than the wistful construct. Hence slightly sinister overtones to represent serious knowledge and understanding.... Nevermind - stripy knee-socks do it for some men!

Hobbes said...

Nora was startled when the face on the balloon spoke to her. "If you love me, set me freeeeee!" it moaned.

Dead Letter Boy said...

It was all she could do to hold on, polarity reversing, tugging downward. She'd attached it to a stick.

The smile on the skull's face seemed to say "I still weigh more than you."

ScottyC said...

Very "Non Sequiterish"

Anonymous said...

After he left, she examined the balloon for quite some time. She had not felt like this in many years. It was like the freedom of childhood.

The afternoon sun baked the ancient windows of her flat and the warmth bathed her skin. Kadia jumped up and dashed into the kitchen, searching frantically. She ripped through papers strewn in drawers and finally found it.

Kadia curled up on the chair near the window and began drawing in earnest. Though it would seem disturbing to others, it was the most liberating image she could conjure.

The balloon slipped from her hand and floated upwards, its journey to the heavens cut short by the silver cord that bound it to her. Kadia gazed at the image wistfully. She found an inexplicable sense of freedom in death.

DeLi said...

"im gonna die today,"said she. "and my only ticket to heaven is by hanging on to this ballon".

"my soul is light," she declared, "my little balloon will be bale to carry my to a better destiny."

DeLi said...

sorry, reposting after some typo error:

"im gonna die today,"said she. "and my only ticket to heaven is by hanging on to this ballon".

"my soul is light," she declared, "my little balloon should be able to carry me to a better destiny."

Cirrus Spray said...

Thanks for dropping by my blog and do keep the visits coming!
It's super okay to have another link to me :D
I hope it's okay if I do the same.

This is what I see:

She saw herself clinging to Life - a breath of air wrapped in the knowledge of Death.
One day she knew it'll let her go and she will flow, truly free.

Frances bo bancess said...

my mine is filled with pirates by looking at this picture, set off by the jolly roger combined with those fantastic socks! my story: Johnny Depp.
it's not a deep story, it's a depp story. ha... *tugs collar* sorry, cheap pun

Anonymous said...

Hi Indeterminacy! Can I just work at your blog? It just really interests me. Haven't made a story out of your pics, but i'll post mine soon. What do you think?

Anonymous said...

If you allow me....I wont do anything at my blog, just at yours... ;)

shiny said...

After she'd finished drawing she looked at it. Swaying and sighing, it sneered down at her. She thought she had got the ugly feeling out at last and it frightened her.
She dragged her knees up to her chest against the chill and stared, powerless.
"Is this all I have left to give the world?" she asked herself.
She couldn't kill it in her bare feet, her claws and teeth weren't for maiming. She dared not let go. She didn't want to let it out there.
So there she was, helpless. Keeping the evil at bay, with a piece of string.

acher-fude said...

"My photographer has some great sense. If only she knew how hungry I was!Sigh! A balloon with a skull and cross-bones! The last time it was an ice-cream dripping all over me. Shit! I was supposed to cancel the tickets today. The cross-bones don't even look like bones. They look like little hearts. I could show my niece this picture and preach patience. Haha. She has a big butt. Look at her when she bends like that. hahahahahahahahaha....."

Joseph Stevens said...

This seems like a very sad photo, but one that tells a deep story. One that lurks far beneath the surface of the actions.

Joseph Stevens
High School Spanish Teacher, PhD Student
Free Online Spanish Lessons Conversational for Fun, Travel, Work and more!

Irene Grumman said...

Jenny in her striped Dr. Seuss knee socks paused on the verge of videotaping her live cartoon. How had the cartoon light bulb idea icon become a death's head, part of the poison symbol?

Pippi Longstocking would not like this, at all!

Irene Grumman said...

Are both galleries photos by Jenny Snow? Emotive Portraits are beautiful, compelling, evocative. I didn't see a way to leave a comment praising the photographer's work. Is this site mainly a way for professional photographers to sell their photos, or simply to share them with each other?


Anonymous said...

You can get close but she will push your hand from her belly button. If you sit still she will let you have the ballon and her phone number.

The OE said...

Castaway. The Sequel.

KHM said...

Those idyllic childhood images: a young girl, giddy with excitement at street fairs, bunches of balloons tethered to her arm. A beautiful cover for the ugly truth...

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I sit and ponder death by peering at its symbol on a balloon. I don’t know what it means but each time I think about it I try to imagine what it would be like. I was there once before I was me, before I came into the cold from the warmth, before my first breath, before I tasted my mother. How can it be so far from me now, so separate from that which I am, I think not. It floats around me always, a reminder of what has been and will be, a constant distraction from what is, and is not. Who am I kidding, I don’t have a clue who I am much less death and so I sit imagining what I’m afraid of, knowing that my fear is real even if I’m not.

Anonymous said...

Longing to rise up and test her dreams, she nevertheless is weighted down by the fears held captive inside her.

Indeterminacy said...

Once again I was fascinated by the kaleidoscope of impressions given by the one photo. Thanks to everyone who "played" - here are my comments... (tomorrow, Sunday morning, I'll post the next photo).

ViviLulu: How elegantly simple - a poison gas balloon!

Dead on a Friday: So true! It's important to spend time with your kids. So if my posts are late, it's usually because I was outside playing baseball with my son.

Riri: Cool that we both worked wishes into our stories. I hope she won't wish for anything morbid to happen at the Halloween Party.

Cocaine Jesus: You must visit her galleries!

April: I enjoyed the ponderings. And I think you captured the playful tone of the photo quite well!

DW2: Oh wow! I really enjoyed your story. Really hilarious! Well done!

Talespin: Great dramatic moment - I especially enjoyed the last sentence "the balloon escaped the window and drifted serenely over the chaos below."

Buzzin: Eerie. I liked it!

Anonymous: thanks for sharing your impressions.

Hobbes: Give that Teddy Bear a cigar! Very cool story!

Dead Letter Boy: That fits so well with the photo. Well done, capturing a complete mood in such a short space.

ScottyC: Indeed. I love that.

Hugo: Somehow that had an ominous undertone - which could be one way to interpret the photo.

DeLi: I thought of writing a story in which the balloon dies and floats up to heaven. There is a kind of symbol in that. Well seen.

Cirrus Spray: I never thought of the sense of death and freedom in this, but apparently a few people saw that themselves.

Frances bo bancess: Give that girl a balloon!

Skeptic: You're very welcome to post stories here, or just to hang out and read. But don't give up your own blog!

Observer: Wow! That was powerful! You earn the name "observer"

Nivetha: That balloon is a little vindictive. I'd let it go.

Joesph: I think the photo can have many different meanings. I saw many connotations - there's really a lot in it.

Irene: I enjoyed your story. I'm amazed how easy it was for everyone to write such short and succint two or three sentnce stories. Wish I could do that. is a place where artists can show their work and meet other artists. I didn't think, when linking, that one has to be a member to comment there. But by now I have dummy memberships at just about every Internet service there is, just so I can leave comments there, or log in or whatever one has to always do to get things done online.

Anonymous (2): I think I choose to sit still.

OE: Wicked!

Kathy: Under the surface we often have things we try to hide. Good point.

Jornalife: Accurate excursion into death and how it always hovers near us, though we try frantically to ignore it.

Chattanoogan: One gripping sentence that captures the image well. Wish I had done it.

Anita said...

lol, great story!
RYC: you are right, a beautiful and wise woman. I miss being her friend.

C Merry said...

Again perfect.. I love that it made me smile, for real on the outside too not just one of those inside smiles.. :)

Irene Grumman said...

Your whimsical rhyming story is very pleasing. Good work.

Might you know students who need to do an internship at a, an online business? Look at

My blog links to it.

Indeterminacy said...

Seren: Glad you enjoyed the story/ lyric/dialogue - or whatever it is.

Happy LOL: I wish I'd been there to see you smile! Would have been worth a million dollars, I believe (at least).

Irene: Thank you. I hope you find all the interns you are looking for!

Frances bo bancess said...

i adored the prose!
"would you like a balloon? they float"

Pam said...

As much as I love writing ( I do it seldomn anymore), I can't top your poetic rhyme. Wonderfully written.

Indeterminacy said...

Frances: Thank you for the compliment. And thank you for the balloon!

Pam: Thank you so much - but I'm sure you would have written something lovely.

Unknown said...

Applause, Indie! Jean-Paul Seuss?

Cirrus Spray said...

Haha..funny, rhyming conversation there :D
That balloon's got an ego blown out of proportions!

Banno said...

Lovely photo, and a fairy tale in verse, very apt.

Ian said...


Do you like Donuts? Trains & Donuts in Japan.

Cori said...

Oh Indie! I really love that!

Hobbes said...

Love the whimsy, Indie.

B.R. said...

Reading this brought me back to my reading and teaching experience behind Botho Strauss's genuis play in two acts called "Die Fremdenfuehrerin".... Check it out, if you haven't already... Thanks for the read. Good one.