How to Grow Old Gracefully

Here is another tale in the oh-so-ironic “How To” series for Friday Fictioneers. This one is in the form of a prose poem.

The photo prompt this week is courtesy of Emmy L. Gant. It reminds me of an old building or row house, and it put me in mind of my own 100 year old house. Sadly, the condition of my house seems to mirror my own rapidly aging bones–or is it vice versa?

Friday Fictioneers is a lively and friendly international writing community. Between Wednesday and Friday of every week, we each post a 100-word story to share. To learn more about Friday Fictioneers, or to post your own story, please visit our lovely leader’s website, author Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Addicted to Purple.

emmy l gant

Photo Copyright: Emmy L. Gant

How to Grow Old Gracefully

by Jan Brown

This house has no more dreams. There are only distant hopes, painful yearnings and blood-chilled fear.

…the fear of growing old.

The piano plays no complete songs. It is dusty, like my vocal cords. Two shallow breaths, a hoarse wheeze, to sing half a measure.

…the silence of my voice.

There are fragments of poetry in the corners. I pull them out with cobwebs. Piece them together clumsily.

…the frailty of my muse.

Etchings line the walls, crucified on wires and nails. My soul is searing in artists’ shades of molten gold and cutting crimson.

…the color of my pain.


To read more Fictioneers’ stories, click the link:

46 thoughts on “How to Grow Old Gracefully

    • Thank you, Alistair. Yes, I agree, quite depressing! One must continue to hope, to restore the rusty voice, to revive the stubborn muse, and to doctor the pain as best one can.

  1. I loved the structure and tone of your story, and the overwhelming sense of despair and fear that the narrator feels at the thought of growing old, not just because of physical decrepitude, but of the threat of the greatest loss: Creativity and the ability to realize one’s artistic vision and ideas.
    It’s mine, at any rate.
    Thank you for visiting my blog and commenting. I’m so glad I read yours!

  2. Very enchanting. To one for whom the shadows lenghhen and days pass quickly
    and for whom the love of things past is cut short by diminished attention span
    Those few moments of fellowship with friends, or with my dog are all that remains

  3. “My soul is searing in artists’ shades of molten gold and cutting crimson.…the color of my pain.”
    And I thought I was negative about growing older! C’mon, we’ll get a drink, we’ll put on some Rolling Stones and we’ll think of … “distant hopes, painful yearnings and blood-chilled fear…the fear of growing old.”

    • Hey, your negativity is nothing compared to mine 😬 I find myself listening to the Stones and fully enjoying myself till I see a recent photo and think: those guys are just a few years older than me, and they look like THAT.

  4. Beautifully written, Jan. And I think it hit a nerve we all feel sometimes as we race into the arms of aging. Personally, I’m still in denial and plan to remain so the rest of my life.

  5. This is wonderful. I love how the deterioration of the house mirrors the fear and pain of its owner. Although there are positive things to be found about getting old too–the weakening of the body and the fear of a weakening mind simply suck and cannot be discussed away.

  6. Wow, this was beautiful, Jan. Growing old is not something anyone seems to look forward to. I sure don’t want to. I think this is one of your best. 🙂 Great writing!

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