What do we want?

Image copyright: J Hardy Carroll

Image copyright: J Hardy Carroll

The square has been regarded as almost sacred for over two centuries. It’s a place of pilgrimage, a place steeped in spirituality, a place where the world-weary can come to recover their love for life.

Bounded on one side by the Old Town Chapel while the eastern border is marked by a gently running stream fed by mountains in the near distance, the site is ripe for commercial development.

Once again we are at war with the city planners; once again battle lines are drawn.

They want to maintain the status quo; we want bowling alleys and fast food.


And here is an alternative second paragraph to address the flaws of the original (and to give the piece more bite):

On one side of the space is the revered Old Town Chapel; on the other, the children’s playground on the banks of the trout stream. The property developers wait, fingering their cheque books.


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ 100 word weekly challenge, found here.

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61 Responses to What do we want?

  1. Sarah Ann says:

    C – I really enjoyed the opening descriptions – the mountain-fed stream has a particular resonance.
    However, I struggled a bit with the lyrical narrator turning into a demanding brat in the last line. I couldn’t quite marry the what s/he sees with what h/she wants.

    • For the narrator, the spirituality and the idyllic location are irrelevant. What is wanted is bowling alleys and fast food – the stuff of real life.
      Fun, isn’t it?

  2. C-
    Either work, but I have to admit a preference for the initial version of the second paragraph. As vividly descriptive as you wish to make it, you may be able to shave off a few words simply by changing the framework of the sentence. “On the one side…on the other” can eat up space that may be equally expressed by using “between…and,” which can then be used for further lush descriptions.

  3. Nice job, Patrick, with both approaches. If I’m voting, I think I like the 2nd slightly better. They’re both wonderfully done.

  4. Margaret says:

    Great ending – I love how you manipulate the point of view. I can’t decide between the two versions of that paragraph.Can I be awkward and say that I like the first part of the first one, and the last sentence of the second? I really enjoyed the ‘cheque book fingering’ image.

  5. I like your alternative sentence, but I’m also a long winded writer, and love a good long sentence. Short and choppy are nice in some instances, but a great descriptive long sentence – I swoon!
    Wonderful example of new vs old going on everywhere! Just give me an island and a transporter and I’ll be happy! 🙂

  6. That’s not quite how it works in my town. The city planners want the bowling alleys and fast food. The citizenry wants to save the old way of life.

  7. Pave paradise and put up a bowling alley….

  8. liz young says:

    I bet the owners of those houses would prefer their quieter neighbours!

  9. gahlearner says:

    Great story, and, like everyone else, I love the twist with the different pov. I also found the second sentence a bit long, but it also made me look twice, and chuckle. There’s the loving description of the square with mountains, and rivers. Then the matter-of-factly ‘ripe for development.’ I liked this a lot. It brings the slightly sarcastic tone into the story. I think just replacing the comma with a period after ‘in the near distance’ would help.

  10. I loved your take on this prompt, especially the twist. No C from me this time.

  11. The NOW mentality often blurs our sense of reasoning.

    • That is so true. And suggests someone doesn’t want to listen to the argument from the other side. I get really angry when people want things NOW and when they say they get really angry.

  12. I liked the way you linked it to battlefields of the past and the unexpected twist that for a change the community wanted development rather than the town planners. That has to be a first.
    C – I agree that the second sentence is too long. It could be made into three or easily into two by putting a full stop after distance and a new sentence for it is ripe for development. I loved the imagery you created with your description of the eastern boundary.

  13. A distinctly different take on the prompt. One that says so much! Kudos.

  14. Dale says:

    Yep… just what we need, bigger spaces to eventually find themselves empty as the new and improved take up residence elsewhere…

  15. lillian says:

    Living in Boston, we see the preserved cemeteries, Copps Burial Hill, churches with box pews, and the Big Dig that replaced grotesque rusty steel overhead traffic ways with a beautiful greenway complete with public art, fountains for children to play in, gardens, a place for food trucks and a place for art fairs. To preserve the past while creating the new takes negotiation skills and a mind that can straddle the value of history and progress. Good take on the photo.

    • The Big Dig sounds interesting. Just read up on it on Wiki. That must have kept the local media going for so long – all those juicy stories.
      What irks me is high rise development which clashes with older buildings and mess up the horizons. London’s becoming a bit of a mess in some parts.

  16. EagleAye says:

    Definitely a clash of the old mind-set and the new. Seems like the new want everything, “Now.” C – The sentence in the second paragraph seems awfully long and complex. I wonder if it might read a little smoother if chopped into simpler sentences? Just a thought. I really enjoyed this.

  17. Last night our town council approved the demolition of an historic home to make room for the expansion of the local farm center. It’s a tricky thing to both preserve the past and move into the future.

  18. ansumani says:

    The “Now” says a lot. It talks about a culture of instant gratification and consumerism. Well done.

  19. royhatton1 says:

    Who would be a city planner? Who will build all the new houses we need?
    Easier just to sit it out and criticise, pain averse but aching all over.
    Good to read you again Patrick —well done—Roy

  20. Good story, Patrick, with an unexpected twist at the end. I’ll always remember a “Garfield the Cat” cartoon where he was scattering mini-mall seeds. That about said it all. Well done. —- Suzanne.

  21. Sandra says:

    Quite a twist at the end there. I wasn’t expecting that.

  22. micklively says:

    Peaceful places are disappearing fast.
    Good piece.

  23. Dear Patrick,

    They call it progress. There are a few little fenced in graveyards around our area. Kind of jarring to see them beside strip malls and super highways. Good story.



  24. Sad but true. Great visuals – I could really picture this in my mind’s eye.

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