They say

Photo copyright: Piya Singh

Photo copyright: Piya Singh

They say you should never be too far from the hospital, from the library, from a bus stop. They ask how one can survive without a coffee shop within walking distance, without the deliver-to-your-door take-away food shops. They tell you that it’s impossible to live without wifi, without a phone signal, without television, piped water and electricity.

I ponder all these negatives, wonder who all these ‘they’s are, as I haul fresh water from my stream, collect dry wood from my coppiced wood, forage for seasonal berries and nuts, for healing herbs.

And I think “they” may be wrong.


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ weekly 100 words take-away writing challenge. Taste it here.

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64 Responses to They say

  1. Beautifully written xo

  2. Margaret says:

    Ah yes. It’s good to ponder such things. I like that your narrator just thinks they ‘may’ be wrong – he’s not fully convinced. That captures longings I guess we all have to wriggle out from the complications of our times, while knowing that really, we can’t. We all need some time to get back to basics, I believe.

  3. “They” are probably older people, Patrick. Your character can go right ahead enjoying his bucket carrying, toilet holes, wood chopping, foraging for food, kerosene lanterns, no wi-fi, etc. I’ll live with all the conveniences I can afford at my age thank you very much. Well written as always. 😀 — Suzanne

  4. elappleby says:

    What a lovely life – I’m tempted to pack in my job and head for the hills!

  5. wmqcolby says:

    “They” ARE wrong. Point proven by the character.

    Five out of five porta-johns … or holes in the ground. Your call. 😉

  6. athling2001 says:

    A positive story about going your own way and making your own happiness. Well done.

  7. yarnspinnerr says:

    They are wrong. Great take – loved it.

  8. “They” can only make judgements about themselves.
    For me, water and electricity are basic necessities.

  9. jellico84 says:

    Love it! As one who lives precariously between the modern world and desire to return to the simple, plain life, I loved how you wrote this.

  10. rgayer55 says:

    Actually, I’m a member of the local “They” council and I must inform you that this post is in direct violation of Section 1, paragraph 32, subsection D of our digest of laws. You must never publicly question our wisdom or doubt our principles, no matter how misguided, misinformed, or totally clueless “They” appear to be. We (They) are the ultimate authority on all things good and evil and if we want your unsolicited opinion, we’ll tell you what it is.

    Thank you, and have a good day.

  11. draliman says:

    Lovely piece. It does sound idyllic, this simple life, and I like the way you wrote it as his ponderings as he goes about his chores.

  12. Amy Reese says:

    Great take, Patrick. I really like this. I”m on the fence about living in isolation. I think I would miss that coffee shop on the corner. I’m a wreck when I’m out of coffee! And wifi, of course, although I would read a lot more. It seems a lot simpler.

  13. The Voice says:

    “They” also used to say that the world was flat. 🙂

    I like the perspective you took and while it’s nice to think about returning to the basics of living, I confess to my slavery to modern comforts. I do think, however, that a balance between the two would be rather pleasant. Let us be thankful that at least some of the world can choose which lifestyle to live. Nice story, Patrick.

  14. I agree with some of the comments above. It would be great for a short period, but not a permanent lifestyle. Nicely done. 🙂

  15. ceayr says:

    Neat portrayal of an alternative lifestyle, Patrick.

  16. d3athlily says:

    Soooo true! There once was a time when the three needs were simply food, water, and shelter. Now people lose themselves if their phone service is down for five minutes. Great take! We should all live a little simpler (I say, as I type this on my iPad lol)

  17. maria says:

    That’t right! Shake them off. They’re not the one who’s going to live in it anyway. XD

  18. I love this story. It’s beautiful.
    And of course, they are wrong.
    When I’m far from wi-fi or any communication device, I’m at my most peaceful.

  19. Of course they are wrong! But wonder if he/she could live there for years. A holiday jaunt, an escape place? Sure! A lifetime? Not sure!

  20. When I think of the panic we now feel when we can’t get a WIFI signal, I think it might be good for us to retreat back to this. And then I remember ice. Readily available ice cubes. And I think I will stay in the city.

  21. I have to say… 4 weeks of that is a bliss… any longer torture… “they” have a point.

  22. I have to say that I do like to get away from it all from a time, just to value the things “they” like all the more.

  23. Joe Owens says:

    They can and will criticize anything done in a way other than theirs. It doesn’t mean it is wrong, just uncommon or different.

  24. Joy Pixley says:

    I agree — I think “they” are pretty much always talking just about themselves! Nicely written; I got a great picture of the scene.

  25. Hah! Nice story (although moving to the wilds didn’t turn out so well for the characters in my book). I’m not sure that I could live too far from a library.

  26. Mike says:

    O to have the intelligence of your narrator; for in the 1970’s I had the use of an ex army nissan hut and half a mountain, with the water supply out of a burn from Ben Lawers: and bliss it was. Sadly I let it go because of a perceived lack of employment. Now today with Wi Fi !

  27. ansumani says:

    They are wrong until it’s wednesday and you want to post a story for Friday fictioneers 🙂

    Nicely done.

  28. Dear Patrick,

    I’ve always wondered who “they” were. Although I’d have a lot of trouble without wifi. 😉 Well done.



  29. Who exactly is ‘they’ and why do ‘they’ always feel obliged to tell us these things?
    Good one.

  30. Sandra says:

    A lovely note of positivity there, Patrick. The internet though… that would be a problem for me. Good one.

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