When the Going gets Tough…

She closed the door behind her, the letter still in her hand.

Unfortunately we have to conclude that we do not have a good fit at this time, it read.

She walked away from the concrete road to the barren hills. A sight stopped her, made her sit down, tears filling her eyes.

An oak-nut had found its way in this disparate land of rocks and sparse soil, and had rooted itself determinedly. There will be an oak tree in this unseemly place soon, much to everyone’s surprise.

And she happily started for home. She too will surprise the world!


Inspired by this 100 Word photo prompt by Madison:

38 thoughts on “When the Going gets Tough…

  1. Dear Parul,

    Found you after a short search. Lovely piece that speaks to writers everywhere as well as to any aspirant in the rough and tumble world of the arts.

    Consider replacing ‘sparing’ with ‘sparse’ and in the last sentence, ‘will’ with ‘would’. Your call, of course, just food for thought from this one. Will look for you next week and based on your previous work, I will not be surprised.



    1. Thanks for taking the pains to find me Doug. πŸ™‚

      I was very late with my entry this week.. This was a tough prompt and I didn’t have a lot of time to mull over it till the weekend..
      Thanks for the feedback too… I will edit the post once am done replying to everyone here…

      I am a jerk with tenses… so please help me understand this.. In the last sentence, using “will” is more definitive, more forceful, at least in my mind. Somehow if I read it after replacing it with a “would” it loses the punch.. But I am never good with tenses to really know what’s right technically… I am going to change it here as you suggested.
      In case there’s a tense 101 somewhere on the net, plz lemme know of it. πŸ™‚
      Really appreciate the feedback!

      I plan to stick to this Friday fiction routine, so I should be around next week as well. Look forward to learning more from you! πŸ™‚

      1. Dear Parul,

        I’m the last person to check with re grammar rules. I survive (and hope to thrive) by how a sentence sounds and have only the foggiest notion of why I think something should be a certain way. Your research is probably far more telling and useful than my input (though I still stand by ‘sparse’ as opposed to ‘sparing’.) Thanks for being patient with me.



      2. Thanks for the feedback Doug. “Sparse” was a better choice of course… I have edited the post to replace “sparing” with it… Have left “will” as it is though… that one sounds just right in my ear…
        Appreciate the frankness! Keep it coming in future as well.. I like to learn and grow! πŸ™‚


    2. Did a little research on will and would…
      “would” is used when the future action is conditional and “will” when the future action is sure to happen.
      I guess, then it should stay as “will”… but I do realize I need to work on my tenses.
      Thanks for pointing this out! πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks for reading it… πŸ™‚
      I too have been through a lot of such moments in life…
      But as they say, that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger πŸ™‚

    1. One becomes tenacious for things that really matter… you can’t pursue everything πŸ™‚
      will and would… even I am not so sure… but I am not an expert at tenses anyway… they are my weak point..

  2. Never give up, never surrender. Well done. I think we’ve all come to that point in our lives, sometimes several times. I noticed you did switch tenses (from past to present) and it’s easier on the reader if you remain consistent. I really liked the feel of this piece, from despairing to empowered. Well done. πŸ™‚

  3. I think you’ve found a profound meaning in this picture: “There will be an oak tree in this unseemly place soon. . .” Of course! What else could this picture say? In fact, I may print the picture out with this sentence and put it up in my office. Thank you!

    1. That line states a true story… Straight out of a rejection mail I got some years ago. πŸ™‚
      I remembered it specifically because of the construct of the mail. It was a beautiful way of rejecting a profile!
      I had chuckled reading it even then!
      Thanks for stopping by…

  4. I enjoyed this nugget. And as the tree rising from that nut will endure storm, drought, and disease while it grows into a sturdy tower, may you likewise persevere and prosper.

    1. Amen! πŸ™‚
      Thanks for stopping by…
      I have a little question for you waiting at your blog. (I think we commented at almost the same time at each other’s πŸ™‚ )
      Please help me there.

  5. Found your story uplifting. I was thinking how much it applied to writing, all the rejection slips you get, the whole struggle to have your work even be read.
    You made the spouting acorn a nice extended metaphor for dealing with life’s struggles. A lot of us know the feeling of falling on rocky ground.
    Thanks for your comment on my blog name. I chose it because I believe every day is a new beginning, a rebirth, says Buddha, and the most important thing is what you do today. Actually, I stole it from a song by James Taylor, Walking Man. Have to give credit to James.
    Anyway, thanks for the sweet story and look forward to reading your work next week.

  6. This truly speaks to everyone who receives the dreaded rejection letter from any walk of life. Everyone wants to make their mark–but it is the truly rugged ones who are willing to be the acorn among the rocks.

    Well done!

    1. Thanks… And I agree, rejection is never easy to handle… but we have to face it one time or the other… But I also think success tastes much sweeter after that, cos you know what it took to get it.. πŸ™‚
      Thanks for stopping by..

  7. Dear Paul,

    I’m really stressed about this week, and this really cheered me up. The little things like acorns and 100 words seem to catch more attention than neon signs.

    Well played,

    Elise Rae

  8. Fantastic triumph of hope over adversity, Parul. I’m glad you got round to writing it – you remind us all to push past those rejection letters (however nicely worded!).

    On the grammar question, will and would are different tenses (“would” can also be conditional, but not in this context). So “she will surprise the world” means starting from the present, there is some time in the future when the world is going to be surprised by her. “she would surprise the world” means starting at that time (which is now in the past) there was some time in the future (which may now be in the past) when the world would be surprised.
    For example:
    In prison, Hitler wrote Mein Kampf. He WOULD go on to lead Germany to war. (It was in the future when he wrote MK)
    Today, I am perfecting my novel, I WILL go on to hawk it round agents with a view to publishing it. (Future tense as I’m not published yet).

    So, I think you want would here, because your story is in the past tense. However, you can stick to will if it hasn’t happened yet. The change of tense as it stands makes me sit up and take note as a reader. hat’s not always a good thing, but sometimes it can work. At the end of James Bond movies it always used to say “James Bond will return in [next movie title]” and that makes viewers want to see the next episode more than if they’d said “James Bond would face Blowfeld again six years later in [movie title]”.

    Anyway, enough grammar rambling now. A good editor will pick these things up for you anyway, if they enjoy your writing as much as we all have.


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