This is for Sacha Black’s 52 word story challenge. The theme this week is “choke”.

The photo ©Danielclauzier was taken in Agen, the nearest big town to where we’re going to live. Is that coincidence? I don’t think so.


There was a rose once,

beside the door,

a rose of welcome, they said,

pink and fragrant.

When you left

I watched the bindweed creep

over all we had planted.

White and virginal and so tough

it crept and climbed and tangled

through the rose,

so pink and fragrant,

and choked it.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

39 thoughts on “Rose”

  1. This is the biggest compliment and truth I’m capable of … when i read your work like this i envy you so much. You are a brilliant mind, i am addicted to the magic of your words. I basically love your mind. This is truly outstanding that last line, it’s an epic classic gave me goosebumps you get it SO right, good grief you don’t know how brilliant your writing is.

    1. It was a 52 word exactly thing. If I’d had more words, I’d have maybe run on…and ruined it 🙂 I do appreciate your compliments, truly and honestly. It soothes the ruffled feathers when agents don’t even reply to my queries. I know, deep down, that it’s worth far far more to be praised by someone who knows what she’s talking about than being snubbed by a hundred agents.

      1. Agents be dammed. A friend of mine who is a very talented musician has the same exact issue, meanwhile crap music is everywhere. At least we must know it’s not personal and it’s not a reflection of any actual ability. I realize that doesn’t actually help when you feel over-looked but the system is well and truly broken (or warped) we can tell by the MFA books that come out aplenty and are frankly, formulaic and lacking in any originality. Keep trying. Because each attempt you make is ART and that will live on past us both, and never, ever be worthless xo

      2. I really honestly believe that what I write is worth reading. One agent even told me the writing was beautiful but she didn’t want the book nonetheless. Rejections or non-responses do tell me though that there is something about it that the ‘professionals’ don’t want to get involved with. They have to be certain they can sell it, and they can only be certain if, as you say, it follows a tried and tested pattern. I want to sell books though, not be worthy. We’re cold stony broke! I’m not interested in posterity because I won’t be there to enjoy it. I’d like a bit of cash now, please.

      3. I’m so glad that you believe what you write it worth reading – this may seem obvious or nothing much but it is. I would be very sad if you did not believe this, because it is necessary to believe it AND it happens to be the truth (and then some). If there is something about it that professionals do not want, could it not be that everything is about nepitism and who you know, who you are, etc? I find for example right now they don’t want to publish jewish writers, they always publish men over women, they prefer certain genres, they love those they know or whom they can mold into cause celebs, they like networked types, youth, beauty, etc, so if that’s just the beginning, imagine what else could factor in? Plus everything is so profit driven as to be nothing about the actual ART of the work. Or the worth for that matter (with some exceptions and you’ve got me as to how those exist) not to mention all the MFA’s who automatically get a book deal after paying $60k for their ‘degree’ etc. I have this belief it will pay off for you – I don’t know why but I just believe in you so I believe that. I hope I am right, as you so richly deserve that. But if you don’t then know this, you have still created worth and never forget that (but yeah, where’s the money right?)

      4. I wonder if they have a clue what they’re asking for when they say they want ‘Muslim’ writers? Have they ever asked for Catholic writers? Or Shinto writers? What the fuck difference does it make what your religion or lack of religion is? It makes me furious that my chances of getting past the gatekeepers and with a shot at a big publisher is blocked by moronic thinking like this.

      5. This might sound conspiracy theorist but I also believe anyone anglo has less chance than say, someone else, it’s not ‘fashionable’ and anyone who isn’t say, ‘someone’ to begin with, is less marketable. I think of someone like JK Rollings and wonder, how did she do it? But ten years can make a big difference, it may simply have changed since them. I like her story as I think she is just an ordinary person who got a great book deal and was able to make a mint off her creativity. (and I don’t even like her books but I appreciate her work ethic and success)

      6. Agents claim they want ‘diverse’ ie coloured, crippled, sexually off radar, from cultures and time periods no American has even heard of. But I have yet to read about a success story from this latest fad. Just because your novel has black transgender characters, preferably Muslim and refugee status doesn’t mean it’s going to be a good story. If it’s the same high school drama that’s the setting for the previous fads, it will be just a big yawn.

      1. Yes. Interesting to me, that one thing I do is add one line too many (I want to sum up, usually) and then later go back and it’s always that line that goes. I like this poem (one reason among several) because it lets the situation be, and the reader finish it. That is great.

      2. I was reminded of a house we visited that had lots of drawbacks, and the estate agent began by drawing attention to the rose by the door, and away from the fact that the house was only part of a house, and the front door had another right next to it that led to the neighbour’s part. It was a rose tree, okay, but it was a pretty spindly rose and the main point about the entrance was that that’s all it was—an entrance. The windows and the other door belonged to the neighbour.

      3. The place had other glaring flaws that he skimmed over. Like opening the windows wide and going into ecstasy over the view, ignoring the fact that the neighbour had two windows in the garden wall, proper, opening windows…

    1. It’s your imagination, but it might also be intentional. The Art Nouveau movement used flowers and birds as motifs more than anything else, so what your eye picked out might well have been an added bonus for the spectator with an inventive imagination 🙂

  2. Which is pretty much how I feel most of the time …. choked and throttled! I didn’t comment on your Sunday Sermon. I think you and I have rehearsed the whole publishing thing to death before but I do what to say that you are absolutely right, of course that its all about bluddy marketing. Everything in this shallow world of ours seems to be about marketing. Or is it about God … well that’s that then because I don’t believe in him either!!! Bon courage a toi, et bon courage a moi – I need a feckin’ drink!!!

    1. I didn’t like to add (you never know, some successful writer might have been reading) but you can sell any old shite if you market it properly. Because (second point it doesn’t do to make) that vast mass of potential readers we’re told about buying books by the vanload are not looking for literature. They’re looking for entertainment, quick, easy and cheap, if not free. That’s where the money is.

      1. It’s all about the instant gratification these days (I sound like the old bag I clearly am – way past my sell-by) …. Social Media stinks of everyone selling their expertise which is generally not expertise and certainly not talent by shouting loudly in the voice people want to hear. It tires me and I’m afraid I will die as I have lived … poor but still considering myself the richest of poor girls because I didn’t dive into the wallow with the swine and become what those in the know tell me I must be. I shall pass unnoticed but untarnished into oblivian I expect but rather that than sell my soul and my integrity on the alter of fascile commercialism for a brainless public who wouldn’t know writing if it belted them between the eyes.

      2. And there was I being diplomatic 🙂 We will sink into the mire together then, unnoticed and unenriched, but intègre. With me though it’s not so much a case of refusing to sell my soul for filthy lucre, but not knowing how to go about it. If I could write a block-buster best-seller oozing shite, I would.

      3. That made me howl undecorously with laughter …. I think you probably need to read 50 Shades of Drivel and get under the skin of her methodology if you are serious that you would sell any bohlarks for the bank balance. Beyond that I am as mystified as you …. chin chin my friend 🙂

      4. Problem is you have to live with your characters for the length of time it takes to write the book, get it published, and at least another six months after that while you’re promoting it. I don’t think I could bear to even sit down to a meal with the characters out of this kind of clap-trap. Cheers to you to!

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