3 February 2017

Published February 1, 2017 by rochellewisoff

Blue Ceiling FF

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The next photo is the PROMPT. Remember, all photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor credit. 

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100


Not even a light breeze blew through the open window. As it did every night, sleep eluded Myrtle Reed. Sweat oozed from skin-folds under her ample arms.

“Why doesn’t this so-called windy city offer some relief from this fiendish heat?” She glared at the clock. “Eleven-thirty, August 17, 1911.”

She searched the street below for James. “He’s probably passed out drunk somewhere. I was so wrong. Love is not an orchid which thrives on hot air.”

Raising a bottle of sleeping powder to her lips, the young authoress swallowed disappointed dreams. “Insomnia be damned—forever. Happy anniversary my ‘model husband.’”







114 comments on “3 February 2017

  • How sad that depression was often not recognized then and treated. In her state of mind, she shouldn’t have been left alone with that strong medication. What a waste as she wasn’t all that old. She could have had a much longer career as a writer. Good historical writing, as usual, Rochelle. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Sandra,

      The toadstool analogy is good. It just didn’t fit into a hundred words. I have to follow the rules. 😉 Insomnia often accompanies depression, at least it did in my life. Thank you for your affirming comment. Your words mean a lot to me.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Another little history lesson well crafted. Her husband, I assume, may have been a toadstool. So sad that she was so prolific as a writer and was only 37, I think, when she made her fatal decision. Well done m’luv.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lish,

      That was my implication although the Myrtle Reed quote “Love is an orchid which thrives on hot air” was my jumping off point for this story. I think she could very well have meant that, too, judging from her disappointing marriage. Obscure bits of history. I love it.
      Thank you.



      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear James,

      Honestly when I started my research trail, suicide was not my intent. Inspired by her orchid quote, I followed the path that led to Myrtle Reed’s untimely suicide at the age of 37. And she didn’t jump out the window. 😉 I wasn’t looking for a story of depression but it found me.
      Thank you for commenting.




  • Another fascinating slice of history. Poor Myrtle lived a brief and troubled life it seems. From the quote on her Wiki page it seems she was a woman of wit, too. So sad she felt she couldn’t go on any more. How did you stumble across her, Rochelle? Have you read her work? What an irronically named place to live too – Paradise Flat. Would be bitter sweet if it weren’t true. Great stuff

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lynn,

      I love it when someone asks how I came to a story. It was actually a short path on the research trail this time. I Googled “quotes about orchids.” That’s where I found Ms. Reed’s quote, “Love is an orchid which thrives on hot air.” Of course I had to find out who Myrtle Reed was. That led me to a few places with her bio. The challenge after that was what to tell and how. I don’t know if it was actually a hot night. But it was August. Summer in Chicago is hot and humid…like it is here in Kansas City. There weren’t any air conditioners in 1911 so, there you go. Hot night. Alcoholic husband. Just taking the factual clay and molding it into something that makes sense. I have yet to read her work other than those few quotes.
      Thank you.



      Liked by 3 people

    • Dear Eric,

      I think authors, like most artists feel things more deeply than the average person. It helps us to convey those emotions to the reader/audience. Sometimes those emotions get the best of us. Thank you for your kind words. .



      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Björn,

      There seems to be an inherent quality in the artist/author to feel things more profoundly than the average. It’s both blessing and curse, for if we don’t feel those deep emotions, how can we convey them in our works? Sadly, it can be our undoing. I didn’t know about her either, I just followed the orchid trail. 😉 Thank you.




  • Love the idea of mushrooms versus toadstools … won’t tell you about the toadstools I’ve had !!! The thing is that children keep you keeping on however depressed or insomniac or toadstool -like the husband !
    A neat intriguing little historical story, Rochelle, and told with that wonderful economy of words that this genre demands, and which is so effective…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Cuzzin Notnek,

      I hadn’t heard of her either. I found her orchid quote and started the research trail to find out who she was. Interesting, if not tragic life.

      What? No five out of five bottles of sleeping powder?


      Cuzzin Shelley


  • Dear Minnie M.

    Interesting biography. As Trump would say, “Soo sad.” My favorite line was the description of the sweat oozing from the folds under her ample arms. Very graphic.

    It kept me scratchin’ for more
    Foghorn Leghorn

    Liked by 1 person

  • Wow, shock ending (since I hadn’t heard of her before). Nicely written!

    Fun fact – until I heard someone say “the Windy City” out loud I always thought it was “windy – wine-dy” like “twisty” and supposed the streets meandered somewhat 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Ali,

      I never thought of Windy City being pronounced any other way. I see the confusion though. English is full of words that are spelled the same and pronounced differently. Case in point: Polish vs polish.

      Thank you for your kind words re my story that I had no trouble pronouncing. 😉



      Liked by 1 person

  • An unhappy marriage, unfulfilled dreams often seem to be the reason for sleepless nights. I wrote a post about marriage and love myself -not knowing that you did the same. I never read the answers to the prompt before I am done with mine. Iron rule!

    I loved it, you are indeed a word smith.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Hi Rochelle. I just went on to comment on the two writers who followed my offering and I can’t find mine. I know that it must be there as I received a number of comments and I wonder if it’s disappeared in to cyberspace for some reason. Any ideas?


  • A tragic end to a troubled life. You really capture her sense of pained disappointment and hopelessness. Shalom, Rochelle. xo

    * a suggestion: click the ‘open in another window’ (or something like that) box, when you add the links, so that we don’t lose the story page and have to come back. I often forget, and click before leaving a comment. :-/

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Dawn,

      Thank you for your affirming words. I’m pleased you went where I wanted you to go.

      I’m not sure about the link, though. It’s in another window when I copy and paste the URL..not sure how to keep it that way. Perhaps I’ll ask the WP folks.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle

    I think her husband was of the amanita (death cap) variety of toadstool. So tragic that her literary success wasn’t enough to keep her wanting to live. As for insomnia, that’s when the worst sh** tends to rise to the surface and elongates the hours of darkness into a wide-wake hell of self-judgement, remorse, regret, and anxiety (to name a few).

    I had never heard of this author and it might be interesting to read something of hers, to see if writing is a reflection of her inner darkness, or her delightful escape from it.

    The way you’ve encapsulated so much about her in so few words, is most excellently done.

    All best wishes

    Liked by 1 person

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