Friday Fictioneers: Meditatin’ on a Museum Wall

GENRE: Fiction with a historical angle, highly dialectical (Southern United States)

WORD COUNT: Too many for FF! (191 words)

Photograph "Old Wallpaper" copyright Mary Shipman.

Photograph “Old Wallpaper” copyright Mary Shipman.

Ever’body just stares and stares at the wall. Sump’un about people dat dey luuuuuuv a stony myst’ry, love them some bustin thu splinters an all.

From de time people, dey first built huts or stacked sticks and hung hides, dere been dat need tuh be boxed-out. Or is it tuh wall sump’un in?

All I know is, I come to my desk at dis museum, 8-sharp, 6 days a week. I make coffee so good, ever’body jaws ’bout it.

Mostly tourists come thu, but dey suhprise me now’n’agin.

“Why they bother to hide free-slave papers there?” a wheat-haired kid ’bout 8 crooked a thumbs-up at the two exposed vaults just yest’day.

“Cause de men chasin’ dem on this here railroad didn’t care nutin’ for freedom noway. They hearts was rotted out like parts of dis wall.”

Well, I made it my job to open de curtains wide each an ever’day at the Crossroads Underground Railroad Museum, so as nobody try’n’hide from de past no more. Uglified or not.

I ain ’bout to let no dadgum barrier be throwed up crosst any people’s necks evah agin. We all de same race. Human.

For Friday Fictioneers, 20 June 2014 “Summer Re-Run,” by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Any feedback welcomed as always, especially to help nail down the dialect.




8 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers: Meditatin’ on a Museum Wall

  1. Great voice! Love the last line, too… I think we might be able to show each other a little more compassion if we’d stop and think that maybe our similarities are more than our differences.

  2. I just read your wee note at the bottom. Flannery O’Connor was good at writing southern accents, she would be a good person to read. I remember reading something which was pointing out she was quite restrained with it, dropping in certain accented/adapted words every so often and barely using any ‘, to subtly adapt the way you read the dialogue, instead of reading large sections of adapted dialogue that you are not used to and might become distracting. That’s what remember reading anyway, I know nothing about it myself! 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment, Stephen. I’m pretty familiar with Ms. O’Connor’s work, though I definitely should re-read her, as it’s been several years since I read her collected stories. Although my writing style is not similar, I certainly consider her to be one of the English-language short story masters. Again, I appreciate your input on “Meditatin’…” as I strove to make it interesting and authentic and yet not bogged down with difficult regional dialogue.

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