Posted by: Elizabeth Anne Mitchell | September 24, 2011

Second Campaign Challenge entry

Imago feminae

“Christine, please pay attention to your spinning. It is a disaster, yet you refuse to learn. You must use both your hands in rhythm.” Christine thought, Synchronicity, like Papa explained about the celestial spheres.

Her mother continued her rant, “Your father thinks because I did not bear him a boy, he can make you into one, stuffing your head full of Latin and science. How we will ever find a husband for you, I do not know!”

Stifling a yawn at the perennial subject, Christine searched through her Latin. Oscitate, yes, that’s yawning, she smiled to herself. And that hole in my spun fiber, that’s lacuna. Out loud, she said dutifully, “Yes, maman, I will try harder.” She picked up more roving to bear out her promise.

She loved her maman, but she wanted to be a scientist like her father. She wanted to discover whether the pestilence that had ravaged the world was due to the conjunction of three planets, as some thought, or from a miasma, a mala aria in her native Italian. She would be as famous as her father, some day, and not for her spinning. She would be a new sort of woman.

198 words and my very first piece of flash fiction (Yay!) Go read all the entries and vote on the ones you like at



  1. Elizabeth, I have read around 30, and this is my favorite so far… from the title through to the three characters presented, you convey a clear world in such few words. Excellent writing.

    • Thank you so much, Joanna. I’ve never tried flash-fiction before, but I thought I’d give it a shot. Your comments are very much appreciated!

  2. Such a lovely piece. And so inspiring, too! I want her to stop spinning immediately and start training to be a “new sort of woman”! Great job!

    • Thank you for your comments, F.E. I want her to stop spinning, too! I may just have to write more of her story. 🙂

  3. Oh, I like that she’s going to follow in her father’s footsteps. Sounds like being a scientist be much more fun for her than spinning all day (although spinning can be fun!)

    • Thank you for coming by and commenting, K. T. I do a lot of knitting, tatting and all that, but I think Christine wants to stretch her wings.

  4. Very nice! I love how you have woven all the challenge words in so beautifully. And yay for Christine wanting to be a scientist! (Mine had a scientist in it as well, but kind of a mad one.)
    Mine is #3.

    • Thank you, Jen. I have to admit, being trained in medieval studies, I couldn’t let this challenge go. It’s my first attempt at flash fiction, so it was certainly different. Your mad scientist take works well, too!

  5. Brava! I love the internal dialogue that her mother doesn’t discern is there. She will be a wonderful scientist!

    • Thank you for coming by and commenting, Liz. I was thinking of all the things I said to myself in those years–my mother had no clue! 😀

  6. wow. This is one of the best ones I’ve read so far. Really great use of the words.

    • Thank you so much, Sonia! I have to admit, knowing Latin did help! I knew being a total nerd would come in handy someday! 😀 Thanks for coming by and commenting.

  7. Lovely! I like her determination to break the mould.

    • Thank you for coming by and commenting, Deniz. I love to write about feisty women! 😀

  8. Excellent use of the words, and I so appreciated the different take on the challenge. I’d like to read more about her quest to become a new sort of woman.

    • Thank you, Elizabeth Anne (hmm, that name sounds familiar, LOL) for coming by and commenting. I am really feeling that I need to write more about this girl.

  9. Really nicely done. I enjoyed this one. Mine is #29

    • Thanks, Bridget. You had a clever turn on the subject. Thank you for coming by and commenting. 🙂

  10. Lovely work, and I would have never been able to tell that it was your first flash fic attempt. 😀 I love the way that you weave the words into the tale, and of course, Christine’s resolution to become “a new sort of woman.”

    • Thank you, Lena. Coming from someone whose ability to write flash fiction has made me jealous in the past, that is a real compliment! I appreciate your coming by and commenting. 🙂

  11. This is a fabulous flash. I think the words work really well in a science-based piece. Well done you!

    • Thank you, Rebecca. I think you did a great job with the scientific side of things, too. I appreciate your coming by and commenting!

  12. This was wonderful! I love the scientist angle. 🙂

    • Thank you for coming by and commenting, J. Your piece is well done, as well. You’re certainly in the running for the most “Likes” 🙂

  13. That’s a smart way to put in all those words 😀 Sweet and inspiring story, nice work 🙂

    • Thank you for coming by and commenting, Daina. Every so often it helps to be trained as a medievalist, LOL! I appreciate your kind comments.

  14. Very interesting piece. Loved the incorporation of science! ; )

    • Thanks, Sheri. Once I saw all the Latin, it was either science or a monastery, lol. I appreciate your coming by and commenting!

  15. great job! you brought old world to a new world =)

    • Thank you, Tara. It was the first flash fiction I’d ever done, but I had fun with it. 🙂

  16. Kudos! You found a way to make some very hackneyed words believable!!!

    • Thank you. I guess there was a good reason I studied Latin, lol! I appreciate your coming by and commenting.

  17. Great piece of writing here! The tension between your character and the mother was awesome. Loved the setting you chose, too.

    Great job, Elizabeth! 🙂

    • Thank you for your kind words, David. I had never tried flash fiction before, but I thought I might be able to make the scene work. I appreciate your coming by! 🙂

  18. I liked this setting here, and her rebellion by thinking of the big words her mom despised :). Great work!

    • Thanks for coming by and commenting, Cortney. Her rebellion is pretty passive-aggressive, but I think that’s pretty normal for kids. I appreciate your kind words!

  19. The yawning says so much. Fabulous job!

    • Thanks for coming by and commenting, Angelina. Yes, there are those eternal discussions when one is a kid. Who am I kidding? They usually continue long into adulthood with most parents!
      I appreciate your kind words. 🙂

  20. Great determination in the characters – all of them, really. You made the words stand out in a great way.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Kurt. I appreciate your coming by and commenting. 🙂

  21. An inspirational piece, and I love how you wove in the meanings of the terms inside the story.

    Join me at the Rule of Three Writers’ Blogfest!

    • Thank you, Damyanti. I have to admit, when I saw the words, I knew I had to write something for the challenge. I appreciate your coming by and commenting. 🙂

  22. Excellent. I love how you included the meanings within the piece. Great job with the challenge!

    • Thank you, Raelyn. This story has been haunting me for several months, so when I saw the words, I thought it might work well. I appreciate the kind words.

  23. Nice use of the words and great emotion in the story. I admire a girl who wants more. Plus, I really like her name! 😉

    • Ha, you made me laugh, Christine. I like the name, too! I tend to write feisty women–I write better for them than for wallflowers. I appreciate your kind words; thanks for coming by and commenting.

  24. I love to read stories of Independent women Elizabeth Anne…and you told this one well! Great job! 🙂

    • Thanks for coming by and commenting, Christy! I prefer to write about independent women, of no matter what era. I appreciate the compliments. 😀

  25. Awesome job on your very first piece of flash fiction. The story was intriguing and I wanted to know more.


    • Thanks for coming by and commenting, Karen. I have to admit, the words called out to me! I’ll run off and take a look at your entry. 🙂

  26. Great job! Sort of reminds me of Mists of Avalon!

    • Thanks, Robin. It’s definitely a medieval setting, so the reminiscences of Mists of Avalon are flattering! Thanks for coming by. 😀

  27. Nice job! Best of luck in the challenge!

    • Thank you, Mary. It was a lot of fun to write. Best of luck to you as well 🙂

  28. Came by to re-read this lovely little piece – and this time I can’t abstain from making public how much I like it !

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