How to Survive in the Woods

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The call of the wild

I have always loved indomitable women, and the character in this short story is one such creature.

She doesn’t respond to her partner’s passive suggestions in the form of pamphlets and sexy underwear, nor does she jump into action upon hearing his thinly-veiled ultimatum as he casually mentions other women.

And why should she?

An earlier commenter suggests that the male in this story “is at least trying”. I suppose his weak, impotent intimations are about as effective as the young lady’s own counter-hints in the form of alcohol, cigarettes and gum boots.

I believe our young maiden will survive in her woods; perhaps she will thrive. I also believe that, by listening to her heart, she will clear a path for true love.

I also believe there is another possible story for this protagonist. Perhaps in those woods she will encounter another man who likes her boots, and who will step up and claim her as she is.

An adventure novel, perhaps?

Stevland Ambrose 15 days ago

This story...

Sharp, off-kilter, killer instinct. You know what's what. Great writing!

danielle more than 5 years ago

great! so great to read

great! so great to read this. it's very thinkative, in the way we look at the relationship - I understand where the girl is coming from. Jealousy, tit for tat, and colours - I pick up on he becoming brighter and her becoming darkker. Tis like feeding off each other, he sucks the only good out of her, but she doesn't think of the good in him. He craves more, and the more she dives in the hole, the more things become darker; paranoia, insanity, they become closer than neighbours. Shoots at her own happyness which once was (daffodil), to try shooting a smile?

leanne more than 5 years ago

Love your story. Felt so

Love your story. Felt so real!

Lisa more than 6 years ago

I love the story. I also love

I love the story. I also love what David had to say. I think the narrator of that story knows that what David said it true. It's not about the Author needing to point the "slingshot" in the right direction, he's telling the main character to do so. It's a great piece of writing that captures emotion quickly but it clearly paints the picture of a women who is ruining her own relationships on purpose. He quit smoking and she started smoking. Ok, that's it baby, we're going to get a divorce tomorrow.

Cooper Thompson more than 6 years ago

Holy replies! I feel a little

Holy replies! I feel a little awkward walking into this discussion, but I just wanted to say that your writing is amazin'. Keep doing what you're doing, because obviously you have a sharp sense about what works, on top of your beautiful use of language. Totally love this story. No fragile women here.

Lindsay more than 6 years ago

Lovely comments, reader.

Lovely comments, reader.

Kathy more than 6 years ago

i don't know what kind of

i don't know what kind of family feud is going on here, it's a little weird. i think this forum needs us to focus more on the story and less about the personalities of those commenting. so, back to the story. i like the parallel construction of this short story and the way the parallel descriptions of what he did and what she did build upon each other. i even separated them out so i could see a long list of what "he" did and another list of what "she" did. very unique list of activities. is one the result of the other, or are they just lists of things that took place? i don't know, it leads to interesting things if you look at it as being sequential, and equally interesting if it is viewed out of sequence. for example, "he stopped coming home and talked about other women." was that the last thing, the final result? or was that the thing that set all the other reactions in place? who knows? all together, it's fun and has a playfulness to it that i really appreciate.

reader more than 6 years ago

Ursula, you always had a way

Ursula, you always had a way with words. I like it and I'm not being gratuitous. It is quite a task to illustrate the difficulty in communicating and communication between two or three people. Communication is always clouded by one's own perspective, place, history desires, and even misunderstanding of the context or invitation to communicate.

Take David's comments for example. I am at a loss as to why he felt that the invitation here was to phsychoanalyse the main character, and in so doing make a parallel, in a not so subtle manner, to the author. The invitation was to discuss the written work, it's merits and drawbacks. If you had written about a mass murderer, would we pretend to be psychiatrists, that we are not, or would we discuss the prose?

It is actually quite ironic that David has so misunderstood the communication asked for on this forum and derided it, when that is what the piece is partly about, in my interpretation. I like the way you illustrated the attempts at intimacy and communication in the piece that are misconstrued, ignored or unwanted, both between lovers and parent and child. Well done. Truely.

Shoshana more than 6 years ago

Best one.

Best one.

Me more than 6 years ago

Pix...It's brilliant.

Pix...It's brilliant. Although it's been many years since we have spoken, I congratulate myself in seeing genius, in what can only be described as its purest, rawest form, in every nuance of your being. The same reason I have cherished the poem you gave to me all those years ago.

This work avows that you are true to only yourself, (how we long for this!) and we are left feeling rather bereft that we ourselves may have released our own personal rebellious nature, conforming to those personas a "serious relationship" dictates we become over time.

Everything I have seen from you, in those albums of secrecy...whether written, photographed or doodled on a napkin at the local coffee house... captures attention. Each piercing in its beauty, its impact haunting and for a moment, we glimpse the lights dancing on another plane of existence.

Hugs & laughter!

The Warden more than 6 years ago

david is ursula's dad. he's

david is ursula's dad. he's asking this 'forum' to be more than what it is, asking that we perhaps critique the art that we are bevelled with. he is, however, crass and rude. he needn't be. sorry that he is. i'm sorry too, that he didn't just praise the work. this is good story, and his daughter has always been a good writer. even, a Great writer. i look forward to her larger works. i look forward to evrything she has to say.

anonymous more than 6 years ago

it looks to me, david flurey,

it looks to me, david flurey, like this piece is not about a 'self-destructive and emotionally unstable woman,' but about a woman who is rectifying the remains of a relationship wherein a man stopped coming home and 'talked about other women'. she is not, as you say, a 'tragic gal bent on undermining intimacy,' but a women bent on not misunderstanding her lover/partner's gesture's towards an end that neither one is easy with. she should not, as you suggest, aim the slingshot at herself, but perhaps towards a patriarchy that describes women as less than they become. our author, whomever she is, has written a piece about a romance that went foul because BOTH fell out of love, and didn't know how to say. it was not about pathology, it was not about women; this is a story that becomes its outcomes, a piece that makes more sense than you do, by far. are you the jilted lover?

fiona more than 6 years ago

I'm left with firecrackers in

I'm left with firecrackers in my hand and mud on my boots. This woman will survive in the woods, thank you very much. Beautifully written and an invitation to return to both impulse and earth and all that is just outside the realm of assumed cliche-psychological truisms aimed at pointing us continually back towards the same old socially constructed norms. Thanks Ursula.

Anonymous more than 6 years ago

Wow, Ursula, that's pretty

Wow, Ursula, that's pretty great. From great crafts to poignant vignettes.

Brenton more than 6 years ago

Assuming the writer would

Assuming the writer would appreciate more than gratuitous compliments for feedback - I'll add something a bit more substantive. If the intent was a thumbnail sketch of a self-destructive and emotionally fragile young woman - and how these traits can lead to disconnected relationships - then the story succeeds admirably. The puzzled, and therefore not-entirely blameless mother who should have seen the signs (weight gain usually sets off bells, no?) and the boyfriend who seems to have at least made an effort - are no match for a tragic gal bent on underming intimacy.
For a short piece, the balancing of both internal and external dialogue works well. The ending?....well, depite confusing country/pop cliche for wit (the drunk/not drunk reference), it effectively reinforces the depth of the protagonists self-delusion. It's clear there will be no redemption until she points the metaphorical sling'shot at herself. But will she???

David Flurey more than 6 years ago

A thought-provoking piece.

A thought-provoking piece. Great images.

Anonymous more than 6 years ago

I wondered what the title had

I wondered what the title had to do with the postcard- you tied them together admirably. Great entry.

Laurie more than 6 years ago

Poetry on the back of a

Poetry on the back of a postcard-I felt every image. Thanks

Pat more than 6 years ago

Your talented writing makes

Your talented writing makes me jealous... I loved that piece!

MissTwiss more than 6 years ago

It's been a long time and a

It's been a long time and a long way. The lands so flat you can see your dog run away for days! Well done x

Briony Caffrey more than 6 years ago

What a wonderful story!!!!!!

What a wonderful story!!!!!! You are very talented.

Joanne Kaattari more than 6 years ago

Your honesty is beautiful. I

Your honesty is beautiful. I will read this one again.

anonymous more than 6 years ago

I just got a brand bew

I just got a brand bew measuring tape, stanley and all, tiptop of the range. You're about 14 and 1/2 cm Ursula, that's not bad at all. LOve you.

Ciaran more than 6 years ago

what a riot, especially the

what a riot, especially the slingshot image. makes me smile, makes me laugh. well done dearie.

Diana Twiss more than 6 years ago

I feel both honored and

I feel both honored and smarter for knowing you.

Lady in the corner more than 6 years ago

A lot of substance in a short

A lot of substance in a short piece. There are only two reasons for divorce:
1. Women like to change men.
2. Men like women to stay the same.
Thanks for sharing your take on that.

Waterbirthinwoman more than 6 years ago

Excellent. Just a few people

Excellent. Just a few people might identify with this!

Kate Gibson more than 6 years ago

Way to go girl. I read it

Way to go girl. I read it out loud to hanna. Short sad sweet sure. write more.
you rock

amy robertson more than 6 years ago

I've been there. Thanks for

I've been there. Thanks for putting words to it. Your ma is cool.

Auntie Lolli more than 6 years ago

You can have my sandwich...

You can have my sandwich...

Rita McNeil more than 6 years ago

Ursula Twiss your words are

Ursula Twiss your words are like candies in that little porcelain dish on the table by the door at grandma and grandpas

Dorkus Wong more than 6 years ago

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