dVerse — Prosery — Ama

on

 

https://www.spey.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Ama-Traditional-Pearl-Divers-of-Japan-by-Spey-1200x561.jpg

No, I do not weep at the world –
I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.
–Zora Neale Hurston,
from “How Does it Feel to be Colored Me
in, World Tomorrow (1928)

Daddy was known in our backwoods holler as Deacon. When he got up on his stump near Heron River’s shady cool banks, folks gathered; no need for fancy clothes or stinging tithes. Daddy preached that the world was a sinful, yet pretty, place.

Mama proved it was ugly too.

Daddy, who was known to several ladies in Greenwood County as their back door man, got careless. Why Mama dragged me along that night, at just ten years old, I’ll never know. I can’t get the look on Miss Mamie’s face out of my head. And all that blood.

Our family skedaddled, long gone by daybreak; we stayed on the move for awhile.

By eighteen, I’d cried enough for the pretty and the ugly.  No, I do not weep at the world – I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.  I’m seeking deep-sea treasure.

[144 words]

*Find out more about Ama here.  And here.
top image link

I am today’s host for dVerse’ Prosery. I say:
Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to incorporate Ms. Zora Neale Hurston’s quote into a piece of prose. This can be either flash fiction, nonfiction, or creative nonfiction, but it must be prose! Not prose poetry, and not a poem. And it must be no longer than 144 words, not including the title. (It does not have to be exactly 144 words, but it can’t exceed 144 words.)

69 Comments Add yours

  1. sanaarizvi says:

    This is deeply evocative. The world is blend of both pretty and ugly (the latter being more prevalent than the former) but we mustn’t let it get to us.. and like you mention should focus on our journey instead. 💝💝

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you very much, Sanaa. 🙂

      Like

  2. Ingrid says:

    You have a real talent for story telling, Lisa, which shows in the way you can concoct a tale with such depth in so few words. I would love to read more of this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you very much, Ingrid! Much appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. rothpoetry says:

    Revenge is a bloody reminder some are willing to live with the rest of their lives; rather than just walk away and let it stew and ferment the rest of their lives. Forgiveness is the only thing that can change all those wounds and heal the wounds!
    A great piece Lisa.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Dwight, I like everything you say here. The MC is wise beyond her years, thanks to her parents in the roundabout way it often happens with learning. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. rothpoetry says:

        You are welcome. You picked a real challenging one for us today. I am just getting started! :>)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          Ooh Dwight, I can’t wait to read what you write. I can see the gears turning from here 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. rothpoetry says:

            I don’t know anything about oysters!! Not one of my foods of choice!!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. msjadeli says:

              I really don’t think I could eat them raw.

              Liked by 1 person

  4. merrildsmith says:

    This seems like it could come out of one of Hurston’s stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      🙂 Thank you. That was my intent.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. merrildsmith says:

        So, I suspected. 😀 And you’re welcome.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. lillian says:

    Oh what a tale you’ve told here. And so very clever to shift to the woman grown now, and her work as an Ama. When we were in Japan in 2019, pre-covid, we learned of these remarkable women divers, using no breathing apparatus. We saw a sculpture dedicated to them and saw a display about them in a museum. Remarkable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Lillian. I appreciate your feedback on her shift to adulthood. I was looking for images last night for Ama’s and think I saw the sculpture you’re talking about. So very awesome you got a chance to see the actual sculpture. I’d love to visit Japan one day ❤

      Like

  6. Glenn A. Buttkus says:

    You suspended us in a time and place both in the past and the present, pretty and ugly, ying and yang. A fetching illustration for your prompt. Nice work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Glenn, thank you for just the right word, “suspended,” and for your thoughtful comment.

      Like

  7. gillena says:

    Those cried tears are heartwrenching
    Happy Monday Lisa
    Thank you for dropping by to read mine

    Much💜love

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you very much, Gillena and you are welcome ❤

      Like

  8. Lucy says:

    Wow, the imagery in this alone… It’s stirring and chilling!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Lucy, thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. wolfsrosebud says:

    I loved this ending and the depth to this. Also, the description was wonderful

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Patti, thank you so much 🙂

      Like

  10. Masa says:

    Most interesting! Wonderful voice, well-projected, and with a curious back and forth concerning where the heart of the story comes from. Preachers, philandering, violence, and ending with… dare I say hope for a small treasure deep in the murky depths below? How fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment, Masa.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Sadje says:

    Great story Li. You’ve got a vivid imagination to put so much realism in your writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Sadje, thank you for your kind words, Sadje. I wanted to make sure this one turned out right, in honor of Zora.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sadje says:

        You’re welcome my friend

        Liked by 1 person

  12. writingwhatnots says:

    Rich storytelling Lisa, so much in so few words, and yet it felt like so much more. Really enjoyed this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thanks much, WWN and glad you enjoyed it 🙂

      Like

  13. A great backstory in so few words. I enjoyed reading more about the Ama Japanese divers in your links – Wow!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thanks much, Tricia. Yes the Ama are quite impressive aren’t they! I admire their spirit and their physical stamina.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, and old age doesn’t even stop them!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          I think their lungs must adapt over time — or they are secretly mermaids.

          Liked by 1 person

  14. Helen Dehner says:

    This … THIS … is quite a story, brought to life in living color in my imagination! All of it. Wow, Lisa great write.h

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Helen thank you very much and glad you enjoyed the story.

      Like

  15. Wow, this was incredible.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you very much.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. This was oh-so-very-well done! Evocative and lilting, devastating and filled with stories. Lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Na’ama, you are making me blush 🙂 Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was, though! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  17. badfinger20 (Max) says:

    I see daddy played the field once too often.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      It happens 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I had never heard of the Ama pearl divers – incredible what these woman can do. I think I’d pass out after holding my breath for 40 seconds – not to mention diving in very cold water!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      I can’t imagine doing what they do!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Oh, wow! Deep and stirring! Excellent storytelling again. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Punam, thank you ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Wow; Lisa, you packed so much into 144 words – I could imagine an entire book written around this plot. Well done!


    David

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, David. Stranger things have happened 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  21. This piece is heavy in 144-well-chosen-words. I was engrossed since the beginning and I admire how honest and raw this is. The showing of dark and light isn’t dramatic, it was unapologetically raw which is why they pierced the heart more. A gem, Ms. Lisa.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      ❤ Thank you very much, Ms. Rosemarie.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. memadtwo says:

    And I hope she finds it. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Raivenne says:

    “I’d cried enough for the pretty and the ugly.” That right there is a truth of oh so many, n’est ce pas? Chiaroscuro in 144 words your write intrigues from the first sentence and does not let go.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Raivenne, thank you very much for your comment ❤

      Like

  24. Dale says:

    Oh wow, Lisa. Wonderful story-telling. Very evocative and I agree with Merril… this could have come from one of Nora’s novels. Well done!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Many thanks, Dale, glad you enjoyed the story.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dale says:

        Very much so.

        Liked by 1 person

  25. Misky says:

    What a tense and riveting tale!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you very much, Misky.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. This is so good. Gripping in so few words. I was left thinking, the things people do to their kids and how kids surmount that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you very much, Sascha.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. You tell an amazing story here Lisa.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Linda, thank you very much ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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