12+ A faded photo, a Mona Lisa smile — a penny for your thoughts, Dad?
An old colour photo of my dad from the 1970s inspired this one-liner piece of microfiction. He had a faraway look in his eyes and a Mona Lisa smile on his much younger face.
As art lovers have done for centuries with Leonardo da Vinci's painting of the Mona Lisa, I wondered what my dad was thinking in the photo?
Why was he smiling so subtly? Was it a smile?
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I wanted to use the faded photo of my dad in the microfiction. After all, it was his Mona Lisa smile that inspired the writing. But for the sake of his privacy, I used a doctored selfie instead.
It was sobering staring at the two photos to realise my dad was younger in the 1970s than I am now!
In microfiction or flash fiction, the writer offers a sentence or two, maybe a paragraph, and leaves the before and after narrative, motivation and denouement to the reader's imagination.
So microfiction is like an instant caught in time. Or like a faded photo.
© 2018 Robert Fairhead
Robert is a writer and editor at Tall And True and blogs on his eponymous website, RobertFairhead.com. He also writes and narrates episodes for the Tall And True Short Reads storytelling podcast, featuring his short stories, blog posts and other writing from Tall And True.
Robert's book reviews and other writing have appeared in print and online media. In 2020, he published his début collection of short stories, Both Sides of the Story. In 2021, Robert published his first twelve short stories for the Furious Fiction writing competition, Twelve Furious Months, and in 2022, his second collection of Furious Fictions, Twelve More Furious Months. And in 2023, he published an anthology of his microfiction, Tall And True Microfiction.
Besides writing, Robert's favourite pastimes include reading, watching Aussie Rules football with his son and walking his dog.
He has also enjoyed a one-night stand as a stand-up comic.