The Wall – A short story


The Wall

Have you ever had a gift where it presented itself as a wall? For example, writer’s block.  You love to write.  You’ve decided to write for a living and now, you are hit with the wall.  The wall is large and thick, no holds to stick your hands or feet in.  It is smooth and gray and solid.  Let me tell you a story about a lady that broke through this wall and how she did it.


One day, it was a sunny, fall day.  The air was warm and the mood was light.  It smelled of bread, cinnamon, and pines. Oh, what a wonderful fall day it was.  Jena stepped outside her house breathing in the intoxicating day but right in front of her was a wall placed where the street had been the night before.  She could not see past it.  It was too tall and too thick.  It blocked her view from anything forward. Staying there her memories began to fade of what was behind the wall.  She had faint glimpses of a road.  Ideas of beyond the wall exploded into fragments as she stared at the wall.


She looked at the wall and pondered what she could do.  Could she climb the wall? No, there were no places for her feet or hands.  Could she see about chisel a hole through it?  She went into the garage and brought out a sledgehammer and a ladder.  It took several trips but a purpose was at hand.  She would break down the wall or climb over the wall.  She climbed the ladder but it did not reach even halfway up the wall.  It seemed the taller she tried to make the ladder the taller the wall got.  Soon, she set the ladder aside and began to hammer at the wall.  Long, angry strikes hit the wall.  But nothing happened. The wall remained smooth and steady.


Sitting on her front step and staring at the obtrusive wall, it loomed before her.  The clouds touch the top of the wall.  The Great Wall of China taunted her thoughts. The Berlin Wall shouted no passing – you must stay here – escape is futile. Not only did it extend to the heavens but it extended to the right and left.  Nothing else filled her mind, staring at the wall was all she could do.  It left her frozen. She could go in the house but then she would be trapped.  She could hear the symphony of the city, the smells of the local bakery, and the drums of construction. There was the construction to her left several streets down the hill. Over to her right was the bakery her family loved to visit.  No more. The wall blocked access.  Watching the wall was like watching a tree grow no movement was visible.


The sun peaked behind the clouds. Shining on her face, she closed her eyes and absorbed the warmth and hope it exuded. With a deep sigh, she remembered her hopes for the day. She was going to paint at the local park.  Well, at least she was going to try.  This was to be a new adventure in her life.  She wanted to become an artist.  She was not asking to be famous or great.  She wanted to do something her family and friends would love to see and want.  She longed for the knowledge that comes from hours of practice.  Hours and hours.  She questioned whether she would be good.

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2 Responses to The Wall – A short story

  1. It’s an interesting analogy and I like the initial direction. However, I think you would benefit from first drawing the scene so that you are firm on the aspects of the wall itself: its shape, what does it block out, what does it allow in, can it be got around, etc. That will help you more clearly establish the rules of this wall before you begin to write about it.

    I got more than a little befuddled when instead of painting the wall, which was an idea I quite liked, your character painted the wall in the garage. By the end I felt she accomplished little to overcome The Wall, and merely got sidetracked painting a wall, thus cheating the reader of her triumph in overcoming the obstacle (and illustrating my own follies while providing no inspiration to change).

    Your imagery when talking about the painting itself is probably the most rich. It’s clear your heart is in the art (ooo look, I made a rhyme). That’s why I feel like creating this story in sketch or painting form before writing it out will help clarify your written imagery and provide you more concise direction.

    Finally, it’s always my policy to write a thing, leave it be a day or so, and then proofread aloud. That helps your brain forget what it intends the page to say, and allows you to concentrate on what you actually wrote.

    • Oh my, what a lovely response. I see your point and I will work on it again. I had several people read it and re-read it myself days apart and never saw what you discussed. I think you are right and I could improve it by using your ideas. I will get to work on that right away. I, also, have to create a better link between the garage wall and the wall at the street that she sees. They are the same wall for her. I see that it would be better that I make the wall at the street more defined for clarity purposes. I thought I did but it was probably too far down in the story. So, I will move it to the beginning to help. Your comments are so helpful. Thanks. I’ll let you know when I have rewritten it.

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