• WFPL: The Flying Whale

    Posted Posted by Guest Writer in Uncategorized     Comments 2 comments

    Our Writings From a Past Life has been a popular and enjoyable series so far. Our thanks to all of you who have sent us your early fumblings, and to all of you who have read these posts and given us some amusing feedback. We’ll likely be starting a new series in March (topic TBD), but we’re going to end WFPL with a bang at the end of this month (HINT: a childhood poem from a revered author).

    But before that bang, here’s a whimper.

    It’s a(n accidental) prose poem I wrote for what I must assume was some class sometime. That’s the best I can do for background.

    It’s about a flying whale, and it’s titled “The flying whale.” The main character is a flying whale.

    I’ve finally figured out the damn scanner, so you get the pleasure of seeing the accompanying artwork. Now, the “A Whale of a New Year’s Tale” on the inside leads me to believe that I did not create this whale, and all of my other childhood artwork leads me to believe know for a fact that I did not create this whale. Which means that at some point in my K-12 education, a teacher handed out foldouts of a whale and said “Write a story about a whale.”

    But I’m quite certain I did the coloring myself.

    Hippie environmentalist that she is, my mother saved the whale.

    The story first, then a brief question-and-answer session.


    The flying whale

    Once there was a whale, who took a sail, out on the ocean. He wanted a boat. He made a boat and he asked can it float?

    He tried to make it float, and he did. He went across the Pacific.

    Then one day a storm came. He had more wood, and said he should, make wings.

    Here came the tide, the whale had to glide with his wings.

    He went up in the sky, and home.

    The End


    Question: Why would a whale need a boat?

    Answer: That’s the wrong question to ask. The real question is, whence did the whale take his sail “out on the ocean?” Where was he before? Was he a landlubber whale, a whale who had always dreamed of the ocean but was stuck in a rut of 9-5 and traffic and Internet porn and city life in, say, Cheyenne, Wyoming?

    Question: How did he try to make it float?

    Answer: The details are a bit vague. All we really know is that it floated.

    Question: “More” wood?

    Answer: Yes, well, while the author makes no prior mention of wood, it is implicit that to make a boat, the whale must have had some sort of wood. Sure, he could’ve used fiberglass, maybe. But how in the hell could a whale get that much fiberglass? In this economy?

    Question: So the whale made wings out of wood.

    Answer: That’s not a question. But remember, the Wright Brothers (Orville and Wilbur, two names that need to make a strong comeback) used wood in their various flying machines. Perhaps not for the wings, but I can see the author’s thought process. Wood floats, whales can float, and wood can fly (what?). Ipso facto, whales can fly with wooden wings.

    Question: “Here came the tide?” Isn’t he in the middle of the Pacific?

    Answer: No, you idiot. The story clearly reads “He went across the Pacific,” which indicates that he is near the shore when the tide comes in. The author doesn’t tell us exactly where he is, but my guess, assuming that he started from our west coast, would be Japan. And if I were a whale off the coast of Japan, I would want to fly away, too. As quickly as $%&# possible.

    Question: The sky is the whale’s home?

    Answer: I’ve struggled with this one, too. It’s ambiguous. Perhaps the whale simply flew back to Cheyenne? That’s the beauty of the open ending — leaving a story open to interpretation can cause your reader to continue thinking about it after it ends. Isn’t that what we’re all after?


    For an extra-special treat, to the left is the story in my own clean and somewhat meticulous (for a child) handwriting.

    If you look closely in the lower left, you can see some erased text, including “he tried once and again then finaly [sic].” Editing at its finest.


    And because I’ve figured out the damn scanner, I can now post my illustration of Hobart the Robotfly, which all none of you have been clamoring to see since the original post.

    (And I’ll be damned if I’m not going to add a “Robotfly” tag again to this post.)

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    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Dan L Hays, WriteByNight. WriteByNight said: Come see what "The flying whale" has to offer in today's Writings From a Past Life: http://bit.ly/fJEX0s #amwriting […]

    Flight Lessons

    Those illustrations are so funny, but fit exactly with the short story. Nice job.

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