Weekly Writing Challenge: Abstraction


Two steps from my bed to my desk. Three steps from my bed to my TV. Two steps from my bed to the balcony door. One step from my bed to my wardrobe. I can reach everything in my one-room apartment with no more than five steps. It´s five steps to reach my book shelf. Everything is within reach.

Two steps from the bathroom door to the apartment´s door. Twenty two steps down the staircase. Three staircases. Outside. I inhale twice. It´s a ritual. Then I start counting again. It´s seventy two steps till the end of the road. Twelve to cross the street. Five thousand two hundred and fifty steps from my front door to the front door of my work place. A total of twenty-seven steps to reach the changing rooms. Thirty one steps to get to my machine.

I have to work three hundred minutes before I can go to lunch. That´s eighteen thousand seconds. I don´t like my work, so these eighteen thousand seconds feel like a million seconds, even though that would be sixteen thousand six hundred sixty-seven (rounded up) minutes. That would be two hundred seventy-eight (rounded up) hours and you can´t fit two hundred seventy-eight hours into one work day. Two hundred seventy eight hours would be thirty-five (again, rounded up) work days.

It´s Monday. I wish it was weekend already. Two days, forty-eight hours, two thousand eight hundred eighty minutes, one hundred seventy-two and eight hundred seconds of bliss. But it´s Monday. Monday seems like the longest day of the week. It´s the Monday phenomenon. Every day has only twenty-four hours, but Monday´s twenty four hours are pertinacious and viscous. Unlike Sunday´s twenty four hours that seems to last only as long as it takes for a hummingbird to flap his wings.

The same hand movement for three hundred minutes. Lunch break. The same hand movement for another two hundred and forty minutes before I can call it a day. Another phenomenon, the way back home. Five thousand three hundred and seven steps from the front door of my work place to my home. It´s the same way in the morning and in the evening, but after work, it takes me longer to get back home.

One step. I´m in my apartment, hang the coat on the coat rack. I take off my boots. Another step and I´m in the bathroom. I wash my hands. Thrice. In my room, I walk over to the desk. Seven steps. I hate watching the inside of my apartment from this perspective. I can´t see everything, so I walk over to the bed and sit down on it. Only two steps, but now the world seems fine again. I can see my three hundred seventy-two DVDs, my four chairs, the three tropical plants that need watering, one lamp on each side of the TV, the fifty-nine colored stripes on the carpet, the fourteen shirts, neatly piled up, all eleven pants, the seven tulips in the vase on my bedstand, everything else, counted, registered, and my nine hundred thirty-three books. I need another book shelf, but that would screw up my numeral perspective, so I pile the books up in front of the book shelf and on any other free surface, furniture or wherever else I can find space.



Thanks to Cheri Lucas, I´m now featured on Freshly Pressed!


79 thoughts on “Weekly Writing Challenge: Abstraction

      1. If you ever decide to so some research, there’s a great book called “The Man Who Tasted Shapes” by Richard Cytowic, M.D. and another book that I took on vacation…..Quantum Mind: The Edge Between Physics and Psychology, by Arnold Mindell, PhD. When my mother saw my reading choices for vacation, she wondered…but I was totally fascinated by Mindell’s book!

      2. Hey Gabi,
        Wow, thank you! I love book recommendations. Just from the titles, I´d probably go for the first one, but I´ll check out the second one as well. Thanks so much for taking the time and doing this! I really appreciate it.

        Cheers, Frances

  1. Hello Francis, I’m late on the congrats, but what the heck, congrats! Very creative. I’m in complete agreement with your comments about books – never can have enough, kind of comforting, yes? Looking forward to discovering more good reads in your blog. 🙂

  2. Frances, I can’t believe I missed this in my feed! This is a reel of life…an infinity of steps to somewhere…LIFE to! Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!!!

    1. Allyson, thank you very much. It´s an honor, really. My stats went through the roof – and I guess my ego followed 🙂
      Coincidentally, it is just the thing I needed to finally overcome writer´s block.

  3. Great work. It made me cringe a little. Congratulations on being featured on Freshly Pressed! What an honor! You certainly deserve it with this post. You’re very talented.

  4. so you dont have the disorder? its purely a creative interpretation of it? if so,you understand it pretty well, why not be a therapist/coach for people who suffer from OCD?

  5. Loved reading this post. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! And 933 books? Seriously? Makes me wish I had a room like that!

    1. Sometimes we do. Imagine counting everything you see, every step you take, everything… We wouldn´t be able to write anymore, because we keep counting the letters, words, and sentences 🙂

  6. Congrats on being freshly pressed, which is how I ended up here, this was a great post and very well deserved. I was captivated reading this short story, and could picture the perfectly aligned life in my mind.
    Great Work. I will be sure to follow and check back again soon!

  7. Nice one francis!me passionate about writing too,though i write more about bollywood and cricket, but i also do offer relationship advice and pen fun articles!haha c u then

  8. Never knew this kind of writing could be so engaging!havent seen so many numbers flowing so effortlessly in writing:)))it was something:)

    1. Sure thing. I guess it´s not about strictly following the task, but writing what comes to your mind. Especially with writing challenges, one has to follow the ideas triggered off by the challenge. This is my idea.
      Thanks for commenting!

      1. Sure thing. Maybe I got it wrong. But I don´t think that anyone would want you to disregard your own ideas. It is about discovering all the things you can write about; though it may be stuff you don´t usually come up with. But then again, you have your own voice and your own mind and you have to work that in as well.

  9. I was Freshly Pressed today too! Congratulations to you 🙂 Great post… it really got me thinking about all the small seconds that make up the entire day. All of the little details we can so easily get lost in.

  10. Recommended reading – 39 steps by John Buchan. Write yourself out of the numerical dilemma. But start by leaving earlier in the morning stop for a coffee, four steps into the shop and four back out. Stop to smell the flowers in a window box two steps in and two back. Cross the street to a news vendor that sells a newspaper written in Serbo Croat twenty steps over and thirty back. You will have to cut the overall steps lost using Pythagoric logic. Dance the next twenty steps. Moon walk the next ten. Life is suddenly getting better. Get to the entrance to your workplace and do not enter. Write on the newspaper you bought ‘I understand this better than I do working for you’ and walk away! The rest is academic driven by necessity. Great post for engendering comment. Congratulations on being FP’ed

    1. Wow, you put a lot of thought into this comment. See, I don´t actually have a numerical dilemma. It´s an angle I tried working, after watching a report about this specific disorder. Actually, languages are my numerical dilemma 🙂 I love languages. I studied languages.
      But, honestly, I really appreciate your comment! And just for the fun of it: Tomorrow, I´m going to moonwalk ten steps 🙂

      1. My reply was as tongue in cheek as yours was. No, it wasn’t that much thought, I’m Irish and it rolls off the keyboard as easily as it does off the tongue. Also the love languages I share with you, trying to learn Turkish at the moment after brief affairs with Arabic, Spanish, Italian and Malay. All work related! Keep it up!

      2. Ha, I roomed with an Irish girl once and though I had a tough time understanding her at first, she could talk as smoothly as you can!
        I tried Spanisch, German, French and… well… English. Want to try Danish next. Should be fun 🙂

      3. Alright this is the last one as it is bedtime in Turkey. Danish is quite a tough language and they are a strange race. 11000 years ago Denmark was covered by a kilometre of ice, you can tell because the sense of humour is the same today! I recently finished work after four years working for a Danish company and I was sooo glad to leave. Good luck with it, let me know how you get on!

  11. If you take the books that are in front of your book shelf and get another book shelf that may lead to some order in your life. That might not be you then right? I like your short story,

  12. Interesting way to look at the work week. Honestly when thinking of all those minutes and seconds it gets a little crazy. Love the perspective on Monday… I feel like Fridays are the same as Mondays but for a totally different reason.

  13. If you put the books that are piled in a book shelf then you would have some order to the room, but I don’t think you would like something this neat. I think disorder can be good. Nice short story. I am looking forward to more from you. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Actually, I like it like that. It´s a bit chaotic, of course, but – and I know this might sound idiotic – my books know that I love them. Whether they´re piled up in front of my book shelf or on the TV or neatly sorted.

Comments are always appreciated...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s