A Dystopian Creative Writing Challenge

I wrote ‘Felix 120’ as a contribution to the writing challenge ‘Write like Kazuo Ishiguro a dystopian piece of max 500 words’. I received encouraging feedback: ‘Your darkest and best piece so far’, which surprised me because I do not favour dystopian literature. That said, I highly admire Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never let me go and The Buried Giant. Allow me to share my writing with you.

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FELIX 120

Once upon a time there was a man named Felix, and goodness, did he live up to the meaning of his name happy and lucky. Felix rode the waves of the economic boom following the Second World War which meant that he could afford the life he had in mind. He loved his life. In fact, he loved no one or nothing more than his life. This wasn’t surprising after all; he had been able to turn disadvantages into advantages. Felix was the embodiment of the principle that effective egoism is best achieved by calculated altruism. Thus his life was long and fortunate. Health-wise he was lucky too. Not only had his deceased wife helped him through all the minor health troubles he had had during their time together, Felix was also blessed with a strong immune system. He survived a war and two pandemics brilliantly. In fact, so blessed was he that it was hard to glow in his shadow.

Felix set out to become a centenarian, which he did with ease and in good health. It slowly became obvious that he stood a good chance to become 120, even 122, which scientists regard as the limit of a human life. When Felix turned 100, a few remaining children attended his birthday but when Felix turned 118 it was a lonely business. His last children had expired in their eighties due to a combination of fragile health and the four year lasting nuclear winter following North Korea’s bomb.

The mayor of Felix’s town paid his annual obligatory visit to his city’s oldest man, Felix. Cheerfully the major advised to all that were in the room, a medium sized cooled cell, to enjoy each other ‘whilst they were still alive together’. The director of the retirement home quickly whispered to the mayor that there was no family present. Later, after Felix was hauled to bed by his robotic nurse, the mayor and director walked to the exit exchanging some facts and figures.

‘Any children left?’ the major inquired.

‘No, only a few grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Rumor has it that they all moved north’. The mayor was well aware of the ‘moving north’ phrase; it meant escaping global warming by moving closer to the arctic circle.

‘Who pays for his Aircocoon and assisting robot then?’ asked the mayor.

‘He himself’ said the director, ‘Felix is a man of great self-preservation’.  

The director and mayor continued their walk to the exit passing tens of cocoons. Soft neon lights and whooshing sounds of bleeping assistive nurses emanated from the cabins.

Outside a scorching sun burned down on the roof of the former warehouse.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

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Whilst googling for illustrative pictures -to my surprise- I found photos of a Japanese assistive robot that is capable of putting immobilized patients to bed. During my writing, I had projected these robots in the future, however after I had written my piece, I learned that their implementation into nursing homes is well on its way.

Paula holds an MA degree in Philosophy and she is the owner of mindfuldrawing.com. Her pen and pencils are always fighting for her attention nevertheless they are best friends; Paula likes her art to be brainy and her essays to be artistic.OTHER BLOG POSTS AND LINKS:

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P.S. My wood duck composition is ready and available at Etsy.

My shop is at ETSY. Please, feel invited to contact me directly should you be interested in my art.

I am currently very inspired by our recent stay in the Cotswolds. Expect some lovely medieval paintings before the end of this year!

Letter Writing Card Sending

Receiving a letter makes people feel valued as a friend

Dear Gloria,

Thank you for your lovely letter that arrived on the 1st of June. I envy your tiny living house and the limited square meter that needs homekeeping.

The name you gave to your home brought back a memory. It was during the last week of our assignment to Ireland and as I was packing boxes, I fell. I must have tripped and – as a result- I broke my wrist. My husband and I went to the First Aid Department of a local hospital. Now, you need to know that all those years living in Ireland I had never come across another Paula. Neither had my husband or my daughter at school. I never came across anything ‘Paula’, not a restaurant, not a store, nothing. However, upon entering the waiting room of the hospital, I was seated next to a woman a bit older than me. I introduced myself to her and she introduced herself to me; ‘I am Paula too’, she said kindly.  She held her arm in such a way that I assumed she had broken something. It turned out that we had both broken our left wrist that morning. How about that? It makes you think astrology has a point.

Stay well and give Bonbon my love; what a beautiful horse you have.

Sending a long bear hug,

Paula

Dear Michaella,

How are you? I am so sorry to hear about your flooded garden. To see your herb garden ruined must be awful. I very much hope that your new soil holds wonderful minerals. As I am Dutch I know a thing or two about floods but I have seen the most unexpected flooding of a home, not in my native country, but in Ireland. Not in a valley, but on higher grounds.

One day an extraordinary amount of rain had fallen in the Wicklow Mountains area. Two days later we went for a hike. We were surprised to see how much water rushed downhill at the side of the roads. Apparently, it took longer for water to find its way to lower areas than we had anticipated. At one point we noticed a house, built with its back against a steep mountainous hill with its front door open. Out of that open door rushed so much water to the street below, finding its way further downhill we could hardly believe it. Through my mind the movie scene played of a woman in her nightgown ascending the stairs asking her sleepy husband urgently: ‘Honey, could you open the front door to see an uninvited, liquid guest leave the house, please’?

I hope your garden will grow and bloom again soon.  

Sending you love,

Paula

Dear Rowan,

I need to write to you about a recent sailing experience. We were sailing on Mark’s ship near Amsterdam in the direction of Gooimeer and it was glorious sailing weather. All guests to Mark’s birthday were in a happy mood and we all took in the wide open Gooimeer scenery. The elements were in our favour. The wind was utterly perfect; nobody was sea sick whilst we sailed with moderate speed. At some point I was standing alone and I noticed a clipper passing by in the distance. You know a clipper, don’t you? It is a type of mid-19th-century merchant sailing vessel, designed for speed. It has four masts and its amount of sails is impressive. Anyway, it passed us but that took 30 minutes or so because we were both sailing in a north-east direction. The clipper passing by with the sun shining, the wind in its white sails, its slowly overtaking us, the blue sky and silver water, and its dominance over us in beauty, speed, masts and sails, the whole scene mesmerized me. The longer I watched this superior ship from a distance, the more I found myself in one of the paintings by a Golden Age Dutch marine artist. In fact, I felt myself completely absorbed and I experienced a shock of beauty. By the time I let go of my efforts to take in the scene, Mark had alerted his guest on the magnificent clipper. We all seemed to realize that we were experiencing something we might never see again in our lifetime. We noticed the clipper disappearing in the distance.

I hope you are well and that your leg is healing nicely. Take good care and I hope to see you and William & Charlotte’s birthday. Till then!

Much love,

Paula

‘Receiving letters makes people feel valued’.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer wrote three partly fictional and partly autobiographical letters. As a student she participated in essay competitions and won several prizes. She designed the luxurious, double and folded mandarin note cards herself and they are for sale at Etsy. (No customer account needed). Paula hopes that her letters will inspire to more snail mail.

Paula’s Etsy shop