Flash! Friday Contest and King Sisyphus

I’m back again! I’ve taken part in most Flash Friday Contests since last summer, but this is my first one this year!

What do Flash Friday Contest and King Sisyphus have in common?

Basically the recurrent and repetitive nature of the challenge they face. So, is that a good thing or not? Isn’t everything we do repeated periodically… incessantly? What’s new in our lives? in the history of humanity?

Life often seems monotonous and disheartening. We do essentially the same things day after day, endlessly. We have the illusion of moving forward, and then we have to start all over again.

Winter with its leafless trees and barren fields reminds us of death, and the inevitable cycle of life, and long cold evenings invite our minds to search for impossible answers to eternal questions…

 

640px-Punishment_sisyph

Sisyphus by Titian (1548–49) by Titian, Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain

The repetitive nature of life reminded me, once again, of what happened to the avaricious, deceitful, and murderous King Sisyphus. Zeus condemned him to roll a huge enchanted boulder up a steep hill, and once he reached the top the boulder rolled downhill again. Sisyphus followed it back down and resumed his useless task, time and time again.

 

MythOfSisyphus
Albert Camus, became my favourite writer when I read La Chute for my French ‘A’ level, as a teenager, and my appreciation grew when I was studying French, at College. In his 1942 essay The Myth of Sisyphus, Camus introduces his philosophy of the absurd, comparing the absurdity of man’s life with Sisyphus’s futile occupation.

On his way down, burdenless, Sisyphus searches for meaning in an incomprehensible world devoid of God and eternal truths or values, while on his way up he is occupied with the unachievable task: the boulder will never stay at the top.

In spite of this, according to Camus, Sisyphus is finally happy because he has understood and accepted his absurd fate. In other words, the knowledge and acceptance that life is a meaningless task with no hope of completion, is our only chance of happiness. Or is it?

 

The struggle
I still admire Camus’s insatiable search for the meaning of life, however, I used to think I wasn’t so pessimistic or critical, any more. Perhaps because I have children and grandchildren, who have given my life another perspective, or perhaps because over thirty years have passed, and my rebellious search for a rational explanation to the ‘meaning of life’, has been dulled.

Yet last Friday, something happened. I saw a picture and wrote a story, and I realized that Camus’ ‘absurd’ is more ingrained in my subconscious, than I thought.

Photo prompt Flash Friday Fiction Challenge 6th February

rain

Dragons bidding

a-fleeting-moment

My entry: North and South.

I looked over the barren fields, dry wells, famished cattle, and dug my blackened nails into the thick, crumbly earth. My parched lips made a last feeble effort to cry for mercy.

I remembered how just before the meteor struck our planet, she had appeared and walked through me. I felt a shudder and my body froze for less than an instant.

“Ask and it shall be given,” she said.
“I want to live,” I begged.
“Go south,” she whispered and was gone.

That’s why I was there, dying in the waterless south.
Once again, I sensed the shadow of the spectre approach.

“Ask and it shall be given,” she teased.
“Water,” I implored. “My people need water.”
“Go north,” she whispered and left.

I turned to my people and said, “We must go north.”
They followed hopefully.

When we arrived, the streets were wet. We rejoiced and drank, and thanked the Gods.

The next day, the flooding started. Within days we were living in boats, frantically searching for dry land.

The fleeting ghost returned once more.

“Ask and it shall be given,” she smiled.
“Will it always be like this?” I cried.
She nodded and left.

@LucciaGray (200 words).

Want to To read some of the other stories? You’ll find them here

I’d like to finish on a more optimistic note. I’m sure we can be happy, but only Today.

Today is all we have, so make the most of it.

Have a wonderful day!

Lama

About LucciaGray

Writer, blogger, teacher, reader and lover of words wherever they are. Author of The Eyre Hall Trilogy, the breathtaking sequel to Jane Eyre. Luccia lives in sunny Spain, but her heart's in Victorian London.

Posted on February 8, 2015, in Flash Friday Challenge and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Luccia, you are a constant surprise with your posts! This one was very reflective and showed us all another side of yourself! I loved your North and South composition and especially the Daiai Lama quote. Carpe diem!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely flash; reminds me of the Peter Cook and Dudley Moore film Bedazzled (and not the awful Liz Hurley remake) with Eleanor Bron as the love interest. The Devil, Cook, grants Dud seven wishes which he corrupts so Dud never gets the girl. However he revises the question it is misconstrued.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t seen the film, sounds very unfair on poor Dud 😦 but I suppose the Devil is allowed to be so mischievious, you should never really trust him. Makes you think about the Greek Gods, doesn’t it, they were more Devils than Gods, really!
      I have another ‘dramatic’ short for Carrot Ranch Flash to post tomorrow. Can’t wait for March, I’m afraid there’s too much drama in my wintry mind!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Luccia, this was the perfect post and story for my mood this weekend. I feel like King Sisyphus on the way down, questionning the principle of life. If i faced that spectre in your tale, i would ask her if it was worth fighting to survive. Thank you for sharing this. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really enjoyed this Luccia. Your flash is brilliant. Such a fresh approach to a tired journey. Just how I’m feeling today. I’m pushing uphill. The going down is always easier! I love the Dalai Lama quote. Today is definitely all we have! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The overall futility of Sisyphus is often repeated in stories. My favorite HBO series, Deadwood, expressed it as, “That’s what life is: one vile task after another.” Your flash fiction not only captures it, but demonstrates how it can erode hope.

    Liked by 1 person

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