November Blues

Photo copyright

Photo copyright Bjorn Rudberg

On this dull November day, everything seemed tinged white, as if it had been painted with a heavy hand. Slowly approaching the sprawling hospital complex as she had done for the last six months Antonia looked for a glimmer of hope. Her course of chemotherapy was nearly finished and she wanted to feel positive, but the intense tiredness that dogged her every step had burrowed deep. Outwardly her smile warmed the day for those people who came into contact with her, however today she was in dire need of something to warm her soul. Yet the snow still fell.


When I saw this marvellous picture my first thoughts were of a story centred around music and light. Great I thought, but nothing [new] came to mind. So I decided to wait for a few hours, instead I set to work with a saw and drill in a warm well it garage. Then followed this up with coffee and lunch with a good friend. And I even managed to bag a few sun lit photographs of the autumn colours. Surely now I thought a warm story of music and light story will flow to do justice to Bjorn’s photograph – but no instead [November Blues] was born! So it seems a writer has to go with the flow, even if it is with the blues. Sorry if this is a bit heavy… my link to the picture was the white specks of light which led me to think of snow.

Now walking at midnight under an almost clear sky has led me to think about a light beam reflecting against the moon light and how I might use that in my writing! Mike

winter colour

winter colour

This Post Has 34 Comments

  1. neilmacdon

    This is dense, and I mean that in the best way

    1. Michael Humphris

      You are right, sorry. I did set out to write something cheerful,

      1. neilmacdon

        No, I loved it

        1. Michael Humphris

          Thank you so much, Mike

  2. Clare Hempstead

    You have described the tiredness of chemo so well. Fortunately, I have only witnessed it, but it is devastating to watch.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Very sadly it is part of life for to many people.

  3. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)

    The melancholy is there.. and for sure I can hear the cello playing… nothing wrong with using that as inspiration.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Bjorn your picture was like great poetry,

  4. Sandra

    November has that effect on me too. Good story, melancholic but a reality for many, including my brother-in-law right now. Well done.

    1. Michael Humphris

      I hope all goes well for brother in law, chemotherpy can be so tough.

  5. Iain Kelly

    A sad tale but expertly written, lovely sense of emotion and atmosphere.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Iain, I was not sure whether to post this story,

  6. draliman

    After so much chemo it must be hard to feel positive, especially during the cold snowy days of winter.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you draliman, your comment is so true, but experience tells me that it is important to try and find things that help one to feel positive, if at all possible

  7. rochellewisoff

    Dear Michael,

    Applause! This is exactly what I mean about seeing beyond what you’re looking at, ie the prompt. Thank you for sharing your process. Sad story, but well done, nonetheless. The title is pitch perfect.



    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you so much for your comments Rochelle. I will try and learn from them. Mike

  8. Rowena

    It’s interesting that this photo has brought out mostly melancholy responses. I don’t mind melancholy and quite enjoy it because there are times for it and where it isn’t necessarily negative but offers comfort through sharing a difficult time if that makes any sense.
    I went through chemo two years ago to treat my auto-immune disease. It was actually around this time and I was actually relieved to be having the chemo because it was looking like there might not be a treatment option. I am a little bit wacky but I remember singing to myself “All I want for Christmas is chemo”. I only had 7 treatments and they mixed it with high dose prednisone so I was happy to be alive, buzzing for a day and then dead tired. The last treatment got me though. Must have had a cumulative effect. What I remember most is the appointment at the end of the treatment s to find out whether it had worked. That was monumental.
    Hope you have a good weekend. It’s my husabnd’s 50th Birthday so we have much to celebrate!
    xx Rowena

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Rowena for sharing your thoughts on this story, I thought long and hard about posting it. I went through chemotherapy three years back, and got the news that it had done its work christmas week.

  9. Life Lessons of a Dog Lover

    “Yet the snow still fell.” What a beautifully touching last line, the world does not care.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you, it was great to get your feedback. mike

  10. gahlearner

    Isn’t it amazing like the muse always gets what she wants? I love this and just hope there’s a bit of warmth in the future of that character. Great writing.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you so much, Mike

  11. mjlstories

    A powerful piece, with a kind of sad gentle formality in the language. A great mix of visual description, metaphor and simple action – I felt I was walking with her but also watching her.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you for your lovely comments, they will help guide my writing. Thank you

  12. lingeringvisions by Dawn

    I can imagine someone feeling just as you have described.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Dawn for reading and letting me know how you saw my story.

  13. Dahlia

    This is such a touching poignant write. Despite the apparent disconnect between the photo and the story, I feel it goes perfectly well – there is something terribly sad about the vacant chairs in the background and the silent cello in the foreground, as if there was life, joy and music but no longer. In fact it seemed to me as if the picture changed to suit the story rather than the other way round. I wonder if i am being too fanciful. Blame it on your amazing piece! 🙂

    1. Michael Humphris

      I tried hard to write something brighter and more applicable but was unable. In the end I had to except defeat. It is great to see in which way a story is understood. I thank you for your great comments. Mike

      1. Dahlia

        Best to accept defeat at the hands of the story and/or the characters – we are but puppets in their hands 🙂

        1. Michael Humphris

          Thats so true

  14. Michael Wynn

    This is lump in the throat time. You nailed the emotion perfectly

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you so much Michael,

  15. patriciaruthsusan

    We don’t always have happy times. You caught a moment where a person would be feeling tired and down and described it perfectly. Good writing, Mike. 🙂 — Suzanne

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you so much,

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