Pool Story

Photo of water ripples in a pool. The text on top of the water is also rippled, and the text is Pool Story by Dave Williams

One saying is “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” That’s kind of the gist of how this story and video were created.

My mom and I were on a trip when my minivan broke down on the highway. We were towed to a mechanic’s garage in a nearby town. We spent the night in a hotel and waited the next day for the minivan to be fixed. It was an opportunity to spend more time with my mom and chat about the old days, and I enjoyed listening to stories of when she was growing up.

During our wait, I filmed a four minute video of the hotel’s pool. I wasn’t sure what I’d do with the video, just that I thought the water’s ripples made for interesting visuals.

Later, I had the idea to write a story. Not about hotel guests splashing about the pool, but of the water in the pool, about what could be going on with it.

So I narrated the story and paired that with the video of the water, and here it is. If you’d rather watch the video on YouTube, click here.

Frederic Brown’s ‘Knock’ Story and Inspired Films

Photo of a door. Most of the door is in shadow, and there's a spot of illumination from sunlight coming through a window.
by Lillian Grace/Unsplash

“The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door…”

A two-sentence horror story by Frederic Brown. To me, it’s an example of brilliance in brevity. The first sentence creates an image in my mind, then the second introduces an unexpected sound, then the ellipses serves as a springboard for my imagination.

While the little story can sit on its own, Frederic Brown wrote beyond it for a fuller story. It was published in the magazine, Thrilling Wonder Stories (December 1948). The larger story dives into the science-fiction genre, with aliens coming to Earth. If you’re interested in reading a plot summary, that’s on Wikipedia.

I like that many directors have put together short films inspired by the two-sentence version of the story. Neat to see different approaches for the same, basic story. I watched a handful of films — there were more available! I can see how Brown’s story makes for a good idea for student-made films.

The films are on YouTube, just click on the producers’ names to see the films. 

  • Sergeii Studio. Bleak, foggy images of various exteriors before we pop inside the room.
  • Rafael Zambrano. Animated, in a painterly style. The shortest film of this group, at a little more than a half-minute.
  • Rocktor Productions. A teenager walks around a high school, trying to find the source of the knocking. With hardly varying action, this film still puts together a plot beyond the two sentences.
  • Erick XCX. Animal Crossing-style animation, with a storyteller relaying the story to a small group of people.
  • Korven production. A kid is alone at home, and since he calls his dad, he’s not the last person on Earth. The creepy level goes waaaaay up on this one.
  • Cutting Edge film. This one feels more “realistic” to me, since it has candles and flashlight instead of electricity that’s still running, so the last man can flick light switches and watch TV.

The Return (full sequence) — joanne the geek

I wanted share this post from Joanne the Geek because I enjoyed it so much. She wrote a 6-part poem from the points of view of different characters in The Odyssey, showing some of the mindset of how each character is affected by Odysseus being away from home for 20 years…

Odysseus at the Laestrygonians The Return 1. Penelope Waits why do I constantly look out our window hoping to see your ship returning to its harbour? why do I listen for the sound of your footsteps echoing up to our bedchamber? but I know you too well you’ve gone after your own desires & I’m […]

The Return (full sequence) — joanne the geek

Seeing ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’

by Sigmund/Unsplash

Grown-ups have more power than children in making many decisions — like where to live — and some grown-ups have a great deal of power — like a captain in the military — but a child can have the power to conjure fantastical creatures and talk with them, creatures inspired by the fairy tales she loves to read: printed words peel off pages then flit around then transform into a faun, greedy toad, monster with eyes on his hands, which caused me to wonder why the girl would imagine such creatures and not an array of friendly ones (graceful unicorn and teasing, loving wood sprites), but then I realized she is following the pattern of fairy tales, which don’t describe kids floating on ice-cream clouds of easy lives, but who need to face nasty witches and trolls — so the girl would create similar tests for herself, offering the chance to become the brave heroine who deals with nasty creatures by besting them or eluding them.

copyright © 2021 Dave Williams