Short story: The silence of Clementina Bird

copyright-roger-cohenWhen Clementina Bird was seven she took up the cello. She became so all consumed by the instrument that a short while later she announced she was going to stop speaking.
“From now on the cello will be my mouthpiece,” she said to us at dinnertime. Even at a young age Clementina had a way with words, so it was rather a shame.
When asked a question she plucked a low string for no and a high string for yes. If she wanted attention she bowed vigorously.

Clementina’s silence lasted six months, until her A string snapped, when she was heard to exclaim in a loud voice, “Oh confound it!”


This piece of writing was inspired by the picture prompt provided by Roger Cohen for the Friday Fictioneers writing group run by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. We all attempt to write 100 words (or so) and this week I’m slightly over. And despite loving the picture, I really struggled.

I’d love to receive comments and constructive criticism. Click here to read other people’s stories inspired by this picture or to join in.

51 thoughts on “Short story: The silence of Clementina Bird

    • Took me a while to work out ‘graph’! They’re normally ‘para’s to me. But I couldn’t agree more. It ends too abruptly, but I just couldn’t work out what to do without making it longer. Any suggestions appreciated Ron.


  1. Whoa.. Six months of silence, now that would’ve been something to listen to the cellos for answers,, Great story and I was glad for the parents when the string snapped! 🙂


  2. A cute story about a passionate girl….I’m with Bill on this one except I do not want to know what she will be like when she falls in love…that’s a girl who is going to get her way every time.



  3. Dear Claire,

    I once declared that I was not going to watch televison for an entire year and lasted almost as long as Clementina. “Oh confound it” is such a perfect exclamation. i really like her character. Some depth in there, I’m thinking.




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