Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words Exactly) #73: The Personified Impersonal

Feature Presentations Magazine #6, June 1950.  Cover by Wally Wood.

My supervisor, Hank Bromley, considered himself an intellectual.  An actual wooden plaque on his desk said the following, which I still remember after seven decades:

In the midst of the personified impersonal, a personality stands here.—Moby-Dick

I just knew he’d never read that novel (but then, I’d never read it either and still haven’t).  As with most of the other men there (few women worked in that office, except as secretaries-slash-playthings), he preferred talking about sports and cars and cracking jokes about what everyone (including me) called “colored people.”  The life of the mind interfered with life, I guess.

Copyright © 2020 by David V. Matthews

2 thoughts on “Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words Exactly) #73: The Personified Impersonal”

  1. Nice, I like this. And I have read Moby Dick (it was longer than a hundred words, if memory serves). Now that you mention it I’d like to have a wooden plaque with a Moby Dick quote on my desk too – unfortunately mine would say, “From Hell’s Heart I Stab at Thee.”

    Thanks for sharing.


    1. Thank you for a whale of a comment (laugh track here). Did you Google Moby-Dick and find my site? (I’ll read the stories on your site.)

      Autobiographical information: after about two months of on-and-off reading, I’d finally finished that novel; that personified line appealed to me. Other writers’ fiction has inspired me of late: as you might know, this month, I posted an homage to a coprophilic David Foster Wallace novella.


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