Rochelle sets us a one hundred word flash fiction challenge, prompted by a photo, every week.  Come and have a go, if you think you’re bard enough.



You can never know what it means to be me. We inhabit the same local space in the same universe; we can both see the same bus and agree it is red, noisy, smelly, whatever, but you can never know what red, noisy or smelly are to me. The shared experience is an illusion; convenient for language and communication, but naive in fact. How would you describe a bus to an alien? You could not because you would have no datum; no common starting point. My datum is not your datum: I am just as an alien. (97)

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About micklively

Fifty-something, pacifist, six sigma black belt, lean implementer, brewer, vintner, guitarist, wood-turner, and slave to collies.
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19 Responses to Datum

  1. Margaret says:

    Fascinating ideas. Lots to ponder in your story, Mick. Well told.

  2. rgayer55 says:

    Evidently, you’ve tried explaining the concept of work to a teenager. 🙂

  3. gahlearner says:

    Heh. It only counts what I see… 😉 Seriously, great story, food for thought. I think one reference would be mathematics. On the Voyager golden disk are a few things that should be understandable for beings who perceive their environment somwhat like we do.

  4. Dear Mick,

    It’s all perspective and datum isn’t it? You made me think this week. Nicely done.



  5. I’ve a new word to add to my vocabulary – datum. I had to look it up … Thank you.
    An interesting twist to the photo prompt. Indeed, everyone’s perception is representative of
    who they are. But … an alien … how does one know what they are thinking or what they know
    or whether they are here or up there??? Thought provoking, indeed. ______ Isadora 😎

  6. Sandra says:

    Very profound this week Mick. I’ll give it some thought.

  7. draliman says:

    Very thought-provoking piece. Everything is subjective. Does anyone else see what I see? Is anyone else actually here at all or am I in a universe of my own making. Yeeks!

  8. ansumani says:

    You are indeed an alien – yet i think i know what you are getting at here 🙂 Nice one.

  9. Sightsnbytes says:

    bus…big orange vehicle that carries noisy kids

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