This blogpost has a reason why it’s titled “Praise Rain”, after flash great Kathy Fish’s remarkable piece of the same title — you’ll know soon. Of course, who hasn’t read it yet? It’s been raining since morning, the monsoons are here, and I can’t tell you how much I love a rainy day. I can watch the drops all day; sing my heart praising the rain! In fact, I told FlashBack Fiction as much when interveiwed regarding the child character in “Kaala Paani” published June 27. Can’t stop gushing about it’s last line (forgive my immodesty). I was being brutally honest there: “Bakru keeps watching the falling raindrops, trailing each other, submissive, and hanging from the merciless sky and why they should be down here, helpless, doing nothing but looking at all the blackness.” My reading of this piece is on YouTube.
“When it rains, God sits on his throne and listens to his favorite music — the sound of thunder.” ― Michael Bassey Johnson
I’m honestly amazed how often rains appear as backdrop in my stories, expressing longing, expectation, a grieving heart, melancholy, and so on. Allow me to link two: “Rubble” in New World Writing Quarterly and “Lyrics of a Thunderstorm” in EllipsisZine. Both were written when it was pouring outside, and the sounds and scenery was just perfect to write!
Where it fell on earth, on fields and gardens, it drew up the smell of earth. Here a drop poised on a grass-blade; there filled the cup of a wild flower, till the breeze stirred and the rain was spilt. Was it worth while to shelter under the hawthorn, under the hedge, the sheep seemed to question; and the cows, already turned out in the grey fields, under the dim hedges, munched on, sleepily chewing with raindrops on their hides.
Virginia Wolf, The Years
Writers have effectively drawn on nostalgia and written excellent prose in settings of rain/thunderstorm/drizzle. I recall these lines: “Rain brings back an image of you, like a photograph. Your smile, eyes fixed on mine, hair in dripping rats-tails as they towelled us off, scolding all the while.” from Sarah McPherson’s “After the Rain”.
Rains have a profound impact, and are symbiotically linked with great epiphanies. In the fictional world, characters delve deep to be united in grief and pain, in joy and celebration with the limitless void above, precipitated by a rainy setting. Consider reading “Diamond Rain” by Basil Rosa, or Myna Chang’s “A Practical Guide to Making Rain”. Dwell on the enormity of the setting that surpasses the limits of the words.
Regardless of its miniature form, flash offers abundant scope to use the rain as narrative setting, backdrop, or as a character in itself. The page yeilds to an experience where the reader may find themselves under an umbrella, or be drenched, exposed to the gray skies. I hope the example stories above will be inspiring.
Some additional notes. How about these prompts?
Use only the onomatopoetic words/sound words for rain (pitter-patter, thrum, pelt, hammering, pingling, plunking) to create atmosphere in the opening of the story
A mythical story where rain is metaphor for the wrongs done to character(s)
The dark side of rain. Including storm, floods, drowning.
A personal memoir, only remebered still because it was raining unusually bad
Rain as symbol of fertility
Rain as a condition to find the rainbow
Expecting to rain, you carry the umbrella, and what funny adventures happen on the train to work
Waiting to catch a bus in blinding rain, you take the wrong bus, and that’s where your story takes off
With a notebook beside the window, devour the rain, praise rain! As always, happy writing!