Subtext’s Subtext by Joy Manné

The problem was she was getting bored with the assignments on Subtext although in the beginning she had been excited to study the book which she found well written and challenging and she seemed to remember admiring the author’s other works – or was it his short stories – and the course was exciting, especially when it came to exploring the different types of subtext he described, but soon she began to disagree with him and think he was being too personal in his illustrations and doing what he advised his readers not to do – using his writing to heal his own hang-ups and problems with individuals, but (are two ‘but’s’ so soon after each other subtext), although she wasn’t often a patient person, nevertheless she persisted and her persistence paid off (as persistence tends to do) because she discovered subtext categories of her own (don’t we all like to discover things, to be original, to think where no one has ever thought before) which included tongue-in-cheek, which she often was, and which she put down to her English sense of humour and the fact that she grew up on John Cleese, not to mention the trio of wit, irony and understatement which– (as she’d read in a learned book on linguistics by a US academic (whose name she had long forgotten)–Americans don’t get); and then it struck her that simply being English was a subtext on its own, but then, being American or Australian or South African – she was born there – or Chinese or Russian, or rich or poor, or educated or uneducated was sufficient subtext on its own; and now the various skin colours came to her mind and tallness or shortness, skinniness and obesity – of course, these were subtexts too, and so was gender, especially if it was an unusual gender or the type whose existence used to get denied (and may in the future become denied or prohibited again), or you got sent to prison for—no, she decided in discussion with herself: all gender is subtext; and it occurred to her too that choosing a dog or a cat … and what, she asked herself, about farce and comedy – wasn’t comedy a subtext to life? and if was, then tragedy would be too and this brought her to consider life itself …


 Joy Manné is group leader and a well-published and much-translated author in the personal development field. She has a PhD in Buddhist Psychology. She has had many Flash Fictions published on the web in Pygmy Giant, Café Aphra, Flash Fiction Online, Every Day Fiction, Flash Fiction Magazine and FlashFlood and in Lakeview International Journal of Literature, 100 Voices 2, and The Ham A. Joy has published two children’s picture books, No, I Won’t Go To Bed Tonight and Stinky Goldfish, and a chapter book, Don’t Blame the Dog. Joy lives overlooking Lake Geneva in Switzerland.