Roundabout (Micro Fiction)

This week, Pegman brings us to Bulgaria. What Pegman Saw (here) is a weekly fiction prompt utilizing Google Maps. The fiction is to be 150 words or less and each writer selects their own photo from Pegman’s location.

I chose this roundabout photo and my main character is the guitarist from the rock band Yes.

In a Roundabout (Fiction word count: 150)

“This is the place. Come on Steve, tell her.”

“My sister’s correct. This is where the song Roundabout emerged. Our first concert in Bulgaria. We had just finished playing at the beach. The same beach Nazis used to vacation at during WWII. Such a heavy vibe. Emotions were spiraling. While waiting to cross the street – right about, um, here – cars were circling the roundabout and this guitar instrumental suite circled my thoughts. I shared it with the band and we developed the song as we traveled to Glasgow. We passed numerous roundabouts and our hotel had this perfectly round lake with mountains that seemed to come out of the sky. A few years ago, Peter claimed to write the main riff to Roundabout. It wasn’t a malicious claim – sometimes while creating songs original authorship lines become blurred. We actually all wrote the song – in a roundabout kinda way.”

To read more entries for this week’s location – go HERE

Background to this short fiction. (If you are just here for the short fiction – please skip this part.)

When Son2 was in middle school, he was assigned Bulgaria for a geography assignment. When I saw that Pegman was in Bulgaria this week, I recalled that my son discovered Nazi officials used to vacation on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast.

We were disgusted to imagine them soaking up such coastal beauty while they were committing such a horrific crime against humanity. So at first I thought I would write about someone spying on the Nazis while in Bulgaria. Maybe insert the info on an old WWII postcard. However, as ideas take roundabouts (I know… had to use that) I ended up with a photo of a roundabout (from Pegman’s Google Map location) and that Roundabout song from Yes kept coming to my to mind. With a little digging I found out that Yes guitarist, Steve Howe, our speaking character in today’s fiction piece, wrote most of the melody for that song. And at one point his replacement in the band, Peter Banks, claimed he wrote the song’s main riff. So that is how my little fiction piece unfolded.

FYI about the band Yes:

Yes was NOT one of my favorite bands growing up – actually they are way before my time – but their songs were always playing. Many of us grew up with Yes’ wonderful music – like Rush – and many songs are integrated into the fabric of our lives.

Roundabout might be the most popular song from Yes. I do not have a favorite Yes song, but if I had to pick one – maybe Starship Trooper. Maybe. On my B list for Yes songs I would include Long Distance, I’ve Seen All Good People, and Owner of a Lonely Heart.  Just the popular radio-played songs. And Leave It is a memory song for me – only because it played so much in ’84 and ’85…. I was young – and remember it well.

Yes was inducted to the Hall of Fame in April of this year- and they sang Roundabout HERE – “The ceremony was at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on April 7, 2017, broadcast on HBO. The band’s co-founding frontman Jon Anderson reunited for a performance of Roundabout from 1971 (Fragile album) with Rush bassist Geddy Lee, guitarist Steve Howe, keyboardist Rick Wakeman, guitarist Trevor Rabin, and drummer Alan White. Along with Yes, Pearl Jam, Journey, Joan Baez, Electric Light Orchestra and Tupac Shakur were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. The 2017 ceremony also includes Nile Rodgers of Chic receiving the Award For Musical Excellence.”

Also, for those Christian readers out there, you might enjoy this beautiful song-  The Only Thing I Need (here) – because Anderson, cofounder of Yes, sang on the song with the band 4 Him back in 1999. I used to love this song so much (in 1999) because it had such good lyrics and it “partly” felt like a new Yes song. I was still living in Colorado at the time and I can remember how much I enjoyed this song. Ahhh – and so a personal highlight of my Pegman post this week has been this stroll down memory lane.

FYI Street Roundabouts

Did you know that street roundabouts have been proven to be one of the best options for an intersection: “Roundabouts are often safer, more efficient, less costly and more aesthetically appealing than conventional intersection designs.” – more here

       ……..Well that is all for this post – thanks for reading and wishing you a nice day….





46 thoughts on “Roundabout (Micro Fiction)

  1. Wow! This was a brilliant post to read! Is this from a WordPress prompt I could join in with? I LOVED LOVED LOVED the band Yes and saw them several times play live. I loved them when Rick Wakeman played keyboards for them. Roundabout is a brilliant track. Thanks so much for these memories I had forgotten about!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for your uplifting words GM – and i am so glad to have posted about a band you like and have followed etc – and your comment energized me – because I never planned to write about Yes – it just happened and well – they deserve the hall of fame

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I only like “Owner of a Lonely Heart” song and not any others that they did. I agreed the street roundabouts are more efficient especially for small roads. I am not sure they good with many lanes interactions. That could be confusing for drivers getting into the roundabout and have to change lanes or decide to keep on the lane that they would eventually exit. That could mean more congestion. I think.

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    1. Well I think you are e right on YC – and now I might have another song to think of you with – maybe – cos I have the eagles east coast easy feeling and the did a happy man….
      oh and I have owner of a lonely heart playing in my head now

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Yes appeared at the perfect time for me, I was in high school and splitting my meager part time wages between saving for college and buying albums. Yes, Joan Baez, Electric Light Orchestra – all are in a good place in my mind. I liked Journey, but they came at a bad time (ex…)

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  4. Dear Yvette,

    Now I have Roundabout playing in my head. Thanks for the ear worm. 😉 Love the story and the explanation. All very interesting. Your last line put the exclamation point on the whole thing. Brilliant.



    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh wow – tour the roundabouts – well they are still quite new as they pop up more and more and people here still don’t always know what to do – but I guess they are much safer – and thanks for the nice comment – 😉

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, I might miss that tour myself! Though people sometimes try to cheer the look of them up by planting flowers and trees on them, a bit of colour in the urban landscape 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Interesting way to combine all those aspects, you’re good at these challenges.
    I hate roundabouts that are 2 or 3 lanes wide. Despise them. Find them terrifying and impossible to navigate with GPS. Just did a big on yesterday, once in and once out. Ugh.
    I think I’ll listen to Owner of a Broken Heart now.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Think I’ll join ya with owner of a broken heart 👍
      And u raise a great point – the double lanes are tricky and I have never seen three – but can imagine how tough that could be – and I am all for them if they work – and maybe it helps cos so many fools still speed through red lights


  6. What a fun post! I enjoyed your short story and really liked your stroll down memory lane! Our little downtown is a roundabout. I understand they did that to preserve the original courthouse (now an historical building). I suppose it works but there are so many ingresses and egresses you’ve really got to be awake! 😴

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh you are right about the alert factor and how beautiful your courthouse sounds – sitting on a roundabout like that. And thanks for reading all the extras – this was so unplanned and so fun to put together – but if I had planned writing about a musician it would have been Tom petty who died last month – RIP ❤️ and maybe another time I can do a Petty post ….

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Loved this expositional story. The dialogue felt right, believable, so the exposition didn’t feel bad. Such history and emotion in a song. It’s easy to forget the work and inspiration that goes into works of creative and musical force. But you captured it succinctly without any feel of going round the roundabout again!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Good stuff.

    I cut my high school prog teeth on The Yes Album. I always loved the instrumentals, but I felt Yes was crippled by nonsensical (and often ungrammatical) lyrics.

    “The music dance and sing
    They make the children really ring
    I spend the day your way
    Call it morning driving through the sound and
    In and out the valley
    In and around the lake
    Mountains come out of the sky
    And they stand there”

    That makes no sense at all. It neither tells a story nor invokes strong images. It’s almost like Jon Anderson picked the words out at random based on syllables.

    Compared this to Gentle Giant, whose album Three Friends told the story through songs of three schoolboys who grow to lead very different lives. They were easily as musically accomplished as Yes, with classically trained members who could play many different instruments. Their song Peel the Paint is about a man who turns cynical and savage:

    “Peel the paint
    Look underneath
    You’ll see the same, the same old savage beast.
    Strip the coats
    The coats of time
    And find mad eyes and see those sharpened teeth.
    Nothing’s been learned –
    No nothing at all.
    Don’t be fooled, get up before you fall.”

    Apples to oranges, but I always thought Yew would have been much better had their lyrical ideas been as sophisticated as their musical ones. For the perfect marriage of idea, music, and theme, we need to look at Pink Floyd’s epic album Animals:

    Big man, pig man
    Ha, ha, charade you are
    You well heeled big wheel
    Ha, ha, charade you are
    And when your hand is on your heart
    You’re nearly a good laugh
    Almost a joker
    With your head down in the pig bin
    Saying ‘Keep on digging’
    Pig stain on your fat chin
    What do you hope to find
    Down in the pig mine?
    You’re nearly a laugh
    You’re nearly a laugh
    But you’re really a cry

    Thanks for participating this week. I can assure you that most prompts aren’t met with such a pompous lecture, but this has always bugged me about Yes. They could have been so much greater than they were.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Whoa – many thanks to you for this meaty reply! Seriously enjoyed every single word and I am honored that you took the time – I love your and K’s writing and holy shirt did you open a nice can of topics here – and so here is my reply – at least for right now cos I might have more later –
      First – thanks for noting the music and classically trainer part – I failed to mention the genius in the music – keeping time and beat stuff that Rush and Dream Theatre fans talk about – things I likely miss as I just jam away – so thx for bringing in that part – about the brilliance of the music.
      Now the lyrics from roundabout – I read about them while Digging for this post and I guess Anderson was missing his partner big time and the 24 hours part was at the time he was on his way home – and their Glasgow hotel really did have the lake and mountains that “seemed like they were coming out of the sky” and I guess they were trying to put words to the suite Howe presented and so that might be how it all got scrapped together –
      Because hah – you are right about the nonsensical lyrics –
      And the lyrics to roundabout (thanks for adding them here) are a little like WHAT????
      And thanks for the Gentle Giant and Pink Floyd integration – this has me chewing on ideas and learning – ahhhh – I’m so grateful for this Yes post (and thanks to Pegman for going to Bulgaria this week – lol)
      And now I am going to listen to the gentle giant song and then perhaps some Pink Floyd – thx again for sharing this insight

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Interesting, P 🙂 I like how “cars were circling the roundabout and this guitar instrumental suite circled my thoughts” – there’s a roundness to this – and “who wrote the song” gave it some conflict. Great to know about Yes and Roundabout.

    Liked by 1 person

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