“Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e., do not cave in to endless requests to have “essential” and “long overdue” meetings on those days. […] Some people do not seem to grasp that I still have to sit down in peace and write the books, apparently believing that they pop up like mushrooms without my connivance.”
― J.K. Rowling

4 Reasons to Write Short Stories

For most of my creative writing life, I’ve tried to write novels. Novels are the pinnacle of fiction writing in the same way oil painting is the pinnacle of art. I thought that if I was going to be a writer, I didn’t have a choice but to write novels.

However, in the last six months, my thoughts have changed. I’ve locked my novel away in my desk drawer to focus all my attention on short stories.

Here are four reasons why I chose to write short stories instead of novels:

Underwood Typewriter

I want this typewriter. Photo by Xlibber

1. The Best Writers Started with Short Stories.

Stephen King, Ernest Hemingway, and Mark Twain became famous writing novels, but before they wrote novels, they published short stories.

Ernest Hemingway wrote twenty-four stories about a single character, Nick Adams, writing most of them before his breakout novel, The Sun Also Rises. Twenty-one years before The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain published his first short stories in a local newspaper. Stephen King started submitting short stories at such a young age that by the time he was fourteen he had a stack of rejection letters so thick he could no longer nail it to the wall.

If you want to be a great writer, you should consider writing short stories. The best of the best did.

2. They’re Practice.

You know how I feel about practice.

Short stories give you the chance to write a full length story from beginning to end. You can practice every part of the writing process, and you can do it in a matter of weeks. If you write a novel, it could take years to practice the whole process. And if it’s your first novel, after all that hard work it probably won’t be published.

Short stories are a training ground, the place where you can make all your mistakes before you jump into the much more difficult process of novel-writing.

3. You Need to Publish Something Sooner.

And by that I mean you need to get your work out of the dark closet of your computer screen and into people’s hands as soon as you can. Feedback is the fastest way to improve.

Why?

Because you need people to tell you how bad it is. Or how amazing it is. Or how good that one paragraph is, especially compared to how bad the rest of the manuscript is.

When I finished my last short story, I sent it to over twenty people, and the feedback I got from them made me completely change the feel of the whole story.

That’s why we practice in the comments section and not on our own. We all need feedback, whether we’re Stephen King or Joe Bunting.

4. Because You Have Stories to Tell.

You should write short stories so you can experience the taut tightrope walk of the moment, the inexhaustible richness of the present. You should write short stories so your children can read them when they’re your age and think, “Wow. My father, my mother was a writer.” You should write short stories because you’re consuming stories everyday, from books and television and movies and newspapers, because you want to stop consuming and start creating. You should write short stories to discover what your life is for and why you’re here and what you’re supposed to do.

You should write short stories because you are a writer, and you have stories to tell.

Two Things

My New Book: Next week, I’m publishing a new ebook about writing short stories called Let’s Write a Short Story! It’s about how to write a publish short stories of your own. Here’s the thing, I want to keep the price as low as I can so that as many people as possible can get it, but the prices won’t last.

I recommend signing up for the newsletter at letswriteashortstory.com so you can find out exactly when the book is launched, and when the price increases. If you have a minute, go sign up now.

Get a YOUR Copy: Second, I’m giving away a free copy of the book to a limited number of people who are willing to write a review on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. If you’d like to volunteer, email me at joebunting@thewritepractice.com. Hurry, though, because this offer is going away very soon.

UPDATE: This offer has been discontinued, but Let’s Write a Short Story! is now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and from letswriteashortstory.com. Check it out. You’ll like it. I promise.

That’s all. Have a great Friday!

PRACTICE

As you’re thinking about short stories, I want you to free write. Don’t try to write any particular story. Relax. Just let your story shape on its own.

Write for fifteen minutes. When you’re finished, post your practice in the comments section.

And if you post, be sure to give feedback to a few other writers.

About Joe Bunting

Joe Bunting is a writer and entrepreneur. He is the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller Let's Write a Short Story! and the co-founder of Story Cartel. You can follow him on Twitter (@joebunting).

  • Oddznns

    Good job! Are we all going to migrate over there now then?

    • Thanks Oddz. Hopefully not. 🙂 I hope The Write Practice is around for a lot time. This will just help people grow in a more focused way.

      • Mariaanne

        I think a lot of us will do both.  I’m planning on being there as much as I can.  

  • Thank you for this post!!  I used to write short stories when I was in high school, but then fell away from writing for awhile.  A few months ago, I started getting the hankering to write again and that’s when I found your site.  Every month I try and write a story for the contest, but have yet to finish one in time and enter it.  Regardless, I’m still enjoying writing again, even if it is just for myself right now.  When I decided to try writing again, the thought of writing a novel was just plain scary.  Short stories are the way to go for me.  The idea of carrying a plot for over 300 pages seems incredibly daunting.  I prefer 30 pages or less 🙂 

  • I’ve been struggling with fiction for awhile mostly because I’ve got a love-hate relationship with the novel I’ve been writing (and not writing) for too long. Lately, digging in to short stories has helped me breathe again. I’ve also been reading The Night The New Jesus Fell to Earth by Ron Rash which is a collection of short stories kind of set up like the Canterbury Tales.

    Katie

    PS: I did the practice but it took longer than 15 minutes and is not G-rated, so I’m going to refrain from posting it.

    • Rebecca Klempner

      I also think that writing short stories makes a great break from a longer project that is currently frustrating me. 

      I particularly like that you can try out lots of different genres, but the commitment is minimal. When I write long, it’s typically tween or teen SF/fantasy, but when I write short, it might be contemporary fiction, true short story, mystery or historical fiction, and it could be for any age. Each format provides a different type of practice, and lets my brain breathe before I return to the novel-in-progress that haunts me when I sleep and makes me want to pull my hair out. 

      • Great point.
        I’m really connect to my characters right now, so I’m using the same people in short stories. It’s helping with character development (even though it’s not always feasible because one’s dead for most of the book yet alive in a short story that would happen later but hey, I can do what I want until I’m submitting them, right?)Katie

  • Marla4

    (Signed up for the newsletter ! Yippee.)

    Her daddy was not her daddy. 
    That was the first thing she told me. 
    We were sitting in the Wide Awake Café, seeing each other for the first
    time in fifteen years.

    “What?” I said.

    Her aunt, the crazy one, told her after Rae’s daddy and mama both
    died.  Rae didn’t believe it at first.

    But then her aunt said, ‘Your daddy went down to the courthouse
    and gave some woman fifty dollars to scratch out Billy Hankins name and add his
    in.  I was there when he did it.”

    So Rae tells me how she found Billy in Tulsa, and when she met
    him, how it was like looking into a mirror, except Billy had a mustache.

    I asked her how it felt – I’m always asking people how things
    feel – since I don’t think I feel near enough myself, and Rae said. “Like I’d
    been set free.”

    Which wasn’t what I expected, since I liked her daddy, well,
    anyway, I liked the man I thought was her daddy, James Ray, who used to carry
    me on his back when I was three or four, that’s how far back we go.

    And then Rae launched into a story about how it all made sense
    now, the trouble at home, and how she was an outcast, like a leper, she said,
    although I’d never seen it.

    She was a handful, is what she was.

    Rae’s telling me about how her first daddy, James Ray, told her
    she’d never amount to nothing, wouldn’t have two hundred dollars to rub together
    in her whole life.

    “He held me back,” she said.

    And I remembered James Ray sitting at the dinner table when Rae
    and I were fourteen, and how he called Rae Cat and how he took her to
    Disneyland in the semi he drove for Garner’s Trucking, and how on that one trip
    she spent five hundred dollars on souvenirs that she passed out at school like
    candy.

    I try to jog her memory, but she just shakes her head and asks
    the waitress for more biscuits.

    And Grandma Dee, she said, “who I now know wasn’t my grandma at
    all, she was always after me, saying I was doing drugs when I wasn’t.

    Well Rae was doing drugs. 
    But I don’t say anything.  I’m
    thinking about when Rae turned sixteen and Grandma Dee brought her twenty
    dollars in a birthday card, and she’d slipped a yellowed Dear Abby clipping
    from the paper that she must have been saving for years.  In the article, Abby was going on about a
    girl’s greatest gift and how she could only give it away once and how the
    one-time offer better be proffered on a girl’s wedding night.

    And Rae said, in front of her mama and daddy and me, “Well,
    Grandma Dee, this here is about two years too late.”

    And Grandma Dee fell out, right there on the sofa, and James Ray
    had to carry her to Rae’s bed, where there on the nightstand was a bowl she
    kept with motel keys in it, from all across the state, little dives where the
    boys took her after football games and barn dances.  Grandma Dee took one look at the visible
    signs of sin and started to whimper.

    Me and Rae slept on the floor that night.

    Then Rae says, “And this one time, when I was eighteen and
    wouldn’t get a job, Mama said, ‘You’re just like your daddy,’ which I didn’t
    get because James Ray worked fifty, sixty hours a week.”

    Which he did.

    But Rae hadn’t worked a day that I know of, and all this talk is
    starting to get under my skin.  I’d have
    killed to have Rae’s real mama and fake daddy, and I want to tell her so, but instead
    I ask about her new daddy Billy.

    “He’s a flat-out jerk,” she says.  “First, he was nice enough. He never
    married.  I asked why and he told me a
    story about how you got to keep your options open.  And I said, ‘Like having a spare tire?’
    because you know I always have one guy I’m seeing and one guy I’m sort of
    seeing, just in case, and I told him that, and it made me feel kind of close to my new daddy Billy.  And then Billy laughed.  ‘Lightweight,’ he said.  ‘You got four tires on a car, and if your luck
    goes sour, and don;t it always? you could blow out all of them, so I keep about four women in
    layaway.’

    “Of course I asked him if he knew about me, and he said of
    course not, but he by God did, I just know he did, and then I needed a little
    money, you know, to have my teeth fixed, and he bowed up real mean.  So we don’t talk now, which is fine with me.”

    We were eating salads then, Rae picking out the tomatoes like
    she’s always done, and I thought back on when my own mama died, and how Rae
    stayed away, didn’t even call for a month after, and how that was what broke us
    up.  I never told her that, and while we’re
    sitting here, I get that same old feeling like I need her to love me, which is
    crazy, I know, but I feel the tug of our childhood, strong as a river, and I
    know she’s about to ask me for money, I see it coming, and I turn red-faced, I
    can feel it, so I take a drink of sweet tea and smile up at her.

    “Did you ever get your teeth fixed?” I ask.  And Rae, she holds her hand across her mouth
    as she’s chewing, like there’s shame behind her lips.

    “No,” she says. “And if I don’t soon, I’m going to lose this
    front one.”

    And without her even asking, I take out my checkbook and start
    to do the figuring.  If I pay my rent
    late, I can give her six hundred dollars. 
    I’m writing her name out, and I’m shaking a little, but I don’t stop
    writing.  What is this drug called
    memory? I wonder.  What is this need to
    be loved?

    and start
    to do the figuring.  ved?

    • juwhed

      Good job. Good ending.

      • Marla4

        Thank you so much.

    • Mariaanne

      Great story Marla.  I like when she says she wants Ray to love her and the tug of the childhood memories is like a river pulling on her.  The end it well put too.  

      • Marla4

        Thank you!

    • This is a great, Marla!

    • Li

      I love the vernacular. I love the strong character development.

  • Dmullet

    Short stories fell out of favor for a time, but now they are returning. The short story has helped me to learn to develop plot and to hone in on character. Thanks for the post

  • 4u1solo

     What you want is not what you need – is it?

    Posted on August 14, 2012 by 4u1solo

    Tiny’s route covered three counties and took him 4 days to
    complete, average.  Some weeks it took two weeks to cover.  Holidays or
    traffic, remodels, hold-ups, shootings all of them was to be endured. 
    He had his work and that was what he sought, a job that never ended.  He
    delivered pop.  All kinds of pop, well some of his stuff was now a
    drink, juices like.  He owned his truck and he had been doing this for
    eighteen years.
    Tiny was really very large and carrying some extra weight, of course,
    that’s why he was Tiny.  He had his uniform and his electronic scanner,
    his keys, his wallet, his cell phone with GPS.  His wife was tall and
    skinny, almost six feet of never satisfied sex machine and he tanked God
    for her everyday of his life.  His four boys were spitting images of
    their mother and everyone a joy to them both.  His father-in-law was a
    lawyer in Atlanta and had set them up in the business when they got
    married.  He was a great guy and very caring.  His wife had died in a
    wreck years ago.  He really liked his daughter and he wanted Tiny to
    always take care of her – and Tiny wanted that too.
    Over the years Tiny had been in more than a dozen robberies, two live
    births, a hundred slip and falls, three major lawsuits and one arrest. 
    He looked like a rapist and was grabbed during lunch, one day.  They
    let him go at the end of the day, even drove him back to his truck. 
    Tiny once dreamed about writing a book about his life.  He felt he was
    blessed and wanted to share his experiences with others.  His wife said
    she would help.
    Tiny arrived at the Stop & Rob about nine thirty that morning. 
    He had carried in four hand trucks of drinks, unpacked, and stacked.  He
    gave the attendant his scanner printed bill and got a copy signed.  As
    he walked out the door he saw some lottery tickets on the doorway and
    picked them up.  They seemed to be valuable but as he stuck them into
    his shirt pocket he forgot about them and  watched a man and a woman
    kissing each other at their gas pump.  Tiny saw strange things all the
    time on his route, he liked seeing stuff, different stuff.
    A week would pass before she found those tickets in his pocket, she
    had long ago discovered that Tiny often tucked bills and receipts into
    his pocket and would forget them when he pulled into the driveway.  She
    had learned to check each pocket before washing.  She was surprised to
    find the lottery tickets because Tiny never played the lottery.  Then,
    after setting the machine, she thought about the tickets.  She took them
    into the kitchen and pulled out their laptop, the business computer
    where she kept all their financial records.
    It took her awhile to find the lottery site and then she began
    checking the tickets.  The tickets were separate pieces of paper, five
    altogether.  The fifth ticket was a winner with all the numbers,
    including the bonus number.  She pushed back the laptop and stared at
    the ticket.  Had he actually bought them, maybe someone had given them
    to him as a sort of tip.  Maybe he found them.  She called the lottery
    office in Atlanta and asked about the ticket, had anyone claimed the
    winnings.  They said there were no winners that week, so far, but there
    was a winning ticket purchased at a store in her area.  She read the
    numbers to the clerk and the clerk replied “you are a winner”.  She hung
    up in shock.
    Tiny would be home, shortly, and they would talk.  She loved her
    family and her life.  Tiny was everything she needed and wanted – she
    had fought with her father for weeks about Tiny.  Her father finally
    agreed with her and she married Tiny.  With her father’s help and
    careful counseling they were raising the boys and preparing for
    retirement.  They had health insurance and they were paying off their
    mortgage.  She and Tiny loved each other and enjoyed each other – why
    spoil that.  She took the tickets and pushed them into the sink, turned
    on the water, and switched on the disposal.  She was so happy that night
    that she and Tiny did it twice, she felt like having another child and
    loved Tiny for giving her everything she needed.

    • Marla4

      I love what Tiny sees on his route. Great images.

    • Oddznns

      I love this ending.

  • Cindy Christeson

    She named her Sunshine.  Sunshine’s hair was a mess and a mass of something close to blond, and the little girl liked it just like that.
    “I’m sorry sweetie, she was the only doll they had,” the little girl’s mom said while repeatedly pushing down on the doll’s head, hoping that the friction would somehow control the mop-like chaos.  “They said to check back tomorrow or the next day and maybe we’ll find a prettier doll.  As soon as I get home from work, we’ll wash her really well and I’ll find a way to make her hair look better, or at least go in one direction.  I can try a ribbon, or headband, or maybe a pony tail, and I’m sure I can find something cuter for her to wear….””No, no, no. No bath, no ribbons, no different dress,” the little girl said while holding the doll with a death grip.  “And no different doll.  Sunshine is mine, and she looks just like she’s supposed to look.  You like your dress, don’t you Sunshine?  See Mom, Sunshine is happy, and so am I.  Come on Sunshine, let me show you our room. “The little girl skipped down the short hall to the tiny second bedroom in the little apartment.  The girl held the doll close while skipping and singing.  Her weary mom sighed, but then smiled.  She recognized the song her daughter sang to the second-hand doll that was receiving first-rate love.  The mother hadn’t sung it since they moved to the apartment, but she used to sing it every night.  They may have moved from the big house, but the song hadn’t moved from her daughter’s heart.  It was time to start singing it again.The mother hummed the song, while finishing her chores faster than she’d expected.  She sat on the side of her daughter’s bed, stroking the little girl’s hair while the girl stroked the doll’s.The mom cleared her throat once, smiled and cleared her throat again.  It was time to sing.”You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy…”

    • Marla4

      I love this. It’s really hard to get a child’s voice right, but you certainly did.

      • Cindy Christeson

        Thank you Marla, I think it helps to be around my 4 small grandchildren!  I appreciate the encouragement, thank you!

    • Themagicviolinist

       I like the ending to this one. Sunshine reminds me of my favorite stuffed animal: a cat that used to be white but is now gray. Her neck used to stand up on it’s own, but now flops to one direction or the other since there isn’t any stuffing left in there. She’s about nine years old and I love her just the same.

      • Cindy Christeson

        Many thanks to you for your encouragement….I can practically picture your well-loved cat – which is worth much more to you just the way she is because she’s lived so much of life with you!  

        Keep on writing – you are a a gifted young lady!  

        • Themagicviolinist

          No problem! I love to help people with their writing.
          Thanks so much! 😀

  • Cindy Christeson

    so many great phrases Marla – there’s shame behind her lips; tug of our childhood, strong as a river;  this drug called memory – great job!

    • Marla4

      Thank yo Cindy.

  • i have a question for y’all. 
    like joe in the beginning of his writing career, i only thought (still think about, for me) about novels. i have written 2 really short flash-fiction kind of short stories (like 1000 words) and planned for 4 more (they are in my own little children’s series about being a good friend and such) and i have some short stories ideas (they were originally novel ideas but then i realized that they just aren’t big enough to be novels)… so i’m not really scared of short stories (wait, yeah i am–you have to be THAT GOOD in such a short amount of space! with a novel, you can at least write yourself into the answer.)more about my situation: i have many novel ideas and i have started many of them. i dont have a finished manuscript. should i switch to short stories **now** (aka giving up on the novels, especially the one i am writing NOW–after I resolved to finish at least 1 MS in my life)?

    i seriously thought about short stories. i especially like joe’s reason about getting published. i mean seriously short stories are awesome for that–not easy peasy but “awesome”.

    so yeah… if anyone has any thoughts, i’d greatly appreciate reading your reply 🙂
    from
    dawn

    • Marla4

      I don’t think it has to be an either or, but I would concentrate on short stories for a while. You’ll grow as a writer if you practice here. And good writing is good writing. I had a teacher once who made us take our short story and turn it into a poem, to show us what it’s like to think about what’s absolutely necessary to get your point across. So all writing matters and will lead you forward.

      • Well said, Marla.

        I think you have to commit to something. If you don’t finish your work, you miss out huge areas of improvement. But that’s exactly why short stories are so great. They’re much easier to finish.

  • I like to free write fiction and short stories during my morning journal times. It’s when I feel most creative and it’s a great warm up! 

  • Well, I guess it is just a matter of how you feel about it.
    I started writing in teenage years. It began with poems only, then short essays, then VERY short stories (about 250-600 words). Now I am half way to my first novel 27k words written already. The novel just came to me itself – never planned writing it, but it was such a good idea that I decided not to waste it.

    But in general – I think any type of fiction is good. As long as there are people who are willing to read and as long as those people will feel something while reading what I wrote, I will keep writing 🙂

    btw I finally publishem my first book of short stories. here is the link http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008OKBBKG if anyone is interested.

    • Congrats on publishing your first book of stories, Ani. That’s so exciting.

  • Themagicviolinist

       The air smelled of pine. If Flora was quiet enough, she could hear the birds twittering to each other, or a squirrel scurrying across the leaves. The woods were a magical place in the early morning. Flora closed her eyes and let the breeze carry her up above the trees. She could see the animals far below her. The trees were getting smaller and smaller . . .

              Flora woke up. The sounds of honking horns and traffic brought her back to reality. She sighed, remembering her old home. She could almost smell the fireplace. If she closed her eyes, she could remember the crackling fire dancing before her. Her old living room had been much cozier around Christmas time. The woods were her favorite place to go before she moved.

              Now the air was musty and her bed sheets smelled like mothballs. Her new apartment in New York was dirty and old. Why did her parents have to get divorced? Why did her little sister Alison get to stay with her mom and play in the woods while Flora had to move to New York with her dad? Most days, Flora was by herself in the apartment. Her dad would go off to work at his office and try and find the ‘next big story’ while Flora stayed in her bedroom and watched TV. Flora had never been alone when they were one big family living in the same house. Even when her mom and dad were working, she always had Alison. And when Alison didn’t want to play, she went to the woods, where she was surrounded by animals and nature. Now Flora was lucky to see a pot of flower outside someone’s’ window.

              Flora didn’t even understand what her mom and dad had fought about. Even though she was thirteen and plenty old enough to understand if they had told her, all she knew was that day after day after day dishes would fly across the house, her mom would yell and then cry, and her dad would throw a chair against the door. Flora had tried hard to talk to each of them, try and convince them to apologize to each other and make up. When that hadn’t worked, she retreated to the woods. Now if something got her down, she could only retreat to her bedroom. And that didn’t make her feel much better.
              Flora glanced at her clock. It was only five in the morning. She closed her eyes again, and she dreamt about the woods again. This was as close as she would ever get to home.

    • James Hall

      Beginning uses a lot of Flora, Flora, Flora.

      Your topic gave me an idea of what I wanted to write.

      Again came the rustling in the autumn leaves. Two squirrels played, just barely visible in the bottom of the holler. Silence came once again, as squirrel game of chase flowed into the trees. A bird tweeted, and then swooped to the ground. It bounced around a few times, pecking at the ground. In the serene silence, it sounded like a bear crunching the leaves. The bird, once again, took to flight, tweeting away into the sinking sun.

      Quietly, almost imperceptibly, a soft crunch of leaves approaches from the left side of the holler. Crunch, crunch, silence… crunch, crunch, silence. A deer, barely visible through the foliage of the trees, turned his white-speckled head from one direction to the next. A set of crunches followed him as another deer appeared.

      Dalton could no longer hear the crunching of the deer over the force of his breath. Pressure built in his chest as he strained to keep his breath low and shallow. It did little to hold back the tension that coursed through his body. The white and fuzzy hairs of the deer’s front legs cast shadows over the deer’s brown chest. A splendid, beautiful creature. The creature was looking right at him. Maybe it knew he was there, maybe it– BANG.

      The deer flopped to the ground. Dalton stood up from behind his hiding place upon the hill. What a terribly exciting experience! As he, and his father behind him marched down the hill, he continued to look at the deer. What a terrible experience.

  • I have always enjoyed short stories above any other kind.

    If I were to write fiction it would be short stories.

    Of course, I have no idea where to start.

    I look forward to reading your book!

  • Bjhousewriter

    It was Monday morning. The sky was over cased and Amy was looking for more of a day that included sunshine. It was her birthday and anniversary and she just wanted to have a cheerful day.

    She had the day all planned out. She has planned a surprise anniversary party for her husband and invited everyone she could thing of. She was so excited as she had received so many invitation back that those people could come.

    It was almost time to go. The party was going to take place at their favorite restaurant. Tom her husband was going to meet her their as he wat work.

    The guessed arrived and now they were wanting for Tom to get there. An half hour went by. No Tom. Where is he?

    • This could build in a lot of different directions. A mystery, a romance, or a story about Amy overcoming a dependence on Tom. Word choice could use a makeover, but that might be the nature of freewriting and your word processor. Check out “overcast vs. over cased” and “their vs. there vs. they’re” and check tense (present vs. past). Good work.

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  • ShortStory Publisher

    Yes. The reasons you mentioned are valid. However I tend to agree more on fourth reason. Short story writing requires a different skill. Many times, I have seen novel writer could not do justice to short story writing. Short story is a snapshot of the life and therefore every word counts. I have compiled 10 Tips for Short Story Writing with Example that may be a good resource for budding writers.

  • Hey Joe (allusion to Jimi Hendrix unintentional) there is a line in this post that says, “You should write short stories because a writer, and you have stories to tell.”
    I hate to be “that guy” who points it out but in a community of writers I think *someone* should say something… 🙂
    Oh by the way, love the post! I’ve purchased the 15 Days book and the Let’s Write A Short Story book. I have them sitting on my hard drive collecting dust because I’m scared to step out of my comfort zone. But I keep telling myself, “After *this* story I’ll submit the *next* one!” Hopefully this time I can do it.

    • Be that guy, Karl. I’m cool with it. Thanks for pointing it out. 🙂

      You can do it! How can I help motivate you?

      • That comment, right there above this one, the part that says, “You can do it!” is pretty motivational! I’m wrapped up in my current short story but here and now I’m making a promise to you and to myself to get started when I’ve finished it.

        • Good job Karl! New to writing blogs, but a long-time fan of making progress by connecting with others. Karl, you show real courage by reaching out for motivation. You are the type of person that succeeds, believe me!

          • Thanks Salmon! For the kind words and for being delicious.

  • Li

    “Jesus, what a day. Just, can you get me a few logs, or a bottle a Jack, either way, something to keep me warm.” He stood about 6 ft and wore a starched flannel shirt. His voice bubbled above the volleying complaints and a screaming child in the social service room. He pressed his face flat against the plexiglass to privately recount the various ways his wife attempted to kill him; by shovel, axe, and he assumed poison. He wanted to “apply for everything”. He peeled his face back,turned to us, and smiled awkwardly. His nose had obviously been pressed more than his chin.
    She wanted to laugh but her hunger was distracting. Her vow to abstain from eating until she was hired resulted in the loss of 12 pounds. She missed avocados and eggplant the most. It had been 21 days. Almost everyone around her was overweight and slumped, like old moppets, limp and stained. Her thinness made her better than them. And her black wool coat, Columbia, 195.00 from the overstock warehouse gave the impression that she was there on accident or that perhaps something really gruesome, and not at all her fault, had happened. Either way she was not to be confused with the regulars, in fact she was why the system existed.
    He sat beside her despite the array of perfectly vacant seats. She knew he would. In bars she spoke to strippers, drunks, liars, and Bob, who had a love child with Marylyn Monroe and wrote every one of Nixon’s speeches. She knew more about the others than she wanted, before they shared three words. He rearranged his limbs, sighed, coughed pitifully and finally sank into a great snore. She waited a few more earth moving vibrations, then crumpled the blue paper tab stamped 71 and walked home.
    She and William lived together sometimes. Mostly he lived in Boston, she in NY. Four hours by train, 6 by bus, sometimes more, and nearly 1 by plane, though neither had the money for something so convenient. He warmed plates and ground whole seeds and chopped fresh herbs. Her frailness inspired him to create something warm and light on the digestive system. Ginger would give her fever. He settled for for a thin stew of brown lentils with mint, sea salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice ladled into each dish. It wasn’t the way he liked to cook. He recalled her past hunger and added a few more pinches of salt. He frequently turned the kitchen into a sticky spicy mess and left it to ferment. She of course would scour in his absence the bits of burnished onions and braised carrot recalling these were once her favorite parts. Now what she loved most was the feeling of control it gave her to to clean these cold unsavory bits into the sink and down the drain. They had no power over her. She ate out of curiosity. Hunger had become so commonplace that it had little effect on Her appetite.

    “Jesus, what a day. Just, can you get me a few logs, or a bottle a Jack, either way, something to keep me warm.” He stood about 6 ft and wore a starched flannel shirt. His voice bubbled above the volleying complaints and a screaming child in the social service room. He pressed his face flat against the plexiglass to privately recount the various ways his wife attempted to kill him; by shovel, axe, and he assumed poison. He wanted to “apply for everything”. He peeled his face back,turned to us, and smiled awkwardly. His nose had obviously been pressed more than his chin.
    She wanted to laugh but her hunger was distracting. Her vow to abstain from eating until she was hired resulted in the loss of 12 pounds. She missed avocados and eggplant the most. It had been 21 days. Almost everyone around her was overweight and slumped, like old moppets, limp and stained. Her thinness made her better than them. And her black wool coat, Columbia, 195.00 from the overstock warehouse gave the impression that she was there on accident or that perhaps something really gruesome, and not at all her fault, had happened. Either way she was not to be confused with the regulars, in fact she was why the system existed.
    He sat beside her despite the array of perfectly vacant seats. She knew he would. In bars she spoke to strippers, drunks, liars, and Bob, who had a love child with Marylyn Monroe and wrote every one of Nixon’s speeches. She knew more about the others than she wanted, before they shared three words. He rearranged his limbs, sighed, coughed pitifully and finally sank into a great snore. She waited a few more earth moving vibrations, then crumpled the blue paper tab stamped 71 and walked home.
    She and William lived together sometimes. Mostly he lived in Boston, she in NY. Four hours by train, 6 by bus, sometimes more, and nearly 1 by plane, though neither had the money for something so convenient. He warmed plates and ground whole seeds and chopped fresh herbs. Her frailness inspired him to create something warm and light on the digestive system. Ginger would give her fever. He settled for for a thin stew of brown lentils with mint, sea salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice ladled into each dish. It wasn’t the way he liked to cook. He recalled her past hunger and added a few more pinches of salt. He frequently turned the kitchen into a sticky spicy mess and left it to ferment. She of course would scour in his absence the bits of burnished onions and braised carrot recalling these were once her favorite parts. Now what she loved most was the feeling of control it gave her to to clean these cold unsavory bits into the sink and down the drain. They had no power over her. She ate out of curiosity. Hunger had become so commonplace that it had little effect on Her appetite.

    • Li

      No end in sight.

      • Good start though. I liked the balance of details from the past and details in the present describe characters simultaneously as then-and-now.

  • So what if a 15 minute free write attempt quickly becomes a 40 minute short story? Did I break the rules or excel? I thought I remembered from high school that free writing was usually nonsensical. Anywho, without any proofing:

    There were 20 when the day began and now there are only
    eight. It was the mysterious dozen that seemed to escape no matter the security
    measures, which made Maybell shake her wooden spoon and curse into the dust of
    her lonely cottage. She swore her day in the sun would come, as sure as the
    aches in her joints. Maybell turned back towards the kitchen and began work on
    a new plate, suitable to deliver to her neighbors. She softened the butter,
    broke the brown shells of her home farmed eggs and whisked in the sugar until
    the dough glittered, having just the right bit of grit.

    The timer was set, the oven already heated from the first
    batch. Maybell genteelly placed the tray on the rack, closed the oven door and
    went back to the dining room, hoping to catch the perp red handed. But there
    was no one there, and no sound. The plate of cookies sat there, cold as the 60
    year old table it sat on. And the cookies she counted out, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, …
    Six!? She had prepared the batch fresh this morning after the dozen she had
    made last night seemingly vanished into thin air. She was hot now. She could
    feel the effects of work in her bones and the cool swing on her front porch was
    calling her. She lifted her skirt as she crossed over the gnarled thresh-hold
    and she sat, like a queen looking over the row-homes. She smiled. “I’ll get
    those kids one of these days.”

    Taz and Boomer smiled too. They could hear her swinging as we
    crouched beneath the steps of her porch. We were careful to spot the chocolate
    chip smears on each others’ face. The evidence would convict us.

    A moment later Maybell made her way back inside. Taz and
    Boomer, waited a minute, then cautiously stood and made their way to the screen
    door. The door must be consistently oiled by the airborne Crisco from Maybell’s
    kitchen, it was a hundred years old and but as quiet as sifted flour. It was
    Boomer’s turn, he placed his hand on the door, and began to open ….

    “Gotcha!” From out of nowhere Maybell’s wooden spoon erupted
    from with her huge single tooth grinning behind it. She wielded it like a
    machete, and Boomer nearly fell over backward, but Taz, always clever, spoke
    quick.

    “Howd’ Ms. Mayb’l. Couldn’t help but smell somethin’ sweet
    through ya screen door. Yooz cookin’ somtin? By chance ya need couple o’
    tasters?” Then Taz grinned his 8 year old-grin that had rewarded so many
    scandals.

    “You mean you haven’t been tastin’ my cookies yet today?”
    The accusation in her voice was coolly waved off by Taz, it was Boomer whose
    lips were as tight as his eyes were wide. Sweat began beading on his hairline.

    “Nah Ms. Mayb’l. Ma sent us over las’ night. Said ya had
    somethin’ for her, but we got ‘stracted chasing them howlin’ frogs. Sure is
    loud, aint they Ms. Mab’l?” Cue smile.

    Maybell looked coldly at Taz, half hoping to intimidate the
    truth from him, and half smitten by that damned smile. Taz, could see the
    sparkle in her eye, and cleverly held his ground. “I made y’all a plate a my
    chocolate chip cookies.” she stared coldly a moment more, then submitted that she was beat. “Wait here
    and I’ll fetch the plate.”

    Boomer just about fainted with relief when Maybell turned away,
    but Taz just rocked on his heels and his cowlick stood with arrogant confidence
    against a gentle summer breeze. “Yooz goin’ ta ‘ell for yooz lies, Taz.”

    “I dunno. You think them Pearl’ Gates is squeaky?”

    • That’s fine, Salmon. The 15 minute thing is for two reasons: to not overwhelm writers by the size of the task, and to not overwhelm commenters by the size of the reading. This is for you, though. Use it the way that helps the most. 🙂

      • I figured as much, but do you think of freewriting as different from stream of consciousness? Because I get them confused, and I don’t see feedback on stream of consciousness as very useful.

        • I know what you mean. Technically, stream of consciousness is a literary device to show the thoughts of a character. So feedback on stream of consciousness would be helpful because it’s the intended “finished product.” Where as free writing is a technique, somewhat like brainstorming, to get the author’s thoughts down. In that respect, giving feedback on free writing is probably less helpful, except maybe to pick out bits and pieces that are really interesting.

  • I’m not a writer, but when I read this article I found that the stories have a wonderful imagination

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  • Very good informative post that you have shared and thankful your work for sharing the information.

  • I love the strong character development.

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  • justusmarcellus

    “I’m too tired,” he said.

    “Too tired my ass!” his father shot
    back. “Get your lazy butt out of bed and mow the lawn.”

    “Fine,” he snapped. His father
    stared at him coldly then left the room.

    “Asshole,” Michael whispered. His father
    suddenly stopped and turned.

    “All the shit I did to raise you
    right. What the fuck did I do wrong?” He turned away and walked down the hall
    to his room. Michael sat and thought about his father’s words. He wondered
    exactly what he meant. Am I actually that bad of a son? He thought. I’ll mow
    the damn grass; just give me a minute to get ready. Michael began to get angry
    and he stood to go confront his father but he heard his father approaching his
    room from down the hall. Michael approached the door to open it when his father
    suddenly burst into the room wielding a large kitchen knife. Michael was stunned
    by his father’s sudden burst of violence but all he saw was the knife coming at
    him again and again. He finally managed to isolate the blade wielding hand by
    grabbing his father’s wrist. His dad began beating him in the stomach with his
    free hand. Finally, Michael stole the knife from his father and, with his eyes
    shut tight, stabbed him repeatedly in the neck and chest.

    When Michael opened his eyes he was
    shocked to discover that the man he had killed was not his father. The corpse
    that lay before Michael was a complete stranger. Though he was every bit as
    tall as his father, nothing else resembled him and he couldn’t understand why
    he had ever thought this man was his father. Michael slowly walked to the
    bathroom to wash his hands. He placed the knife in the sink. As he washed the
    red off his hands, he noticed a slight ringing in his ear that drowned out the
    sound of the running faucet. “There’s a lot of blood,” he said softly. He wiped
    his hands and left the bathroom. While walking past his father’s room, Michael noticed
    something out of the corner of his eye. He turned back and entered his father’s
    room where he found his dad lying on his bed in a pool of his own blood. Michael
    stood, frozen, and observed the body. His throat was cut from ear to ear. His abdomen
    was sliced open vertically with multiple stab wounds in his chest and face.
    Michael left the bedroom. He walked to the bathroom to retrieve the knife and
    returned to his father’s room. Michael approached the bed and inserted the
    blade above his left hip and slowly pulled it across to his right hip. He fell
    down in agony beside his father. “Oh, the smell,” he said as he died.

    • Elettra

      I was a bit thrown off by the sudden shift in tone from domestic dispute to psycophatic murder. Perhaps this passage could benefit from a bit of a build up from one section to the other.

  • Elettra

    Galloping through the night on a half-horse of a central Asian equine, with gelid winds blowing down the soft nooks of her neck, Tav rued the day she had embarked on her trip to Tajikistan. “Skyler is moving to Dushanbe for a year, and I have to go with him” was how her friend Astrid had broken the news to her that she was heading off into the Asian steppes, perhaps never to be seen or heard from again. “Octavia, please come visit me?” she added, pleading. Corrupt, post-soviet officials who steal American passports for a laugh and a bit of friendly extortion? Sent to a cold stone jail and pried from my fingernails for
    inadvertently stealing the president’s nephew’s sock? Tav thought, no thanks.

    Three months later she was spilling her guts onto the unfriendly floor of a Russian Antonov as the vessel descended into Dushanbe. It was not exactly going as planned, and the plane was bounding up and down on what seemed to Tav to be a bouncy castle in the sky. Turbulence had chased the flight, no doubt intentionally, ever since it took off from Moscow’s Domodedovo airport, and it was not about to let up now. It had to be done, Tav thought, it just had to be done, bouncy castle or not. When had she ever passed up an opportunity to go to the dark places of our day? As far as she knew, a little turbulence and passport theft never got in the way of momentous human experience and pivotal world events. Tumult, gunpowder and dramatic landscapes drew her, stone cold prison cells notwithstanding. What was more, was that she had found the perfect activity for her crash course in central Asia’s essence: a horseback riding trip through the Hindu Kush, maybe with a quick dip into Afghanistan if the guide could be cajoled. There was certainly no harm in asking, Tav thought.

  • “It was the usual hectic day in my office. Reading loads of stories just to see are they worth publishing, editing them and sending to the board. You got that right, I worked in a magazines publishing department. My dream was to become the editor-in-chief of this magazine. For achieving it, I had extraordinary amount of work to do.
    Around 6 p.m at evening, I got up from my desk and got on my way back to home. That was a thing I didn’t particularly look forward to, in fact there wasn’t anything to look forward to. I hated being alone, and in my house I had to be alone. My mother was herself a busy woman. She teaches at the morning and at the evening she has some tuitions, and her heart was unusually wea. She got so tired by her work that after coming back home, she does nothing but sleep. I hated being alone, but that I was doomed to be. Ever since the day my father died. We both had become work sheeps. The power of that man sometimes amazes me, now that I look back in my life. He used to have 10 hours job, but whenever he returned home. He always had his cheery and fresh attitude. He even managed to take us outside every now and then.
    The day he died, I had been brought to face this life. The soft shadow he had casted upon us, was now gone. We were exposed to the brightness of sun, to bear it alone. ”
    Ahhh thats a crappy paragraph I managed in 15 minutes. 🙁
    But I equally enjoyed the experience. I think I will do this exercise every now and then.

  • Aliquan Ulysse

    well I was wondering that how we make a short story because I don’t understand it. But I like the ending and the beginning.

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  • david

    Havercamp looked up from his breakfast and looked straight down the barrel of a gun. He had been in this situation 5 times this month. Gert had begged him go into hiding or at least take his name out of the phone directory but If the truth was known Havercamp had come to tolerate if not enjoy the regular interruptions to his life. He had even taken to leaving his front door unlocked. Some still appreciated a challenge and came in via the back door or even scaled the three storey house to come in via the sky light. Perhaps some saw the open door as insult to their craft.

    This particular morning Havercamp had not heard the intruder come in. Sometimes a breaking of glass announced an arrival but if the assailant was particularly skilled the first he would know of their presence would be a hooded figure in front of his breakfast table.
    He couldn’t quite work out if todays villain was male or female. He liked to keep count. He offered them coffee – he always liked seeing the reaction. Sometimes they accepted but others saw it as another affront to their trade. The latest gun for hire knocked the coffee pot to the floor and spat on the accompanying croissant. Havercamp sighed, stood up and led the way to the master bedroom. The gun-person paused for a second and then followed. In the bedroom plastic sheeting had already been laid over the parquet flooring and Havercamp was relieved to see that his housekeeper had removed the sheets from the bed. He knelt on the floor and removed his toupee revealing a circular target tattooed in blue, red and white. The uninvited guest shrugged, pulled the trigger and left via the open sky light.

    • Emilie Guillet

      Your story makes the reader want to know why Havercamp is being targeted by assassins.
      Why did the other assassins not succeed? It does make it somewhat comical that he is faced with yet another assassin, but there should be a reason for their failure. Does he fight back? Or perhaps, it could be changed : he has not been faced with other assassins, but he has imagined how they might come in or how he might react.
      Anyway, I enjoyed reading your story, it made me smile and I was impressed that you managed to construct a closed little piece like this.
      Thank you for sharing.

      • B

        hee-hee! What a waste of a good pot of a coffee and croissant! I like that Havercamp. Wanted to read more…

  • You-know-who

    (A short fiction… I need some practice, but let me know how was it. Thank you for the feedback. Good or bad, I’ll greatly appreciate it :)) Happy writing everyone! x)

    “Audrey, I’m taking you tomorrow to the doctor. You’re
    depress.”

    “Mom, stop. I-am-not-de-press. How can you say that?”

    Me and my mom doesn’t talk that much, not until tonight. We’re
    having Pop Eyes mild chicken… again. Which I’m sick of, I just can’t tell her,
    because I can’t even cook and she doesn’t have time to cook, since she’s so
    busy with work. Trust me, I tried cooking, not my forte.

    “The letters.” She is in the kitchen sink washing dishes and
    I, at the dining table holding my dinner knife and fork, not even touching the
    food. I accidentally drop my fork to the floor when she mentioned about the
    letters.

    “Mom, you can’t do that!” I hear the rushing of water from
    the faucet and silence of the night, only the cricket’s sound outside. She went
    out the kitchen and stood at the edge of the table in front of me. She’s
    wearing her floral apron and slightly wipe her hands on it.

    “Aud…”

    “Mom, you can’t touch my stuffs!” I lost appetite and went
    upstairs to my room. I have this little box on my bedside table where you can
    see all my letters. It’s actually a journal or diary, but I put it in an
    envelope with a sign saying “open when…” (You are bored, happy, depress, you
    are feeling alone, etc.), to remind myself about the feelings I possess for the
    last ten months since dad died. It helps me a lot to feel better. It’s like
    someone is talking to me, even though I wrote everything myself.

    My father is a businessman and after the company fell apart,
    there’s no choice, but to shut down everything. The staffs lost their job, so
    is my dad’s position. It was hard to find work, so he tried working in a factory.
    Every day, I can hear him and my mom argue from downstairs. The next day, I can
    see how a mess our house was. Broken vases, dirty piled dishes in the sink, bottle
    of empty beers, messy clothes everywhere. Our life has been a mess after dad
    lost his company’s job. My mom complained about the month’s mortgage and bills,
    because their salary isn’t enough to cover the expenses.

    Ten months ago, the worst event happened in my life. I heard
    noises from downstairs. It was almost three in the morning. My mom was sitting
    on the floor, as people were trying to talk to her. It was the police. I stood
    on the stairs listening to what had happened. My dad’s car crashed from a
    bridge while driving. He was drunk. My mom stuttered, whimpered, shaking, and
    calling my dad’s name as the hospital announced his death over the phone.

    I wanted to hug her, but I can feel the sting too. I wanted
    to cry, but there’s no tears coming out of my eyes. I can’t breathe. I was
    suffocated. I was alone. I locked myself in a few months, we moved to a smaller
    house and school, I don’t have friends anymore.

    At the end of my letters, a piece of white paper was folded.
    My mom wrote it, I can tell from her penmanship. It looks calligraphic and
    neat. It was pretty long. In that letter, she told me I was never alone. That
    every day, she’s also trying to survive, because I am her only strength. She
    was sorry for me and half blaming herself for what had happened. She doesn’t want
    to lose me.

    After reading everything, I cried. A lot. I’ve been trying
    to keep my emotions, but I didn’t realize this is all I need. A good cry. I was
    crawling into my bed, hugging myself like a fetus. I’ve been selfish, and a bad
    daughter. I never cared for my mom a very long time. I miss her. I love her. So
    much.

    I went downstairs quietly and found my mom drinking wine
    with her apron still on. It’s been a long time. Her wrinkles are starting to
    appear, which I didn’t notice before. The bags under her eyes are visible and
    her eyes are swollen from crying. I have never seen my mom cry after the
    incident. She suddenly wiped her tears when she saw me. She is a strong woman.
    She has always been.

    I came closer and hugged her tight. I can feel the warmth as
    she hugged me too. There are no words. Only silence and emptiness of the night.
    But in that moment, we are both complete and I know, this is a new beginning
    for the both of us.

  • Fernanda Arguello

    I have that typewriter!!!!

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  • Julie

    Interesting that you say novel writing is harder than short stories. For me it is the other way round. I have big ideas covering longer periods with more characters, and I struggle to think of contained, small scale stories. I don’t know how to get past this, even having read all the advice including your book!

  • Winfred

    Stepping into the line that snaked through the backstage and
    then along the back and side wall down on the floor of Coleman Coliseum, she
    felt a lot of things. But nothing that resembled peace. For over half an hour,
    she had been sitting in her seat. There she had hid her seething rage behind
    perfectly lined lips, pretending to pay attention as name after name was called
    in a seemingly endless procession of graduates across the state.

    Atop her head sat the final indignity, burning into her scalp a lesson she intended to share with the rest of her crowd as soon as the public pomp and circumstance allowed
    her a private moment with them. Today’s battle with Ninny Chrissy, her
    grandmother, centered on the little square measuring one foot by one foot bobby
    pinned to her head. There it sat, mocking the effort and expense she had
    invested in getting a brand new human head of hair woven the Wednesday before
    the ceremony. Sure enough, that graduation cap had turned into a real “conversation
    starter” among the other grads.

    After all, any honest person who saw it had to say something. It simply refused to be
    ignored. To her shock, however, the majority of the comments were not derisive
    and mocking. Quite the contrary, she could tell by the looks on their faces and
    in their eyes that people seemed to genuinely like it, even admire it.
    By the time the line had made it backstage, folks were gathering by her side to
    have their pictures taken not so much with her but with her grad cap. Against
    her own will, her heart began to ever so slightly soften toward it, and open to
    the reality that Mama Nell probably had spent a long time on it. Her love for
    her great-grandmother, who had not been able to make it to the ceremony, began
    to overshine the resentment she had felt toward wearing something so very not her.

    Red and white poms poms, each one the size of Ta’quila’s little
    palm, had been craftily affixed to it. Peering into the trunk of Ninny’s long
    pearly white Cadillac as her Ninny Chrissy pulled away the red and white tissue
    paper carefully protecting its treasure, Ta’quilla’s eyes had grown large.

    “I ain’t wearing that,” Ta’quilla spit out emphatically. “So you
    can just go on and leave it right there, Ninny. You can just take that mess
    right back to Birmingham.”

    Slowly, dangerously, her Ninny had turned around, straightening
    up every inch of her four foot nine inch height, drilling her eyes into her
    grand-daughter from underneath a hat with a brim almost as wide as she was
    tall. “Who.do.you.think.you.are, Ta’Quilla Rochelle Dorsey? Telling me ‘I ain’t wearing that,” she spit in a
    mocking tone, daring Ta’quilla to talk back.

    “So you think you come to Tuscaloosa, get you a degree, livin’
    the high life on my dime, thinkin there ain’t no need to remember who you is
    and where you come from, and now because of some fool piece of paper some white
    lady going hand you tonight, one that I
    bought you, lest you forget, you can do and say whatever you want? Tacky, we didn’t
    work and scrimp and save for you to come get uppity on your own folk. No ma’am.
    You will wear what I tell you to wear. More than that, you will sit your sassy
    tail down and and you write Mama Nell a thank you note before the end of the
    day, promising her a picture soon as you can get it print and sent. That is
    what you will do.”

    The Making of the Mortarboard

    After J.J., Ta’quilla’s cousin, had graduated from high school
    last spring, Mama Nell had gushed over all the glittery grad caps for the whole
    summer. Since she had been in a rare funk since her youngest brother Melvin had
    unexpectedly died that winter (at 97), the family encouraged her to make one
    for Tacky. “After all, Mama, it’s less than a year since she graduated. And who
    knows what with her studying that marketing and public relations – your
    original creation might be the Next Big Thing!”

    Mama Nell took to the project like ants to a picnic. Her
    solitary, sullen mourning for Uncle Mell had clearly entered the “anger” stage
    of grief, however, and what had started out as a happy diversion quickly
    morphed into nothing but pure trouble for all around her. Every stage of the
    project seemed a fresh opportunity for her to vent about the world headed
    straight to hell.

    It started in July when she asked J.J. what he had done with
    his, and got him to dig it out of the big pile of junk in his room he had
    thrown to the side when packing for college. Looking around his room with
    wide-eyed horror at the rap posters and general mess, he got a headful of
    lecture about The State of the World Today.

    In August, Auntie Christine tried to get Mama Nell to agree to
    let her order the materials online, but Mama Nell had read an article in one of
    her church magazines about terrorists using computers to tear down the country.
    So Auntie Christine and anyone visiting for the next few weeks heard about the
    Horrors of Technology, according to the Bible no less. Sometimes she veered
    back into the July rant about the State of the World Today.

    Uncle Freon (don’t ask) ventured the real reason Mama Nell hated
    computers so much was she knew she couldn’t find the power switch if her life
    depended on it. Mama Nell was generally sweeter than molasses, but hated to get
    shown up by anything or anyone. It hadn’t helped that Auntie Christine had been
    a little sassy in pointing out that Lee Wards’ had “been closed since way
    before the new millennium” when she offered to order craft supplies off of the
    internet. That didn’t go over well. At all.

    Only Shaya promising to share her employee discount at Michael’s
    got Mama Nell moving again. Suddenly she was a coupon clipping, shopping maniac.
    Aunt Christine, the only one with a car and time during a weekday to drive was
    suddenly out of the doghouse and on chauffeur duty, loading up on supplies. By
    then, Auntie Christine was already regretting ever taking her mama to J.J.’s
    graduation and thus getting her all inspired for this fool project.

    All this to say, by Ta’Quilla’s graduation day, the entire
    family had bound and determined that Tacky was going to enjoy that pom pom art
    if it killed her. In fact, Auntie Christine offered to go ahead and wring
    Tacky’s skinny neck herself if she acted anything less than thrilled. And since
    Mama Nell couldn’t come herself after breaking her hip in February, it was up
    to Ninny Chrissy to make present the gift. Given Auntie Christine’s death
    threat, Ta’quilla got off pretty light with Ninny Chrissie’s blessing out.

  • cutiepie

    they was a litle girl her name is ruby . ruby was such a sweet baby she had very loving parents and an older brother name thomas . they live very well . they enjoy they family.
    as the kids grew up they were very happy .

  • Emilie Guillet

    I never thought I would be sitting behind my computer screen at work writing away like I was being paid to do just that. It’s the detachment of the final hours. I am days away from walking out the door of this building for the last time. Once more, I am turning my back with little care for what I leave behind. Saying goodbye to places and friends has always been a part of me. I get the itch to move on every couple years or so. It’s the result of having grown up in a semi-nomadic family. Always on the run, always looking for that greener grass, always seeking anonymity.

    That’s what I enjoyed the most when I first moved to the city. I loved staring out from the mountaintop and watching the city lights grow brighter as the sky dimmed. I would spend those minutes imagining all the souls rushing home, getting ready for a party, reading in the metro and I would feel content knowing that none of them were thinking of me. None of them knew me.

    The itch to leave the city tingled four years ago, but I have stayed and now the anonymity is gone. On solitary, cold winter walks, I can still achieve that feeling of complete freedom, but then, I may bump into a friend or be tempted to walk into a familiar store and it will be gone instantly. Anonymity is freedom. If you have never moved, never been somewhere where no one knows you, you cannot imagine the trepidation of the possible lives you could live.

    • evie

      Nice piece Emilie!

  • Chris Kok

    ‘Just go with it. Don’t think. Just do it.’
    All that seemed easy for Raoul to say. He wasn’t the one standing on the rusty railing of a bridge, struggling to keep his footing, while at the same time trying to find the guts to step off. He wasn’t the one with an elastic rope tied around his ankles. He wasn’t the one whose skull would travel the length of his body and exit out of the tips of his toes, should the rope prove even the slightest bit too long.
    Another gust of wind, coming close to making the decision for me. Fucking wind.
    ‘I’ve done this a million times, it’s totally safe. You’re gonna be fine, James. I swear.’
    Swear. Right. Swear on who? On what? God? Raoul wasn’t religious. He’d told me so on the ride over here. His mother? Right. His parents had long ago severed ties with him due to his – as he put it – flagrant displays of homosexuality. He didn’t have any kids. Even if his swearing had meant a damned thing to me, the only thing I would be able to do by way of vengeance, would be to haunt him.
    Who in his right mind would trust a man who’d done this a million times, anyway? That was just insane. My right hand, soaked in sweat, renewed its slippery grip on the bridge post.
    “I think I might be having second thoughts about all this, Raoul.”
    “That’s totally normal, James. Don’t give in to it. Just jump. You’ll love it.”
    What do you know about what I love? I love coffee with a cigarette. I love Friends. I love having my skull nestled behind my face, rather than sticking out from under my toenails.
    Raoul sighs. He exaggerates it. There are other people waiting. They are whispering among themselves. I faintly hear the word ‘coward’. It’s time for me to shit, or get off the pot.
    ‘Okay, I’ll do it. I’m going to do it. I’m going to jump.’
    ‘Good man.’
    I let go of the post, and balance on the railing. I close my eyes.
    I shit my pants.
    It happens quietly. I am so preoccupied, and it happens so quickly, I don’t notice until it’s all out. It’s warm and heavy in my underpants. I feel it trickling down my leg. Soon, the smell hits me. It hits Raoul. It hits the others. Their hands rise to cover their noses and mouths.
    Suddenly, the thought of dying down there doesn’t seem so bad.
    I take a step forward, into nothingness, and fall.

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  • John Pitt

    As the night approaches the lover gets lost in the stillness of the time. Gazing out into the sky wondering wishing praying. No voice, no sound. just a whimper from the sound of a heart breaking. The loneliness of the night falls upon him. His pillow becomes moist from the tears he sheds for the love of his life. One that has made him feel a love once lost , but now stronger then ever in his life. He dives deep into his mind to fine a thought a picture a touch a feel that is missed. He sheds tears for a love he doesn’t see but only feels.
    He prays day in and day out. But not knowing, the mystery, the thoughts. He becomes confused he rides the rollercoaster of the night and becomes tired from the stresses of the thoughts. Not knowing where things will be or what’s to come. But still in all the fury and the noise of society he dreams and thinks and knows of only one thing. He loves her more then life itself. As he waits he becomes more saddened n wonders when life will give him a chance once again.
    For he loves only one the one he awaits and that one he dreams of in hope will be with him forever. It is hope that will get him through until the time is right.