Category Archives: short story

Not A Short Story

I wrote a short story. Except it is about 35 thousand words. I have no title for it. Well, actually, I have a working title that is really quite terrible. But aside from the working title that doesn’t really work, I am not sure what to do with it. It started as a short story, and now it is just an awkward length.

Also, this might be a good time to mention that it is rather terrible. Again, I am not a creative writer. But for some reason I keep creating things, kind of like all of my art projects gone wrong. Ceramics kept too long in the kiln, scarves knitted unevenly, and numerous pieces of jewelry that best remain hidden.

I briefly toyed with the idea of posting it piecemeal on this blog. One chapter a night sort of thing. But really, I don’t think you understand just how horrid this thing is. I mean, my competition would be Stephanie Meyer. And I would lose.

I know the answer would be to just bury it in the depth of my hard drive and forget it exists. Or even to delete it. But for some reason I can’t bring myself to do that. I spent too many hours on it and compulsively feel it needs to serve some sort of purpose.

So… Sean… I am sorry, but you will have to be the recipient of this dreadful thing. Your reading it will fulfill its purpose, and then, if you don’t happen to gauge your eyes out, we can have tea and discuss.

Map Making

A few weeks ago I wrote a short story. My friend sent me a link to a short story contest. At first I disregarded her email. I am not a creative writer. The contest called for a short story in 100 words or less. If you have never done that before, this kind of economy of words is extremely difficult. I was bored one evening and played around with the idea. It didn’t work, so I decided to just forget it. Then a few days later an image I play with often came to me in a different way, and I wrote it down. In its entirety it was well over 100 words, but I liked the idea so I started editing it down. I sent it in. I didn’t post it here because the contest strictly prohibited it. The contest just closed. The winners haven’t been announced, but I have absolutely no doubt that I didn’t win, so I see no reason not to post it now.

Instead of a short story I wrote a vignette. In exactly a hundred words, an image.

My index finger like a compass guides my hands, mapping his anatomy from memory as I rebuild it in my head, each night outlining a perfect form, retracing it until I have no prints left.
Compass points of teeth and nails, pinching skin, feverishly taunting unforgotten topography. The slight valley of his throat, descending latitude into his collar bone of smooth slate. A warm contour line of shoulders, ascending for soft alidades to trace.


An indelible snapshot of surface area prompting me to write him in the predawn hours. Then wash away the legend with tears and continue my cartography.
I titled it “True North.”

A Short Story

My friend sent me a link to a short story contest. Since I don’t have enough to do, I thought it would be fun to enter. The contest is simple enough, write a short story. However, the story has to be 100 words or less. I didn’t realize how difficult that would be until I tried doing it.

At first I wanted to get a very brief beginning middle and end of some kind. But for me, storytelling is in the details, and this format did not allow for that. So I wrote a vignette of sorts. It is not a story, hardly any plot, but rather a glimpse.

I can’t post it here since that would disqualify me from the contest, even though I don’t think they would ever find out. The contest will be over in a few weeks, and since I don’t expect to win I will be able to post it then.

In the meantime, here are some comments Sean made after he read it:

“you’re dealing with really strong, concrete sensory details.”

He also suggested I give him ” an action that’s become a tableau vivant perceived through the narrow aperture of memory.”

I edited it a few times, and I think I intensified the moment, but the word constraint makes it difficult to delve into too much detail. I am not allotted the use of enough adjectives unless the entire (very short) piece is nothing more than a string of adjectives laced together to (re)create the moment. I actually kind of think that would be an interesting experiment with words, but for now I will simply experiment with word economy.