Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Succinctly Yours #153: Lost Soles

Thank you to Grandma's Goulash for hosting Succinctly Yours! Each week, Grandma provides a photo as inspiration for the challenge to write a story of 140 words or 140 characters. Mine this week has 139 characters, and the bonus word was xylophone.

The evil Anti-Shoeites danced to the xylophone in bare feet beneath their sacrifice. The waiting wingtips and chattering stilettos knew their steps were numbered. 

Those awful Anti-Shoeites! Though…not to be high strung or anything, but I leaned toward Anti-Shoeism myself when I wrote this on Sunday after dancing in some cute (I think, anyway), lace-up heels the night before. By the end of the night I wanted to string them up by the laces. It would have been self-defense, though, since they were killing me.

Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes ~Proverb usually attributed to Cherokee tribe

Monday, February 17, 2014

Succinctly Yours #152: Gotcha

Many thanks to Grandma's Goulash for hosting Succinctly Yours, a meme in which participants are offered a photo as inspiration for microfiction of 140 words or characters. Mine has 134 characters. This week's bonus word was "jabber."

Dr. Frankenstein knew people would jabber about the adorable little girl he had made. Still, he didn’t have to worry about the townspeople running away in fear.
My offering this week was a little lame, so I've included a quote I've loved since I saw it posted on a classroom door:

People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous of you. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For, you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It never was between you and them, anyway. ~Version of a quote usually attributed to Mother Teresa 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Succinctly Yours #151...Posted Succinctly This Time!

Many thanks to Grandma’s Goulash for hosting Succinctly Yours, a meme in which a picture is offered to inspire a story of 140 words or 140 characters. The bonus word this week is “zeal.” Mine has 134 characters. Happy Valentine's Day!

 Hoping to be chosen as next season’s star of “The Bachelor,” Cuddles tried to strike a nonchalant pose for the headshot. It was his outfit that gave away his zeal. 

Dwight:  What’s a girl like you doing in a place like this?
Isabel: A girl like me is why a guy like you comes to a place like this.
~The Office

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Short Cuts and Succinctly Yours Catch Ups

There’s no excuse for my being late with everything other than the fact that I’ve been working on—what else? Microfiction. 

It’s amazing to me, the tricks I’ve seen students go through in order to get their word counts UP. Two inch margins, abnormally gigantic handwriting, etc. One wily teen even cut the bottom off his paper. 

And now here I’ve been struggling to get my count down. I’ve hit “Tools>Word Count” so many times, it seems to have become one motion. That working and shaping, weighing each word until the piece is down to a magic number is an exercise that takes more discipline than most diets I’ve been on.  

But in the end, when prose stands there looking lean and mean, I feel like a winner on "The Biggest Loser." And best of all is rearranging and finding the piece magically under the word limit. It’s never more clear what a luxury words are.

Here to give me plenty of practice in the endeavor is Grandma’s Goulash, where we are encouraged to use the photo as inspiration for a story of 140 characters or 140 words.
The first is from two weeks ago and the second, from last week. I hope Grandma or someone else will tell me if I’m breaking rules by posting so late. The bonus word in the first was “widget,” and in the second, “fragrant.”

Week 149:

Though Twiggy was grounded, she wasn’t one to put down roots. While everyone else in the forest was happy swaying softly, Twiggy wanted to chase widgets and dance. (139 characters.)

Week 150:
On a fragrant spring morning, Princess Anne happily signed the wedding register. She knew the witch had given James an extra arm, but she always liked her men hand-y. (138)
(I know this must be a famous illustration because I've seen it before. But I can never shake the impression that the guy with the red cape has his hands laced on his stomach and a third protruding from his cape. Must just be me.)

What lasts in the reader’s mind is not the phrase but the effect the phrase created:  laughter, tears, pain, joy.  If the phrase is not affecting the reader, what’s it doing there?  Make it do its job or cut it without mercy or remorse.  ~Isaac Asimov