By Sandra Arnold
It’s time to face the truth. Your story is abysmal. It’s trite. Overblown. It’s full of mixed metaphors and sloppy syntax. The characters are one-dimensional. The plot’s missing. There’s no beginning. No middle. No proper ending. Who on earth would publish it? It will never win awards. Bookshops won’t stock it. The critics will crucify you. They will say it reveals a lot about the kind of person you are. Take our advice and burn it. Think of the pain you’ll be spared. No need to thank us. This is the whole point of our Writers’ Support Group. Who’s next?
Sandra Arnold is a Pushcart Prize and Best Small Fictions nominee. Her third novel, Ash, will be published by Mākaro Press (NZ) in 2019.
By Ali Grimshaw
They call me adult.
I have learned to apologize, drive a car
mastered spell check to avoid embarrassment.
Yet my days of fevered creation
and re-imagining myself, remain inadequate.
Knowing I know less with each ring of curiosity around my trunk.
Like paint peeling off an old house I am more than one color.
I live as a revolving door to exit and enter,
each time with a different view.
Growing up I believed adults lived in sureness.
Shocked disappointment crashed down
when the truth broke through
with no answers in its hands for me.
Why didn’t mom tell me?
By D.A. Donaldson
“It’s called The Drabble,” she said. “One hundred-word limit.”
He sneered, “And you call that being published?”
“It’s something. It’s a start. It’s better than your Letters to the Editor.”
“At least people read those!”
“Do they? When’s the last time you heard from a reader?”
“Gimme a break,” he swigged his beer, “I don’t see any book deals coming out of your online dribbles.”
“Drabbles,” she corrected. “And my last post got 147 likes. At least I know that someone is reading and enjoying what I write. And you know what else? You just inspired my next submission!”
As usual, my back is to the restaurant’s kitchen door, a lone diner always parked in some out-of-the-way location as though I might, if seated amongst them, infect the other patrons with the “friendless” virus. Yet, as I glance across the thick-carpeted room I’m sad for the couple, long married, who no longer speak, for the parents attempting to rein in a disruptive child or get a sullen teen to eat. I celebrate young lovers and blindly happy newlyweds. No, I do not dine alone. Life’s comedy and drama unfolds before me, and I am content.
By Benjamin Davis
Once upon a time a man named Ingvar sold his soul.
When his debt came due he asked the devil if he could buy back his soul.
The Devil said, “for 1,000,000 years of labor.”
Ingvar asked if he could transfer the debt.
The Devil said, “only to willing souls.”
And so IKEA was born.
By David Cook
“Where the hell have you been?” she yelled. “You walked out of that door months ago and I haven’t seen you since. No one has! You could have been dead in a ditch for all I knew. And now you waltz back in here and expect me to take you back like nothing’s happened? Is that what you think? I’ve been going out of my mind with worry!”
“Meow,” he replied, and rubbed himself against her ankles.
David Cook’s stories have appeared in the National Flash Fiction Anthology, Spelk, Ghost Parachute and more.
By Minyoung Lee
In fifth grade, I wrote you a letter. I wrote my friend had a crush on you, which was true. I didn’t write I had a crush on you, too.
Your friends bullied my friend for a year. She cried all the time. She knew someone told you about her crush. I don’t think she knew it was me.
But that’s what you get for sharing your feelings.
I don’t remember what you looked like. I hope you were cute. I saw on Facebook my friend got married. Her husband looked hot.
If only I could remember your name.