I Want to be a Crayon Today

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By czvasser

I want to be a crayon today
an instrument of imagination
intermediary to ideas
incendiary to action

A familiar of the hand
the color of thought
iridescent when I want to be
waxy smooth

I want to be hugged
by cinnabars and ceruleans
blended on rag
with indigo and heliotrope
always firm
except when radiated
easily sharpened
a shaving of once was

Proud scribble of sunday
the purple of saturday
melting all over you
I want to be a crayon today

This Lady Has Lost Her Way

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editors pick

By Robert Krenzel

This Lady has lost her way.

She is an immigrant: a French girl, originally.

She welcomed others, lighting the way to a better life.

She watched, twice, with pride as the boys sailed off to rescue her homeland. She counted them back; too many never returned.

She wept as she watched the towers burn and fall. They were immigrants, like her. How could they?

She grew angry and suspicious.

Lately she has lost her way. The light has gone dark. She no longer welcomes the wretched refuse.

Only for a time. Maybe just for a few years. Maybe just four.

     
Bio:
Bob Krenzel writes historical fiction in his spare time. A 24-year Army veteran, he served in the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Dear Me

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editors pick

By Anonymous

You will fall in love with words and writing, and in the process, you’ll hear this a lot: “Don’t write like a victim.”

Don’t listen! Don’t let anyone else tell you how to express your truth.

Someday soon you will come to realize the Universe is arbitrary. Things will happen that are outside of your control, and some of those things will be painful. Yet, somehow you will make it through, I promise.

I’ve written this because I love you, and I don’t want you to ever forget that.

Love,

Your future self

Writing advice

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By Jamie Thunder

editors pickWrite about what you know, they said. But when she wrote about the hollow pull of loneliness and the fear she felt when walking alone they said no, no that is self-indulgent, and unfair on the many men who do nothing to warrant fear, even late at night when the bulbs in the streetlights are broken and the shadows run across the pavement like foxes. So she wrote about dragons and magic instead, and they praised her humor, her lyricism, and her vivid imagination.

What Exactly Is Drabble?

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By The Drabble

A poem? Story? Brain vomit? Snapshot? A representation of a thought, idea, feeling or emotion? An entry point for thought or feeling? Drabble can be all those things. Drabble is a form, not a formula.

Just as a haiku or sonnet has rules, so too does drabble. Words – 100 or fewer. Drabble is a form that requires concision.

You may wonder if it’s even possible to write a good story in fewer than 100 words? We say yes, although it’s certainly not easy. Most modern narrative art adheres in some way to Shakespeare’s three-act structure (i.e., conflict, rising action/crisis, resolution;); whilst presenting a clear theme.

Must all these elements be present to tell a good story? Grant Faulkner, co-founder of the on-line lit mag 100 Word Story, thinks so. In his Brevity essay, “Writing with Gaps,” Faulkner says,

“I think the best 100-word stories move with the escalation any story has. They have a beginning, middle, and end—a telling pivot, an emotional velocity.”

While the old writing workshop trope, “What’s at stake?” is still germane; with drabble, the stakes needn’t always be presented upfront, but the subtext should be clear. To illustrate, we offer two examples of drabble done well by two great writers.

Example 1 – Lydia Davis
Look at what Davis pulls off in just 37 words in her story, “Contingency (vs. Necessity) 2: On Vacation.” (From her book, Can’t And Won’t: Stories)

He could be my husband. But he is not my husband. He is her husband. And so he takes her picture (not mine) as she stands in her flowered beach outfit in front of the old fortress.

This is a story about the timeless themes of unrequited love and regret. In this case, it’s about a woman who regrets missing her chance to marry the man she now covets. Conflict: a woman covets another’s husband.

The rising action takes place in the narrator’s mind – the woman watches a scene that touches a nerve and stirs the inner conflict. Although Davis doesn’t offer an obvious resolution, she gives us just enough information to formulate one of our own.

Example 2 – Hemingway

Back to the iceberg, Hemingway wrote,

“If a writer knows enough about what he is writing, he may omit things that he knows, and the reader … will feel those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water.”

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An anecdote: As legend* has it, while imbibing with some writing buddies, Hemingway boasted that he could write an entire story in six words. He then wrote these infamous six words on a napkin:

For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.

In writing workshops we’re often told to avoid using clichés, which is good advice, but with drabble, they can sometimes be used to paint a fuller picture in fewer words. This would be an example of a writer exploiting a cliché (in this case, the ubiquitous vernacular of the classified ad). Here, Hemingway seems also to be heeding his own advice, that is, showing only the top one-eighth of the story, while leaving the remaining seven-eighths below water to be conjured. In six short words he manages to paint a vivid picture of hope, loss, grief, and acceptance.

Does Hemingway’s story have a beginning, middle, end, a telling pivot, and an emotional velocity? No, not explicitly. Here he gives us only a tiny glimpse — a snap shot — but it’s all the pretext we need to fill in the rest of the story (i.e., sense, feelings, fear, thoughts, subconscious, etc.).

*See Snopes re: the veracity of this legend.

Q&A

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By Nick Dunster

editors pick“Why’s the sky blue?” the little boy asks his father.

“Not actually too sure,” his father replies.

“And how long would it take to swim to the bottom of the ocean?”

“Hard to say,” his father says, rubbing his cheek.

“Is there an edge to the universe?”

“Well, you know, there might be.  There’s an edge to most things.”

“So what’s on the other side?”

“Ah, you’ve got me there,” his father says, smiling.

“Do you mind me asking you all these questions?” the boy asks.

“Not at all,” the father replies.  “How else are you going to learn anything?”