Divorced. After 30 Years.

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By Captain 575

First love. High school sweethearts. The whole bit. Sometimes joked they shared a brain: Even bought each other the same Christmas gift—three times! One year it was tennis rackets. Ha! That was a laugh. They were still having sex then. Then it was iPads, which were cool. But! She left hers at the beach, he lost his charging cord thingy. Didn’t bother looking for it. Last year it was a book. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.

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The Coast

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By Adam Farrer

On the day my family moved to the Yorkshire coast, my mother and I took a walk along the cliffs and spotted a woman standing on the edge, staring out to sea, gripping the handles of an empty wheelchair. We laughed about it together, at the notion of her having tipped someone into the water.

Three days later, we learned that an old man had been found washed up on the beach, naked but for a single sock on his left foot. We never reported what we’d seen. New in town, we didn’t want to ruffle any feathers.

 

What Exactly Is Drabble?

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By The Drabble

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 requiring 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 100 Word Story, thinks so. In his 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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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 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.

It Ain’t Easy Being Me

Todd4By Todd!!!

It’s frankly appalling the lengths people go to worship me. Every day someone crams coupons and credit card offers in my mailbox. While I appreciate their generosity, I feel so violated that I never leave my house without wearing a disguise (usually a Mexican wrestling mask).

Then, one day at the MacDonalds drive-thru I’m having a seemingly normal conversation with a giant clown face when he offers to “supersize my fries” for just 39 cents. I suddenly realize that this is no ordinary giant talking clown head, but rather one of my fans offering sexual favors in secret code.

Trepidation

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When I was eleven I finally dove off the highdive. Well, okay, not dove – jumped. I wasn’t brave enough to dive. The mechanics of going headlong into the abyss confounded me.

I avoided the highdive for six summers before mustering the gumption to climb that ladder. It was a trembling ascent, and the trepidation followed me to the edge of the board, where I stood—teeth chattering—unwilling to chance a glance down. I looked back. A line of kids waited anxiously at my back. Finally, I held my breath, closed my eyes, and jumped.

How Can I Become the Life of the Party?

13218-a-young-businessman-in-a-suit-isolated-on-a-white-background-pvBy Todd!!!

Well, it’s not easy. Not everyone can pull it off, because there can be only one life of the party and that happens to be me. I can, however, offer you a few pointers.

People are naturally drawn to those of us who, like me, are interesting and attractive. So, the secret:  Become more interesting and attractive. This can be easily accomplished by wearing a lampshade on your head.

[Note: This is Top Secret info, so once you’ve read and memorized it, please make sure to destroy your computer in a vat of acid.]

You’re welcome,

-Todd!!!

The White Cat

catBy HS Quarmby

Huge photos of her wedding day still hung on her wall, she was now divorced. The brilliant white of her dress the same white of her cat, now her only companion. The poor creature was overly pampered, overly loved and only allowed out on a lead. So we saw her, for hours every day, wondering the streets, walking the cat. Occasionally she talked on the telephone, sometimes smoked a cigarette, as the cat meandered around her feet. And then it died, as cats do, so her parents came to take her away, she couldn’t cope anymore.