Sometimes, believe it or not, I write short stuff. I don’t know if I’m very good at it but I like the exercise of rounding out a story in 300 words or so. While I’m doing it, I enjoy the constraints. I sort of think of it like writing inside a snow globe. The sky is low and artificially blue but the world under it will be precise and as ornate as I like. When the world is too big for me, I happily settle into a substitute microcosm.
I have a sense that someone could tell me all about why my microcosm thinking is wrong but I’ll tell you why it feels right. Somethings– a lot of things– are unwieldy. If I can’t figure out how to juggle a story in 300 words, then I shouldn’t juggle it. Recently, I wanted to write a story about an old woman who daily waits for a bus that will never come. The stop is a fake. It’s only there to amuse her. I wasn’t intending to be all Beckett about it but there was something in it that was making me crazy. She was waiting there so she didn’t have to wait to die. That sounds morbid. That’s because death is a root of the word.
I tried it long but needed to think. I did it short and I’m still thinking. In any case, the short version let me look around in that world and try to define it. Briefly.
Today, I found out that a different story was shortlisted in the National Flash Fiction Day competition. So, you know, that’s nice. My story is Queen’s Birthday. I don’t know if it’s available on the site yet. But maybe it will be?