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They say that in your dreams you can be anything you want. You can travel to incredible places.

I can no longer even dream the world I want. My dreams now are too strange, inscrutable, and usually end with a group of people watching tv.

And in so many of them I see you across a room, near but too far.

Strike One

Have you ever noticed that when the flame on a match goes out, you can look at the head of the match and see that underneath the charred outer layer a glow remains for several seconds? Like the coals in a fire, red-hot under a coating of ash. It reminds me of a heart, the hidden thing that holds the key to life.

What are the matches trying to tell me?

The End (version 2)

The night you said you loved me, the stars fell into the lake. We sat on a hill watching them approach from the horizon. Pinpricks winked out and tails of flame extinguished themselves in the water. I wondered what would happen when the sky was empty.

You looked into my eyes and I said nothing, but thought if the world is ending, at least you’re holding my hand.

Strangest Things #8

Sometimes it is as if someone is whispering to me from another world. It comes from right next to me, no more than an inch away from my ear, only when I’m alone. If it only happened as I was falling asleep I would assume I imagined it, but it might be any time of the day. The only time I can ever make out a word is when it whispers my name. Maybe someone is trying to talk to me. But they never really succeed.

Another Life #33

Every morning I set off into the just-risen sun, trekking the twenty-five minutes from whatever comforts there are in my home to my workspace. About half the time I wake up and enjoy a cup or two of coffee before I go; the other half, I swoop through a coffee shop on the way, sometimes ordering two coffees to get me through the day.

I rent the basement of a three-story house by the lake. The three main floors are divided into office space for people doing whatever kind of work they do. I never see them. I just head to my subterranean lair through its private door, neatly avoiding any distracting contact with people (ten minutes of small talk can turn into an hour or two of internet surfing afterward…). Once I’ve disappeared, I start to pound and hack away.

Seeking Microfiction

Writing has been hard these days. I find that at any given time I either have nothing to say or too many things to say. It’s probably a stress thing. I should meditate more, and drink less coffee. Or more coffee.

Yes. It’s becoming clear to me that I’m not drinking nearly enough coffee. I should rectify that.

Then again, maybe I should drink less coffee after all…

I’m feeling indecisive. Can you tell?

I’ve been thinking that I want to start writing microfiction again. I was very into that style for a while, and it just dropped off suddenly for reasons I could not identify.

Flash fiction is something that has probably been around longer than we think, but has gained traction in the past few years. It does not seem to have a fixed definition. Some people will say under 1000 words, others will say under 1500 or 2000. Some people say anything that’s no more than a few pages is flash fiction.

Microfiction is sort of a subcategory of that, also without a firm word limit, but in my experience it defines works up to the 500-700 word mark. It can be as short as a sentence or two, or as long as a few paragraphs. In theory, the short piece contains an entire story, or enough of a story that the reader can fill in the missing details. Personally, I think there’s a danger of reading that criterion in a limited way. Yes, the intention is to try to fully communicate the piece in that rather small word count, but I don’t think that means packing a plot into that space. Many of my microfiction pieces are more along the lines of snapshots, moments in time, rather than trying to have a narrative. I think the form lends itself to that use and so I took full advantage of it.

I don’t know why I stopped writing them. I suppose I just stopped experiencing things that inspired me in that way. Or I got distracted by adult life and became separated from my imagination. Or both. So I tried to remember how I started writing them, and I remembered–of course, I started by reading.

One book I can go back to is Lydia Davis, Varieties of Disturbance. I would also like to find some microfiction I have not already read. Do you have any suggestions?

 

Feeding

This is either the beginning of a story, or just the first draft of a flash piece. I like it so far. Feel free to take this idea/theme and write your own version!

 

“Feed me,” said the heart.

 

“Feed me,” said the mind.

 

“Feed me,” said the soul.

 

We had forgotten how. We fed our stomachs instead, and feasted well. Risotto. Masala. Pierogi. We gorged on brie, persimmons, poached pears. Our heads swam with liquid chocolate, espresso, wine, whiskey, and we soaked it up with spongy pound cakes.

 

And in that gluttonous state, we starved.

 

Another Life #32

A few months ago, I started writing a song. A few lines came to me, melody and lyrics, and I wrote them down, hoping someday I could write a full song that I wouldn’t be embarrassed by a few years later.

That dream belongs in a different life, one where I actually learned to play an instrument instead of making a half-hearted attempt at guitar and piano before abandoning them (entirely by accident, but clearly a choice was made). I can still sometimes hear accompaniments in my head that I’ve come up with, but I have no way to bring them to the world where anyone but me can hear them, because I can’t play any instruments.

I kept up with singing, from an early age all the way through college, because it came easily to me, and someone else was paying.

Unless you’re the rare, ridiculous prodigy, learning any instrument takes work–at least, to get to a point where you can do anything good or interesting with it.

That song I began, I could just turn it into a poem, but it doesn’t feel right as a poem. And I don’t really write poetry anyway.

In one of many other universes, it actually became a whole song. Would I actually be proud of it, if this were that universe?

Read This

This is, surprisingly, a short story in the form of a MISSED CONNECTION. For seriously. Craigslist personals are generally something you’d read because the sad and scary things you come across are, for some reason entertaining. I’d imagine. I don’t know, I really don’t cruise Craigslist just for the hell of it.

 

But this is worth reading. It’s a flash fiction, and it’s sweet and thoughtful and rather sad, and while it’s not actually realistic it does a great job of capturing some of the strangenesses of life.

 

 

http://newyork.craigslist.org/brk/mis/3985247459.html

 

For 100% clarity: this is not my writing. I don’t think there is a name anywhere on it so I have no idea what the writer’s identity is.

 

Five Things Friday: July 12, 2013

Is it really only the 12th?… but then, at the end of the month I will be thinking, where did July go?

 

One

Some condensation from my water glass drips onto my foot as I take a drink. The touch of the water droplet is surprisingly light.

Two

Behind my eyes is that sensation of sleepiness–the struggle to make them stay open, the strangely dull sting that persists until I finally give in and let my eyelids meet. A moment later they flutter apart again the the miniscule respite was enough to let me continue on for a little while longer.

Three

I sometimes leave books and other items on the sides of my bed rather than moving them. The edge of a hardcover Jane Austen pokes just a little bit into my thigh. It’s not uncomfortable, really.

Four

Throughout the day, one eyelash continues to point itself right into my eye. It’s doing so now. I poke at it to make it move, but it seems quite determined.

Five

There is no chill in the air, but the recent heat sort of makes it seem that way. I sit rather cool, wondering if I should retrieve a sweater, or just go to sleep, wrapping myself in a blanket cocoon until morning.