outcooled: volume 2: VeryShortStory


Last week, I highlighted the Young@Heart Chorus, with the glad admission that they could outcool me any day of the week. I decided to keep that motif going this week- and am contemplating making it a regular feature of the blog, if recieved well. [If people do like it, I would be super dooper open to suggestions on people, places, things, etc. that are outcooling me of which I might not already be aware.]

This week, mad props, yo to VeryShortStory. A Twitter account by writer Sean Hill, it features full stories- held in the confines of 140 characters. This feat is made even more impressive by the fact that Hill sacrifices some of those precious characters for the greater good: correct punctuation. Here are some recent examples:

  • “Marvin cursed the big city, it had changed him. He longed for the simpler days in a small town, before he felt the need to wear dresses.”
  • “A law was passed and the children were gathered and put in pens. They would be held until old enough to act civilized, like the “adults”.”
  • “You have such an intriguing mind and such interesting thoughts. I wonder where they come from” she said, holding my brain up to the light.
  • “Richard’s park bench sat empty since his ascension. They wondered were he went, but no one was brave enough to sit there and find out.”
  • “I don’t believe in astronomy” “You mean astrology” said Kim “No, I don’t believe in stars or planets. It’s a folktale, meant to give hope.”

To date, VSS [if I may be so bold as to use a pet name] has 33,603 followers and is fast approaching its 500th story.

As an aspiring/fledgling/n00b writer, I am inspired. Hill seems to have struck a balance between taking his craft seriously and casting it in a whimsical light. He has taken an unconventional medium and used in a way that entertains. . . and awakens. Reading one of his VeryShortStories is like being too impatient for the coffee to brew and just chompin’ down on the bean. A bean that happens to be coated in magical, sprinkly chocolate.

With a manuscript hiding away in my hard drive, a blog demanding my attention like a sugar-high puppy,  and an ever-growing list of  independent presses to whom I should send submissions, I often find myself feeling overwhelmed and struggling with just how to affirm and shape my identity as a writer.

Lucky for me, I have Hill’s stories to remind me of a few things:

  • Starting small is still starting.
  • All I need is one unique idea to have “something to go on”.
  • I don’t have to spoon-feed. I can be a little open-ended and indefinite. It’s okay for me to leave holes for others to fill in with their imaginations- doing this makes them accomplices rather than a strangers stuck peering in to my world and trying to guess what things mean.
  • Everyone loves twisted. . . plots.

So, here’s to you, Sean Hill, and to VeryShortStory for being kind enough to outcool me. In honor of your achievement, I present my very first Very Short. . .140 characters exactly!

“”I want to take this leap with you,” I said. “I have always dreamt of flying.” Icarus smiled and told me to hang on tight. Up, away we went.”

Condense your epics, trim your manifestos. . . as far as I’m concerned, short is the new sweet.

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