This past Thursday we settled inside the RFL apartment in Summitt Hall with homemade ice cream (thanks, Kelly!) and wrote while the rain pressed on outside. We focused first on flash fiction and unpacked the famous Hemingway quote, part of which reads, “…the integrity of the movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above the surface.” We talked about how short fiction can condense to a moment that’s complete in and of itself, but that readers can also sense much coming before and much to come after (or below and above). There are several elements one could focus on with a short, short story—will it be more of a prose poem, where lyrical language and sound moves it? Will there be quick character development, where a few details say a lot about someone? Will it be plot-driven? Through which parts will you create a fast pace and which places will you linger on a little more? We looked at some samples from NPR’s 3-minute fiction contests and the quirky prompts that elicited those stories. I then gave the prompt to try writing a story that incorporated: an e-cigarette, a thimble, the 1819 tree, and a gray sky (can you tell I like reading about time and weather?).
Everyone did a wonderful, creative job, and we had some amazing performances—from Nick’s pacing back and forth to deliver his monologue, scene-based stories, plot-based stories, to hip-hop style raps. Below are a couple student samples. More to follow next week!
Join us in the Summitt RFL apartment this Thursday, Oct. 4th at 7:30pm for more creative writing fun (and soup & cornbread). We may also have a guest poet next week! Hope to see you there.
The cottage filled with life as the wood in the fire place began to ignite and smolder. The crimson gold flames licked at the sides of the logs, making them glow bright but then leaving behind a black husk of what was there before. Smoke floated up the chimney that was coated black with resin from many fires past. Over the top of the cottage a plume of smoke erupted from the chimney leaving the horizon grey. Snow began to fall as cars began to fill the driveway. After much mingling and reminiscing and a delicious feast of holiday ham and warm flaky butter filled rolls the family settled down to open gifts. The ticking of the clock was set off by the ticks from the grandma’s respirator. She sat in her real wood rocker smiling and sewing, thimble in hand as presents were distributed and opened. A small box was handed to the daughter of 40. She tore the festive red paper away, and saw an e-cigarette with all the works. She flipped the package over. A card was taped to the underside. As she opened it the card read, ‘For my lovely daughter, hoping you won’t be in my condition when you’re my age. Love Mom.”
Roses are red
E cigs are blu
A tailor with a old thimble
Staring at the cloudy grey sky,
Looking quite alert and nimble
Boom said the thunder,
as he tosses down white flashes by
the old 1819 tree, where down under,
lived an old woman with a magnificent house,
accompanied by her ungrateful dead spouse,
who shall remain nameless,
for he is not blameless,
with all of his shameless
Just because of that darn old thimble,
which made him quite nimble.
Boom!! Goes the thunder again,
The old tailor almost dropped his orange,
as he is illegally downloading some torrents,
thought he was caught by his old woman
but. . . it was just the sound of a fallen tree.
It was early, cold, and the grass under Charles’ feet was still moist from last night’s storm. He nervously drew his e-cig while periodically checking his phone. It was 6:32 and even though Steve was only two minutes late, Charles was already starting to feel his anxiety rising. It was Steve, right? Or was it Mark? He honestly couldn’t recall and attempting to was only making Charles more anxious. He shot quick glances left and right hoping to see Tyler walking towards him but saw nothing but empty streets. All this worrying was starting to make Charles feel sick again. Maybe it was because he hadn’t used in almost 18 hours or maybe it was his conscience coming back to haunt him. Everything Charles was doing right now felt wrong and no amount of rationalizing could fix that. Still though, he didn’t feel like it was fair to blame him. If Steven had just given him what he paid for this wouldn’t have to happen. Charles leaned back against the tree and took another glance at his phone while taking a long draw off his e-cig. Damn thing must be broken. It was only 6:33 but Charles knew he had been waiting for at least a half-hour. Wait, when did he get here again? It didn’t matter. The sooner this could be done with the better. Charles reached into his back pocket and was struck with a feeling of sheer panic. Where was it? He knew he remembered to bring the knife. As he fumbled through his pockets he saw a gleam of silver shine in the grass. The Knife! As Charles reached down to pick up the blade, he failed to hear the hammer of Steve’s revolver click net to his temple. Or maybe it was Blake.