The eight-year-old 1958 Chevy was purring along through rural Kansas with ease. Don smiled with pride. When it hit 180,000 miles he planned to celebrate with a smoke and an ice-cold Mountain Dew from the cooler. It was a beautiful late April day with the sunny...
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Why I’m Failing My Innovative Fiction Course
This is from an assignment in the Innovative Fiction Course taught by Karen
I'm just not making it in my innovative fiction course.
What is innovative fiction you might ask? Well, if you have to ask, I'd say you're one of those rubes...
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The Don, whose real name you do not want to know, ever, has vast experience solving problems. Our organization, Don’t Try to Find Us Press, never advocates violence. We take no responsibility for violent acts committed by those misinterpreting the Don’s recommendations.
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Todd shivered in the dark, seated cross-legged on the linoleum. Coats and dresses draped gently over his five-year-old shoulders. He flinched as a slit of bright light flashed through the space at the bottom of the door. Seconds later the deep, rolling rumble followed. “Mommy?”
Read more: Todd’s Miracle
Mad Hatter Town Planners
I fell down the rabbit hole straight into the town planning committee meeting. A large basin of Sangria sat in the middle of the scratched wood table in the center of the room, and a keg rested against the back wall. Al, Stan, and Art...
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Dinner at Grandma's
You’re at Grandma’s house again for dinner. As always, the family is gathered together and everybody’s trying to out-talk everybody else. You ask yourself why you continue to go through this ordeal every week, but you know why; it’s Grandma. Also, it’s a family tradition that brings you...
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Mommy’s Little Secret
At age five, Amy told her mother that the thought of swimming scared her. Not surprisingly, her mother poo-pooed the idea, and said that fear showed weakness and stupidity. From then on, Amy said she hated swimming and never admitted any fear to her mother again. I don’t...
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New Age Centre
I had been in Oz for a few months when I received an emergency call to come back to South Africa. Every émigré who leaves elderly parents dreads this call.
But this was worse than death. Our family lawyer called me to attend a meeting...
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"I’ve Been With Willy All Day"
The late August sun hung hot in a bare blue sky. Matilda picked up a tattered straw bushel basket and trudged into the garden with it. The rows of beans were dusty green, the corn stalks tall, their leaves edged with yellow. She settled on...
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Nomi stood a few feet from the curb, watching her breath in the November Seattle rain, waiting for her mother. She hated asking for money. The feeling of dread almost compelled her to flee as she saw the silver Mercedes approaching. If only she didn’t need another fix.
Read more: 50 Minutes
Her Fortune is the Future in the Past
The toe drags umber, the pressure of holding paint forces the belly to bulge, and the canvas texture causes tired bristles to bend and stretch, casting tinted shadows in their wake. The resulting undertones bring life to the painting. The vitalizing paint bled from the brush is drawn from the...
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The Compulsion of Water Lilies
Gevera Bert Piedmont
She was buzzing in his ear again, the world’s largest and most annoying fly.
“This isn’t the beach you promised me. Can’t we go into town at least?”
He flicked a hand over his shoulder at her, go away, and stared into the waves. His eyes sought and...
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Lessons In Plot: From Setup To Payoff
By Joy Manné (the student) with Help and Encouragement from Karen Barr (the teacher)
From ‘The Road from Setup to Payoff’ by Karen Barr, (Writers Village University, MFA 250-261 Story Focus series based on the book by Lisa Cron)
One of our most hardwired expectations is that anything that reads like the beginning of a new pattern—that is a setup—will in fact, be a...
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Meatloaf and Mashed Taters
Art Subklew is a 55-year-old Paramedic residing and working in The Southern Berkshires, Massachusetts. He began creative writing as a teenager, mostly focusing on fictional short stories grounded in his experiences as a teenager growing up on a small farm. He has attended numerous classes in Creative Writing...
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Found: A $20 Bill
Brigitte lives in Maine and often uses settings and experiences from her yard in her writing. She earned Fiction Writing Certificates from Gotham Writers Workshop and UCLA-Ext and is working on her WVU-MFA Certificate. In addition to facilitating WVU classes, she meets weekly with two local writers' groups
Read more: Found: A $20 Bill
Jesus is Lord
“Esu, Esu”, the aged priest in the white skullcap screams, flecks of spittle flying out of his mouth. His Adam’s apple stretches against his reedy, leathery neck as incantations burst forth in a torrent. As if on cue, a monstrous, heavily tattooed novice runs out of the shadows. In...
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The Bus Station
Joyce Hertzoff retired after over 45 years in the scientific information field. Since then she has published three YA novels. There of her short stories were included in anthologies. She is a facilitator and mentor for the MFA program at WVU.
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He Looked Like Quiet
An alarm sounded in the distance. I paid it no mind. Instead, I focused on the peculiar man sitting on the park bench. He looked like quiet—the epitome of it. When he breathed, the slight rise and fall of his shoulders did not compromise his placid composure. His hair, ...
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The Curious Case of Solomon Gbajabiamila
Deep in the cavernous belly of the hospital, the frail old man was dying. Inch by inch, he contorted his body to rest on the side that did not hurt. He also wanted to avoid looking at the empty space where the other man had been; the only companion he...
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Portrait of the Artist at a Hideous Moment
The man sits at a desk, in a garage, under a single light, a stack of white eight by eleven sheets of paper before him. The man sits at a desk, in a garage, under a good old neon light, a stack of neatly typed eight by eleven pages on...
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The winding dirt road abandons the highway five miles south of town. But perhaps road is too grand a term for what meanders lazily into the otherwise untouched coastal forest. Maybe trail would be a better description. Alder and cedar boughs mesh in a green canopy that nearly blocks the...
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The Five-Hundred-Foot Ladder
“Come on, Dad,” Savannah said. “Whatever happened to relaxing in your golden years? Sipping mint juleps on the porch, listening to U2, or whatever you old folk like?”
“I don’t know. What do you old folk drink?”
“You’re not funny, sweetheart. And fifty-eight’s not old. ...
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I’ve lived my whole life and people are still always trying to change me. Especially more so because I am empty. I don’t understand what the problem is, is it my fault? I am not a storage box, a moving box, a shipping box, or even a jewelry box. I...
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Jeffrey M. Keenan
We hold hands, our palms sweat but we don't let go to wipe them off. Under my right hand is the switch. Once I close it, well...
It was supposed to be a simple rescue. Pull the freighter out of its decaying orbit around the small star, and...
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I shuffle down the path from our house to the dock. I've been on the water for so long, my wife Molly tells me, that I've gotten permanent sea legs. I step down into my seine-net fishing boat, the one I bought from my father forty years ago, slide my...
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