When we attempt something new, we often look for models or examples of how it is done. In “Eleven Stories,” my weekly writing program for 2018, we have been asked to write a 55-word story by the end of January.
In Eleven Stories the instructors are also providing a number of 55-word-story exercises to practice the form. One of the suggestions has been to use concrete details to convey a theme in our very short, short story, as in this example: “Old Loafers,” by poet Joseph Bednarik:
Epiphany was wearing simple shoes when she fell in love. Rather than mere falling she kicked off those old loafers and somersaulted through lilac-scented sky, trusting warm arms – or a daisy chain safety net – would catch her. The right shoe landed in a murky puddle. The left was never found. Let’s remember her suspended, ecstatic.
Okay, now our turn! Here were the instructions:
Write a 55-word story which, like “Old Loafers,” has the abstract focus of “joy” as its main element.
Hmm. Well, at first I was a bit stumped. In the end, I decided to do something very similar. Here is “Margaret was wearing ballet shoes”:
Margaret was wearing ballet shoes when she fell in love. The ribbons floated up, up, up, until they met the knees of her beloved, who kissed her face with the touch of butterfly wings.
“How did you know?” she asked, breathing deeply into the sweet scent of her lover’s neck.
“It was easy. Your eyes.”
How about you? Do you ever use others’ work as inspiration for your work? Do you like to see examples when you are learning something new, or do you like to try it on your own? Thanks for visiting!