Contrary to popular belief, I don’t just write about cool ads and personal tech. Sometimes I turn out a piece of poetry or short fiction that gets published. My poem “Epilogue – Unfinished” was published this past spring in the student journal Calliope, which has been released in PDF. There are some excellent student works throughout, including some artwork that will take your breath away. (Click the photo at right to open the PDF.)
“Epilogue” was originally a flash-fiction piece that appeared in October 2010 on Paragraph Planet, a creative writing website that features 75-word pieces that are changed daily. It was born from a prompt in class when I overheard a student ask the professor, “Can you give me a first sentence?” (She declined.) I later recast the 75 words as a poem and thought it worked, so I submitted it for consideration. I think it works better as a poem than flash, but I’ll take inspiration any way it hits me.
- “First Light” on Paragraph Planet. Born of a prompt from class.
- The story behind the “Lazy Cupid” shorts that were born on Paragraph Planet
- “Class” – Sometimes you feel creative after creative writing class
- “Opera in Private” – What do you sing when you’re all alone?
- “Grease Was the Word” – Really, who didn’t want some summer lovin’?
My super-short “First Light” is featured today on Paragraph Planet, a creative writing website that features 75-word pieces on one topic. This piece was completed a week or so in class during an exercise on mood and setting. I chose the mood loneliness; the setting a spring day. I picked the two because I believe, erroneously, that no one can feel lonely on a spring day.
Check out “First Light” while you can. The pieces change daily. If you’re a writer and feeling inspired, try your hand at it. There’s something so satisfying about writing just 75 of just-right words. If you’re a reader, click and click daily. There are some real gems there, and they make for a nice breather between phone calls, a shared human moment before another deadline. Writers may also write a sequel to the posted paragraphs using their own 75 words.
Freelance writer Richard Hearn, who pens the “Distracted Dad” column for Latest Homes and “Dad Sense” for Mumsense magazine, edits the site. You can follow him on Twitter @latestdad.
UPDATE – PUBLISHED NOV. 6, 2011:
First light. A slow, sweet revelation of the season’s goldest
greens, tender hues, a sign for some. A sparrow calls to a
friend, a welcome home (“I missed you. I really missed you.”) I
listen hard for your silvery rattle of pans, the crack of fresh
eggs, an iron skillet’s sizzle. There’s nothing but the birdsongs,
and I wonder if you can hear them, too. Your pillow is so cold;
perhaps you’ll warm it by summer.
I’m featured on Paragraph Planet today, a 75-word piece was inspired by my friend Amy Stapleford Jackson, who was spending summer afternoons indulging in a revival of the 1978 movie Grease, starring Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta.
For those of us who are a certain age, they were the ones that we wanted. We didn’t want Danny to be stranded at the drive-in, branded a fool. We wanted the beauty school dropout to go back to high school. Although we were too young to appreciate all the innuendo, we knew all the words by heart and sang each note as if we’d written it, singing into Goody’s hairbrushes and dancing around a bedroom, mentally wearing the skin-tight black pants Sandy wore in the last scene.
Paragraph Planet is a creative writing website that features 75-word flash-fiction pieces on one topic. If you’re a writer, please try your hand at it. There’s something so satisfying about writing just 75 of just-right words. If you’re a reader, click and click daily. There are some real gems there, and they make for a nice breather between phone calls, a shared human moment before another deadline. Writers may also write a sequel to the posted paragraphs using their own 75 words.
Freelance writer Richard Hearn edits the site. He shares is philosophy and vision for the site in an interview with Terry Davidson Byrne at MommyTongue. When he’s not sorting through submissions, Hearn writes the “Distracted Dad” column for Latest Homes and “Dad Sense” for Mumsense magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @latestdad and @paragraphplanet.
If inspiration strikes after you’ve lost yourself in story after story, you can submit your 75 words — exactly 75 words – here.
UPDATE: This appeared on Paragraph Planet on 8-17-2011.
Grease was the word. The word that we heard. And sang. When we were 8, then 9. Then again at 38, 39 – loud. Tell me more about that summer lovin’; that fool stranded at the drive-in. What did they say? Monday at school. Oh, Sandy, you weren’t the one that we wanted. We wanted to be Rizzo, with her reasons for reputation. There were worse things we could do, but we weren’t hopelessly devoted to you.
I bought a shitload of poetry for a song today, an exchange that sure did suck. It’s not supposed to work this way; the dead, penniless writers would probably agree.
Although Borders was chain, this one in Fairfax holds a special place in my heart because was the closest thing I had to a neighborhood bookstore. Over the past 10 years, I have bought countless manuals, dictionaries, magazines and unapologetic trash there. (The loftier tomes – the real books written by serious writers – are still part of the family, dutifully gathering dust on one of many IKEA bookshelves scattered about the house, all casualties of my hair’s breadth attention span.) Sure, I can buy the a how-to guide or best seller from Amazon, but I won’t be able to prowl the aisles, distracted by this title and that dust jacket. I won’t be able to indulge an impulse while waiting in line, so I don’t know where I’ll buy my overpriced bookmarks and spiral-bound journals – Amazon isn’t good for that.
Maybe I can stock up. The girl at the checkout – who seemed far too happy for someone about to be unemployed – said they would be around for a while. “We have to sell all the store inventory and what’s in the warehouse. So we’ll be here.”
Just not for 10 more years.