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Tears on Silent Stone

A man stands silently. Wind ruffles thin and greying hair. 

He thinks about the arguments, disagreements about arming, appeasement. The yelling. The elder wants to arm. The younger wants peace.

Then the first annexation. The first invasion.

Disagreement turns, becomes less vehement.

Another annexation, invasion under pretence.

The middle ground transforms to agreement, then passion, commitment.

Commitment followed by enlistment. Departures, see you soon.

The rain when the telegram arrives. Deeply regret to inform you… The tears. Sadness. 

The Portland Stone monument. The name, the dates. June 6, 1944.

“I said I would see you again” spoken to empty air.

The Writer

I sit staring at the blank screen, the cursor patiently blinking. “Come on” I think to myself, “this can’t be that hard. It’s just a hundred words.” I glance at my text messages. Twitter has nothing new. Instagram is caught up. Email? Nope. Yeah, I’m just procrastinating.

“I can do this. I had an idea last night.” Of course I did. I was sure that this time I would remember it by morning. And of course I didn’t. Something about a cowboy, with a horse on a spaceship maybe?

I sit staring at the blank screen, the cursor patiently blinking.

The Drabble

First, yes it has been over a year since I last put something here. Things happen, but I’m now in a place where I’m getting active again. Thanks to friends and family for their support.

A few months ago, I stumbled on a form of fiction writing called “drabbles”. A good friend pointed out, after I had posted my “vignettes”, that there was a whole class of writing called microfiction, very short stories. I hadn’t thought about it much since he mentioned it, but I came across an article in a writing magazine I had recently subscribed to that covered the drabble. After doing some digging via Google, and reading some examples of the form, I decided to give it a try.

But what is a drabble? It is a form of microfiction where the work is exactly 100 words long. It is a middle-ground of sorts in microfiction, with the addition of a small bit of formal structure. There are other forms of microfiction. One involves writing a story incorporating a daily topic word posted on Twitter, and the work itself must fit within the bounds of a single tweet. Others include works that are less than 1,000 words, or around 300 words, or even as small as 50 words. The name is a play on the word “dribble”, but since the story can be somewhat more expansive, the name “drabble” was coined.

The idea of microfiction was driven, in part, by an exchange involving Ernest Hemingway. He was challenged to write an extremely small, but complete, story using as few words as possible. He came up with six:

For sale, baby shoes. Never worn.

Those six words can form the core of a host of different stories, some sad, some hopeful and positive. But over time it has become a challenge to other writers: can you write a meaningful story using a modest number of words?

To get myself back into writing, I decided to give this new form a shot. I have a few works I have written that will appear on this site shortly, and I intend to post more over time. I expect many of them will not be very good, but it is through practice that we get better.