Each year, a small group of members participate in the rigorous short story workshop. They work closely together, learning about short stories and getting feedback about their work.
Congrats to Emily and her fantastic short story, “A Bus To The Stars”.
Read Emily’s story HERE.
From Grace: Fashion a good character readers would love to hate.
Write for 10 minutes. Post your piece to comments.
You were a line in my song
Your words beautiful and strong
But my headphones were lost
Which came with a great cost
This horrid silence
Made me realize my reliance
On your wonderful words
Keeping me out of a hearse
As I start to panic
I try and listen to static
But what I really need
Is the line that you did feed
My demons-it’s you who diminished
But as soon as I feel that I’m finished
I turn the station one last time
And hear my one favorite line
Like you used some kind of powers
Making my song into ours
I am just going to come out and say it that I am not the biggest book reader. Most of the time, I find reading to be very difficult. I just can’t seem to find the time or patience to read anymore, and unless I’m really into it, I have a tendency to grow bored. There have been a limited number of books that I have truly gotten lost in, and when I do, you might as well never see me again because I won’t put it down. It is such a thrilling feeling, and I wish there were more novels that made me feel this way. Nowadays, however, I feel that I still read more than most people my age. I look around and all I see are smartphone addicted children who raise an eyebrow at the mention of books. This is at least in my experience.
The writing community however, is very different. Some of the best writers I know have bookshelves worth of stories that they’ve read or are planning to read, and to see this is astounding. I started to think a lot more about why storytellers read, and how reading really does shape a writer. Perhaps many may find the correlation between the two obvious, but just a year or two ago, I couldn’t quite make the connection. Why should writers read?
Whether we read for the purposes of our own personal pleasures or not, reading is an unspoken writing lesson. It assists in vocabulary building and provides ideas about concepts and styles to use in our own writing. Certain novels inspire us so much that we completely change the way we write because of it. For example, certain novels and series that have shaped or influenced my writing (and just me in general) have been stories like The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom, A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, and Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Certain books come around and change us and the way we view the world, therefore shaping how we write about the world.
We also discover flaws or determine our writing preferences through reading. Maybe you read a novel that is completely different from the way you write, and it changes you so much that you decide to alter your writing style or you find yourself interested in learning and/or writing about a different genre. This causes your writing to evolve, even when you don’t realize it.
So whether you just hate books in general, can’t wait to get your hands on a new novel, or are somewhere chilling in the middle ground like myself, reading is crucial to your narrative journey. Essentially, no matter what kind of writing you enjoy, picking up a story will benefit you in the long run. Whether one wants to believe in it or not, this is a simple truth: Reading is JUST as important as writing. It’s hard to make time or force yourself to read, but you can never know what life-altering world lies behind the plain book spine on the nearest shelf.
From Emilee: Your character is writing a letter to someone they love dearly, what does it say?
Write for 10 minutes. Post your piece to comments.
Don’t let the world bring you down,
Don’t let it hurt that beautiful smile.
Let your inner light shine,
Throw away the despise.
Shine you, shine your smile.
You, you are unique,
You and your beautiful smile.
You are smart, creative, funny,
Kind, and most importantly,
Whatever the world throws at you,
You can face it, being yourself.
Never change the way you are based on
Smile, listen to that inner voice,
And follow your heart.
The Gift You Have
You have a gift, you have a gift.
You’re in this world, and can stand up for
What is right.
You can fight against the
Wrong, and keep on.
You have a gift to bend over,
Help others shine their gift.
You have a gift to help, give hope,
Smile, forgive, and cherish.
Cherish every day, you are in a
Life with others, help them,
Be one of those still left
Kind-hearted souls out there.
Still be, smile, and thank the lord
For this gift he has blessed you with.
“That’s crazy! Who would say that?” I traced the rim of my black coffee, glancing out the bay window as the warm fading light spilled in.
“I don’t know. And about such a nice woman. Even I didn’t dare,” I replied. The tan-blonde boy in front of me shook his head. He was technically 20 years old but actions speak louder than words. Beside him was a sweet, kind woman. She was sketching a picture of her tea cup that was laced with gorgeous vines and each stroke of her pencil revealed more of the image. Her version was mediocre at best. Even so, I wondered how she put up with her hyper boyfriend as such a quiet, reserved human being. Cosmo stretched his arm around her and looking out the window, his foot annoyingly tapping as always. You could hear it over the bustling hum of the coffee shop, like a constant drip from a sink while the shower’s running. You learn to put up with it after as long as I’d known him.
Our conversation lulled following my response. Cosmo hated the lack of engaging activity, fidgeting constantly, but I could almost see a smile tug at the corner of Petal’s thin lips. The petite woman was like me, enjoying hearing the background noise as she continued to draw her teacup with her special charcoal pencils. Instead of drawing, I was thinking, watching out the window as the cars would pass the coffee shop at speeds higher than what they should’ve been. People rushed passed, eagerly going where they had to be. Some living, some dead.
“I beginning to lose touch,” I said finally. Cosmo pulled his arm back from around Petal and looked at me eagerly, leaning forward as he saw a chance at conversation. I’ll give him credit though, even as he moved excitedly, his expression was that of concern.
“What do you mean?” I even had Petal’s attention as she silently sat down her pencil and looked up from her paper for the first time since she’d pulled them out. I rolled my eyes and gazed back out the window.
“I’m just losing touch. With reality. That woman on the corner with the cigarette and long jacket. Do you see her?” They looked outside to the corner of the street where the woman was standing in her ragged trench coat, blowing smoke at the occasional passerby. Her hair was wound back in a dark brunette bun, revealing her wrinkled, dirty face. She wore long, baggy business pants that had been worn to thread and bunched up by her beat up boots. On her hands were fingerless gloves almost as tattered as the rest of her clothing. She readjusted the ripped up backpack straps on her torso and glanced our way.
“There’s no one standing there,” Petal said in her wispy, quiet voice. I took a sip of my coffee.
“No one breathing anyway.”
If you could change the color of the sky, what color would you make it and why?
Write for 10 minutes. Post your work to comments!
Sometimes, if I try hard enough, I can make the world fall away at my feet and disappear into nothingness. When walls, books, papers, light, people tumble into an infinite abyss, I feel safer huddled on a floating island as wide as the length of my two feet. I will occasionally fall with them too.
Sometimes, I can find isolation in a crowded room and see myself turn invisible. People brush past me and their eyes slide over mine. They know of me, but they don’t know who I am. They smile at me, but they don’t see me.
Sometimes, I can hear silence ringing in my father’s loud dinner parties where his empty coworkers laugh emptily and talk about empty things. Their conversations are complete but not full and I can hear all the hollowness in them. In school, I learned that sound always echoes in hollow places, but I suppose dinner party talk is an exception because the voices are swallowed up by the dull atmosphere.
Sometimes, I can reimagine what my room would look like if it were a midnight black or a dark navy blue. I would paint little white specks on the ceilings so I could see the sky above me at night. My room used to be white when we moved in, but it was creatively turned yellow by my parents, who said yellow was a happy color and would make me happier.
Sometimes, I can pretend to have friends and pretend that I’m not the only one suffering, but what good will that do? I once had a friend named Abby. She would take me on adventures outside my yellow room, outside the empty dinner parties, outside the crowded rooms, outside my dark abysses. She would tell me that she cared about me a lot and that we were really sisters, not just friends. I wanted my parents to meet Abby, so I introduced her to them. They were mean to her and said that I shouldn’t be making “imaginary friends.” Abby ran away crying, and never came to visit me again. When she left me, I went back to watching the world fall away, turning invisible in crowded rooms, listening to silent dinner parties, and imagining what my room would be like if I could see the stars. Sometimes, I get a little lonely.
The world bore its teeth
Crooked and evil by nature
Canines sharp as a razor
Eyes wide and bloodshot
Small in stature, large in prescence
A beast of mind
What does a child do when this monster appears in front of her eyes and refuses to leave once seen?
Words came to me and whispered naive words of beauty and serenity
They calmed me with their sweet innocense and became my tool for salvation from the blood thirsty beast of world
Praying for my salvation to stay I whisper my dreams, tears drowning my ears.