More Substories of 50 words

>> Wednesday, July 7, 2010

So, to make things interesting, I’m using a sketch by my good buddy, Boris who is an Austrian plasma physicist…who can draw. I’m so envious. Given that I liked this sketch (and you can see it here), I thought I’d write some 50 word stories to go with it. Bear in mind that, because I’m a perfectionist, I’m shooting for *exactly* 50 words. Feel free to try it yourself using up to 50 words.

What I really liked about the picture was that I could see so many possible explanations, from the darkest of the dark to homey and sweet. I think it's a good exercise for me partly because it allows me to demonstrate how I can appreciate art (even if I have no talent for art myself) and also lets me demonstrate how words can paint a picture or change how we perceive one. I'm going to mix it up, dark and light, and be prepared for the worst.


Three months. It felt like years since she'd fought with her mother, since she'd left determined never to return. Her parents had been impossible, tyrannical. They didn't understand.

Now she understood. Hungry, cold, with everything she owned in one bag, she slept at the bus station . . .

And dreamed of home.


She thought he was in bed. She didn't see him fall, sink to the bottom as the party raged. It was luck someone saw him, gave CPR while she'd stood nearby, oblivious.

Now, home from the hospital, she couldn't let him go, release her hold on what was most precious.

[Janet Reid linked an excellent article on drowning that parents, in my opinion, should read.]


The picture of innocence, the young girl sleeping at the train station. Was she a runaway? On a trip to visit relatives? Homeless? No matter. However she came to be here, she was mine. My hunger, my needs, required innocence before I could reach fulfillment.

She would never go home.

[Dark I know. Chikatilo, the Soviet serial killer, targeted children and women riding the rails.]


Back to college after a long holiday, she smiled thinking about the many thoughtful gifts they'd sent her back with, things to make her life better. They were in her bag, too precious to be checked, and she hugged them to her like a teddy bear. And dreamed of home.


So long. So long since they'd said goodbye, since he'd disappeared through security to fight a war on the other side of the world. So long he'd been a disembodied voice on the phone. But he was on his way now, in the air.

She waited and dreamed of him.

So, what do you see when you see this picture? And what can you say in fifty words (or less)?


  • Project Savior

    I liked Predator the best. The first few lines have you wondering is he going to show sympathy? Pity? Indifference? Then the true motives are revealed.

  • Jeff King

    I have been lazy lately... tons of work hours have left me unable to write.

    Great practice though.

  • The Mother

    I think I'm glad I'm allowed lots more words.

  • Shakespeare

    No home to go to, but she'd be okay. She had her mother's quilt, the locket given her on her seventh birthday, and her great grandfather's poetry.

    Food would come with a bit of scrounging. It always did. Until then, her objects—her memories—would curb the hunger pangs.

    It ended up being 49 words. Best I could do.

    I like the predator one, and the POV I first thought would be the observer, but at the same time it made me feel pretty creeped out. Good work on your versions!

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