Each week I have emails coming in, telling me of upcoming publication deadlines. I peruse them, trying to decide whether any of my current stories or poems fit the themes, or whether I have the motivation or time to write a new one. Recently I noticed an upcoming deadline that intrigued me. The publication was asking for stories about journeys. And the stories had to be less than 30 words in length.
I was struck by the difficulty of this task. The word ‘journey’ itself brings to mind length – long roads, experiences gained over time, a non-fleeting duration between one location/instance and another. For if the moment were fleeting, could it really be described as a ‘journey’?
I set about trying to write such a story, and in fact wrote four. Not long after submitting them (feeling slightly foolish sending a publisher stories so short) I received the reply that one of them had been accepted.
And it can be read here! (Click on the picture)
And here are the three stories that did NOT make the mark:
Through the clouds, falling, the world is laid grey and flat. Spinning, tossing, blown slant and sucked earthwards, he has seconds to reflect on uniqueness, then splash! He merges.
Stepping from the flat boat, she waded to the shore: her new home. A large grey bird peered at her then stalked away. She had no name for it.
Mario, the man who cleans our streets. Gone. The pregnant woman who runs the store, waves, gone. Traffic lights, green. Gone. Our open gate, bike thrown down. Your arms.