One Month Of Very Short Stories 2022-02-22 – 28
On Twitter I sometimes saw posts tagged #vss365 that contained a micro short story and I wondered for a long time, what this is all about. At some point I discovered that it is a daily writing prompt for a very short story that fits into one tweet.
Albeit I enjoyed the occasional very short story that washed up in my timeline, I always considered the participation to be something for writers who know about story telling and all that stuff.
. "Look mum, I got one!" "Buzz, how many times do I have to tell you not to swat them!" "But they're annoying and completely useless, mum!" "I know, Buzz, but they are living beings." "They're humans, mum..." "Yes, Buzz, humans are living beings, just like us flies." .
I have already reported on the first week of Very Short Stories and the challenge of telling a whole story in 271 characters or less.
Further I have posted about how I was becoming more practised with the medium during my second week of Very Short Stories.
Last week I realised that I was beginning to find my own flow and style during my third week of Very Short Stories.
. SPLASH! ... She sings her mesmerising tune on a rock in the ocean, attracting shiploads. SPLASH! ... She takes them to her, one by one - singing to them her most beautiful melodies. SPLASH! ... until their heads split. SPLASH! She can still belt it out like a Siren. (2022-02-21) .
. Everyone knows that you stay away from mystical voices on the sea. But most men are weak. Now he ended up with them by this rock in the sea. It wil not be HIS end. He gets a hold of some seaweed growing on the rock and stuffs it into his ears. Then he starts to paddle. (2022-02-23) .
This week taught me something about moving through challenges creatively and keeping it going.
As you might have noticed, the prompts of the past two weeks brought with them a bit of creepy dynamics – not each word by itself, but in combination I felt a bit triggered.
According to what I have read from the #vss365 community I have not been the only one, noticing that. The host who had come up with the prompts says that he was aiming at a story about abuse that happens within the structures of sororities. I have listened to his view and also commented on it, letting him know that I felt creeped out but took it as a creative challenge to go down a different road and that I also hear him with regard to what he stated where he wanted to go with all this. I do not know what to make of his reaction. My intuition tells me, that it was intended to be offputting.
. "How did you get those injuries?" "I wanted to spank my girlfriend but it turned out that she didn't like it, that witch." "You didn't ask her for her consent?" "No, I just started to whack her. Then she looked at me and said 'spank yourself' three times, and then..." .
Be that as it may. There are some things I noticed about this that I think we can learn from and I would like to share them.
Firstly, when somebody says they want to bring awareness to an abuse topic and then they notice that the people who have experienced this or a similar kind of abuse are feeling triggered and put off by this, is it actually an appropriate reaction to tell them that the dirty thoughts about the given prompts are all happening inside their own minds? (This did not happen to me but is something I have observed.)
Personally, I would rather take this as a chance to recognise that there is need for communication. If at least a part of the community affected does not feel represented well, maybe this is a chance to listen, ask questions and learn. This is also how we can clarify misunderstandings.
. The dust was swirling up and enclosed her like a veil as her feet met the bone dry ground with all the might of her dance while the sun was scorching from the sky. Then clouds shaped up. Once sweet liquid burst down, she concluded her dance, performing three rainbows. .
Secondly, I observed what happens if a host of a creative prompt challenge is having their own story in mind and giving out prompts that lay out a certain path.
What I observed was that people pick up on the energies of the original idea without having been asked if they want to be part of it. This is also a techique I know from theatre – the unmentioned aspect on stage tends to jump out into the audience. This can be used as a technique to transport a message to the audience, but it needs to be practised with caution.
In the case of creative prompts, however, I experience this as overtaking, as the prompts are supposed to spark the creativity of each participant so that they can use it in their individual way rather than feeling pulled into a story they maybe do not wish to participate in. First and foremost, participants are to be seen as the storytellers, not as the audience. If they choose to also be audience to each other is entirely up to them.
. Things can look scary even in the light of love. Because the light shows us what is lingering within the dark corners of our minds. This is most scary for those who started to identify with their fear. After all, sunshine is not just pretty, it can also burn you. .
I believe, this an important aspect of being part of a creative community, as well. To take incidents like this and learn from it.
I will not make a statement about the original intent of the host, as this is not my place. But I will speak to how it made me feel to be part of this and what I have observed and learned from it.
I also would like to emphasise how important I find it, when speaking to abuse topics, to do it with an attitude of understanding that people who have experienced abuse have been traumatised and they probably have survived because they were able to pick up on the creepy energies they have been confronted with. This is something that stays with people. Telling them, that this is all happening insde their head when they pick up on such energies, is an absolute no-go. Personally, I do not see how it goes together to act like that while claiming to make a statement against abuse.
. The sun is scorching down and there is no wind at all. On the yacht, with a glass of champagne, they loll. I pop swiftly by the store, perusing the aisles. Hunger is burning in my stomach. I pick my pockets and find a button. Where to get food if not to steal? [... they LOLL. I POP Swiftly ...] .
In other news, I have discovered #vssnature and have participated for the last three prompts this month. I really enjoyed this, too.
. In the late afternoon, the birds settle on the branches of the weeping willow - not only birds of a feather but of all feathers. Once the sun sinks into the evening, turning the water of the lake into liquid copper, their concert starts. For a moment, Willow smiles. .
. In February when the light returns, the evening air often brings a scent of ice and snow. Sometimes, it is more than a scent and iceflowers are growing next to the snowdrops. Yet, even within the icy air of such a year lies a hint of Spring. .
. Walking the little streets with the lovely houses and gardens felt reassuring. The fragrance of wild herbs lingered in the air while Autumn was moving in. This year, a sunflower bouquet growing in gardens and by the streets announced the settlement's 80th anniversary. .
. "Get away from that bull. Y in God's name can you not just leave it be?" But the warning went unheeded when the bull - usually of a friendly, gentle nature - finally outraged, stampeded over his bully. [… that BULL. Y IN God’s name …] .
In conclusion I can say that this week I have explored even more styles, stumbled upon another sequel, learned how to facilitate my frustration I experienced with the prompts and turn it into creative outlet, took courage and spoke up about something that I felt needed clarification and discovered another writing prompt – namely #vssnature – that I enjoy. So, in some way the incident I felt I ran into with this last host of #vss365 was actually quite inspiring. This is something to be grateful for.
Oh, and I made it – I wrote very short stories for a whole month. This deserves a bow to myself. I just do a regular one as I do not know how to do rainbows like the dancer from my story.
Also, I am curious as to what prompts will follow and what experiences await with other hosts. Further, I enjoy the connections that grow from this path. So I think I will stay on it, at least for a while.
What inspires you? Do you sometimes go out and dare something new? Have you ever been surprised by what came from it?
Are you ready to shine a bright light of awareness on the path of beingness, today?
Much Love, Steffi