Very Short Stories in April 2022
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.
After I got so much encouragement throughout Bloganuary 2022 (and a couple of times even before that) I thought I would jump in and give it a go, myself, in February 2022. It was great and so I just kept going since and got some additional inspiration from #vssnature. This month I also participated in #7DayTale as well as the brand new #53WS and I gave a go to an invitation to a #5wordstory.
. As a quick thinker, she enjoyed the velocity of frequencies. It meant high vibes which usually included a friendly and heartfelt exchange concentrating on problem solving as well as the essence of things without long explanations being necessary. This was bliss for her. (2022-04-01) ♥ She had to step closer to stay within hail while the descending hail drummed on the ground each hailstone bouncing off the ground as if to dance in celebration of the haar coming in hailing from the sea. To seek shelter, she readied herself to hail the approaching taxi. (2022-04-02) ♥ The shelves inside the Shaman's house look like a rabble of trinkets. One has a twig of sloe, a kaleidoscope, a few crystals, tins and jars that shimmer mysteriously in a ray of sunlight caught from the window, fleeting and colourful like a flutter of butterflies. (2022-04-03) ♥ The night was dark, so was our wear. Our eyes closed, our feet drumming the beat of Joy Division, but we knew, love would never tear us apart. Celebrating darkness because we knew we were light. Dancing bridges into being to connect, not to divide. Not everyone did. (2022-04-04) ♥ Sentenced illogical, the sentence is, she often concurred with mathematical sentence, yet no-one noticed as she arrived there not only on a different path but with different means. She was good with building sentences from words, not with translating those to numbers. (2022-04-05) ♥ Caught in existence, body worn, mind tired, heart weary, her perspective the doom of continuous repetition until the end which she felt was upon her rather sooner than later, she was yearning for a slice of the life she had when she was younger, full of Spirit and love. (2022-04-06) ♥ A warden of the tower, knowing how to keep doors locked and walls intact. A warden of the tower, choosing isolation, in fact. A fool, knowing nothing but how to stay open and shine a light on the path to unfold. A fool choosing connection untold. What is your choice? (2022-04-07) .
. My friend's family had a garden with an old cherry tree. As kids we would play there, every day. Once, in Summer a wild cloudburst came upon us. It did not keep us from the garden. Instead, we played we were seals and clapped our fins in joy of the unexpected shower. (2022-04-01) ♥ During one of my first voice and theatre workshops the teacher compared the voice with a tomato. She said, if you don't hold it properly, it will fall away, but if you press too hard, you'll squish it. I think she gave us an insight into the nature of Zen, that day. (2022-04-02) ♥ Being close to the light is not always easy. There is a tendency to focus on the spotlight. Being too close can make someone invisible like Mercury often is invisible next to the sun. But with a bit of distance, this someone can become the object of the light. (2022-04-03) ♥ Meandering through the geological exhibition, I saw a giant geode of amethyst, petrified waterlilies, huge citrine crystals... What fascinated me most was an Ichthyosaurus fossile carrying an embryo in her womb. I still wonder what might have happened to them. (2022-04-04) ♥ The wire-haired dachshund of my classmate was the best playmate ever - kind, loving, caring and I swear he sometimes smiled at us. One time Nickel went for a stroll in the neighbourhood and came back with a swollen nose. An unlucky encounter with an aggressive cat. (2022-04-05) ♥ A whole cauliflower brushed with chopped fresh garlic and olive oil - baked in the oven and then served with a dip made from soy yogurt. One of my favourite Sunday roast recipes. (2022-04-06) ♥ My childhood was full of miracles. One day, our neighbour took me to the front steps of her house and pointed at the little space beneath. I heeled down and saw a coney. It was a doe with wee little bunnies seeking shelter by the stairs rather than in a rabbit hole. (2022-04-07) .
This month I tried out some new prompts.
I had followed along the #7DayTale of another Twitter user, last month and checked out what it is about. You basically write a Tale over 7 days in vss-form about a given theme with some optional prompts to include. This month’s theme was bungling burglars and at first I had no idea how to do that. Then I remembered an older vss of mine and gave it a go. It turend out to be great fun, not only to write but also to read the tales of other participants.
Also, the 53 Words Podcast invited the community to write a vss in 53 words, tagged #53WS. I had never written anything according to an exact word count and just jumped in. It turned out to be great fun, as well.
Another user prompted the community to write a #5wordstory for an image she had posted. As I like her posts and we had a bit of exchange, before, I felt encouraged and just did it.
There you go, three challenges I did not know I can do. You can find the results at the end of this post.
. When has commitment turned into duty, rather than being a choice made out of love? When has love gone out of fashion? When it is all about the looks and not about the heart, we run out of motivation. I see why you go back on your commitment. That is why I let you go. (2022-04-08) ♥ When they met, she was taken by his charm. Now she cannot take his lies, anymore. (2022-04-09) ♥ We all must stand the test of time. We can resist what life brings, or we can accept the deck we are played. One brings pain, the other flow. Everything is transient. Nothing remains as it is. Not even the pain we resist to accept. As much as we hold on, it has to go. (2022-04-10) ♥ He was holding on tight to the rail in the aisle, upon the jolt that went through the train when it came to a sudden halt. "Conductor, what is going on?" "I am very sorry for the inconvenience, Sir, there is a rail on the rail." That day, another life was saved. (2022-04-11) ♥ We stood around the table, sacred pipes laid out, listening to the pueblo chief speaking about sharing between the cultures. "Each of us is bringing their unique part to the circle. If one part is missing, the circle is incomplete", he said. Unity was his mission. 💗 In loving memory. (2022-04-12) ♥ Overhearing a conversation about the latest news, instead of adding yet another trope, she shut her mouth and went for a walk. (2022-04-13) ♥ "To truly understand something comes with a shift of perspective. It needs the mind to move around a matter and look at it from various angles. "This also gives us a choice. Remember it's all a matter of mind: if you don't mind, it doesn't matter", the shaman concluded. (2022-04-14) .
. Not sure if I have ever seen broom, I particularly do remember gorse from travelling the Iles. Little yellow flowers with a fleeting yet distinct scent. Some say it is reminiscent of coconut but for me it is its very own category. A special souvenir, this memory. (2022-04-08) ♥ Coming from the rainy North of Germany not too far from the coast, I still underestimated how humid the air is in Dublin, Ireland. 4°C let my hands freeze, 12 °C made me take my jacket off and I finally opted for buying a hair dryer. So close, yet so different. (2022-04-09) ♥ We parked in the driveway and got out of the car. A huge rosemary bush greeted us belonging to the most beautiful garden adjacent to the hotel grounds. Standing by the fence, the owner shared stories from over 90 years of his life. A different kind of sightseeing. (2022-04-10) ♥ As a child, magnets fascinated me. The way they could attract iron yet repelled each other was magic for me. When studying Earth's history, I was introduced to more magic. Amber, fossils, phonolite, volcanos, even rocks from space, and lodestone. Life is magical! (2022-04-11) ♥ In a park I stopped in my tracks when in the distance a grey lupine-like figure stood on the path in front, eyeing me, before it charged forwards. I stood still, breathing. The husky stopped right in front of me, ready to play. The beginning of a great friendship. (2022-04-12) ♥ Standing on Heligoland's Mittelland I first did not realise I was looking at a crater created during World War II. Learning about how deep this has shaken the island, quite literally, shook me to my bones. https://bit.ly/3Kw9Rc5 (2022-04-13) ♥ Vogelsand ... a harmless name for an adventure happening every day when ships are entering the river Elbe near the island Neuwerk. Two sandbars made of quicksand harbour the power to hold on to ships and break them, the proof being hundreds of wrecks. Natural forces. (2022-04-14) .
Of course, I also learnt new English words, again, this month.
I also learnt “hail” has more meanings than I knew, “rail” has more meanings than I was aware of, succulent can be used in more ways than I knew, Akita is also a name and one of its bearers is a musician, I finnally understood the meaning of crest and maybe I will even be able to remember it, this time. I further learnt broom and gorse are not the same, shrews are not mice and “hide” has more meanings than I knew.
. Tired of a world in discord, not only in mind but to the bones, knowing she can take no more, she prayed for a solution. And then she made a choice. Instead of laying down to stop existing, she laid down and asked for the cords to be cut and her vibration to be raised. (2022-04-15) ♥ The succulent flesh of an apple, ripe and sweet, found round and green and shiny under an old apple tree we were passing by on a walk through the park. An invitation of Mother Nature we followed. A gift of Mother Earth. And for one moment we experienced heaven on earth. (2022-04-16) ♥ While she bred over words to be inked on the paper her thoughts would migrate to different realms. The beautiful warm sunshine on a cool Spring day. The lovely bird song on an Easter morning. The fragrance of cinnamon wafting in from the bakery the previous day... (2022-04-17) ♥ A day out by the sea, ebb tide, the water far out, salty air clears the head with a breeze, seagulls ride the gusts. Then the water comes back, washes over the sand, brings to life the garnish made of mussels and sea weed. Back home, the kettle on, a good meal awaits. (2022-04-18) ♥ People thought of her as a creep because she preferred the dark, thriving in rainy weather like a fungus. They did not know fungi are a network connecting all of Gaya, their mental power so vast they could connect with any being lovingly cradled by Mother Earth. (2022-04-19) ♥ She bent over in pain which was now coming in ever increasing waves. At its crest, there was a moment when she did not know if she would first have to vomit and then faint or if she would faint first and then throw up. Instead, she broke into tears. Would this ever end? (2022-04-20) ♥ Her body was buzzing in dissonance. So, it is true. It is possible to hurt people merely with frequencies. She knew it, because right now she was hurting. This was the respectful ending of her research about the music invented by Masami Akita. https://youtu.be/VVY6V5V2cbQ | I realise I messed up the times a bit. Well, I was hurting. Maybe I got torn between the timelines, too. I'm not sure. Sorry Mr. Akita. My perception is not made for your art. I am grateful for it, though, as the goth scene would not be what it is without your contribution. 🙏 (2022-04-21) .
. Returning from a walk on a day in early Summer, a bag full of foraged goods - wild herbs of various kinds. Some become the day's dinner, noodles with garlic mustard and oil perhaps, others bundled and hung for drying - the earthy scent of their oils on my fingers. (2022-04-15) ♥ Visiting an ancient house made of sand, loam and water, the space inside protected from the heat in Summer and from the cold in Winter, I began to wonder if perhaps progress is nothing but an advancement away from self, leaving us stultified and soulless. (2022-04-16) ♥ Blackbird came for rest. I gave him company till he was better. For two years he visited, even showed up on my walks in the park. One day he waited for me to see him slowly nab the last wild strawberry. Then he sat and sang the sweetest song. I knew this was goodbye. (2022-04-17) ♥ One Spring day in the Feldmark, a hare hopped straight towards us and then turned left to hide in the meadow of the amphibia reservation. I saw it sitting perfectly still, looking at me. I stood still, too, until the fear subsided and the hare was ready to move on. (2022-04-18) ♥ Where I live, the city council has planted maple trees near the bus station. In Spring they carry delicate green blossoms, in Summer they carry green leaves shading us from the sun. And in Autumn, oh the beauty, oh the colour - orange, gold and red against grey skies. (2022-04-19) ♥ A man training animals for movies showing people how to take good care of the animal actors allowed me to have a close encounter with a python. 14 kilos around my neck felt warm like an embrace, not at all scary. I wish all humans I encountered had been that kind. (2022-04-20) ♥ Packed with half a household we travelled the Isles before we returned to our home on the main land. Once, we took a ferry crossing the Strait-s of Moyle, stopping by for a few days in a tiny pension on the Isle of Man, needing to bend space to store our luggage. (2022-04-21) .
Further I found out that seemingly simple words like “go” or “take” can be way more challenging to write about than more distinctive terms.
Most of us have immediate associations with distinctive terms like “Akita” or “tungsten”, for example – or we get them when we read up about them.
Those everyday-words, however, we might not even pay much attention to and we definitely do not connect them with a story, right away. This can be challenging but it also gives a lot of freedom.
. When have we run out of ANDs?, she wondered. All she could see were EITHERs and ORs but no ANDs. She realised: The world must surely have gotten out of kilter as balance can never be found in the extremes but rather in the space between. This was her stance, anyway. (2022-04-22) ♥ She was not a person to hold on to anger or grudges. Within her was so much love for life - such negative feelings would just diffuse. Then she met him. Happy in the beginning, something changed upon a big life crisis. Now she was subject to abuse that would not diffuse. (2022-04-23) ♥ Coming home from foraging, the shaman sorted through the collected goods. She allowed the simple work of bundling the herbs for drying to engage her entirely. The shape of each leaf, the feel of the stems when binding them with hemp string, the scent left on her hands. (2022-04-24) ♥ On a stroll through Nature the shaman sat down by a pond watching a coot leading her chicks through the water by the bank overgrown with various greens. Innocent as they were she was reminded of the freedom to take a breath, beholding her judgement diffuse into ripples. (2022-04-25) ♥ Heeling by the flower bed under the front window, the shaman observed the blue tits nesting in the eave. One fledgling made it from the balcony to the windowsill below. He looked surprised upon his performance. It reminded her, how each day bears the chance to begin. (2022-04-26) ♥ She turned the knob and the door opened. Entering the abandoned house, she slowly looked around, tilting her head. For a moment the oblique perspective offered a view from which a shadow evaded towards the old coal cellar. Pursuing, she wondered what would await. (2022-04-27) ♥ From the passenger seat on the way to the seaside she observed yellow rape fields with green hedgerows passing by, a blue sky with fluffy clouds above and the vast ocean with rippling spray turning up. She realised plain was not at all tantamount to unadorned. (2022-04-28) .
. Recently I learnt that a shrew is not a rodent but actually an insectivore. This is especially interesting as in German a shrew is called a Spitzmaus (pointy mouse). Who knew that mouse and mouse are not the same? Nothing really is as it seems. (2022-04-22) ♥ I realise I don't know anything about tungsten apart from its German name Wolfram also is a family name as well as a male first name. Come to think of it, I don't even know anybody called Wolfram. Good to know that there are still things to learn and people to meet. (2022-04-23) ♥ Sitting at the pond in the park in the late afternoon, watching the lotus hovering over the reflections on the water, letting them bloom while the birds start a fulminant evening concert and the sun is slowly tinging the sky pink and red. A moment divine. (2022-04-24) ♥ Once I got lectured on psilocybin. The lecturer defended its use so vehemently, he did not even notice there was no judgement but simply no interest in the experience. I merely wanted to know what kind of pretty mushroom had sprouted next to a plant in my flowerpot. (2022-04-25) ♥ A path along the cliffs on a Summer day. No wind, the water still, the sky flaring. Only a few ripples pattern shades of aquamarine and deep blue. A fragrance of sand and salt and the herbs growing by the wayside, one of them dangling lilac blossoms over the abyss. (2022-04-26) ♥ As a child, I often saw fairies. In the garden of a befriended family grew a fuchsia bush where they showed up in vibrant coloured dresses - pink and purple, red and yellow and some wore white skirts with red hoods. They had long legs and were dancing ballet for me. (2022-04-27) ♥ I never saw any loganberry. Where I live, we have raspberry and blackberry and I know places where the latter grows abundantly. Not only the fruits, also the leaves can be beneficial as a tea. I also ate cloudberry jam from Norway. But I never had any loganberry. (2022-04-28) .
On the whole, I found my own voice and style this month. I’ve played with it and even found out along the way that this style has more in it than I knew – for example in the #7DayTale.
It was also very challenging for me to write the posts regularly this month. Besides lack of sleep, a few things in everyday life intervened that almost prevented me from delivering daily. But the very short stories have also given me so much that I have persevered.
. In early Summer the shaman often went to the meadow in the park. Sitting under one of the trees, she could feel life pulsating. The lush presence of flora, the animate wildlife, humans enjoying a day out. It reminded her how creation is not elusive but inclusive. (2022-04-29) ♥ Losing the ability to birth children did not worry her, nor did the prospect of being freed of monthly pain. She was not sure about aging. As long as she stayed fit, she probably would not mind. She did fret over the societal approach. Why was it called climax, anyway? (2022-04-30) .
. On a quest during class trip at the Bavarian Forest we were to find out what a Wolpertinger is. Having no clue, we asked a resident who told us in a thick Bavarian accent he had some in his garden at night. Now, upon learning the area has a lot of radon, I wonder... (2022-04-29) ♥ Once, I observed a limping pigeon at a train station. The other pigeons kept chasing it away from food sources. So, it would stay close to the humans waiting for the train occasionally sharing a crumb or two. The other pigeons did not dare to get that close to humans. (2022-04-30) .
The very short stories help me find my own style and discover myself anew as a writer. This is what I originally wanted and I am grateful it is working and to have found such a great community – not only on Twitter but also through a few special people who are active here on WordPress.
But beyond that, the very short stories help me on another level, namely to break through the speechlessness that has set in for me in recent years.
At the same time, other things are starting to flow again, after almost total stagnation had set in for me.
Also, I feel like I’m starting to find my people – people with whom there are enough things in common to get along well and where there are enough inspiring differences. That gives me a sense of meaning and mutual support.
. #53WS: After years of editing and re-editing her own scripts, she was about to discover her spelling was not that poor after all. She heard a growl. No, it was more like a giggle. The letter troll arose in her view chewing on a missing vowel from her latest post. I LIKE, it said. (2022-04-01) .
. #7DayTale: The security guard turned the corner. She puckered her lips to whistle, but no sound came out. The men inside the building probably wouldn't have heard her anyway, just as they wouldn't hear her when she told them they were planning for too much blasting agent. BOOM! (2022-04-04) ♥ The security guard gasped at the building for a moment, then started to fumble with his walkie-talkie. She could hear his voice utter incomprehensible sounds while his eyes were fixed on the device. In front of him, she saw Joe staggering out of the smoking building. (2022-04-05) ♥ Behind Joe, Carl emerged, spraucheling. She puckered her lips again and this time a clear and short whistle sounded from her mouth. Only the men could not hear it after the detonation. She observed Carl bending over coughing, unaware of the security guard... (2022-04-06) ♥ What a fool!, she thought, getting ready to step in with an improvised story. But the security guard did not take note of the two burglars. Not even when Jim tumbled out behind them, face all blackened from the explosion, right into coughing Carl who bumped into Joe. (2022-04-07) ♥ While she was wondering if they had been better off opting for pilfer instead of robbing a bank, Joe finally noticed the security guard, still fumbling with his walkie-talkie. He pulled Carl by the arm and away from Jim who, now without support, rolled to the ground. (2022-04-08) ♥ She did not know whether to laugh or to cry and feverishly tried to come up with a distraction. Meanwhile the security guard turned around, now standing with his back to her accomplices, clumsily putting his walkie-talkie away. Behind him, Joe tried to pull Jim up. (2022-04-09) ♥ In this moment, she recognised the bulging bag in Carl's hand. Jim was back on his feet, now and the three men voted with their feet away from the scene. She snug right after them. Those bungling burglars had done it... Now, she just needed to get a hold of that bag! (2022-04-10) ♥ #7DayTale April 2022 Twitter-Moment .
. #5wordstory: Hunting solitude to find hermitage. (2022-04-04) .
Now I am looking forward to what stories May will bring.
By the way, I recently grouped my very short stories by theme. Actually, I only wanted to keep an eye on the sequels I had started, but suddenly I discovered so much more I had not noticed before. Let’s see what else comes out of it.
Finally, I would like to thank the wonderful people who always come up with such inspiring prompts for us. Each person brings something special to the table and I am learning so much from you. This also applies, of course, to the people who write down their very short stories together with me. And, naturally, a special thank you at this point to “my people”, whom I mentioned earlier.
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