What can YOU say in six sentences?
Sara heard him come home—the door squeaked in its usual way and then, thump, it was shut—but then she heard voices, and giggles, a hoot of laughter, and then the tssst of a can of beer or soda and music exploding on the stereo.
She lay in bed for another hour until all the noise died, until Bill entered the bedroom.
“I guess you didn’t feel well,” he said. He didn’t wait for an answer,…Continue
They arrived at the ballpark and before Sara could find their seats and get her bearings, two friends of Bill’s appeared, each with a woman in tow, and Sara could not tell if the women were the men’s wives—each was introduced by only a first name: Cookie and DeeDee—or dates.
Sara was sure that the sextet she found herself in was prearranged, perhaps by Bill.
They all sat in a line—Sara…Continue
Sara decided that she needed to restore the spark of romance in her life with Bill—she hoped it was possible—so she drove to the gourmet grocery store and selected all the delicacies she knew he loved but that she never cooked for him, and piled the goodies in the car and then stopped at the wine store for a really good champagne.
It wasn’t their anniversary or his birthday, just a normal Saturday evening, though she was lucky that Bill was going to be out of the house most of the day…Continue
It was twilight on a summer evening and Sara and Bill were out for an after dinner stroll. The warm breeze stirred a sensation—one she hadn’t felt in a long time—deep in Sara’s heart. They were about to cross the road when Sara reached over and took Bill’s hand.
“What’s that for?” Bill asked, shaking her hand off as though it were radioactive.
Sara didn’t answer, but quickly hid her hand in her skirt pocket.
“Don’t tell me you need help crossing the street!” Bill…
“Soon it’s gonna rain, I can feel it,” he said.
“Can’t we ever have a conversation, just the two of us, without your arthritis being the star of the show?” she said.
“Well, that was fine and dandy when you had your hysterectomy and all I heard all day long was about how you couldn’t pee after they took the catheter out.”
“Great—you’re going to compare a little stiffness with the slice and dice they did on me at the butcher shop they call a hospital?”
“You got over that,…
The man in a green T shirt and gray sweat pants stands at the window. He is pointing out something to his young son; what he is pointing to appears to be me. Now he sits down at his computer and begins to type. Every now and then he looks back at my window as though taking a precise gauge of things and continues typing. He is writing about me and, at the same time, I am writing about him. Below us, the traffic on York Avenue moves on and no one…Continue
Lately, since Stuart was often out of town on business, Nora had become used to being alone and found she preferred it, something her friends didn’t understand.
She loved being in the house without having to answer “What are you reading?” and then “Why are you reading THAT?”
She could go through old photographs without “Why are you saving those pictures?” and “You can hardly remember who all those people are.”
Best, she could go through the artifacts of Stuart’s life…Continue
Six rejections of a fiction manuscript
1. Thank you for your story, but we don’t have time to read it.
2. Don’t give up writing even if we think you should.
3. Instead of writing, why not volunteer for an organization like Amnesty International?
4. We could not get over the name you selected for your protagonist so…
The day before Valentine’s Day, she went to the florist and ordered a dozen long-stemmed, deep red roses in a tall vase with a big bow, with instructions to deliver them to her house the next day and leave them by the front door.
Her husband came home from work first and brought them into the house, placing the vase on the kitchen table.
When she arrived, she thanked him with hugs and kisses, since he had never sent her flowers or given her a single gift before and now she told…Continue
She woke early with searing pain in her tooth—a tooth that had been giving her trouble for a year and on which had already been hung two crowns—and knew that she had to beg her dentist to do something to help her. She was leaving the following day for a conference at which she was giving the opening talk, but that wasn’t the reason why; she was also having dinner with a friend—one she never met in person, but whom she knew from her gorgeous sentences, vibrant characters, and…
As a cancer researcher and survivor, I want to pass these facts along for the new year. (Pardon my soapbox, but I am passionate about this.)
1. Tobacco use accounts for 33% of cancer incidence.
2. Excessive alcohol consumption accounts for 33% of cancer incidence.
3. Poor diet accounts for 5% of cancer incidence; being obese accounts for 20%
4. Infection with pathogenic organisms account for 5% of cancer…Continue
The truck driver had no inkling that the bison escaped until he pulled into a gas station a mile up the road and noticed that he’d forgotten to lock the tailgate. At that point, all he could do was to backtrack and move up and down the lanes of the village trying to figure where that half-ton shaggy beast might have meandered.
It had, in fact, wandered into the midst of a backyard garden wedding where both the bride, decked…Continue
1. Finding little pieces of broken glass in the park and thinking they were precious jewels that only I knew about.
2. Discovering how to make an egg cream and considering that one of the most important facts I would ever know.
3. Sleeping over at my girlfriend’s house and confiding that one of the boys in our third grade class held my hand during a fire drill.
4. Running through the streets of New York with my mother at the start of a snow storm and laughing our…
1. I remember wanting to push my brother back into my mother’s uterus when he was born.
2. I remember wanting to be friends with the most popular girl in junior high school but being told I was not cute enough.
3. I remember my first kiss; unfortunately it was an old man—a receptionist in my doctor’s office who asked for a hug and then stuck his tongue in my mouth.
4. I remember vomiting on my first date.
5. I remember getting a job teaching after college…
1. “How is Jay or has he already committed suicide?”
2. “I hear that ten billion cells die a day so my feeling is that all ten billion must be from John’s brain.”
3. “It’s just money, not real life.”
4. “You should have told me there was a chance you wouldn’t get through your defense; I wouldn’t have ordered a cake.”
5. “Hi, I’m Jane, or Ann, or Susan…whatever.”
6. “If you were creative yourself, you’d understand.”
All these were written in a notebook over the last…Continue
1. The stain didn’t look like tea—it looked like blood—but she didn’t want to know one way or the other—ever; she sat down on the chair and began to rock.
2. Most of the houses were dark, but every now and then I saw a flickering of blue light from a television in an upstairs room; I wondered what show the person was watching, and whether she was watching alone.
3. She wondered if he was standing in the doorway, watching them; she wanted to turn around, but she…Continue
1. I am sitting in a car with a man who is not my husband.
2. She lay on her back, making a big capital M, with her knees apart, pointing up to the sky, and looked defenseless, like a chicken on the kitchen drainboard, waiting to be stuffed.
3. When she was still an infant, he peered into her crib and said, “I never should have knocked up such a homely woman.”
4. Only the matter of their employment kept the four of them from living next door to each other, from living…Continue
She came home from the store with a new journal that had a robin's egg blue cover and a violet ribbon to tie it up with, and a perfect shade purple gel ink pen, and could not wait to get some fresh ideas onto the paper. Her boyfriend George circled around her chair several times with a worried expression before asking, “Are you writing about me?” “No, I am writing about a character I dreamed up the other day—one who is tortured by love, but who is too shy to admit it to his girlfriend,” she…Continue