Many of you have probably had to write within a given timeframe. You get a lot done when the clock is ticking. What you write will be rougher, but it will be fresher. That ticking timepiece makes you anxious, and in your rush to get something/anything down on paper, you just go. Where? Anywhere! And the result is that your writing goes to unexpected places. Your writing breaks out and runs free.
Micro-fiction is all the rage, and there are many websites on which you can post your efforts. Writing to a specific word count is excellent discipline. You need to discard all adverbs and cut the number of adjectives. It is all about saying more with less. A good thing to learn regardless of what you are writing.
Six-word stories are the shortest. The most famous six-word story was penned by Ernest Hemingway: “For sale. baby shoes, never worn.” Another is this by Margaret Atwood: “Longed for him. Got him. Shit.” And finally one by Ursula Le Guin: “Easy. Just touch the match to.” If this form appeals, you might want to check out www.sixwordstories.net.
Personally, I’ve never quite gotten the hang of the six-word story form, but I do love writing 50-word stories. Writing to exactly 50 words really makes you think about your word choices. One of many websites is www.fiftywordstories.com. Two of my fifty-word stories are below.
Smacking her toddler, Alice felt a moment’s control. For a fraction of a second, she forgot about the frozen pipes, the broken car, and her drunken husband. As her hand made contact, the faces of the bill collector, social worker, and landlord faded and shooting stars brightened her dun-colored sky.
Thunder rolled like a bowling ball down a corduroy road. Lightning lit the sky. Moving down the mountain, a solid wall of water drew closer. Looking at the sky, Margie weighed her chances and decided to risk driving across the dry arroyo. Had she lived, she would have had regrets.
- Now it is your turn. Try a six-word or a fifty-word story. You will be surprised at how much fun you have.
One of Custer County’s heritage ranches goes back to 1869 when Elton and Edwin Beckwith, well-born and well-educated Maine natives, came to Custer County and called it home. Home with an English twist, for not many locals had expectations of building a ballroom or inviting the neighbors over for formal dinners and afternoon teas.
Then again when you run over 7,000 head of cattle on nearly 3,000 fenced acres, you don’t necessarily have to blend in with the natives. It is a grand house, and I love to wander around the property and inside the building.
Look at the view as it is framed through the windows inside the Beckwith Ranch house.
Whoever built the original house was truly in tune with the landscape. If it is not a window framing a view, it is the pillars of a wrap-around porch.
The outside of the house had seen quite a bit of work but the inside of the house is a shambles. How pleased I was this past week to see posted in the Tribune an “Invitation to Bid” on the interior restoration.
General contractors are invited to submit a letter of interest for a $150,000-$200,000 interior restoration project. Prequalification Statements can be picked up at Sangre Solutions, 615 Main Street, Westcliffe, CO. Call 719-783-0631 with questions.
Statements must be returned no later than 4:00 p.m.February 25. I was particularly pleased to see that local contractors will be given preference. Whoever is selected, I hope they take particular care with the owl mural. I have many favorite bits, but the owl is very special.
I’m buying material for my 1880s dress tomorrow. I look forward to serving you tea.