50 WORD MICROFICTION

It went to my head.

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Photo by Ergita Sela on Unsplash

Opening a bottle of expensive red wine, he poured her a glass…

“I’ve been saving this bottle for a special occasion…”

…he poured me a glass of expensive red wine…

“I’ve been saving this for a special occasion…”

That night, I slept with him…

and never heard from him again.

(This flash fiction was inspired by a guy who once tried this on me and a former best friend. He invited me over, made me dinner, and tried to sleep with me. The next night, he invited her over, made her the same dinner, and tried to sleep with her. Neither of us had any clue until we were at an event a month later and he walked in with a third girl we knew (neither of us had heard from him since our “special” date). We ended up comparing notes and found out there was a fourth friend he had pulled the same moves on. He told all three of us to keep it on the down-low because he was going through a nasty divorce. …


A joke…

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Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Fame, shame, and blame walked into a bar.

They sat down and the bartender said, “You look like trouble. What’s your poison?”

Fame said, “I’ll have the usual,” with a toss of her hair and a knowing wink.

“Sex on the Beach it is,” replied the barkeep.

Shame, feeling a little embarrassed, whispered, “May I please have a frozen strawberry daiquiri?”

To which Blame rolled her eyes and barked, “Why do you always have to be so difficult? Just give me whatever you have on tap.”

All three proceeded to take out their iPhone 11s and open their Instagram.

Fame took a selfie sipping her drink and posted it to Instagram. She captioned it, “Nothing like Sex on the Beach in the middle of…


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Yesterday, I shared this quote with my students and had them write about its meaning. It is from Theodore Roosevelt’s famous "Citizenship in a Republic" speech given in 1910 at the Sorbonne in the Grand Amphitheater of the University of Paris. In it, he emphasizes his belief that the success of a republic rests on the quality of its people. This famous passage is known as "The Man in the Arena." It is also the passage that inspired the title of Brene Brown’s book, Daring Greatly. It is the standard by which Roosevelt measured himself and others.

We live in a world where all we see is the end product, the perfect Instagram life, the highlight reel, but we often know nothing of the struggle; the vulnerability it takes to put oneself out there repeatedly and still persevere in the face of criticism and the wake of failure. Brown says not to ask the infamous question: "What would you do if you knew you could not fail?" but rather, "What is worth doing, even if I fail?" Being willing to try even if you fail is vulnerability in its rawest form. I tell my students that writing is like this; creating anything and putting it into the world to be seen and critiqued is like this. …


Reasons why I suck and that’s okay.

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Lately, I’ve been thinking about all the ways we have been taught to recognize failure in the different areas of our life. From work to school to relationships, throughout our lives, we are given criteria. In some areas, these criteria are standards set by groups of people within society — religion, the government, specific industries, and other mainstream institutions. We are taught to measure success by the criteria set forth by THEM.

In education, for example, we learn quickly that getting an A on an assignment is outstanding, representing a high level of success; a B is above average; a C is average; D is below average, deficient or lacking; and an F, well an F represents failure at the lowest level. Most of us can handle getting an F as a result of a choice we have made, like deliberately failing to complete an assignment. If you conscientiously put forth zero effort, you deserve to fail, right? Maybe it was a minor assignment, one that we know won’t affect our grade, one we can make up with extra credit, and we had something better or more enjoyable to do so we blew it off. …


Fellow epistolers, this section is for you. Open Letters allow us to communicate with those that negatively (though sometimes positively) impact our lives.

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Epistles are open letters that are addressed to a person or group of people. They appear in the New Testament of the Bible and the ancient Egyptians often wrote them for pedagogical reasons. Writing an open letter can be therapeutic for the letter writer, knowing that the individual for whom the letter is intended is unlikely to read it or respond. …


So shut up and listen…

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Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

It’s an old adage that extends as far back as Ancient times. It was Plato who said, “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.”

But, it was the Fool in Shakespeare’s King Lear who advises Lear: “Have more than thou showest, speak less than thou knowest, lend more than thou owest.” Lear is out of control, losing his mind, and losing power over his Kingdom. The Fool’s advice to Lear is simple: Don’t show all your cards at once.

Not everyone needs to know your business — what you own, what you make for a living, what you ate for dinner last night. Sometimes it is better not to flaunt your great knowledge on a subject or reveal your next move, lest you lose your advantage. And finally, it just makes sense to be bringing in more than you are spending. …


Only the strong can survive.

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Image from Thrive Global — World Ego Day is May 11.

Big egos exist in all industries, some more than others. There is a difference, however, between having a big ego (or weak ego) and a strong ego or strong personality. I am the latter.

Having a big ego is often used in the negative and as I have learned is akin to having a “weak” ego. The person with the “big” or “weak” ego needs constant validation and feels threatened by anyone whom they perceive to be more intelligent, more attractive or having more of any desirable trait than they perceive themselves to have.

A strong ego, on the other hand, is often described as having a strong personality. Have you ever heard someone say, “They couldn’t work together because they both have strong personalities?” What does that really mean? …


Why we write, why we stop writing, and why we should keep writing.

As a writer, there are days when the words flow out of me and I have to stop myself at some point and remind myself to actually participate in the world and live life outside of my head. And then there are days when I don’t know how to start or I can’t find what I need, or I wrote way too much and now I don’t know what to omit, the structure seems all wrong, or the words just don’t sound right and I wonder why I chose this writing career.

In 1980, the late, great Argentinian writer, Julio Cortazar delivered eight (8) lectures at Berkeley which were translated from Spanish and published almost 30 years later in Literature Class. The first one is a summary of a talk he once gave, “A Writer’s Paths” in which Cortazar recounts his own transformation as a writer and the evolution of his craft over 30 years of his own career. …


So many books. So little time.

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The June 10 & 17 edition of The New Yorker magazine just arrived in my mailbox today (Yes, I still subscribe to print magazines), and never have I ever seen a cover so relevant to my life. The title of the cover illustration is “Bedtime Stories” by American cartoonist Bruce Eric Kaplan, better known as BEK. I think a better name for this cartoon would be “Pile of Shame.” In other words, the books we buy, intending to read until we get distracted by another book that we want to read.

What avid reader/writer doesn’t have a pile of shame? While this is an obvious exaggeration of what most of our bedside tables look like, it is not uncommon for me to have piles of books all throughout the house. The anxiety-stricken looks on their faces say it all. So many books, so little time. Where do I begin? What do I read next? I am often reading two or three books at a time in different genres. …


(n.) the outer limits or edge of an area or object; a marginal or secondary position in, or part or aspect of a group, subject or sphere of activity.
synonyms: edge, fringe, margin, boundary, outskirts, verge

Time and time again, we see artists pushing the boundaries, sometimes quite literally, as with the paintings of Georgia O’Keefe, whose lines and forms raced off the edge of the canvas. Or Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque who invented cubism to create paintings that appeared fragmented and abstract.

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Sexual readings of O’Keefe’s paintings began in the 1920s and were revived in the 1970s by feminists who used her paintings as a statement of female empowerment. It is a viewpoint from nearly a century ago, perpetuated by male art critics and one that O’Keefe consistently denied for over six decades. For more on this read Claire McAlpines article on Medium, “Was Georgia O’Keefe actually painting vulvas?”

By breaking objects and figures down into distinct areas (planes), the artists could show different viewpoints at the same time and within the same space to suggest their three-dimensional form. “This marked a revolutionary break with the European tradition of creating the illusion of real space from a fixed viewpoint using devices such as linear perspective, which had dominated representation from the Renaissance onwards.” …

About

Kristina Martin

Freelance Writer and Editor, Content Marketing Specialist, and Writing Coach. I am a literature-loving, coffee consuming logophile, and bookstore aficionado.

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