Susan's Archives From March 2020
Caredwyn played with the threads of the worn beach quilt her mother made from her childhood t-shirts that she couldn't bear to donate or throw away. Her mother sat next to her staring out at the waves as if the sets were speaking to her in morse code telling her what to say to her recently divorced daughter. Crash. Smash. Whoosh. "Just listen," they advised.
Running her fingers over the Carebear's belly to her right, Caredwyn took a handful of sand and placed it on the quilt square sculpting the sand around the cartoon character. She looked at the horizon as tears trickled down her cheeks. The liquid spread as she smiled when she saw the line of sailboats racing to the harbor. "Remember what I used to say about sailboats?" she said and rubbed her face with her sleeve.
I used to be like most people and thought the story form classifications were either short stories or novels. There is so much more! Novels usually have a minimum of 50,000 words. Short stories have anywhere from 1,000 to 7,500 words. Novellas fit the space between short stories and novels and apparently they are getting more popular in the e-book world.
I have a growing interest in the stories that are below the short story designation. Flash Fiction can be anywhere between 100 and 1,500 words. There are several online literary magazines dedicated to this type of fiction. The 100 or 101 word story movement even has a space for itself too. Below 100 words can be designated as micro-fiction. And an even more specific type of story that we are covering in today's post, a story in a tweet of 280 characters. Twitter doubled its character maximum in 2017 from 140 characters and this is a much better character count for stories and can usually encompass about 55 words.
What is the De Wilgen Farm Stay?
De Wilgen Farm Stay is a small creative working residency in the countryside of the Flemish region of Belgium. De Wilgen is run by myself and my partner, Jonathan Vanhaelst. The residency is open during the summer months for one and two-week stays. This summer, now in our second season, we will be open for residencies from early July to mid-August. We provide space where writers and visual artists can come to spend time doing the work that feeds them. We offer a space to artists that allows them to focus on their work while we take care of day to day things such as meal planning and dishes.
I had heard of this book through the years in different circles when I lived in New York City. When my current Lille/Brussels writing group brought up reading it, I was interested in checking it out. I bought the twenty-fifth anniversary edition published in 2007 entitled The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World. The original title was The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property, I prefer the latter title and think it captures its essence much better. I love books about creativity and leading a creative life and this book did have a profound effect on me and my view of the world.
So, here are the ten takeaways I had after reading it: