If you haven’t tried the George Saunders micro fiction exercise yet, do. It’s fun, expands the creative mind and winds up being quite revealing. Among many things, it shows the power of repetition. Below are a few of our results. Each story is exactly 200 words and has used 50 different words.
Again, you’ve got to try it, if you haven’t. And send us what you come up with. We’d love to put it up on the site!
“The system has failed” the auto warning system reports. The warning would repeat until the meltdown commences. “The system has failed.” He shuts down the main frame and starts it again. The only way to fix the corruption. “The system has failed.” He knows he has only seconds left. He shuts down the main frame. “Meltdown imminent,” the auto warning system reports. He starts the mainframe again. And waits. Seconds pass. He waits and hopes. The auto warning system reports “The system has failed. Meltdown imminent,” One chance left. He starts the backup computer. The backup computer failed during the drill. The meltdown drill he has failed again and again. And the backup computer now failed. “The system has failed,” the auto warning system reports again. He has failed again. “Meltdown is imminent,” the auto warning system reports. He shuts down the main frame and the backup and starts it again and it has failed and meltdown is imminent. He thinks of his wife and his kid. He can’t leave. “The system has failed,” the auto warning system reports. The warning would repeat until the meltdown commences. He thinks of his wife and kid. He can’t lave. “The system has….”
– D. Dan Murphy
They met at the tree every day for a year. Branches to the sky and they sat grass talking a green summer. He was the pastor’s kid, a mannered type, all clean with words and such. So clean, his hair smelled of cinnamon soap. He was white like the book angels she learned. So white. Clean white and days the tree seemed bent to touch him. So they sat and met with words, the tree all bent. A white day, sky white, they met like branches, tangled and green. Not clean. Not clean. Not like the book angels learned to him. And she tried for a year to soap the summer clean, to soap the green, the sky bent and white. So white. The mannered pastor’s kid was gone. His words gone. Not his hair. Not the cinnamon she smelled every day. His cinnamon kid. White kid, bent hair, all bent. The book angels seemed to touch his kid, the white book angels she learned to him. And they sat at the tree, the branches bent to touch him, the sky with angels talking, and his kid, his white kid, talking words to the angels, talking words to the sky.
– Molly O
A peculiar fellow came to my door as I was about to leave for work. In his hands was a glimmery object that was hard to make out. I was ready to tell him to get lost, but I was drawn to the object.
“Sir, what do you have there?” I said.
“An object beyond your wildest dreams,” he said.
“Well then, do show,” I said impatiently.
“Uh uh, not so fast,” said he.
“Well, make it fast.”
“Then tell me a dream,” he said.
“I was lost and a glimmery object was hard to get. Not hard, but fast. It was the wildest object. Impatiently and peculiar it was. There was a hand with peculiar dreams. I got lost as I was about to leave to work.”
“Uh, was that so hard?” he said.
“There, I said it. I’m ready now. You have said so.”
“Uh, then now you leave!” he said.
“What now? Before I tell you to get lost.”
His hands came to the ready, the object I was impatiently drawn to was about to be at the ready. “A door to your wildest dreams. A door to look to the beyond.”
My door to the beyond!
– Bradford Smith