A Tiny Essay on Writing Tiny Stories and "The Toad"

by Grant Faulkner

"A Tiny Essay on Writing Tiny Stories"

Even God knows the story can’t be told in its entirety. A profligacy of words soon disorients. Rococo flourishes end as fulsome decadence. It is absence that spawns the fundamental mystery of life. Subtle gestures, dashing glances, unspoken words whisper through our days, a beguiling puzzle. No explanations, please. Listing a dish’s ingredients reduces its taste. Keen images pique the palate best. We drift, rush, falter, and flounce, following scents. A flicker of light appears, a thunderclap in the distance. Illumination, short-lived, then gone, or so it seems. We can only touch nuances and wonder. And then, that final breath.

"The Toad"

     Flattened by a car, its arms spread out, a little like Jesus. The sun had baked it as crisp as a potato chip.

     “Poor toad,” Maria said. “Didn’t know how to cross the road.”

    “Maybe he thought the car was a new friend,” I said. “Rushing to greet him.”

    “Or he was puzzling how such a small thing in the distance could become so large.”

     We spent hours in such conversations. It was nice, how we never talked about what was next, who we were together. As if the toad wasn’t part of every story in its way, even ours.

                                                                                    **********

"The Toad" is from Faulkner's collection Fissures and was included in Best Small Fictions 2016.

Grant Faulkner likes big stories and small stories. He is the Executive Director of National Novel Writing Month and the co-founder of 100 Word Story. His stories have appeared in dozens of literary magazines, including The Southwest Review, Green Mountains Review, and PANK. His essays on creativity have been published in The New York Times, Poets & Writers, Writer’s Digest, and The Writer. He recently published a collection of one hundred 100-word stories, Fissures, two of which are included in Best Small Fictions 2016. His book of essays on creativity, Pep Talks for Writers: 52 Insights and Prompts to Boost Your Creative Mojo, is forthcoming from Chronicle Books in the fall of 2017.

Other Essays

On Characterization

by Matthew Clark Davison

On Validation

by Michelle Carter

The New Millennium

by Paul Hoover

more  

Support Fourteen Hills! 

Get 2 issues a year for $17

Fourteen Hills Press is staffed exclusively by graduate students in SFSU's Creative Writing program. We publish the annual Fourteen Hills: The SFSU Review and annual chapbooks. Fourteen Hills is committed to publishing the best of original poetry, fiction, literary nonfiction, and cross-genre work created by writers in the US and abroad.

Fourteen Hills is a proud member of the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses

© 2018 by Fourteen Hills, SFSU Dept. of Creative Writing

1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132