“You can be whatever you want to be.” my father said.
“Then I want to be a writer, Dad,” I told him.
“But you told me I can be whatever I want to be.”
“Sorry. What I meant was you can be whatever doctor you want to be.”
Mary Kaye Valdez has been fond of written words since the second she found out she couldn’t get along with spoken ones. She also loves storytelling, but frankly, she’s just a liar who wants an excuse. Her work has previously been published in Down in the Dirt.
She has to have her cigarettes. Buys them with the baby food money. Buys a six-pack, too. She lights up; first drag is always the best. She drops it in the sand, crushes it. She chugs the beer, staggers, falls into the moonlit surf.
She gave the baby up today.
poetry, prose, and photographs have appeared in Melancholy Hyperbole
, When Women Waken
, and Blotterature
. She travels the scenic route between St. Pete, Florida and the Off Campus Writers Workshop (OCWW) in Winnetka, Illinois. When she’s not writing, she’s listening, picking up slices of life or shells on a beach.
In the shallows of the gently lapping waves, the girl, dress tucked in knickers, had played.
The sun, low in the sky, casts an orange glow.
Shops long closed. Curlews, in flight, send out their cry.
A mother comes out to call her daughter home.
There’s no one to hear.
Jean lives in Bath in the UK and loves reading 50-word stories. She has a go whenever she gets the time.
He likes listening to music, so the choice was easy for his birthday: a Bluetooth speaker!
Right now, I regret it. The music is way too loud! I can’t handle it anymore.
I go to his bedroom, open the door, and shout: “Please, dad, can you turn the volume down?!”
Noé Colle is a 17-year-old student from Chimay, a town in the French part of Belgium. He saw the website 50WS during his English lesson and wanted to give it a try. Noé is a composer and a DJ: music is his passion.
Last night, Dad came round to introduce us to his latest bride to be. “There’s life in the old dog yet,” he said.
She said nothing.
This must be his third engagement since Mum died, or his fourth including Carol.
“Who’s counting, anyway?” he asked with a grin.
David is remarkably immature about these things. He finds that writing about it does help a bit.
Sarah couldn’t bear to look out the back window. She hated the garden. Peter had been promising to remove the yard toys since January, but he didn’t have the heart to do it. They fought about that. They fought about everything.
Tina was only four. Perhaps heaven has yard toys.
Paul Laughsend is a previously unpublished writer, always looking for support and guidance.
The tiny hand was lost within its father’s. Each gripped tightly, softly to the other. Within that touch, free from language or misinterpretation, resided the very essence of love.
The small hand slowly went limp; the larger paused, then released. One now free; the other chained eternally to that moment.
Adam Mitchell is a teacher, mostly, and a learner always. Current published work can be accessed in his dreams.
He was never much for talking,
but he must have felt
our youthful lack of questions
as a wound: when
we asked him, later—
when we were old enough
he’d never told us
of who he was,
his answer flared
quick and sharp:
Jennifer L. Freed usually writes poetry but likes the challenge of micro-fiction. She recently had a 100-word story (“The Lesser”) published in The Citron Review
. Her website is jfreed.weebly.com
The notes by the headstone say “Thank You”, anonymous followers grateful because her death finally opened their eyes.
Mine says “Sorry”, for even as an enemy of the state, a hero of the people, or an urban legend, she was still my daughter and I failed to keep her safe.
Mohamed is an avid reader who found a calling in writing, both fiction and non-fiction. Mohamed is writing a short story collection titled “Broken Men”. He also wrote The Café, his first novel in Arabic. See more on his blog.
“Put the tip of your knife in the silvery place where the soft-scaled belly meets tail. Press down. Draw the blade away, not toward. Cleave the meat, and fish out the gnarled black guts; smell the sour salt.”
“And if he tries to help?”
“Say no. This is most important.”
Post-MFA, Lora Rivera worked as a literary agent’s assistant, children’s biographer, e-learning developer, and crepe maker. She likes: rocks and climbing on them, words and chewing on them, people and connecting to them, and ferns because they are old and slow to evolve and so must be very wise. Find her on Twitter
or at clippings.me/lroseriver