Sunday, March 25, 2007

A napkin, a dull pencil and a lemon, please. And fast.

If you're into short short stories (or if you don't like reading fiction because it's too long) you'll enjoy Esquire's Napkin Fiction Project. The magazine mailed plain white cocktail napkins to 250 authors around the country and published the results online. While I haven't read them all, one of my favorites is The Holdup by Andrew Sean Greer, which is pasted below.

The cold pressure you feel under the table is a gun. A real gun. I am a desperate man. I am a novelist. Don't look at me, just keep on drinking. Now what I want you to do--slowly, no sudden moves--is tell me a story. A true story, make it good. Maybe you woke up last week to a black sky and thought the world was ending. Maybe you called your girlfriend and said, I'm sorry about everything, and she said, Why? And you said, The world is ending, and she said, You idiot it's 3 in the morning. But thanks. I'm sorry too. And you know what? Let's get in my car and get out of here, I mean drive off and not look back. What about our friends, you ask. Screw them. I can't, you say, the world's not really ending. Well I am, she says, and that is how you lost her. Maybe a story like that. And when you're done, I want you to walk away. No funny stuff. Just walk away like nothing ever happened. Sit back and think. Order us both another Manhattan.
- "The Holdup" by Andrew Sean Greer

I probably like it because it's about writer's block. My most recent musings on writers block can be found here (see second paragraph).

I also enjoyed Sarah II by J.M. Tyree, which is, as they say in Internetland, LOL funny... And an untitled piece by Aimee Bender, which captured the spirit of the project with creative deadpan... And others. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon of procrastination.


Christian M. said...

Awesome, thanks for posting that! I emailed it to my short short fiction class. I really liked that story, too, and am reading some more now!

sheribomb said...

Great! Interestingly, you inadvertently emailed me that article. It came to me as part of something you forwarded me a few weeks ago from Yahoo! about science writing! ;-)