Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Story Excerpt #3

Hullo from Michigan Avenue, from a Starbucks where they are playing literally the most annoying music in the world (deep-throated, belting female vocals and a horrible bluegrass cover of that "ooh you saw me standing alone" song, UGH), from my fleeting lunch break.

I DID write a story last week, and (according to the invisible fine print of my resolution) I have NOT touched it past Sunday, but I just haven't gotten around to posting it here. I mean, there was a SUPERBOWL to watch. There was a to make fun of!

The first two stories were kind of easy and exciting, racking in at a cool 10 pages each (~3000 words), but this third one was more slight, whimsical (I KNOW), descriptive (UGH) and generally less satisfying. And we won't even talk about the fourth one! Potential titles for the one I'm writing right now: Cobbled Together: Frankenstein's Monster of a Story and The Many Ways to Die in Lake Michigan: I Survived the Chicago Blizzard.

This is a story about an invisible girl who wants to be visible. YEAH IT IS. Here's a tiny bit from the middle.

His car was old, but Visible Boy was very proud of it. It was a glossy turquoise with an off-white canvas roof and barely any shocks. Invisible Girl could feel every bump in the road. She tried to sleep, but the old engine kept humming through her body and her teeth chattered.

They drove out of the city. The landscape changed. Now there were broken-down old gas stations every ten miles.

“Damn,” said Visible Boy. “I really need to fill up.”

They passed tumbleweeds that danced in front of them like frightened little rabbits. The air was dry and full of dust. Glancing into the car's side mirror, Invisible Girl caught a glimpse of swift profile. She shivered.
What is this place.

“Are you having fun?” said Visible Boy. “What are you thinking?”

“I'm just looking around,” she said. “I like that there are no trees here.”

“Why?” he said. He always wanted to know. He reached across the transmissions and felt for her thigh, playing with the edge of her shorts. She sighed.

“What are your parents like?” she asked.

“Oh, they're just like me,” said Visible Boy. “Though they're both blonde. Tall. My dad is very dedicated to his work.”

Invisible Girl knew from a picture that they had arrogant eyebrows. They looked like strangers.

“Why don't they ever come to the country club?”

Visible Boy shifted the car into another gear, and the hum between her legs increased.

“It's not that—they're just giving us space,” he said. “They think couples need a lot of space.”

Around them, the landscape was flashing past, rusty and bare. The air smelled like a wood-burning oven, but there was no wood anywhere. In the mirror, an eyelash flickered.


  1. Love these. And so ambitious!

    A related project you might be interested in: A friend of mine runs a blog called Our Band Could Be Your Lit, in which, every week, he writes a short story based on a song recommended by readers. At least, that's the plan. Life gets in the way sometimes (his other writing, his band, his day job), so he's started calling for guest-authors to write short-shorts for the blog, too. Each one is less than 1,000 words, and he has a pool of songs to chose from (or you could probably chose your own). Might be a good exercise to try if you're ever low on ideas for your own weekly story. I did one a while back and it was great fun. If you're interested, check out the details here:

  2. Related to my last comment: Here's the call for guest stories, for you or anyone else who's interested.


You are truly great.