A Whole World in a Teeny Tiny Story


Gratitude (no list today, but this):
Some days, the lesson plan sort of dissipates in the face of something else that takes over.  That happened today.  A couple times a week, I offer my students short, ungraded writing exercises at the beginning of class, just to keep the writing muscle toned.  Today, we wrote micro-fiction, trying to get a story into 6 words, but letting ourselves go up to 15, or maybe 20, and even more in a few cases.  In every class, there were teeny-tiny stories that took my breath away.

During 8th period, the stories kept coming, and people kept sharing, and it felt wrong to cut it short.  Something in the back of my head kept saying, “Umm.  We were planning to work with Dependent and Independent Clauses, and Participial Phrases and. . .” and another part of my brain (fortunately) told that first part to please sit down and be quiet a while.

One boy, who had been out of class for a couple weeks, told his tiny story.  Immediately a couple of the others raised their hands and wanted to talk about what they thought it meant.  Suddenly students were doing deep literary analyses of their classmates’ micro-stories.

Then a girl wrote a tiny story and explained that it was about race, and about how, even when you are successful in this culture, if you’re black, there’s a sense in which it’s never quite enough.  Nobody raised a hand to tell her differently.  They listened.  Oh, how they listened.

And then a boy raised his hand, the same one who recently returned to class, and he began to speak powerfully about resilience.  I worried for a moment that the girl might think he was telling her how she ought to feel, that because she didn’t know his story, she might think it was directed at her.  When he was done, she said, “I get what you are saying.”  Their eyes were shining as they left class today, and I didn’t do a thing but witness.

I am so glad that we did not study Participial Phrases today.

May we walk through our stories in Beauty!


3 thoughts on “A Whole World in a Teeny Tiny Story

  1. Oh how I like. I’d like a sample please of a 6-word story or a 10 or 20. I have practiced with 100 word stories, but I haven’t practiced this much shorter discipline. Do you have one you can provide as example?


    • This one I wrote may be a little obscure:
      She had always longed to walk in the rain, and one day she did. Even those ruby slippers couldn’t have saved her.

      (I wish I had asked my students’ permission to post some of them publicly. Some were really gripping. Some had amazing depth. Some were hilarious.)


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