This week I decided to spice up my twitter timeline a little, inspired by Teju Cole’s infamous Small Fates series. I remember reading them at the time and wondering how anyone managed to pack so much emotion and drama into 140 characters. It was pure brilliance. So I decided to challenge myself and see what I could do.
It really just started as a test to see if I could do a few general stories and make them sound even marginally coherent. But as I came to the end of my first bunch on Monday morning, I thought ‘Yolo’, and decided to carry on for the rest of the week every morning. It was a nice distraction from the predictable rages of the morning commute and a good challenge.
In terms of difficulty, at first it was quite difficult to come up with several stories in the space of 30-40 minutes, but I found the more I did them, the easier it became.Inspiration
After reading them, you may conclude that most are pretty grim, morose, or ironic and this was for two reasons. In a very practical sense, it’s virtually impossible (or I found it so), to create a story with great impact and so few characters, without there being tragedy, irony, or sadness involved. I tried, and I couldn’t. Maybe I didn’t try hard enough and that’s a new challenge. Once I came to this conclusion however, it became easier for me to create them. The world is literally full of these tragedies day in, day out, and some real life scenarios were the inspiration behind these stories. I feel like everyone will be able to relate to at least one story personally (whether on a deep or superficial level). So for those that were asking, that was the reason. A devoted follower of this blog might even spot a very familiar story shortened to 140 characters :).
As you will be able to tell if you have read the above link and saw my tweets, my attempts don’t even half match up to Teju’s, but practice could make perfect. Admittedly I did not put as much thought into my tales, as he did into his. I didn’t even know that this kind of thing had a name (I read that link after I had finished my stories): fait divers – an actual writing device. Curious. Amazing. I did try a little device of my own though to commemorate the final day, something I had tried out earlier in the week; a two-sided story spread across two tweets. Anyway, if you’ve not been bored up till this point, I’ve put all of my stories below. There are some that are particular favourites of mine, and some where I know I could have done better. Let me know your thoughts and favourites.
And follow me on Twitter! @TCSpeaksBlog 🙂
Katya wiped the kitchen table wishing that the red marks spattering its surface were ketchup & not streaks of blood from a slap by Alexei.
Frank was reknown as the best butcher of London’s East End. He sliced, he chopped, he diced, & made people disappear if the price was right. [spelling mistake grr!]
Kola was caring, successful, tall, dark, but not handsome enough for Jadesola who wanted lightskin babies the colour of her newly pale skin.
Joseph found loose change in his pocket. He put his hand deep in the offering tub, and when he brought it back out again, he had a £10 note.
Grace was a happy housewife and loving mother of two. Her favourite time of the day was when no one was at home except her & the postman.
Greg loved his son deeply, but regarded his wife with permanent contempt. After all, unknown to her, he was infertile when he married her.
Ramone was always getting unique jewellery for his wife. One day she was watching the news & saw them in an appeal for missing young girls.
Sometimes Jessie wouldn’t get up in the morning & would smoke weed for a few hrs. Then she’d rise & go about her day, her MS abated for now.
Police Officer Birns pulled the trigger and a suspect died. He was investigated, suspended, & upon his reinstatement, received a promotion.
Everyone thought Sergei took the news of his redundancy well & with dignity. Until he turned up the next day and shot them all then himself.
Fola was a sweet child fascinated by washing machines. One day she saw her brother had a dirty bib, put him in, & turned it on to clean him.
Amelie was known as the smartest girl on campus. What no-one knew was that her intelligence was the fruit of her satisfied professor lovers.
Tola had never been to Nigeria & enjoyed the plane ride. It’d been a troubled year. In the toilet, his dad tore his GB passport into pieces.
Mayowa cursed the thieves who’d stolen her front garden roses. Later that day, she received a rose bouquet from her small grandchildren.
Wei was tired of her husband’s philandering. She signed divorce papers. Then his parents died, he inherited a fortune & she forgot about it.
When Wei’s husband received his fortune, he found the divorce papers, signed them, & posted them to her with ‘It is finished’ on the front.
Clips told his boy to hold his arms for a few days. He watched as the house of his boy, who’d slept with his girl, was raided the next day.
All Mikey wanted was proper food. But he didn’t know how to leave the locked room he’d been kept in since last year by his mum’s boyfriend.
“But we love each other & want to marry” said Zak about his gilfriend Ann. He was in a police station giving a statement. She’s 14. He’s 10. [Twitter spellcheck and my eyes, failed. Sad!]
Cory’s mum was drunk. Again. She fell over his schoolbag & yelled “You are a waste of space!” He picked up the knife on the kitchen table.
Erica loved her twin sister more than life itself. When Elaine died, Erica lost the will to live…& the ability. They were conjoined twins.
Ted taught gun safety by holding guns to his head. On April fools his colleagues left a bullet in his gun. He was tired, he didn’t check it.
Carla wanted to be a lawyer but had selfish friends. They robbed a sweetshop & Carla couldn’t run due to her crutches. She was convicted.
Ndidi’s dreams of competing in sprint athletics at a professional level, died as the drunk driver’s wheels crushed her legs into fragments.
Mira’s husband wanted children badly but they couldn’t seem to conceive. He blamed her & left her. She had 3 children with her next husband.
Lady Ellen did everything to give her children all the things she never had. She did not understand how this had created entitled brats.
Tobi awoke to the sounds of mournful wails piercing the air around her. Screams of “See demon!!” were cried as she was beaten back to death.
Len just wanted her to like him. He’d never have hurt her. He just needed her to listen. That’s why he’d tied her up & taken her to his.
Dana was ignored because she was overweight. She could see disgust in the eyes of everyone who looked at her. She never ate anything again.
‘It’s not our fault she starved herself to death’ they said ‘Our dislike was never about her weight. She was always high & smelt of alcohol’
Orson died in debauched circumstances with too much of everything but the thing he wanted most of all; the love of the father he never knew.
His grandson was his world. He thought the truth would’ve killed him. He sobbed over the coffin ‘I always loved & was there for you Orson’.
Gita was very late & feared losing her job. As she looked at the collapsed factory she wept more for her uncertain future than for the dead.
Jas saw Gita crying & presumed she knew the worst ‘I’m sorry about your brother’. She froze. He’d gone to work in her place to save the job.
Max thought his dreams would be enough to carry him through life. He pursued them until he was finally arrested for murder & grand larceny.