Two pages. For some reason, one of my college professors insisted our weekly assignment be exactly two pages. Not one word more or less. I learned a lot about page margins and font size, rather than edit my writing to fit a certain size requirement. Recently, I’ve been exploring, no assignment involved, writing 100 word stories. I’ve never been much of a numbers person, so focusing on quantity first and then edit for quality, is a significant challenge. (78 words) The professor was a former priest, married to a former nun. I attributed his insistence on size to his former disciplined life. (102 words). I can delete ‘on size’ to reach 100 words.

As I explore this type of writing I focus on descriptive words. Concise writing. Specific word choice. Verbs and adjectives outnumbering conjunctions. Try writing just 100 words. Write images, action, feelings.

Soft sounds of a baby sleeping. Warm tea, soothing cinnamon. Dogs resting during the afternoon lull. White drop leaf table set against the only picture window. Handmade mug decorating the table. Intoxicating fragrance emanating from a row of lilac bushes. The small house contains big dreams. Garden, family, laughter, healing. Escape from suburban blandness. Promise of independence and creativity. Birds in flight, gathering, preparing, their songs sweeter without competing with vehicles. Imagining the vegetables in the moist spring air. Envisioning the chickens wandering in the yard. The dogs stir slightly before the baby awakens. My future dissipates into the clouds.

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