Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Hi all,

Since the first day of fall it has rained in Chicago. I must admit I am missing the sun right now. This morning when I peeked out my window I had noticed the trees were still. Something not so common in the "Windy" city.

Even though there was a constant drizzle, I decided to venture out on my usual power walk. I was inspired from what I had experienced today and I would like to share it with all of you.

I had been wanting to enter the ESQUIRE magazine short story contest. Here is the link for anyone that is interested. It is quite the challenge. It has to be only 78 words. Not easy to do with a short story. I wouldn't even call it that. It's more like flash fiction.

I didn't know what I could possibly write about until earlier today. Here is what I'd like to enter. PLEASE if you see any grammar or punctuation issues, let me know. There is only one sentence I am not certain about. It's the sentence with the semi colon. Is this correct or should it be a color or comma?

I hope you like it. You have until October 7th to enter. Here is mine. Please let me know what you think.

Elongated fingers of mist caress Chicago’s skyline on this murky September day. 
Waves crash with a vengeance as heavy drops of rain wash away the last vestiges of summer. 
The running paths and beach no longer echo laughter. Just the distant screech of a lonesome seagull pierces the silence. 
I coast along, repelling the rain with the swipe of a drenched hand. Something is missing, some inscrutable life force. 
The wind kicks, and I disappear into its folds.

I hope you all have a great day full of sunshine. If not, try to make your own.


  1. Omit semicolon, insert comma.

    Something is missing, some inscrutable life force.

    Some suggestions:

    You write: "Waves crash with a vengeance as heavy drops of rain wash away the last vestiges of summer."

    How about: "Waves crash. Heavy rain washes away the last vestiges of summer."

    You write: "The running paths and beach no longer echoes laughter. Just the distant screech of a lonesome seagull pierces the silence."

    How about: "The running paths and beach are silent. A seagull pierces the quiet with a lonesome screech."

    You write: "The wind kicks, and I disappear into its folds."

    How about: "The wind kicks, and I disappear."

    I don't care for the whole "folding wind" imagery. I actually have no idea what that is.

    Anyway...suggestions. I hope you win. You're a talented writer.

  2. Beautiful writing. I love the description.

    The only thing I would mention is "The running paths and beach no longer echoes laughter"--I'm not totally positive, but I think "echo" would be right grammatically; it sounds little funny to me. And the passage might flow better if it was "echo with laughter" or something along that vein.

    Just my two cents. :)

    Good luck in the contest!

  3. I like this. I'm with Eagle though, I'm pretty sure that as you mention two things it should be echo and not echoes.

    Also, just a suggestion but I think 'Only the distant...' rather than 'just the distant...'. That' merely personal preference though :-)

    Good luck, it's a lovely evocative piece.

  4. Seventy-eight words? Impressive! I agree with Michae's suggestion about the wind line. Give you a couple extra words.

  5. My only comment is the semi-colon, which someone has already mentioned.

    Great work. Love the descriptions.

  6. Thanks everyone.

    I will correct the grammatical, but I will leave the prose for now. This way everyone will see the original. This is SO helpful.

    You guys are the best.

  7. I think it's great. We've had rain every day but one this fall. More on the way tomorrow.

  8. This is beautiful! Best of luck with it in the contest. I think it's safe to say you have an excellent shot! There isn't a thing I'd change.

  9. ...78 words, holy shortness! That's more like Blink Fiction, but you'll do fine, Michael. Your entry flows with poetic verse.

    It's the price we pay for selecting the mid-west as our homestead...nine months of rain, snow, and blah! I feel your pain ;)


  10. It is lovely Michael. Pure sentiment.


  11. I, myself, love the last line. And anyone who has endured hurricane strengths winds, ebbing then suddenly hammering you from the other direction, understands how the wind can enfold you! Roland

  12. I love your voice - and 78 words is definitely more of a poem :-)

  13. Quite a few good comments from bloggers.

    Wishing you luck!

    You are so open and honest, it is a pleasure to visit.

  14. ery nice and it looks you've gotten some good advice! good luck!

  15. Beautiful and not surprised by your eloquence in turning a phrase :)

  16. I see someone's already pointed out the extra e in echo. I think it ought to read 'echo with'
    You say the rain is heavy so maybe instead of 'wash away' you could have something stronger?
    I'd delete the word 'just' if it won't affect your word count.
    I'd add a comma after 'I coast along' and put the line 'something is missing...' in its own paragraph.
    Sorry, Michael! You did say to be picky :-) Otherwise, I love the imagery. I can really picture it!

  17. Hi Michael! I'm looking for a semicolon, but you must've omitted it already. (No, semicolons aren't commonly used in prose; good to omit.) Nice lyrical piece! Whoa, it has to be only 78 words. That's TIGHT.

    I like the elongated fingers of mist, but I couldn't figure out where the waves came from in the 2nd sentence. The setting must be by a shoreline? It almost sounded like the waves were caused by the heavy rain later in the sentence--but I don't think that's what you meant. Also, as far as mood and verbs, you have the mist "caressing" the skyline, which is more of a soft & positive image/verb, but then the waves are crashing with a vengeance. Seems a bit diff mood. A sharp contrast--which is fine if you meant to do it. I do like the wind "kicking" at the end. Gives it an almost ornery and persistent personality. :)

  18. Michael, I don't think you should change the prose b/c then it loses your voice. I understand a lot of the suggestions, but don't lose your writing self by implementing all of them. I think you write so tenderly and beautifully. I'd hate to see you lose that in edits.

  19. This is simply beautiful.
    Wondering if by a piece of fiction in only 78 words they want some sort of actual event to be realized? This reads like poetry. Maybe the wind and the rain and the "something is missing" is event enough...

  20. I love it! It's like poetry~

    The one thing I'd change, which is purely opinion, is where you have "Just the screech..." I'd make that "Only." Because Only rhymes w/Lonely, and it seems to create an image...

    And what semicolon? I didn't see a semicolon. Was that a test? :D

    GOOD LUCK!!! <3 ~LB

  21. Sunshine...what's sunshine?

    But I'm happy to see something good could come of this gloom - this is beautiful.

    I have exactly two cents to share:
    #1 - Even before reading the other comments, I was going to suggest changing the "Just" to "Only."
    #2 - I like the folds of wind.

  22. Oh, that last line is stunning.

    Beautiful work here Michael!

  23. Great job fitting this scene into only 78 words. I agree with most of Michael's suggestions. It's better to write simple than to overwrite (I've been told that too :-) )

  24. And I was proud of myself for writing something in 200 words! Impressive and poetic. I agree with Michael's suggestions. Still beautiful, but also clean and clear. Best of luck! You're talented and have a great shot.
    :0) Christy

  25. Lots of suggestions Michael. Great feeling in this piece. Why not 'memories of summer' instead of 'vestiges' which is a harsher word and I found it clanging alongside the gentler descriptions. I must look at the guidelines. Thanks very much. I adore writing flash fiction, the fewer words the better.

    Haven't had a chance to get far with BG. A few other commitments first, then I have a family wedding...soon...


  26. Of course it's only open to US residents!


  27. ooo I like it, Michael! So dark and dreary... reminds me of The Crow. Only one little suggestion... in the 3rs sentence, using the word "only" instead of "just". :)
    Good luck!!! I really like it!!

  28. Thanks everyone.

    I appreciate the time you took to voice your opinions. I am so glad you all like it. TIme to do final tweaks and send it off.

  29. Nicely done. :-) I can see you walking in the inclement weather.

    I hope your entry does well!

  30. Vivid writing, Michael -- hope you win!

  31. Sorry I'm late to the party!! Looks like you've gotten some great advice and I understand you've already submitted. I think this is beautiful. Such lovely imagery. Best of luck with Esquire!