Last week we put out a call for Micro Notes.
The goal was to tell a complete travel story–something with character, setting, chronology, and ideally, some kind of transformation–in three sentences or less.
A couple of interesting patterns occurred to me as I read through the submissions:
1. The more writers tried to set up a context or provide background information, the more it worked against the overall effect / power of the story. In three sentences there just wasn’t space.
2. The most effective writing read like Twitter updates. They seemed to assume you as the reader already knew everything, and so the writer needed only to remind him or herself of what was happening or what had happened. They took one particular moment in time and place and reported on it without trying to make it more than it was. Which of course, gives it a chance to be more than it was.
Overall, dozens of people submitted their work. Big ups to everyone who sent something. These were our favorites:
In Reykjavik I did much the same as in Grass Valley: walked the streets like a local without a car, drinking coffee, avoiding stepping in dog shit. Space is relative, but the thing about Iceland is the island’s crooked horizon. Not a single one of my pictures turned out.
I loved China until a married man bit my ear on a train three hours south of Beijing. He told me he loved me, but I pretended to not understand. After he left a kind woman boarded and held me until I loved China again.
Sitting on an old Carolina porch under wind chimes made from old doorknobs & faucets, playing a tiny toy piano trying to capture the sound of my contentment. Today I planted zucchini seedlings.
The four of us spent the morning in pajamas, casting home-tied flies onto the shimmering, duckless expanse of Duck Lake. Hidden among the ponderosas beneath a ridge of Sierran granite, our little tents smelled of fried brook trout, wet dogs, and bourbon spilt from plastic flasks. On the trek back down the mountain, we passed a rusted iron sign that read “Duck Lake 2.0 M;” its pointy end leaning toward a previously overlooked fork in the trail.
Have micro-notes you’d like to submit? Please send them to david [at] matadornetwork.com. We’ll be rounding these up and publishing our favorites ever 1-2 weeks.
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