OK, it looks like I am stuck at home for the next three weeks, if not more, so unless —  gourd forbid — I or one of mine get sick, I will have some time that could be spent on blogging!

I felt proud of myself for all of 2 seconds for thinking this month-ish could be called #CoroNaNoWriMo before seeing that someone on Twitter had already come up with the same idea. However, I am technically talking about #CoroNaBloPoMo — a blog-posting month.

So, without further ado, #CoroNaBloPoMo: writing daily while quaranteened for a month or so. Join me, academic blogoverse! (If there’s anyone left in it.)

Ok, for starters, I’d like us all to get a bit creative, so I was thinking of doing a small fiction writing contest. Anyone here interested? Last time we did this there weren’t many entries, so I’m a bit reluctant. If you might be interested in entering an ultrashort-fiction contest (think 100 words, i.e., a drabble), please drop a note in the comments.

For now, here are some 19-word pieces I wrote for a contest last year. Several went to the final round last year but didn’t win. I’ve retired them (not pursuing publication) so you get to see them here.



Gullible as a child, she believed the tallest tales.

Now she charts paths to the stars. Never understood impossible.


The Knocker

She’s at the door. Again.

His former love, begging.

Needing his kidney for a dying child he’s never known.



Peter Pan loses his shadow again, its umbra dark and heavy.

Wendy smiles. He will be lighter without it.



Sunken eyes. Shirt stiff with breast milk. Weeping.

The pharmacist’s blood curdles as the woman leaves with sleeping pills.



Mary’s mother invited town bachelors to Christmas. Hung mistletoe.

Mary’s father stole it, placed it over their marital bed.



“Ignorance is bliss,” she says, refusing to date readers.

Yet, she marries a guy with a dog-eared Kama Sutra.



Ze kisses the back of his neck, where the curlicues form a perfect 666. Ze is OK with hell.



She, a farm girl. He, in cowboy boots, reminds her of Dad.

Turns out, he resembles the chickens more.


Forces of Nature

The world is cloudy. Dark.

Finally, strong winds.

As light shines through, words from above: “Thanks for vacuuming, honey.”


Some of these (can’t find them for the life of me) were submitted in a slightly longer form to the Hint Fiction Contest, which solicited pieces up to 25 words, and was adjudicated by the incomparable Roxane Gay. This one got an honorable mention, so I have it black-on-white that Roxane Gay read 25 of my words and didn’t think they totally sucked:

Rx by Sydney Phlox

Tangled hair, sunken eyes, face swollen from crying.

The pharmacist’s blood curdles as the woman leaves with sleeping pills, her shirt stiff with breast milk.


And since most readers are acedemics, here’s this oldie but goodie on Indiana Jones’s tenure bid:


See you all tomorrow, and let me know if you’re in the mood for writing some drabbles!

For inspiration, here are a few venues that specialize in ultrashort fiction and can be read for free:

50-Word Stories (exactly 50 words; weekly best story gets a small prize)

101 Words (exactly 101 words)

Microfiction Monday Magazine (M3) (no more than 100 words)

The Drabble (no more than 100 words)

Detritus (poetry and prose of up to 100 words)

Drabblez Magazine

Black Hare Press: Dark Moments (horror; 100 words exactly)

100 Word Story   (literary)

Martian Magazine (science fiction; 100 words exactly)

101 Fiction (speculative fiction only, themed issues; 100 words plus a one-word title)

Speculative 66 (speculative fiction only; 66 words sans title)

Nanoism (no more than 140 characters)



  1. In the mood for micro fiction! Most def! But I don’t feel any room/space for creative outlets just yet – I am still running against deadlines even working from home – just major commitment overload and to do backlog. I am a terrible, terrible human.

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