Lou Beach poured over entries for a contest where folks submitted their 420 character stories, vying for one of three copies of his new book, 420 Characters, to be given away as prizes. I wanted a copy of his book to hold in my hands and linger over like poetry — I so love the way he writes and has mastered putting so much into just 420 characters and spaces. The winners were wonderful. I see why neither of mine was among them. His book is still on my list for some far away later, though I do harbor dreams that later could turn out to be sooner.
I’ve decided to share the two entries I submitted to the contest, here with my friends, as I fight my desire to remain in retreat. I tried to write more of these for the contest to increase my odds (as others who entered did) but I found myself unable to find much freedom in even fewer words than I’m used to, at least without prompts. I know I could learn to find that freedom, but I’ve concentrated my work efforts in trying to master one hundred words. My mind doesn’t seem to have the space for trying harder in a newer, or older, more constricting form. Not yet. Or maybe I just didn’t wrap myself around the concept completely. So much to learn in what feels increasingly like so little time. Dot, dot, dot.
These were my entries:
Fleeing along the trace, I feared falling. He knew, gripping my hand as if dragging me over rocks or to hell, would be better than losing me to law that says lovers who steal should touch only through words murmured into rancid phones. I felt his heart explode, raining past me in pieces, like bullets, when he was caught. I wear the ring he gave but not when I visit, bearing perfumed wipes, willing scent through wire.
His name escapes me while fog swirls and memory, even of self, continues to fade. Are we all affected? Faces nearby shadow like mine. Farther away, blankness still evident in gaits leading nowhere, the eddy swallows them at the edges. He calls me something I don’t recognize before his words falter and spin out. Leaning into his chest, I wonder why. I remember light and keep to his warmth, preferring to be lost there.
Here’s a link to the winners.