Stories that Uplift the Spirit and Broaden the Mind

Micro Memories

2,000 Writers. 100 Words. 5 Days. Digging into creative non-fiction was a blast.

This past week I participated in an interesting writing exercise alongside 2,000 others from around the world. The “555 Story Challenge” is the brainchild of Nicole Breit, creator of the Spark Your Story Lab, a 12-month on-line program for writers of memoir and creative nonfiction. Her goal: inspire storytellers to find colorful slices of their own lives and present them in new ways. Sensual ways. Evocative ways (this ain’t your granddaddy’s nonfiction).

The challenge? Write one creative nonfiction memoir of exactly 100 words each day for five days based on a general prompt. For anyone who has ever tried a hand at creative writing, you know that 100 words isn’t much. Every word counts. Before you know it, you’re over the limit. Then it’s cut, cut, cut…

I enjoyed revisiting a few slices of my past below. Hope you do too. Thanks for the inspiration, Nicole!



Cold tin warms my heart as I study the yellow doghouse. Snoopy reclines on the sides, reading and eating. Under the domed lid will be PBJs and apples, not beagles. The glass thermos inside won’t make it through the first grade, but I know that yet.
“I’m going to keep this until I go to college!” I announce.
Mom and Dad smile. They think they know better, but they don’t.
I care for my little yellow briefcase until Snoopy is no longer cool.
Mom cares for it after that, knowing it will make a nostalgic going-off-to college gift. It does.



University letterhead brings big news.
“I got my letter.”
“Me too,” Jason says. “I guess we’ll never know why we didn’t get in.”
“That’s not what mine said.” My half smile betrays happiness though we won’t be roommates.
“That’s great.” Dark eyes reveal what his words cannot.
Michelle echoes him, less convincing. We both know I’m off to greener pastures in Los Angeles. New girlfriends too.
Freedom rains like sunshine through the open roof as I reach the land of opportunity. Tinsel Town, Klieg lights, midnight movies, helicopters, the stench of vomit on frat row. I’m not in Kansas anymore.



The mystic studies me. He claims to read palm lines, but I know what he can’t. He didn’t survive each painful detour. Jagged center lines recall shrieks of a baby crawling through glass fragments of a dog dish. Half a thumb missing, stunted by a squeaky swing set. Teeth marks of a steak knife wielded while making a cardboard fort. Lumps rough like cottage cheese caused by a movie theater sprinkler head hiding in ivy. A circular memento from a Coke bottle, still sticky sweet. The map is glorious, unexpected rips mended haphazardly. It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.



Shannon airport, nearly empty in the morning sun. Not even the baggage carousel moves. An unknown Irish tune floats from a whistling tour guide, his laminated placard promising adventure. Parched from lonely weeks of work abroad, it’s not adventure I crave. She bursts through double doors, kicking up her heels in a joyful jig. Salvation! My lovely leprechaun with our daughters in tow. Drinking in her delight, my heart swells beyond belief. Fingers through silky hair, lips against hers, I know I’ll survive. Even better, time-traveling half a millennium to a small Donegal fishing village, I’ll experience her origin story.



4:31 AM
The collapsing roof of a one-story house cannot kill me. The thought rattles through brain fog like countless CDs crashing to the floor in the dark. Ten seconds. A pillow mutes the horrible rumble but not screeching car alarms. Car thieves in Los Angeles must be busy. Twenty. Jolts subside and I ride the wave, a surfer under flannel sheets. Thirty. The stench of rotten eggs propels me. Where is the cutoff? Plastic crunches under bare feet, scratching as I stumble through the aftermath into the winter cold. Outside, the city is impossibly dark, tamed by an angry Mother Earth.





Like? Share it with your friends


Explore more

Winds of Change

Winds of Change

Arches National Park dazzles with natural sculptures millions of years in the making



A Texas-sized water park to make you happy as a clam at high tide

A Las Vegas Yankee in Amsterdam Court

A Las Vegas Yankee in Amsterdam Court

Crossing off a bucket list item on nobody's list

Sunset on the Ridge

Sunset on the Ridge

You never know when and where inspiration will strike. Even an iPhone photo delivered by email can wake up the muse.

Thank you for your submission

It’s being routed to the appropriate person
and we will get back to you shortly.