This story collection is an exemplar for Short-short Sighted #24, “By The Numbers: The Prose Sonnet”.
Snow. Ice. Heavy skies. All flights delayed. Morris wished he could smoke. He wished that he could go stand outside. This is what life becomes, he thought, watching ice collect on grounded wings. The career he’d expected to take him to London and Paris brought him repeatedly to Omaha or this airport in Billings. It wasn’t that he was dissatisfied, exactly, with his wife or the way the his kids had turned out, or with the split-level in Cherry Creek and the condo in Vail they hardly used. But a blizzard like this made everything smaller, as if the world had contracted around this terminal and Morris and his fellow passengers were the last people at the end of time, stuck here to consider what their lives had amounted to so far, forced in the light of that awareness to begin new lives.
In his new life, Morris would marry the girl sitting across from him chewing gum and reading a fashion magazine, dangling one shoe from her toes, although they would have nothing to talk about. In his new life, he would not care what anyone thought, what the safe investments were, or whether smoking was allowed. And under the circumstances, why shouldn’t he smoke, for the love of Pete? Why shouldn’t he take a stand right now? He felt inside his pocket. Where’s the lighter? Some lint. Coins. There.
Bruce Holland Rogers has a home base in Eugene, Oregon, the tie-dye capital of the world. He writes all types of fiction: SF, fantasy, literary, mysteries, experimental, and work that’s hard to label.
For six years, Bruce wrote a column about the spiritual and psychological challenges of full-time fiction writing for Speculations magazine. Many of those columns have been collected in a book, Word Work: Surviving and Thriving as a Writer (an alternate selection of the Writers Digest Book Club). He is a motivational speaker and trains workers and managers in creativity and practical problem solving.
He has taught creative writing at the University of Colorado and the University of Illinois. Bruce has also taught non-credit courses for the University of Colorado, Carroll College, the University of Wisconsin, and the private Flatiron Fiction Workshop. He is a member of the permanent faculty at the Whidbey Writers Workshop MFA program, a low-residency program that stands alone and is not affiliated with a college or university. It is the first and so far only program of its kind. Currently he is teaching creative writing and literature at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary, on a Fulbright grant.
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