This story collection is an exemplar for Short-short Sighted #19, “A Story of n Words: How Low Can You Go?”
He left the village of his birth, crossed the mountains, crossed the seas, saw great cities, learned a few words in a dozen tongues, met the high and the low, and returned after years of wandering to the village of his birth where for the rest of his life he suffered nostalgia for his village as it had been when he left.
She spent her days reading books about diseases she did not have until the eyestrain made her blind.
In the hospital she gradually began to remember the faces and names of friends who came to visit, the colors she liked best, the car she was driving during the accident, and that she had at one time been a man.
“I’m going for milk,” he said to his wife, and as he walked to the store and back he passed teenagers using words he didn’t know and thought about how everything, even language, changed faster and faster now that he was getting old, and when he said to his wife, “Here’s the milk,” she said, “Did pob the stemcrease oronian over?”
She sat reading a story about a woman who sat on a bus reading a story, then looked up to find that she was, in fact, a woman sitting on a bus reading a story even though it seemed to her that a moment before she hadn’t been on a bus at all, had, in fact, been living a very different life although she could not now remember what that other life had been.
“Life is short,” said the grieving father, “thank God!”
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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