"in honor of my fantastic grandfather who passed away yesterday morning, i give you his obituary that he wrote himself."
"an accretion of fable often gathers around great stage performances as they snowball through history, with no hard evidence left behind to put the brakes on hyperbole."
- charles isherwood, nytimes
20 two-sentence horror storries, by reddit users
i woke up to hear knocking on glass. at first, I thought it was the window until I heard it come from the mirror again.
the last thing I saw was my alarm clock flashing 12:07 before she pushed her long rotting nails through my chest, her other hand muffling my screams. i sat bolt upright, relieved it was only a dream, but as I saw my alarm clock read 12:06, i heard my closet door creak open.
growing up with cats and dogs, i got used to the sounds of scratching at my door while i slept. now that i live alone, it is much more unsettling.
in all of the time that I’ve lived alone in this house, i swear to god i’ve closed more doors than I’ve opened.
a girl heard her mom yell her name from downstairs, so she got up and started to head down. as she got to the stairs, her mom pulled her into her room and said “i heard that, too.”
she asked why i was breathing so heavily. i wasn’t.
my wife woke me up last night to tell me there was an intruder in our house. she was murdered by an intruder 2 years ago.
i awoke to the sound of the baby monitor crackling with a voice comforting my firstborn child. as i adjusted to a new position, my arm brushed against my wife, sleeping next to me.
i always thought my cat had a staring problem - she always seemed fixated on my face. until one day, when i realized that she was always looking just behind me.
there’s nothing like the laughter of a baby. unless it’s 1 a.m. and you’re home alone.
i was having a pleasant dream when what sounded like hammering woke me. after that, i could barely hear the muffled sound of dirt covering the coffin over my own screams.
“ican’t sleep,” she whispered, crawling into bed with me. i woke up cold, clutching the dress she was buried in.
i begin tucking him into bed and he tells me, “daddy, check for monsters under my bed.” i look underneath for his amusement and see him, another him, under the bed, staring back at me quivering and whispering, “daddy, there’s somebody on my bed.”
you get home, tired after a long day’s work and ready for a relaxing night alone. you reach for the light switch, but another hand is already there.
i can’t move, breathe, speak or hear and it’s so dark all the time. if I knew it would be this lonely, i would have been cremated instead.
she went upstairs to check on her sleeping toddler. the window was open and the bed was empty.
i never go to sleep. but I keep waking up.
my daughter won’t stop crying and screaming in the middle of the night. i visit her grave and ask her to stop, but it doesn’t help.
After working a hard day, I came home to see my girlfriend cradling our child. I didn’t know which was more frightening, seeing my dead girlfriend and stillborn child, or knowing that someone broke into my apartment to place them there.
there was a picture in my phone of me sleeping. i live alone.
"you are me. now i see that.
i see through my own reflection.
but it is too late.
i am in love with myself.
i torture myself. what am i doing—
loving or being loved?
what can my courtship gain?
what i want, i am.
but being all that i long for—
that is my destitution.
why can’t i get apart from my body?
this is a new kind of lover’s prayer.
to wish himself apart from the one he loves.”
- ovid (as narcissus), the metamorphoses (as translated by ted hughes)
"god, as he was, he knew
that earth’s and heaven’s lease for survival
is nothing more than a lease.
that both must fall together—
the globe and its brightness combined
like a tear
or a single bead of sweat—
into the bottomless fires of the first, last forge.”
- ovid, the metamorphoses (as translated by ted hughes)
"what would heaven do
with a globeful of empty temples?
only by spiders? was earth’s beauty
henceforth to be judged
solely by the single-minded
palates of wild beasts
and returned to the worm
because man had failed?”
- ovid, the metamorphoses (as translated by ted hughes)
"i think human consciousness, is a tragic misstep in evolution. we became too self-aware, nature created an aspect of nature separate from itself. we are creatures that should not exist by natural law. we are things that labor under the illusion of having a self; an accretion of sensory, experience and feeling, programmed with total assurance that we are each somebody, when in fact everybody is nobody."
- nic pizzolato, true detective
22 rules of storytelling, according to pixar
pixar storyboard artist emma coats has compiled nuggets of narrative wisdom she’s received working for the animation studio over the years and shared it all via twitter.
#1: you admire a character for trying more than for their successes.
#2: you gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. they can be v. different.
#3: trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. now rewrite.
#4: once upon a time there was ___. every day, ___. one day ___. because of that, ___. because of that, ___. until finally ___.
#5: simplify. focus. combine characters. hop over detours. you’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
#6: what is your character good at, comfortable with? throw the polar opposite at them. challenge them. how do they deal?
#7: come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. seriously. endings are hard, get yours working up front.
#8: finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. in an ideal world you have both, but move on. do better next time.
#9: when you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.
#10: pull apart the stories you like. what you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.
#11: putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. if it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.
#12: discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. and the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. surprise yourself.
#13: give your characters opinions. passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.
#14: why must you tell THIS story? what’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? that’s the heart of it.
#15: if you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.
#16: what are the stakes? give us reason to root for the character. what happens if they don’t succeed? stack the odds against.
#17: no work is ever wasted. if it’s not working, let go and move on - it’ll come back around to be useful later.
#18: you have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. story is testing, not refining.
#19: coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.
#20: exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. how d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?
#21: you gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. what would make YOU act that way?
#22: what’s the essence of your story? most economical telling of it? if you know that, you can build out from there.
he looked at me like i was crazy. most of my lovers do, and that’s partly why they love me, and partly why they leave.
photos of london’s past blended with its present
bizarrely life-like statue of man in underwear
spooks women’s college students