Think Fast

Updated: Jan 31

One of my 2017 resolutions is to read at least 10 books.

20 minutes ago, I started my second one: “How to Write Short” by Roy Peter Clark (the first was “Assholes: A Theory” by Aaron James: a serious consideration of the asshole, how to deal with assholery, and how to make sense of asshole capitalism. An interesting discussion for another day).

The first chapter includes several grace notes for short writers, some of which are:

  1. Keep a daybook devoted to short writing.

  2. Include examples of great short writing collected from other sources.

  3. Write short pieces of your own inspired by the ones you’ve collected.

I’ve written down a few subway poems, quotes, street signs, bumper sticker slogans, etc. that have caught my eye, but definitely not enough to consider myself a short writing collector. That’s something I’ll keep working on.

I do, however, feel inspired enough by Clark’s first two chapters to attempt my first “short writing” here. The prompt is coincidentally inspired by my freshman writing seminar at NYU.

I’m giving myself 20 minutes to write as many 5-word capsules about my past semester as I can.

Go.

  1. New faces face the world.

  2. Empire State down the block.

  3. Send mail to Fifth Avenue.

  4. Mortified by credit card bill.

  5. I tell myself it’s okay.

  6. Because food is too fabulous.

  7. Also the clothes. Amy, stop.

  8. I’m sorry?/thanks! mom and dad.

  9. But actually so incredibly grateful.

  10. Lucky to live in dreams.

  11. Sleep in the city’s seams.

  12. Breathe in the concrete steam.

  13. White snow creates color everywhere.

  14. Too cold to look nice.

  15. Heaters and fuzzy blankets suffice.

  16. Confused by six hour naps.

  17. Terrified of sleeping through alarms.

  18. Too late, slept through alarm.

  19. 4 A.M. fire alarms suck.

  20. Midnight, dim the lights, dance.

  21. Dance on stage, in streets.

  22. Dance down Broadway every day.

  23. Time flies as we soar.

  24. Never bored, searching for more.

  25. Here we are, tourists, locals.

  26. No orders or borders or—

  27. Nothing can stop you and me.

  28. Here we live, young, found.

  29. Here we feast, hunger abound.

  30. Lucky to dine in tonight.

  31. Table for ___ or more.

  32. At the Big Apple—home.

  33. Enjoy tart and sweet cores.

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