Home  (206) 934-4050  Ask the Library  Schedule a Research Appointment  Library Account/Renew
Library staff are currently working remotely. Information about library services and instruction/learning support during the pandemic is available here, REMOTE LIBRARY SERVICES

Creative Writing Contest

Creative Writing Contest

Super Short Writing theme

Super Short Writing theme
break-ups - funerals/death - graduation - arguments - good-byes


What Being Dissociated Feels Like by ​Phaedra McArdle

1. Some bullshit
2. My shoulders have just carried Mount Everest up Mount Everest because In sleepy land that is possible
3. The whittled out hollow in my chest after a fight with my mother
4. Banging on the walls of my skull in the middle of the night because the exhaustion has not taken enough from me yet
5. Like my entire body is made of lukewarm soup at the airport
6. Airports
7. Lying like a discarded rag doll on the floor of my bathroom, asking the thing I dare call a body to “stand up, all I need you to do is stand up, please stand up”
8. Endless cups of horrible watery coffee that will not shock the storm clouds out of your stomach
9. Laying on a bed that is someone else’s bed and not being able to leave someone else’s bed so you just sit in it uncomfortably and rub the sheets in between your fingertips and pray
10. The pins and needles like a fucked up session of acupuncture in my face after choking my soul up through my throat at one in the morning
11. and the panic, like an uninvited guest who is just polite enough to coax you into opening the door, is refusing to leave the kitchen counter and is flashing her teeth in what you think is a smile
12. Like I said, some bullshit

Saint Bernard Save Me by Danny Barber

Did I make it up that night? When I last looked in your eyes, while you were already limp, and saw you absolve me? Did I try and see that and not the blood in your mouth? I think I mistake death for kindness. I think I’m borrowing my skin and eyes and it costs me water every time I breathe. I think the rib is still in the shoe box with your little bones, picked cleaner than you ever got a chance to. I just want to know if you’ll see me burn at night, force of habit myself to pieces, hear my little babel of teeth (and you still don’t listen when I tell you not to run off.) I want to hear an extra little tail thump in the concrete when I greet our latest stray and know I didn’t kill you. I want to see a Westie and not teeth on guilt’s gristle for the sixth year straight because you went out in a broke-down red car, full of borrowed air and stuffed throats and not a single I love you. Tell me something, in a little pant, in a chorus of angels criss-crossed in chainlink: my little Buddy, give me my last dues.

The Last Word by Felicia Ripley

It will be about 8 months since I last saw you, and you made that a point in our last conversation. I didn’t think about how you were marking the days going by, as I was counting them down until I will be back home again. Before I came to this place, I didn’t even realize how long I had been absent and how much you did, but I heard it in your voice last night, and the words were so sweet but broke my heart nonetheless.

We don’t think about how much our actions can affect the lives of others. We hurt the ones closest to us the most when we’re only thinking about ourselves, even though we don’t even know how selfish we are at the time. I have always had moments when I wished I could change a decision I had made, so the outcome would be different. Instead of just learning from our mistakes and righting our wrongs, we continue to wish and want to go back. This is not possible. I can never take back the choices I’ve made and the way they made you feel, but I can make it up to you. I can’t get the time back we have missed during this time apart, but I can change the course of our future. Making it up to you and then some, no excuses, is exactly what I am going to do."

Thank you dark by Jeanette Sanchez

She married a stage hand.

Every night, he cheerfully kissed her softly on the lips and smiled sweetly as he spoke theatre techie talk, "Going dark, babe."

She responded, "Thank you dark."

Now. Forty years almost to the day of their first kiss, he lays helpless in the hospital bed and motions for her to kiss him. He draws a rattling breath and whispers what only she can hear, "Going dark..."

"Thank you dark."

Cellar by D Lee

A daddy longlegs was sitting in my sink. My first instinct was to smoosh it, but instead, I washed it down the drain. The next day, it had crawled his way back out of the drain and was resting, half alive in the same corner of the sink. I was amazed by his will to live that despite being swept away by a great torrent of water, it had persevered and found his way back. I thought how I would take it outside to recover and live outside, free or at least die peacefully in the garden. I touched it ever so carefully with the corner of a postcard to scoop him up. He moved ever so slightly. It was enough for me to instead grab the drain plug and smash it, this time ensuring death before I again washed it down the drain.