Short stories • Told verbally and visually.

Welcome to my blog on short stories. A quick background so we got that out of the way. I’m an ex ad man. Worked and lived in Tokyo/Kyoto, Amsterdam, Paris, London, Tokyo, Singapore, Tokyo again, Amsterdam and now finally residing in the ‘city on the sea‘ Den Haag (The Hague). When a new client read my resume she exclaimed ‘Mon Dieu…your career sounds like a perfume commercial!’

This however was short-circuited by Parkinson’s Disease. Which posed a nagging question: ‘Is there life after advertising?’ What are you supposed to do when the one-trick-pony can’t perform that one trick any longer?  ‘Then you find another way of telling stories’ was a helpful answer.
So here’s a first stab at telling stories. Short stories. Verbally, mostly in my native tongue: Dutch but I’m in the process of switching this site to English. So please bear with me, it’s very much still work-in-progress.
But I also like to tell stories visually. In the first instance through a selection out of the plethora of photo challenges that reside on the web these days.

(For those of you who might be wondering about the origins of the lead photo at the top:the photographer is Russian by the name of Katerina Belkina. More details can be found in this post. Contrary to what most people think  when glancing at this picture – namely a dead old lady lying in the grass – Katerina tells quite a different story. The work bears the title ‘The birdwatcher’.)

Short Stories

In the verbal short stories section of this blog I’d like to play with your-not-everyday-themes. But with themes ‘with an edge’… such as revenge. Not just your house-garden-and-kitchen-type of revenge. But for instance the revenge of a mother on her son and her lover. Like in my first ‘publishable’ short story ‘Wraak smaakt…‘ (Revenge is tasty…). I’ve written it in my native tongue, Dutch, but I’m working on an English translation once I’ve finished with another one, ‘The Shrieking Tree’.

In the meantime, I’ve been toying with so-called very short stories, of which you can find the first two here. WARNING: they are, short as they may be, largely in Dutch again. Translations into English will follow RFQ. But if you are dying to read some wonderful very short stories, go here.

6 Word Story

There are even shorter way of getting a story across. In principal, all it takes is a single word. Or two. For instance:

two word short story
Picture by P.G. Monateri

But let us stick with (a hybrid form) the 6 word story first. Hemingway’s example ‘For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.’ is probably world famous. Although strictly speaking it is simply a case of plagiarism, as I explain here.
There are numerous blogs etc. about this phenomena. One of my favorites is on reddit. And while you’re there, the top 500 of last year will put at least a smile on your face. My favorite: “Wait, you have AIDS?” asked Dracula.

Some photo challenges focus on using a picture and a 6 word story line to get the story across. For instance:

six word story challenge
Jesus, I’m pregnant…! But from whom?

Photo challenges

The art of storytelling is not confined to the verbal telling as we all know (as I’m sure you’re familiar with movies, TV and series). There’s this age-old cliché about a picture telling a thousand words. While this is certainly not true in many cases, some pictures and photos do pass that test. There’s a plethora of story telling challenges on the old Interweb going around that use photos as the main medium to tell a story, photo challenge blogs. I simply love these, as they separate the chaff from the wheat when it comes to what I call a good photo.

By far the largest part of this blog centers around my entrees into these photo challenges.

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