• Micro Fiction Contest: They Lived and Laughed and Loved and Left

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Micro Fiction Challenge     Comments 110 comments
    Mar
    14

    Discussion questions: In fifty (50) words or fewer, write a scene or story that includes the phrase “They lived and laughed and loved and left.” Write or paste your story into the comments. The winner will get his/her choice of books from the WriteByNight library.

     

    Finnegan’s Wake is not on the list of Joyce novels I’ve read. While we’re at it, neither are Ulysses and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Someday.

    But there’s a line from Finnegan’s Wake I’ve come to appreciate lately, and it goes like this: “They lived and laughed and loved and left.”

    And I think it will make for an excellent Micro Fiction Contest, maybe even better than our last one, “I wrote till my heart broke,” from Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano.

     

    What Is This Contest and How Do I Enter?

    In fifty (50) words or fewer, write a story or scene — or even a moment from your own life; these don’t necessarily have to be fiction — that includes the phrase “They lived and laughed and loved and left.”

    Enter as many times as you wish.

    Write or paste your story/stories in the comments section below.

    Submit your entries by the end of Sunday, March 29. I’ll announce the winner in the comments and in the following weekend’s email message (which, if you don’t already receive, you can sign up for in the right sidebar).

    My favorite story (stories?) will earn its writer his/her choice of book from the WBN library.

     

    You’ll Choose a Winner Based on What, Exactly?

    The usual metrics: style, concision (obviously), humor. Whimsy (mine).

    And I’ll take into account the number of thumbs-up each story receives. So if you really dig someone else’s piece, be a sport and give it an upvote.

    Good luck!

     

    WriteByNight co-founder David Duhr is fiction editor at the Texas Observer and co-host of the Yak Babies podcast, and has written about books for the Dallas Morning News, Electric Literature, Publishing Perspectives, and others.

    WriteByNight is a writers’ service dedicated to helping you achieve your creative potential and literary goals. We work with writers of all experience levels working in all genres, nationwide and worldwide. If you have a 2020 writing project you’d like a little help with, take a look at our book coachingprivate instruction and writer’s block counseling services. If you have a manuscript that’s ready for some editorial care, check out our various critiquing, editorial, and proofing servicesJoin our mailing list and get a FREE writer’s diagnostic, “Common problems and SOLUTIONS for the struggling writer.”

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    chuck

    The southpaw, communist clown convention in Fresh Hands, Utah, was postponed due to the “keep a safe distance” virus recommendation. Governor’s orders, himself a closeted right leaning, Republican born-again straight man. He, a Dean Martin groupie, do what all great Americans do in the time of crisis- live, laugh, love…

    frances hill

    They reunited after 15 years aboard the S.S.Eureka. For the next five days, they lived and laughed and loved and left.Perhaps they would meet again, but only fate would tell.

    Christine Rhodes

    They lived, laughed, loved and left.
    I tread an ocean of theft.
    I remain, seeking existence free
    of the weight of memory.

    Christine Rhodes

    Really? I am not sure I do, it is simply what came to me. I am working on putting stuff out there for others to read, to get used to the process. Thank you for replying, David.

    david lemke

    The time of acronyms. Everything was abbreviated. (TOD) “Trifecta of Death”, (ZAVW) Zombies, Asteroids, Volcanic Winter, (SHOD) “Stay Home or Die” Yet we hungered, needed each other if only for an hour. (LLL&L) Lived, Laughed, Loved & Left. I chuckling softly, sadly as I ate his brains, missing him already.

    Marieca Elle

    Well that escalated quickly.. lol

    stephen Glick

    Ate his BRAINS I love it ha, ha.

    KevinW

    I think I even miss that goddamn Maurice.

    Elissa Malcohn

    They lived and laughed and loved and left, slumped in their Barcaloungers, their eyes buried in VR headsets. Midnight snow blew outside, but what a beautiful day for a warm, sunny stroll along La Rive Gauche, where they slowly halted and grayed out as the plague took them away.

    ————————-

    I remember enjoying A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man when I read it in AP English, back in the Pleistocene.

    deb y felio

    The worst was over – at least they believed it to be so. Two months of self-quarantine had been like death. So with remains of wine, crackers, four paper towels, and still feverish, the couple set out for the beach where they lived and laughed and loved and left.

    deb y felio

    A ragamuffin youth group came into town raking yards, running errands and helping with small home projects for us retirees and handicapped. They shared meals with us and listened to our stories.They lived and laughed and loved and left. What a difference they made in us.

    frances hill

    I love it! Sounds like a mission trip my granddaughter (a college student) took on with her friends one summer.

    deb y felio

    The hostess seated a party of seven in a dark corner where each immediately brought out earbuds and smart phones, lighting up the table. Peering down for the ninety minutes even as they were together, in loneliness they lived and laughed and loved and left.

    Fred Grewe

    The first thing Casey saw was the pencil lying on the floor. Next, she noticed the note crumpled into Rosemary’s hand as she lay sleeping next to Ralph who had obviously died sometime during the night. It simply read, “They lived, and laughd, an lovd, ad l e ft ”

    Larry Stueck

    They died only hours apart. In those last few precious moments, they shared thoughts of their wedding, children, grandchildren, friends, and adventures. It was a life filled with love and happiness and one they were ready to depart. They lived and laughed and loved and left.

    Bru Benson

    They lived and laughed and loved and left. Earth’s people were gone. “Well, it was about time,” one cockroach said to another. “All those years, the revolution paid off. And to think, just infect some toilet paper. Ha, don’t touch your face, no one thought about the other end.”

    Bru Benson

    thank you

    Fred Grewe

    very clever … thanks

    KevinW

    God had come, and gathered his jewels. Billions, strewn about His feet, diamonds, rubies, sapphires…Each soul’s stardust remains had been compacted into gemstones. They had cried, sighed and died. They lived and laughed and loved and left, now to exist as shiny trinkets for a bored emperor.

    Jerry Schwartz

    Wow!

    Anne Greening

    The vastness of the desert lay silent, only a desiccated tumbleweed moved, bowling along in the dry wind. The revellers arrived. The dusty desert pulsed with vivid life for two days. They lived and laughed and loved. The silence returned. Only a plastic bag tumbled along in the dry wind.

    Anne Greening

    Just noticed that I left out”and left”. I’m posting a revised version.

    deb y felio

    The door latch clicked. I dove into my blanketed corner in the closet. Loud whispers. Faltering steps. Eight squeaks with accompanying grunts. Silence. The door opens and is locked again. They lived and laughed and loved and left. I crawl out to pee and make toast before the next one.

    Fred Grewe

    this is brilliant … thank you

    deb y felio

    Thanks, Fred.

    MC Maugeri

    “They lived and laughed and loved and left.” That’s what their eulogy said. It implies they had a well-rounded experience as human beings. They did everything they were supposed to do. It sounds like it was entirely up to them to carry that out. Even their death…they just left home.

    Jerry Schwartz

    They lived and laughed and loved and left. It’s going to take days to disinfect the deli case.

    Bonnie West

    I was glad to see them go. They lived and laughed and loved and left. AND ate all our food. AND we heard them through the walls going at it. Who knew my lost cousin was an old man (with a child bride) undermining God’s plan with that Viagra stuff.

    KevinW

    (“Egrets, I’ve had a few…”)
    Vinnie Boy was in trouble. He wasn’t much of a Sinatra impersonator to begin with, but forgetting the words to Frank’s biggest tune, forgettaboutit.
    (“They lived and laughed and loved and left…”)
    The patrons wore blank stares.
    (“But what is a flan, what has stugotz…”)

    KevinW

    “I’m dead, let me sleep.”
    “Charlie…”
    “I SAID, I’m dead, let me…”
    “Charlie, they lived and laughed and loved and left, so can you.”
    “Fuck you. I don’t even know what any of that is.”
    Her tears welled, “Dammit. Charlie…”
    “I’m done, I’m dying, I’m dead. Let me sleep.”

    adrien leslie

    A tea-stained photo in a tarnished frame. It’s my mother in a borrowed wedding dress kissing Dad in his army uniform. Children of the great depression who grew up to fight in a far-away war. They lived and laughed and loved and left, but in between, they saved the world.

    adrien leslie

    That warms me…really.

    Robert A Norris

    Lines like Black Friday as people buy in masses,
    Looks like hot toy item is toilet paper I assume to wipe a lot of asses.
    Finally, essentials left for others,
    All are home now under their hoard to smother.
    They lived
    And laughed
    And loved
    And left

    adrien leslie

    A tea-stained photo in a tarnished frame. It’s my mother in a borrowed wedding dress kissing Dad in his army uniform. Children of the great depression who grew up to fight in a far-away war. They lived and laughed and loved and left, but in between, they saved the world.

    Rose Long

    I eyed his grip on the velvet box as he hugged me. He lingered there longer than I liked; it was as if letting go of either would be a final surrender he wasn’t ready for. It was true we loved, we lived, and we laughed but now we left.

    SusanH

    The Mutant One arrived and claimed what was rightfully his—La Corona. The ancestors revered him. A heedless host was chosen. The One became Legion. They lived and laughed and loved and left upon inoculation, but reveled in their spoils and vowed to return more viral, more virile than ever.

    Susan

    David, I wonder if that ugly little virus feels self-conscious about being called “novel”.

    KevinW

    Susan, keep politics out of this…

    Susan

    ? Because I called the virus ugly?

    Susan

    See, we have something in common with the fugly thing. Maybe it’s just looking for love. Seriously–all you people here with your vocabularies are too smart for me. Once again, I actually had to look it up. Fugly is actually a word! The fugglies would make good characters.

    KevinW

    David, have you read “Riders Of the Purple Wage” by Phillip Jose Farmer? There’s a neat twist on “Finnegan’s Wake” in the funeral scene at the end. Great example of 60s science fiction or sentient affliction or speculative frisson…

    Susan

    Or seance fiction, all set in the afterlife. Hey, I think I have my new genre there. Oh, here come many prompts.

    Jerry Schwartz

    If you want fiction set in the afterlife, chase down this book: Ubik by Philip K. Dick. Among other things, it has a character whose name I just love: Herbert Shoenheit von Vogelsang.

    Susan

    Okay, looked up “shoenheit” “schoenheit” Means Beautiful? Vogelsang was a pretty easy guess, I think, as I already knew Vogel was bird, so Herbert Beautiful Birdsong? I love that too. That is a good way to come up with character names, actually, thanks for a new idea on that. I will look for that book. Thank you!

    KevinW

    PKD had a way with character names. “Roy Baty” (Batty) for a crazed clone, “Dr. Bloodmoney”, or my favorite “Horselover Fat”.

    Jerry Schwartz

    I’ve always thought of it as meaning “Beauty of Birdsong,” and that may be what Dick intended; but a construct like that usually designates a family origin. There are parts of Germany named Vogelsang. Who knows? Vogelsang is also the name of a company that makes industrial equipment.

    Loser of Numerous pens

    Such fatal loyalty. Even when contagious disease placed his sisters palm into Death’s crooked fingers, he followed. Clutching the Reaper’s other hand. If you saw how they lived and laughed and loved and left the world behind, you too would believe he never once abandoned her. In life or afterlife.

    Susan

    I am a compulsive pen klepto. Or they appear magically in my pockets every day. I might have some of yours. Great screen name.

    Loser of Numerous pens

    Thank you for the feedback, Susan. Good theory, I do wish they’d magically appear back in my pockets the same way they disappear.

    Loser of Numerous pens

    Maybe thats it. The feeling is so indescribable that they simply couldn’t find a word to fit it.

    stephen Glick

    Wild Bill saw the crowd enter on his land. He turned to his loved ones He bowed his head and said as he wept .My Family We have lived and loved, laughed and now we shall fight together. The Glick’s all charged, guns and knives drawn. toward the virus crazed infected mob .I have writing angry for three days now I cannot stop.

    ANN ATANASIO

    Rosie crochets, Joe watches baseball in elderly isolation. They’d had a good life. Raising children was the best part. They lived and laughed and loved and left, as children do.
    Now loneliness looms, interrupted by occasional calls. Their age seems to advance hourly. Soon Rosie and Joe will leave, too.

    Susan

    “They lived and laughed and loved and left” was their final posting. The Biggy-Nabobs jetted to their luxury underground bunkers. “The fittest have survived,” they thought, unaware they would remain there for eternity. Above ground, God addressed the enraptured children. “They made their own hell. Now let us create Heaven.”

    Susan

    I will have to answer that in secret code. (Toilet paper.)

    ANN ATANASIO

    I was thrilled when the young couple moved in. They established a cozy home and soon charmed me with the delightful chatter of children. They lived and laughed and loved and left. A sad day, but I knew they wouldn’t remain forever. I removed the empty nest from the eaves.

    Kelly B

    They mimic the sounds of a fox to gain a free butcher
    for this carcass of mine in the yard, crowing
    in the trees at their little trick.
    This murder, drunk from knowing
    they lived and laughed and loved and
    left when they had too much.

    KevinW

    Corvus awoke, and searched for Charlie and Mongoose. But they had lived and laughed and loved and left…him alone. He wandered, until…Marjorie started at the chow’s appearance. He looked enough like a teddy bear that she hugged him with her good arm. Not all black dogs bring depression.

    Anne Greening

    deleted

    Anne Greening

    The vastness of the desert lay silent, only a tumbleweed moved, bowling along in the dry wind. Revellers arrived. The dusty desert pulsed with vivid life for two days. They lived and laughed and loved and left. The silence returned. Only a plastic bag tumbled along in the dry wind.

    Note: this is a corrected version of my earlier submission

    Joe Giordano

    Marco slipped from the Brussels hotel room, leaving Philippe and Magdalene still asleep. Last night was weird, but also exciting. He halted in the lobby, then called his secretary and canceled his appointments. Before returning, he ordered continental breakfast from room service. They lived and laughed and loved and left.

    Brigitte

    The sign on the shop read: “Stop, IF you care to order, you need to phone us. When the order is ready, the waiter will come to you. “We are doing our best.” It ONLY took a moment before my friend said:”They lived and laughed and loved and left.”

    Brigitte

    With germs everywhere, there was no time to waste in the hotel. They walked in, took off their clothes, and in a few minutes the man hollered out these words:” They lived and laughed and loved and left!”

    Brigitte

    Never thought about her, I guess. But David, you made me laugh. I will need to give that some thought.

    Brigitte

    Visiting hours at the hospital have been changed.Unless you get upstairs, put on gloves, a mask, refrain from talking and leave 6 feet between you and anyone else then you will need to forget it. A women yelled to the doctor:”They lived and laughed and loved and left.” No worries.

    Brigitte

    I am afraid to even think what the hospitals are like. I just read the NY Times, and NY is not doing well. Yikes. It is scary. Very scary for some people. But fear does not necessarily solve the problem.

    Brigitte

    “They lived and laughed and loved and left.” This was scribbled on a piece of paper discovered near the ashtray. When the women read the note, she choked on her cigarette while questioning the man behind the desk. He handed her a key to a random room without responding.

    Brigitte

    I am glad that like this one. There might be a need for another chapter.




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