• Micro Fiction Challenge: Zoilus

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Micro Fiction Challenge     Comments 22 comments
    Not Zoilus.

    Not Zoilus.

    We haven’t had a micro fiction contest in quite some time, and we haven’t had a popular one since February. “Break of poop,” of course. What, it’s got to be gross to be worthy of your time?

    Maybe I’m just bad at this. That’s what my inner Zoilus would say.

    Let’s start with the prize: The top entry in this week’s micro fiction contest wins a brand-spankin’-new paperback copy of Yann Martel’s The High Mountains of Portugal. (Or, if you hate that guy — and I know for a fact that many of you do — we’ll send a different brand-spankin’-new book.)

    All you need to do to enter is write a short story of 25 (or fewer) words that includes zoilus, either as a proper noun (i.e., the dude himself) or a common noun. You may also use a different form of the word (zoilism, zoilist, etc.)

    OK, so what/who the hell is/was Zoilus?

    He was a Greek grammarian, natch. And we only know of him because he was an overly harsh critic of Homer. To the point where late in his life he took on the name Homeromastix, which means “Homer whipper.” Homer whipper! His entire self-identity was wrapped up in his stance toward another person.

    Today, a zoilus, according to Merriam-Webster, is “a bitter and usually enviously carping critic :  one given to unjust quibbling and faultfinding.”

    Hmmm, I wonder if any of us know any bitter, carping critics?

    Leave your story in the comments below, before noon Eastern next Friday, December 9.

    Make us laugh, make us cry. And double-extra points if one of your 25 words is Homeromastix.

    We promise not to respond with any much zoilism.


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    Joe Giordano

    Homeromastix pointed. “You had Aphrodite sleeping with Ares. Scandalous.”
    Homer, on his cloud-bed, turned away. “Zolius, we’re in Elysium. I can see. Get a life.”

    Jan canyon

    She up and left him because he was such a zoillus she feared becoming Homeromastix. Homer pleaded and promised to stop the zoilism. Too late.


    Together with the last pyramids they left us Iliad and Oddyssey.
    When the ship dissolved in the stars Homers victory in
    Troy was shadowed by Hometomastix.

    Kenneth Harris

    A born Homeromastix, she handed back my graded test paper folded ; the bold-print “D” at top of page concealed. Blast and damn her zoilism!

    Liz Lipski

    That his zoilus persisted was due to two things: a war in which he watched his friends suffer, and his children, who hated him.


    What a perfect day for an auto da fe! Long live your rapier wit zoilus Voltaire.


    “Zoilus, is that your homeromastix or are you just glad to see me?” He replied, “I’ve had better, but this’ll kill your blowhard husband, Homer.”

    Alex Jackson

    “More like ZOILUS and Cressida,” she said, irked by his carping.
    “Huh?” he said.
    “Nevermind,” she said. “Have fun pleasuring your own homero-stick tonight.”

    Mark H.

    “They say every poet has his Zoilus,” said Homer. “Guess you’re my zoilus, Zoilus.”
    “You’re my Homer to whip,” said Zoilus. “So whip it out.”

    Mark H.

    Did you know Cervantes name-drops Zoilus in Don Quixote? Depending on the translation, Zoilus is a backbiter, a railer, a libeler, or a slanderer.

    Mark H.

    That’s not a second entry, although inadvertently (and magically) it’s exactly 25 words.

    Also, I commented one minute earlier than I did the day before, also unintentional. What is obvious is that 7:55 a.m. is my daily scheduled time to stop by the WBN web site.

    Would love your thoughts, please comment.x