Thursday, December 31, 2009


It's been one hell of a trip, that's for sure. A year ago, I opened up an old sleeve of gaming dice and retrieved two seemingly benevolent pieces of plastic from within, held them in my cupped hand for a moment and thought, Can I even make it past two weeks? I know now that if not for this blog and, more importantly, you readers, the answer would have been a resounding no. Oh, I don't know, I might have made it through a month, give or take a day; but after the first few skipped stories...well, you know the rest. So, first and foremost, thank you to everyone who stopped by for a tale or two, and an extra-colossal thanks to all those who signed up and stuck with it. Special gratitude to anyone who submitted a title idea during the December challenge, and to anyone who left comments throughout the year. I realize that some of you have only recently come to the project, since the recent media coverage; I hope you enjoy going back and catching up on older stories and posts. I know that my own reaction will assuredly be one of good humor, shock, embarrassment, pride, and maybe boredom as I pour over the tome of tiny tales herein. (I can say that on one occasion I randomly selected a few stories from months ago and it was very much like reading another author's work; I think the daily ritual, coupled with the extreme brevity and overall business of life, has resulted in my entering a kind of daze when I write these stories--such that I can't really remember writing most of them.)

A little about today's roll then: Lottie (my wife), Camper (our son), and I drove up to Kirkwood (near South Lake Tahoe) yesterday for a visit with our good friends, the Olivers. While packing for the overnighter, I managed to slip my dice into the pocket of my green lunch "box" (it's one of those insulated, zippered deals one might find for sale at a local outdoorsy merchant). My intention was to roll the dice this morning, as we all lounged in our PJ's, sipping coffee and tea, looking out across the snow-covered meadow cradled against our lodge. Before I knew it, though, we were packed and heading home. Ah well, no harm really. I've rolled at home almost every other day this past year (vacations notwithstanding), so I'd take care of it when we arrived. The drive home was rough on Camper (he didn't sleep much last night and is two-and-a-half, so only ever wants to play), as well as Lottie (she's pregnant with our second son), so upon returning, they both fell immediately asleep. Left to my devices, I unpacked a bit, retrieved my dice and tossed them onto the floor. At first I thought, Oh...a 31. So, that's how this journey ends. Then I remembered that 31 was one of the second-place winners for high frequency rolling this year (see below for more on that), and that this roll launched it into a tie with the current frontrunner, 48. And then I remembered that this is the last story of the year, the final installment, the culminating chapter. Thus, it had better be damned good. ( After a year of doing this, I have come to realize that, even though many of these smaller (read: under 48 words) stories are solid, many suffer because of the ridiculous word limitations.) Suddenly, I was stressed. I realized I had to somehow cap this 365-day-long project with some kind of monumental tale in only 31 words? Impossible. And it is. The build-up is just too great. There's just no conceivable way to get better and better with each passing day, regardless of the roll of the dice, regardless of being sick or tired or temporarily over it (and I can now say that there were many days, nay weeks, when I felt over the whole thing).

At any rate, I mention it all because not until after I wrote the story and logged on to post it did I realize that I'd rolled a 31 on the 31st. And what's worse, I did it alone, with my only witnesses fast asleep. So this one's on the honor system. Obviously I have no reason to lie, but just in case some naysayer out there (yeah, you, I know you're reading this) thinks incredulous thoughts regarding such a serendipitous roll...know that it really happened. Or at least that those are the numbers my eyes saw when that green die and that gray die landed on 3 and 1, respectively, on our living room floor. So it goes.

And now (drumroll, please) to the numbers! Having kept track of how many times possible numbers were rolled, I can now look back at certain patterns or instances that may or may not have any significance beyond luck and math. Either way, here goes:

[Note: Some of my math may be off, as I am anything but a mathlete.]

My first 11 was rolled on February 18 (that story, #49, can be found here). I subsequently rolled 11 seven more times, totaling eight in the year.

The max number, 88, first graced the blog on February 23, where it became one of my personal favorites: Balancing Racks (story # 54). I went on to roll 88 five more times (for a total of six).

The "holdout" number, 71, was the last to be rolled; this happened all the way in August, on the 14th (that story is here).

From January 1 to January 20, I didn't repeat any previous rolls; on January 21, I rolled my second 31 (go here for that one, story # 21).

My first repeat rolls (i.e. rolling the same number twice in a row) were February 8 and 9, when I rolled 66 both days (the first one is here, the next there).

The first time I rolled consecutive sequenced numbers came in April when I rolled a 45 on the 13th and a 46 on the 14th. Oddly, April became quite the sequence month, as I rolled consecutive numbers (for two-day runs) three times! Even more oddly, several days ago, I rolled my one and only three-day sequence (December 24, 25, and 26) which went 44, 45, 46 (notice any resemblance to the first one back in April?).

And finally, there was a tie for both least- and most-rolled numbers. The three least-rolled were 13, 62, and 71 (each only being rolled only twice). The most rolled honor (after today's roll, of course) is shared by 31 and 48 (both coming up a whopping ten times this year).

I rolled odd numbers 182 times and evens 183 times (that's some seriously balanced rolling).

Lastly, the total number of words written (titles not included) this year was: 18,123. That's not even enough to qualify for one half of a NaNoWriMo project (and it took me a whole year)!

Okay. That about does it. Thank you again, readers all, for sharing your time with me and my little project this year. I'm not sure what the new year holds for Flash Fiction 365, but I will certainly stop by from time to time and post something or other.

Be seeing you....

Friday, January 2, 2009


So this commentary originally fell before today's story; but, at the advice of a friend, I am reposting it so I can separate the story into its own post. In fact, from here on out, I will post each story alone, with any commentary also flying solo. I'm Labeling each Story as such and will also Label each by genre (unless there isn't a clear one, in which case they'll be called General).

Waking up on Day Two only to roll a 12 -- yes, the opposite end of yesterday's spectrum -- was more than a little unnerving. I thought, Crap. But then I realized that I wouldn't have to cut hundreds of words from a first draft, shaving it down further and further as I wept the loss of little gems. I simply couldn't think on the same scope; this story would have to be different. My first draft was a mere 14 words; so, losing two, here it is.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Joseph Campbell said: "Follow your bliss."

Good advice. It turns out writing makes me happy. So do challenges. Thus, this:

The experiment: to write and post one new very-very short story every day for one year (starting today, January 1st, 2009). My first story can be found below*.

The rules: like many flash-fiction contests and publications, each story has length restrictions. In this case, I will roll two 8-sided dice (one green and one gray) every day and this number will dictate the length of each story (if I roll a green 2 and a gray 5, that day's story will be 25 words long). Ergo, the minimum story length will be 11 words; the maximum, 88. Flash fiction indeed.

Every attempt will be made to adhere to basic short story guidelines: plot, characters, conflict, etc. Obviously, some of these will be understood or left up to the reader (refer to Hemingway's six-word micro-masterpiece: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."). Characters? Check. Plot? Sure, with a little help from the reader. You get the idea. Note that I do not intend to match the absolute beauty of this famous little gem, but rather have as a simple goal to just write the year's worth of tiny stories, good, bad or otherwise.

Finally, because I enjoy many genres of fiction, I'm making it an additional goal to try and mix it up with each post. Hopefully, my imagination will allow for everything from westerns to sci-fi to good old modern realism. Of course, time will tell if I fall victim to the same thing from one post to the next.

*Here, then, is my first offering. As it happens, I rolled 8 and 6 this morning. At first I thought: Excellent! A high number; this will be an easy one. My first draft was 178 words. Ouch. After cutting and slicing and killing numerous darlings, I arrived at my goal. What you will read is a lean and mean shadow of its former self, with hints of what once was. Hopefully the original integrity and intention remain.

Thanks for coming by and thanks for reading.

Jason Sinclair Long