Narrative Magazine: To celebrate our new iPhone and iPad application, which brings our entire literary library to readers' fingertips for free, we've created a genre of our own: the iStory, a short dramatic narrative perfect for reading on-screen. Here are three examples from literary greats able to capture entire worlds in 150 words or less.
by Sherman Alexie
Marie waited for hours. That was okay. She was Indian, and everything Indian--powwows, funerals, and weddings--required patience. This audition wasn't Indian, but she was ready when they called her name.
"What are you going to sing?" the British man asked.
"'Every Reservation Girl Loves Patsy Cline,'" she said.
"Let's hear it."
She sang only the first verse before he stopped her.
"You are a terrible singer," he said. "Never sing again."
She knew this moment would be broadcast on national television. She'd already agreed to accept any humiliation.
"But my friends, my voice coaches, my mother, they all say I'm great."
How many songs had Marie sung in her life? How many lies had she been told? On camera, Marie did the cruel math, rushed into the green room, and wept in her mother's arms.
In this world, we must love the liars. Or live alone.
by Kay Eldredge
Did you make any New Year's resolutions? he asked her.
Have I ever, since we've been together? No one keeps them.
Well--I have one for you.
Make your own.
I have: to say what's on my mind.
And you think I need improving . . .
Just . . . your walk.
What's wrong with my walk?
It's okay, but . . .
You know, someone's walk is pretty much who they are. I mean, you have your walk from the beginning.
Yours is a little--I don't know--stiff. You could try swinging your arms more. Or leading with your pelvis, like models do.
Runway models? You ever seen them in life, without makeup, walking in, like, a grocery store?
Listen, if you're satisfied with yourself . . .
Alright, alright. You mean something like this?
Yeah, that's it!
Like it from the back?
Fantastic. Really sexy and . . . Wait, where are you going?
I've just made a resolution: I'm walking.
Friendship and Art
By Alan Ziegler
The buzzer rings near midnight. It is Robert, distraught. He has had a fight with his girlfriend and walked out. Can he stay with me?
Sure, I say, and put on some tea. We talk for a while. He leaves, and when I next see him, he says everything is all right. I feel good about helping to save a relationship.
Two years later I run into him on the subway. He tells me he is writing poems. He asks if I want to see one. As I read I realize it is about that night. I am portrayed as a cold person who barely tolerates the intrusion and says good-sounding things only to get rid of him.
"What do you think?" Robert asks, as if the poem were about roses in winter.
"It's nice," I reply, the words you use when you want to break a poet's spirit.
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