Monday, February 13, 2006

(ssf) marshmallow

Okay, taking this short short fiction class turns out to have been a fabulously fun idea, even if sometimes a timesuck comparable to blogging at its most addictive. This week's assignment is to write a story that has something to do with a prohibition, violation of the prohibition, and consequences. In addition, the story was also supposed to include two distinct appearances of some "object," although I'm not sure I fully understood that part. I do like how we have specific assignments, although occasionally they feel a little more like improv comedy directives than writing exercises.

My story is called "Marshmallow" and is available here. Like last week's story, it involves academia, although again nothing autobiographical or quasi-autobiographical. It does, however, include a reference to an actual study from the annals of social psychology (albeit simplified in its details). And, as with one of my earlier stories, even though it certainly isn't anything I would label "erotic," I would still suggest you skip it if you are superprudish or my mom. Otherwise, of course, I'm grateful to anyone who takes the time to read it. As always, I welcome any fragile-writerly-self-esteem-respecting comments or suggestions.

(JECG: If you read this, this story is for you, and you know why.)


Anonymous said...

way to leave the reader wanting s'more

Anonymous said...

Does everyone else in the class hate you for throwing off the curve?

Anonymous said...

This might be my favorite story yet.


Anonymous said...

Oh my, excellent!

One small criticism, if I may so presume: Near the end, I found the description "throwing in her best sultry look as a bonus" to be a bit tacked on, lacking the smoothness exhibited to that point. Some options include just leaving that part off, of course, or inserting something descriptive about her (like "feeling the familiar rush of blood to her toes") or something descriptive about the voice (like "finding something in the 'w' she'd never noticed before" -- thought that one is perhaps too political). Mine are not good, but the idea is to give a propelling detail rather than a generality.

Really great. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Psycholinguist: Well chosen "name: for a tease such as he.
It has its entertainment value! I imagine him as a little oily as he keeps talking. His shoes probably squeak.
Hard to believe she'd get too worked up, even in Paris and much wine. So maybe she's lank-haired and really, really clueless.
His wife's answer? Probably not a turn-on.
I read it as a fantasy with layers of irony and loneliness.
Thanks for sharing these really interesting pieces

Rich said...

I particularly enjoyed "Apparently I put the marshmallow in my mouth the moment they left the room." Reader knows he ate it--but after reading the whole story, there's a lingering suspicion: did he chew? Or is cultivating discipline really hard work?

As for me, I couldn't control the psych nerd inside: not only did the Mischel study keep intruding on my thoughts, but it was soon joined by Little Albert. (The combined image, by the way, is of Albert freaking out, running away from the marshmallow.)

Anonymous said...

Hope you'll try "no- dialogue" soon, just for kicks.

jeremy said...

Thanks everyone for the comments. I made various tinkerings in response to suggestions, although I haven't reposted.

Rich: If I had thought about the idea of the kid putting the marshmallow in their mouth and not eating it, I might have tried to do something with it. I think it's very clever.

Last anon: I've written two stories that are monologues so far, don't those count? Anyway, the assignment next week is to write a story that's a list, so I doubt it will be a dialogue.

jeremy said...

Anon #1: Don't think the cleverness of your s'more line went underappreciated.

Anonymous said...

No. Monologues in your case = dialogues with yourself.

(Jimmy Kimmel! You look like him, no? Except for the hair.)