Short Stories, Long Sentences

Short Stories, Long Sentences

Mojave Crime by Benjamin Goulet

I like writing about food. I like writing about places. I like writing in short form. I like writing in long sentences. This particular entry is none of those things, but I want to explain the motivation behind my new creative writing project: Short Stories, Long Sentences.

It all started back when I moved to Toronto in 2013. I started a creative writing project to coincide with my exploration of the city and my love for food and writing about food. I decided to write about every restaurant I visited that inspired me in some way and post those writings on a restaurant review site called Yelp.

The stories were not your average restaurant reviews. I wrote each story in one long sentence describing the environment, the people, and sometimes even the food. They were tiny snapshots of a place in time: Toronto before the pandemic; a city I would fall madly in love with over the seven years I lived there.

People really seemed to enjoy the stories. The most popular one was an unusually lengthy sentence about Pizza Pizza on St. Clair Avenue. Yelp even made me an “Elite Member” due to the frequency of the posts and the attention they were getting, even though I often included profanities and PG13 content, and sometimes didn’t even talk about the food. I’ve since transferred them from Yelp and plan to do something with them in the future.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized this is the way I prefer to write. I was on a vacation in Palm Springs and picked up a book called Mojave Crime by Benjamin Goulet, which is a book full of “micro stories” that are sometimes just a few lines, sometimes a couple pages. They share nothing in common other than the crime genre and the setting: the high desert of California, where the author lives.

In the intro to the book, Goulet talks about the origin of “micro stories,” the most famous of course attributed to Earnest Hemingway:

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

After reading Goulet’s book, and a book of short essays by the incredible Jenny Slate called Little Weirds (also highly recommended), I decided to firmly plant my writing style in the world of micro stories. 

I will be sharing these stories on my website as I write them (sorry, Yelp) and I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them.