55Friday: The “Doowutchyalike”-edition


It’s been an eventful 24 hours, hasn’t it? The end of an “era”, is how some of you readers generously termed it on various social media sites. It’s really just the end of a site that was once bigger in every way than it currently is. What was once a “must-read-daily” turned in to an “Eh, I’ll poke my head in weekly”-sort of a blog and that’s perfectly understandable. The party has been over for a little while. But while many of you wish we would stay around for at least those weekly visits (you are creatures of routine, aren’t you!), that wouldn’t be right.

We can, however, resurrect SOMETHING weekly: the 55Friday flash fiction challenge. See? I didn’t ignore ALL your tweeted pleas.

I know in the past that I picked a theme to help you start your engines, but somehow, I don’t think that will be necessary this time. Write about whatever you like– just contain yourself in 55 words when you do it. Ready? For old time’s sake…go.

UPDATED: On Lurve: SM’s Second Annual Valentine’s Day Contest

“All thoughts, all passions, all delights, Whatever stirs this mortal frame, All are but ministers of Love,  And feed his sacred flame.” Thus wrote Samuel Taylor Coleridge in his 1799 poem “Love.” And what better time to celebrate love in all its shapes, forms and torments than in the days leading up to St. Valentine’s Day? Find your fanciest pens and papers ladies and gentleman, because it’s time for our second annual Valentine’s Day haiku-writing contest.

For you poetry noobs, a haiku is a Japanese verse form that employs sentences in the 5-7-5-syllable pattern.  Last year, we received a number of heartfelt entries from our readers. (And quite a few deliciously cheeky ones. Amitava, I’m looking at your “Size does not matter, you say. This small haiku in place of my — uhmmm — love” piece.) Come on, you can do it, mutineers. Give it a shot. Your Valentine will thank you.

Deadline: Submit all Valentine’s Day haikus in the comments below by 1PM on Friday, February 10. Please include an email address in your comments so that we can notify the winner.

2012 Theme: Love, ishq, pyar, mohabbatein, kadhal, prema, premam, et. al.

Winner: Winner will be announced in the comments on Tuesday,  February 14, 2012.

Judge: Amitava Kumar – writer, journalist and professor of English at Vassar college.

Prize: Winner gets a copy of The 50 Greatest Love Letters of All Time, along with a personalized, handmade Valentine containing their haiku – mailed to the person of their choice (mom, dad, sis, BFF, bf, gf, yourself, etc.) by Valentine’s Day.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Mutineers!


A heartfelt thank you to everyone who entered our Valentine’s Day Haiku-Writing Contest. We received a number of fun, creative entries. But the judging itself wasn’t too difficult. We turned to our sweet tooth for the answer. Congrats to Mutineer Richa, who sent us this titillating gem.

You are sweeter than/ Gulab jamun or laddoo/ Give me just a taste

Once we picked a winner, we quickly put Rajini the monkey to work on a special design to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Okay, actually, Kunjan crafted a heart-shaped gulab jamun and snapped a quick pic. Thanks to Kunjan for his V-Day efforts. Happy Valentine’s Day, mutineers! You can check out a larger version of the graphic below the jump. Continue reading

Submit Your Entries to SM’s Valentine’s Day Haiku-Writing Contest!

sepiamutiny - v-day.jpg

I absolutely adore Valentine’s Day. Loads of chocolate and the proliferation of red and pink to brighten up the dreary winter days – what could be better? Being the shameless romantic that I am, I decided to put pen to paper and come up with a love poem to post on the valentines I was mailing out. Here’s a few I came up with…

Your biodata sweetheart/ makes my heart beat fast/ Calling mother now.

I love you more than/ Gulab jamens and ladoos/ Not that I eat sweets.

Ah, that I could run/ Fingers along your sari/ Too much Bollywood.

Be my Shah Rukh Khan/ And I promise that when your/ Dancing stops, I won’t. Continue reading

55Friday: The “Waka Waka” Edition

Zakumi in DC.jpgI have to take this opportunity to praise a small, dedicated sub-set of you mutineers who patiently continue to ask for a 55Friday, even though it’s no longer a regular feature here at SM. Your devotion to crafting stories with exactly 55 words, no more, no less is to be commended. This edition of the Mutiny’s Flash Fiction Festival is for you.

What’s Flash Fiction, some of you newer kids ask?

Nanofictions are complete stories, with at least one character and a discernible plot, exactly 55 words long. [wiki]

If you look through our “Haiku” archives, you can see plenty, many of them are quite good!

I admit it; I was more inspired than usual to try to answer your requests for 55ing because my last post (about family and identity) was such an affirming, delightfully troll-free experience. Thank you for reminding me of how lovely the comment threads here could be. 🙂 Why NOT celebrate such stellar civility with a few fine, fake stories.

At first, I couldn’t think of a suitable theme for you beyond the heat. Oh, the HEAT.

No, not THAT Heat. F that Heat. I’m a Pistons fan. I’m talking about the wilt-worthy weather. Right now, in DC, “Heatmageddon” is trending on Foursquare. NPR runs local stories cautioning pet owners to not leave their dogs in their cars, under any circumstances. And of course, I am sitting here in my office, wearing a sweater while typing this, because our air conditioning seems to think that the way to keep us comfortable is to turn us in to human popsicles. It’s going to be lovely to walk out in to a swamp from this freezer. Maybe I’ll write a short-short story about THAT.

Nevertheless, the heat may be on and it might be Summer in the City, but the song I’m thinking of has nothing to do with weather. It is, however, surely a favorite of Fozzie Bear: “Waka Waka“, the official theme for the only sporting event which currently matters! The 2010 World Cup ends this weekend, taking with it a massive time suck with which to avoid work AND loads of hawt guys with impressive hair who are prone to ripping off their jerseys after simulating war via footie. Damn, damn, damn, James. That’s somewhat depressing.

Oh, well. Write fifty-five words about FIFA, the World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo’s baby boy or anything else that strikes your fancy. The only reason I provide a theme is so that you don’t mope about writer’s block; “Waka Waka” is the official anthem for this international event AND a Muppet catch-phrase, but it’s no straightjacket. Write a piece of micro-fiction about anything (as long as it has exactly 55 words!) and then treat the rest of us to it by leaving it in the comments below. Waka waka waka! Continue reading

55Friday: The Panni Flu-edition

Every week, for the last eight months, I have received emails, facebook messages, tweets and texts plaintively asking, “What would it take to bring back the Friday 55?” Twitter : @suitablegirl_1257545747064.png Well apparently, it would “take”…H1N1, or as it is often referred to, swine flu.

That’s what I was diagnosed with two weeks ago, and while at this point I’m simply festering with a secondary infection, I’m still at home, sick. This means I actually have a moment to gasp BLOG. So 55Friday it is.

I know we have many newer Mutineers who may be unaware of the history behind this writing game, so a brief introduction seems apposite. On Fridays, I used to choose a theme and write a post which invited you, our readers, to create a piece of flash fiction (a very, very short story). Each submission was to have exactly 55 words: no more, no less (see: wiki). That (and the theme, if one chose to follow it) was all that constrained creativity.

The last time I posted a 55Friday, we received some flashes of greatness. Here’s one from commenter Non-sequitur; it was a bit of a run-on, but who cares, he fit a whole story in a single sentence with exactly 55 words!

Thomachen couldnt buy the Sony TV because his brother Vareechan didnt get paid the last two months because Dubai’s construction boom has evaporated because global investment and demand is down because U.S. banks are going under because the US consumers took home equity loans they couldnt afford because they wanted a Sony Plasma TV.

As another commenter noted afterwards, “wow – Global Economy Meltdown – 101 in 55 words. loved it.” I did, too. See? There’s so much you can do. 🙂 Now whether you want to write about pannis, being ill, Run-D.M.C. (get it? GET IT?), or flu shots going to undeserving evil like Goldman, feel free. In fact, feel so free– because you can ignore the theme completely. We only provide you with them to help. Panni-themed or not, say something via 55 carefully-picked words in the comments below; I can’t wait to read what you’ve written, as I mend. Continue reading

55Friday: the compendious edition

Once upon a time on SM,
we had a fun weekly tradition
called “55Friday”.

Everyone wrote flash fiction,
or tiny stories
which contained exactly 55 words
(no more, no less).
That was the beauty–
and the challenge–
of doing it.

I miss reading
that voodoo
you readers do.
So, let’s start again. 🙂

(Even this post is 55 words.) Continue reading

55Friday: The “Luchini AKA This Is It” Edition

No, it's not in Newpark Mall but whatevs, yo Facebook status messages are amusing, but when they borrow from long-forgotten Camp Lo lyrics, they are empyreal for their ability to summon Mnemosyne, who then sets up her projector for an impromptu mental picture show entitled “nostalgia”.

Seeing SM commenter Yeti’s “Yeti thinks this is it, what” took me back to 1997 at Formula One speeds, when “Luchini” lived in my car stereo (and my driving of a non-McLaren Mercedes was about as sloppy as Schumacher’s at Jerez). Luchini was a prominent part of my soundtrack in the late 90s; the tape it was on (ha!) flipped constantly via auto-reverse as I roamed from the legendary-but-now-defunct Green Planet in Davis to Newpark Mall’s then-revolutionary Forever 21, for hoochie ‘fits to wear to San Francisco’s Sol y Luna (and inevitably and regrettably, Steps of Rome* immediately after that) in North Beach. 1997. Sunroof always open, speeding down 880, being 22…that was it, what.

Obviously, since this song has been on auto-reverse in my head for the last 24 hours, you know what’s coming next: it’s our Flash Fiction 55Friday theme! This week, as you ponder participation pensively, get inspired by Sonny Cheeba’s** Dadaist lyrics and blaxploitation fetish. Alternately, you could choose your own “damn, it’s been years since I heard that”-joint for a starting point or write about something unrelated to excellent hip-hop entirely.

If you’re newer to the Mutiny or you have already forgotten what we did with Radiohead two weeks ago, allow me to refresh your drink.

Flash fiction, also called sudden fiction, micro fiction, postcard fiction or short-short fiction, is a class of short story of limited word length. Definitions differ but is generally accepted that flash fiction stories are at most 200 to 1000 words in length. Ernest Hemingway wrote a six-word flash: “For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.” Traditional short stories are 2,000 to 10,000 words in length.[wiki]
One type of flash fiction is the short story with an exact word count. An example is 55 Fiction or Nanofiction. These are complete stories, with at least one character and a discernible plot, exactly 55 words long.[wiki]

So, craft a story with exactly 55-words (no more, no less) about anything even remotely related to our theme and leave it in the comments below. If you’re still not convinced that this is a worthwhile timesuck OR you can’t wrap your head around how a story so tiny would even work, peep this, my favorite 55 from our previous, election-themed edition:

I crawled from the wreckage of the cab, dazed. I couldn’t feel my left side.
“You okay?” a man asked.
I lurched toward the crowd of onlookers, my leg dragging.
“I… vote…Obama!” I gasped.
His face registered alarm. “Buddy, you gotta get to a hospital!” he said.
I shoved him aside.
“Fuck… you… Clintonite!” [srsly]

Excellent 55, Saurabh. Your submission made me laugh out loud. 🙂 Continue reading

55Friday: The “Hail to the Thief” Edition

Radiohead.hailtothetheif.jpg Once upon a time, every Friday at the Mutiny, we would have quite an orgy of a writing party, as we composed scintillating stories which had a maximum of 55 words.

Flash Fiction Friday (or the Friday55) has been on hiatus for a few months, but it seems like the time is right to commence creating again. 🙂 It’s a new year, it is time to discover new writers.

When we did this in the past, we’d have anywhere from a dozen to almost a hundred story submissions left in our comments section. How is such a thing possible? Well, as I mentioned above, at a wee 55 words, these were rather abridged stories.

I know I’m not the only one who is looking forward to reading the brilliant gems you mutineers tend to come up with. If it’s all still a bit unclear, I’ve got an example of nanoficiton for you to consider; I used to post tiny stories regularly on my personal blog, HERstory. Here is one of those short-short stories, to give you a sense of what they are like, and how zimble they can be, if you are not yet acquainted…

She nervously adjusted her sari, hoping no one noticed. So far, the night had gone flawlessly; she had made a good impression on everyone, she could just tell.

The older woman at the table noted how silk was tugged upwards. Taking a delicate sip of tea, she thought, “She’s not good enough for our family.”

And now, for some background on the genre:

Flash fiction, also called sudden fiction, micro fiction, postcard fiction or short-short fiction, is a class of short story of limited word length. Definitions differ but is generally accepted that flash fiction stories are at most 200 to 1000 words in length. Ernest Hemingway wrote a six-word flash: “For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.” Traditional short stories are 2,000 to 10,000 words in length.[wiki]
One type of flash fiction is the short story with an exact word count. An example is 55 Fiction or Nanofiction. These are complete stories, with at least one character and a discernible plot, exactly 55 words long.[wiki]

I used to help organize a writing workshop in DC for would-be Lahiris and the one thing which was consistent was an inability to get started. If you looked around at the beginning of any warm-up or writing exercise, you’d observe a morose sort of gaze focused on one’s notebook, writing instruments quivering, and nothing marring those smooth sheets of paper or glare-ridden laptop screens.

To get around this for our Flash Fiction fiestas, I used to choose a song for our “theme”. It was always drawn from my music collection and usually, it was the sort of song one would have seen featured on the now-defunct, but ever-legendary 120 Minutes. This week, I’m going to veer from that formula in two ways. Our theme is the name of an album and a recent one, at that. In light of current events and primary colors, let’s ring around the rosy “Hail to the Thief (The Gloaming)”. More about that, after the jump. Continue reading