Story Words
Very short fiction, written on the fly, from words submitted by readers.
© 2002, 2003, 2004 Jay Lake

Saturday, June 19, 2004
Remarkable Evolution

Every time attention turn from the expected to the unexpected, a remarkable evolution is performed. When a fish flops onto the beach and does not drown, a remarkable evolution is performed. When a glance sparks another glance and fingers find one another, a remarkable evolution is performed. When a monkey drops from the trees and stands upright to look into the future, a remarkable evolution is performed.

You are my remarkable evolution.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Comet Wild 2 has a black and icy heart, coiled within veils of dark dust, lit only by such slender fingers old Sol can send her distant daughter. Frozen palaces rise from the cracked depths over a terrain that would have made old Bosch weep for sin. She spins, Wild 2, throwing ice spikes out to the Solar System, slender fingers of her own with a fraction of the reach of Mother Sol's, but still clawing for purchase in the velvet depths of the Oort Cloud, until light-second by painful light-second, she hauls herself into the water belt, attires herself with a great, jeweled tail, and flares bright for monkey minds to wonder at.

("Comet" courtesy of TL)

Thursday, June 17, 2004

She is the muse of dance, stepping through culture, history and life in a whirl of fabric and fingers and flaming hair. Terpsichore has passed many a man on the road, leaving him stunned into senseless amazement. She has blessed many a child. She has taken form in many a woman, who then can lead the rest of us through life along silent beats ringing in the bones of the world.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

An often overlooked Greek scholar, Miscellaneous was a jack of all trades who made great strides in the areas of discourse, literature, metallurgy, chemistry and geometry. Miscellaneous is also famous for a collection of poetry and bawdy limericks, but most of these were lost when the library of Alexandria was destroyed. Miscellaneous isn't very well known today because he wasn't well liked by his fellow scholars. Prone to long diatribes on the most inane of subjects, and infamous for his bodily noises, he was shunned in social and professional circles, but he gave us an important word we use today for everything else that doesn't fit into a clearly defined category. His name is written upon the filing cabinet of history.

("Miscellaneous" and today's Storyword both courtesy of guest author James M. Palmer)

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

A patriot believes in her country.
A patriot fights for what is right.
A patriot seeks what is good.
A patriot speaks when others are silent.
A patriot stands while others sit with heads bowed.
A patriot doesn't hide behind a flag.
A patriot doesn't confuse loyalty with obedience.
A patriot doesn't confuse opposition with evil.
A patriot believes in her country.
But most of all a patriot thinks for herself, and of everyone else.

("Patriot" courtesy of TL)

Monday, June 14, 2004

. . . and thus former President Reagan became the
first ex-president to be posthumously elected Vice
President, securing George Bush's bid for a second

(Word and story both courtesy of guest author David Jones!)

Sunday, June 13, 2004

We embrangled the bandinage with our barratrous sinecures. The twines were most deleterious, though the petrarch complacented well enough in the end. Should the meretircious pelagians re-emerge with viscous interregnae once again, doubtless those ancient sinecures will renew their promises of sustenance once more.

("Embrangle" courtesy of JannaS)

  I've been nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Novelette, and for the John W. Campbell, Jr. Award for Best New Writer!
Award info | Me

Read the Hugo-nominated story for free at

Q: What is this?
A: A fiction experiment. Every day, people email me words. At some random point in the day, I pick a word, write a quick story about it on the spot, and post it unedited (except for a quick typo patrol).

Q: What did that word mean?
A: Look it up:

Q: Can I send you a word?
A: You bet. Include a definition if the word is deeply obscure -- or not, if you prefer. Send it to

Q: I've got something to say about this.
A: Click over to the Story Words discussion topic.

Q: Who else is silly enough to do this? I think it's kind of neat.
A: David Jones, for one. Surf over there and check him out. Drop him an encouraging word, too. He's a brave man.
A: Jeremy Tolbert, for another, with his Microscopica project. Likewise show him some love.
A: Jason Erik Lundberg with his Mythologism blog.

Q: You're even cooler than KITT the Knight Rider car. Do you have a mailing list to announce your latest hijinks?
A: Of course I do. What kind of self-promoting, narcissistic writer would I be otherwise? Email me. Occasional mailings regarding stories appearing in print and online, weird stuff in general, and appearances of the Greek Chorus.