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

Friday, September 10, 2004

I have built me a heartwood box. The lumber I ripped by hand, with an old saw blade-tipped with shattered diamonds from my great-grandmother's wedding ring. I cured the planks over a slow fire of manuscripts yellowed with age and rejection. I mortised them together with a glue boiled down from the bones of old memories forgotten on the endless shore of thought. Then I bound the flames and bundled them within, tied with a thin red cord.

Once the fire was buried beneath the crumbling earth, I walked on into the light smiling, though I knew better.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Radix, root, from which rises the world, every tree of life and cathedral-soaring fantasy of the heart of man, all from the humble base which serves as foundation our dreams.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Leaves whisper secrets of world in the branches high above. Mice scatter their random trails among the trillium, fleeing snake and bird alike in their never-ending scramble to survive long enough to evolve. A great basalt shoulder of the earth erupts above the green-roofed forest, pushing glaciers toward the sky in a jeweled offering to Father Sun. Creeks run white as the snow which birthed them. I walk among the loam scent and graceful silence of the firs, draw a deep breath of the majesty of the forest, and dream on you.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Once a star of stage, screen, and the Throne of God, Lucifer's star had descended somewhat, and that was a minor inconvenience compared to the descent in fortunes and altitude that he and his compatriots were forced to suffer. Once dwellers in luxury apartments within those fabled mansions, the members of the failed insurgency were now reduced to renting a double-wide in a trailer community on the southern outskirts of Tartarus.

Guest Editor BridgetM

Sunday, September 05, 2004

The maw opens, raw red within, gaping, voraginous. Another victim descends, writhing, to be consumed like dozens -- hundreds -- of others. The cavernous orifice closes, then opens again to emit a sound. "Peep!"

Word and Bird by a Guest Editor

  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.