I walk the circle drawn in chalk on the ground. The chalk dust deter from its outline. The circle isn’t big. Around two feet in diameter. I meant to say it wasn’t big at first. Two feet in diameter in the beginning and it keeps growing with each round I make. After forty rounds, it must be eighty feet in diameter. It’s like this circle plans to envelope the world, lick its surface, leave its saliva on the cracked soil to forever contaminate our over four-billion-year-old innocence.

My leather sandals with three straps have escaped the perfect prison guards which were my feet ages ago. I must have been fifteen years old when I started walking the circle barefoot.

The seasons have morphed, and the snow where the snow should not have fallen now covers the chalk marks. But I keep on going. Because beneath the snow, in spite of the cold, and along with my growing numbness, I see in my mind where my next step should be. I see the circle.

I know not the number of rounds I’ve made.

My fingers have turned to orange. My hair flows like ink on paper. I feel my nakedness in spring where everything blossoms but me.

One summer after fifty years, perhaps I’ll see the chalk marks again and I’ll see with my eyes what I’ve accomplished. Until then, keep walking. I bite my tongue, trace my belly button, and poke my eyes.  Keep walking.


The Vignette Review: Take My Skin Off by Anais Jay



I mean, a foot is still too close, but at least you’re not stuck to me and feeling my bones against your flesh and sensing how cold I am.


Writing Short: Disperse

About writing short: Does additional information make lengthy sentences an exception? Extra words that reveal in detail exactly how the protagonist feels, or the back story that stirred up those emotions?

You mean info-dumping and tactless – meaning passive – exploration of characters? No. Especially not in the final drafts of a manuscript. Disperse and subtract. Add value to other scenes by revealing information in bits throughout the book. It’s called building up the tension – leaving crumbs for readers to lead them to the witch’s house, where you either let the cookie crumbs reveal how Hansel and Gretel escapes or you tweak it enough that they may seem like they’ll escape, but another flavour of crumbs explains how the witch succeeds in eating them.