Take a read!
The Fanciful Story of 100 Words
(in 100 words)
Over margaritas we chose a practical name for the baby. Built its house in WordPress, chose black and red for its room. When we opened the doors to Submittable, no visitors came. The baby was small and quiet. We invited friends, a few trickled in. The baby grew. The word got out. Thousands deposited stories—some in neat bows, others sent over oceans in tiny boats and bottles, or dragged by a dozen panting huskies, or shot from suburban lawns in bottle rockets. The baby opened its arms to them. Soon it began to speak. In fact, it wouldn’t stop.
The Long Version
In 2010, my old friend Grant Faulkner invited me for a drink to discuss a new idea. He wanted to start a flash fiction online literary journal. He had the idea that it would just focus on 100-word stories, something that had been suggested to him by his old friend, the writer Paul Strohm.
I didn’t know what flash fiction was, but Grant most certainly did, and I was ready to return to the literary arts after a long absence. Starting a literary journal from scratch is like concocting a new cocktail. You don’t have a recipe; you just gather the necessary ingredients and a few inspired add-ons, then get to work. Sometimes things go flat; sometimes they catch fire.
In the beginning we really didn’t have enough stories, so we started asking friends and writers we admired. Some of our early supporters became permanent loyal boosters, including Robert Scotellaro, Meg Pokrass, Jane Ciabattari, Pamela Painter, Molly Giles, Thaisa Frank, and, of course, Paul Strohm.
Over the ensuring years, we read on average 1,000 stories a year, and accepted about 50 annually. We met Beret Olsen, who became our beloved photo editor. We interviewed flash fiction luminaries and introduced a monthly photo prompt. Hosted three San Francisco Lit Crawl readings, participated in panels at the annual conference of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, racked up a few awards (Best Small Fictions and the Wigleaf Top 50), had a few laughs, and produced a book. While I stepped down from the website in 2022 to pursue other dreams, this calls for a toast! To those happy years of tiny tales and big adventures. Cheers.