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Post No. 17220092
Story time /x/!
Fresh out of college, I took a teaching job in a small town in central Wisconsin. In my sophomore creative writing class, I assigned a flash fiction exercise around Halloween. We’d studied urban legends and folklore, and it was the students’ turn to construct stories of their own.
Assignment length: 100-1000 words. Directions: Scare me.
The submission quality was as expected - these were sophomores, after all - but one story stood out halfway through my stack of papers: a piece by a quiet student named Jake. His first person flash fiction story seemed so real...like it was dipped in reality. A little too closely. Almost like he wasn’t making it up, but had been retelling something that happened to him. I put it aside, impressed.
Kate’s submission was the last paper in the stack. I remember the reading experience vividly: the beads of sweat accumulating around my temples, the clickity click of the red pen in my hand, and a weird feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach. I placed it on top of Jake’s story, and I thought:
What the hell am I going to do?
I still have photocopies of the original stories, and I often wonder, why do I still have these?
But there is something about them - they are so interconnected, and there is something so raw and beautiful about them. I have a strong affinity for interesting student writing, and it’d be a shame to let the flames of these stories be extinguished.
I’ll share the student pieces, and the subsequent events that transpired, right here - I do enjoy a good story.