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Dribs and Drabs

Updated: Dec 10, 2023

Technically, Dribbles and Drabbles.

Dribbles and Drabbles

The history of short, short supper short literature is not new. The legendary story popularly attributed to Ernest Hemingway, though not likely his, “For sale, baby shoes, never worn,” is an example of ultra short fiction. Sometimes called flash fiction. It’s something you can read practically at a glance.

It has a hook, and a story, all of it filled in by the human imagination.

Todays reading section is about two kinds of short tales, called dribbles and drabbles. I have seen a few different definitions floating around the web, but they seem to be pretty consistent at:

Dribble: A story shorter than 50 words. (Sometimes exactly 50 not shorter or longer)

Drabble: A story shorter than 100 words (Sometimes exactly 100 not shorter or longer.)

I have never had much interest in these kinds of stories until recently. I have discovered a few locations that even specialize in this kind of fiction. I don’t know yet if I would say I recommend them, but I am leaning that way as an inclusion to my reading diet, not a substitution. Here is my take.

I generally don’t love more than half the poetry I read. I have often felt it struggles to be more than it is. I WANT to like poetry though. Dribs and Drabs feel like poetry to me, but poetry I almost always understand. Maybe I am just dense, but they feel like tight, compact dense ideas which makes my imagination work with the author's words to create an image, and scene, and then fill in the prolific gaps, because they ONLY have 50 or 100 words. Not a lot.

Some of them are settings. A snap shot in time, and we fill in around them. Some are expressions of a single moment's emotion, and we have to understand how the author, character or we would arrive there. But they are always emotionally and conceptually dense. They read like poetry in prose format. I like them. They fill the space between reading larger pieces with something that feels more worthwhile than another article about XYZ… which I have read about before (Fill in your own silly obsessions. 😊)

Take a look at the sites below.

These two seem to be the largest of their kind on the internet and deserve more traffic for what they are doing.

If you don’t feel like remembering to visit a site, subscribe to Vine Leaves and they will send a 50-word story to your inbox every day. I won't lie; a solid 60-70 percent are good or thought provoking to me at least. They're well-selected.

Go read some for yourself. If you are going to read super short things, like articles here or elsewhere, at least improve the quality of your content. Avoid feeding the algorithm nonsense, and let it know we want literature, however short it might be.

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