The Girl by the Window, 1893
by Edvard Munch
by Edvard Munch
Art Institute of Chicago
The Girl by the Window
Afraid, gulping bitterness,
she padded to the windowed moonlight,
to see if it were really so.
“You see? She is leaving. Look at her trunk.”
Grandmother’s voice was a triumph, like a horn.
Grandmother didn’t know her own trunk
was packed for just such a night as this.
She was afraid she would never leave.
This is my first nouvelle 55, a flash fiction.
I wonder if you're like me at the moment. My attention span is shorter than ever. I feel restless. I can barely make it through a news article or op-ed without feeling that there is something else I should be doing, thinking or saying. Living in the moment, this moment, now, has never been more difficult. Strangely though, yesterday I read longer in War & Peace than I have up until now, go figure. I had my laptop open, looking up facts about the Napoleonic Wars. I couldn't get enough. Tolstoy's beautiful writing, where I ride each sentence like I'm tubing a slow-moving river, kept me riveted for hours. It also inspired me to write fiction. Very, very short fiction.
Flash fiction, micro fiction, what the French call nouvelle. Steve Moss challenged people to write them in 55 words, no more, no less. I'm in the mood for Paris, so I made up this genre: nouvelle 55, which is flash fiction, based on a piece of art, in 55 words. This particular nouvelle 55 is a meditation on Edvard Munch's painting "The Girl by the Window." I'd love it if you'd try one. There are helpful tips for micro fiction at Heelstone here. Go ahead, find a piece of art for inspiration, and write a nouvelle 55.