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Ann K. Frailey considers how, as a busy mother, the short-story format attracted her as a reader and as a writer.

When I first started writing, I thought bigger was better. Triple-digit page numbers and wide volumes seemed impressive even though they tend to be hard to hold upright after a long day. While raising my children, I discovered a strange hankering for bite sizes. Something I could read and remember before my frazzled brain completely gave out. As I watched my toddlers at play, I would observe their fascination with little things. A child might stare at a ladybug for an inordinate amount of time and then skip away, wide-eyed with arms fluttering, having mysteriously imbibed the very essence of ladybugness.

In a magical sense, I suddenly understood the true value of a short story. It isn’t a lesser story but an intricate miniature world, packed with fascinating details on the inside. Like my young children, I learned to look more closely and enjoy small. Short stories pleased me no end, both to read and to write.

I started writing short stories for my Friday blogs. It was a manageable goal, and I enjoyed the quick turnaround time. I especially enjoyed the closer look at individual character's minds, hearts, and souls. Astonishingly, the universe inside a single person is no less than the one encompassing the whole world.

Each of my short stories focuses on one critical interior and exterior event. The exterior event might not be that important. It could be a family reunion, a bed that seems to move at night, a calendar mix-up, trying to get a date, or dealing with a difficult co-worker. But on the inside, where the details really count, big things are happening. Except for the first story, "The Kingdom of If"—which is one of a kind, originally published in 2012—each story reflects a modern moral crisis of some kind. My first volume, It Might Have Been, And Other Stories is a collection I started in 2012 and finished in 2019. The second volume, One Day at a Time, And Other Stories, continues my writing trend from 2019 to 2021.

My personal style grew over time in much the same way that my kids developed their own art. After a great deal of experimenting, they learned to paint what they saw in layered hues, reflecting the world with a fresh vision. In my writing, words in rhythm and lyric patterns add shades of meaning that have taken me to new levels.


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Relax at the end of a long day with something small but complete. #catholicmom

I still like to write novels, but my heart is drawn to short stories with inexpressible joy. Relax at the end of a long day with something small but complete. Though we might not flutter about like ladybugs, we may find ourselves in better tune with our fellow human beings.


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Copyright 2022 Ann K. Frailey
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