The Absence

I love words.

I love to read. I love to write have written. I love word games, puzzles, poems.

So when my friend Jim told me about the short story writing contest in Esquire that required a story of 79 words, no more, no less, I was intrigued but not inspired. I’m not a writer, and when I am, it isn’t fiction. Until a friend and neighbor at a recent show began to tell me her family story, one so compelling it has to be a book. And, as I was trying to inspire cajole her to begin writing (because I desperately want to read it as a novel) I remembered the short story contest.

I have now found my number one way to entertain myself during the slow points in shows and the long hours in the van!

Here is my first go at it, 79 considered words. But remember I’m not a writer, and when I am, it isn’t fiction.


Santa Rosa


The Absence

Hector arrived at his childhood sanctuary in a custom tailored American suit, hugging the walls to avoid the family’s silent glare. Convinced that he was robbed of a richer life that existed elsewhere, he lived as an outsider, especially now. He knew no hope of reconciliation remained when he read her obituary. Hector was leveled by the absence of his name. Four decades of drama with his caribbean bride, as hot-blooded as her native colors, would end in silence.



  1. bigjim August 24, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    now you ARE a writer!! xoj

  2. blj August 24, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

    Well done! I think you are an excellent writer.

  3. Janie Jones August 24, 2012 at 10:26 pm #

    Keep it up. You are inspiring me!

  4. Stephanie Kilen August 26, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

    I’ve been working on my 79 word story for a while. you hit it out of the park and I have put down my pen

    • Chris August 26, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

      Thanks! Steph – it is simpler if you are not a writer, takes all the pressure away. You better not put down your pen!!

  5. erin August 27, 2012 at 10:57 pm #

    fantastic!!! keep writing, fabulous friend. i want to read a whole book of your 79 words stories.

    • Chris August 28, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

      Thanks Erin. I’ll be sure you get an advance copy!

2 Trackbacks

  1. By Featured Artist | Chris Dahlquist on September 7, 2012 at 10:26 am

    […] of you asked so maybe it really isn’t that inter­est­ing!) Nonethe­less, I was writ­ing. Not my fun new pas­time of writ­ing short fic­tion, that is more like back of the check­book kinda writ­ing. This was […]

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