Why microfiction is mighty right now
In today’s time-poor world, it can feel hard to find the space to read. But the short story as a format, with its enrapturing prose, makes it easier. Microfiction in particular “provides all the devices of a novel” wrapped up in fewer words, according to Rachel Wood, founder and director of female-focused store Rare Birds Books in Edinburgh. “They set up the plot and give a resolution in the length of a chapter,” she says. Author Lucy Caldwell says they “require the concision of poetry.”
Importantly, it’s a medium that allows for cognitive switch-off on the go. So, it’s no surprise that in this era of distraction and incessant noise, the popularity of micro works is on the rise. These bitesize stories, comprising a handful of paragraphs, allow you to immerse yourself in another realm when you’re low on time – think of it as a conscious disconnect from the usual stream of notifications. Lose yourself in the ebb and flow of each sentence and take a hiatus from the noise of normal life to find simple joys in this masterful art of storytelling.
The beautiful thing about the short story is that it can be enjoyed anywhere – and that doesn’t just mean out of the house. Read one first thing on a Sunday, before you look at your phone, and start the day with an absorbing silence; delve in as you wait for your kettle to boil to make your morning brew. In adulthood, there’s a true joy in making little moments of your day count; a short story is the perfect excuse to productively press pause for a second and enjoy the exhilarating escapism each tale offers. A little poetic playtime is good for the soul.