I love coming down in the morning and finding a newspaper on the doormat. Call me old fashioned, but I have a preference for “the real thing” whether it’s the newspaper or a novel.
With a newspaper, it’s not just the smells and texture but the feeling that I’m holding something substantial that attracts me. I like that journalists have taken the time to organise it and make a selection. News online seems only to be organised by chronology.
Although I probably shouldn’t admit this, being a journalist and all, but the favourite section in the Dutch newspaper that arrives on my doormat six days a week, is the closest thing to fiction as you can get in a quality newspaper. It’s called ik@nrc and in every edition a reader tells an anecdote in 700 characters or less.
The submissions are usually humoristic, sometimes endearing and once in a while poignant. People write about conversations they hear on the train, good deeds done by strangers or little daily annoyances. Despite being non-fiction a lot of them are little pearls of real life flash fiction.
I even managed to get my own anecdote in the newspaper once, (translated from Dutch):
I receive yet another one of those emails in which I’m told that someone I know has opened a facebook account and I’m asked to join as well. But this time the email is from my 85-year-old grandfather, it even has a profile photo, which, knowing him, he probably uploaded himself.
An hour later I receive another one of those emails, this time from my husband. He sends me an extra message with explanation: “Now that even your grandfather has joined facebook, I can’t stay behind.”
A few weeks on, my husband has made 24 friends, my grandfather 26.
Recently I discovered a blog called Six Sentences. As you can infer from the title, people can send in six sentence submissions. A new post is added every week.
I can think of a dozen anecdotes to send to the newspaper, but telling a fictitious story in just six sentences baffles me. I’m therefore intrigued by the entries. For now, I’ll just keep reading them. Maybe one day I’ll try my hand at them myself.