for writers and readers….

A complete short story on a stamp

stamp-4What a good idea … what a really good idea.
I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Dublin’s permanent designation as a UNESCO City of Literature than by putting a complete short story on the new Irish stamp.

For 60c you get the 224 word story of 17 year old Eoin Moore. In case the picture is hard to read here is the story in full:

The thick clouds cover up the moonlight, but the city’s lights provide worthwhile illumination – above them all, the beacon burns bright atop the monolithic podium, signalling to wayfaring voyages the ancient Viking settlement.  Now, where Norsemen once stood, I look back, along the quays, streets and alleys, to where the inhabitants live their lives: eating, speaking, and breathing their city into existence.  It gives me cause to wonder, as I stroll aimlessly along the cobbled paths, about those who have traversed them before me, by carriage or before there were even cobbles to walk upon.  I feel their lives and mine are somehow connected, that we all were at one point a part of this city, living pieces of its grand, striking framework.   Every High King and scholar, every playwright and poet, every politician and every rebel, every merchant, student, and busker who ever set foot in the city holds or held onto a chunk of this city’s soul; every one of them stepped to the city’s heartbeat.  I listen to the streets at night and I can feel the city’s lifeblood pumping through me; I can feel myself flowing through it.  All of us who travel those arteries step on the words, actions, and lives of those who travelled them before us. The city embodies the people, and the people embody the city.

I‘m not sure this is technically a short story if you accept the conventional definition that a story is where something happens. It can be a very small something, but a change should have taken place between the first word and the last.
I’m inclined to think that Eoin has written a prose poem celebrating Dublin, marrying the lyrical beauty of poetry with the sentence construction of prose – what the American writer Charles Simic called literary paella.
But it would ill become me to be sniffy about it, especially as I once won $4000 with a story where absolutely nothing happened. (I think of it as my new kitchen story because that’s what I bought with the prize money.)

Whatever the label, this passage of writing is a pleasure to read and it is very good to know that a work of literature will be stuck on Irish envelopes to be sent out with love letters and final demands, rebates and pensions, school reports and messages of sympathy and solace. Way to go!

6 comments on “A complete short story on a stamp

  1. 1WriteWay
    June 8, 2013

    That is a wonderful story (your post and the on the stamp) 😉

  2. ann perrin
    June 8, 2013

    Me thinks it is prose poem and now we want to hear your ‘kitchen story’ x

  3. bridget whelan
    June 8, 2013

    …maybe, you never know! Although the story is celebrating its 10th birthday this year, I dusted it down and read it in the festival last month because it fitted the slot….Love the stamp thing, don’t you? This was ambitious. Haven’t seen the stamp in real life so don’t know how big it is but a stamp could easily have a four line poem, 30 word flash fiction story….

  4. mparel
    June 8, 2013

    Way to go indeed. Again, well done in finding these gems, Bridget. Now, about the kitchen. . .

  5. bridget whelan
    June 8, 2013

    Thanks….for me it was about earning a new kitchen not writing about one!

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This entry was posted on June 8, 2013 by in News and tagged , , , , , .
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