Into the Forest (a story in 50 words)



Trees like a beating heart. Trees like a beating heart.

Life was noisy.

Snow fell, and the woods beckoned —

It’s quiet here.  Come in.

Sure-footed, she blazoned forth.

Light slanted through the trees like a promise,

A golden haze whispered, Stay.

Standing beside three trees, red as beating hearts

She found a home inside herself.

Quiet to last a lifetime.


n.b.  The photo came first.  I wanted to see whether, not only could I write a story in exactly 50 words, but could I create that story inspired by the photo.  I like a challenge.  Thanks to the WordPress editors for this one.  It took me nearly a week to do it.  Hemingway, I am not.






54 thoughts on “Into the Forest (a story in 50 words)

  1. Oh wow, Mary, you weren’t kidding. Reds and golds and infinite possibility ahead, all wrapped up in 50 words around a photo — on the weekend, to boot. We certainly were of one mind. I love your happier ending though. And my goodness that’s a beautiful photo!

    Well done, my friend! -christy


    • You know what’s really funny? This didn’t start out in the direction of a happy ending. When I looked at my photo, the line that I first thought of was, “She wasn’t afraid of anything. . .” The more I wrote, the more I realized I was not looking in the right direction. That’s the thing about trees — they can be ominous, and they can off solitude. It actually started out with a memory of me running away from home when I was 9. That’s a whole other story!


    • I agree with you. I’m not sure it’s possible to truly write a story in 50 words. Hemingway supposedly wrote one using 6 words – the key being a story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. His “story” was: For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn. It’s an interesting exercise in focus, though.

      Thanks for your kind comment.


  2. I guess this may be kind of a sad thing, but I’m a believer that you can’t go home again (with “you” meaning, of course, “I/me/myself”). And so, operating from that mindset, these lines particularly call to me: “Standing beside three trees, red as beating hearts/She found a home inside herself.” Lovely photo and awesome writing in 50 words, Mary.


      • I really should, Mary; we toured his home in my schoolgirl days. I’ve begun LHA a couple times. The last couple years (as my kids age and I have a little more free time), I’ve been trying to revisit literature I never got to read; LHA is on the list.


    • Thank you, for the image! After seeing that stunning photo you got of yourself in the mirror, I got the Distressed FX app and started playing around with it. I love it. This photo of my back yard on a snowy day was the result.


      • Mary, I’m thrilled to think I had a part in your beautiful creation! I’ll be looking forward to seeing what else you do with the app. It is fascinating and fun, isn’t it?


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  11. Hey Wild Child- The challenge of writing is to pen something that evokes an image in the reader’s minds, pure and true. You’re always so very good at that. With the photo- beautiful shot, by the way- you’re just showing off. 🙂
    PS- Who needs Hemingway?


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