Empire & Great Jones 100-Word Challenge

The primary goal of this challenge is to have some fun and be creative! The challenge is simple: Write 100 words. Pledge 100 cents. Nominate three people to take the challenge. Ready? Go! ——————— ——————— ——————— ———————

The challenge is simple:

  1. Post a 100-word story or poem
    Try to hit exactly 100 words!
    You can post your writing as a comment below, on social media, or on your own blog—doesn’t matter where you post it, just post it (and we’d love to hear about it when you do).

    ~ or ~

    Pledge 100 cents at SparkAnthology.org/support
    (That’s $1 a month.) It’s also okay to do both parts: write 100 words and pledge 100 cents.

  2. Nominate three others to take the 100-Word Challenge.
    Share the link to this page and tag three people—authors, poets, family, and friends—to take the callenge: SparkAnthology.org/100-word-challenge

So, why take the challenge?

The primary goal of this challenge is to have some fun and be creative! In the process, you’re also helping us spread the word about the Empire & Great Jones Creative Arts Foundation and our non-profit mission in support of writing and literacy.

When you pledge $1 or more at SparkAnthology.org/support, you enable us to sustain and expand our scholarship program, which currently funds a full-tuition scholarship to the Clarion West Writers Workshop and a full-tuition scholarship to the California State Summer School for the Arts:

You enable us to showcase great writing talent through multiple publications and reach our goal of paying professional rates to all contributors, regardless of their publication histories:

And you enable us to host a quarterly writing contest with no entry fee and a $500 grand prize:
Monsters and Marvels by Tyler Lamph

Because we’ve already passed our first goal of $100/month at SparkAnthology.org/support, when you become a patron you’ll always get early access to content (starting with Volume VII).

25 thoughts on “Empire & Great Jones 100-Word Challenge

  1. The sky was blue, with a thin spread of gray clouds.
    “One hundred, ninety-nine, ninety-eight—“
    “What you counting?” asked her companion.
    “Elephant tears. Ninety-seven, ninety-six—“
    “What are—“
    “Elephant tears?” she interrupted. “See that cloud up there?”
    ”Which one?”
    “The one that looks like an elephant. See the trunk going off towards the one like a galleon.”
    “Erm, sure, I think.”
    “It’s dropping rain. I’m counting the drops. Elephant tears. Ninety-four-”
    “Dammit it. You’re weird.”
    “That’s rich, coming from an armadillo. Ninety-three, ninety-two.”
    The armadillo wandered off, looking for saner tree to shelter under.

    See Facebook for my nominees!

  2. Jake hates my dog. He pretends to find it charmingly eccentric, Zeke sleeping between us, snout on my neck. Dogs don’t complain when you turn in the night and wake them, ask why you get up in the night to read in the living room or grab a snack or smoke.

    “Zeke was here first,” I say, but I mean, “I’m sure he’ll be here tomorrow.”

    I watch Jake sleeping for a moment. He is beautiful, but I don’t love him. Have I spent the love allotted to me for a lifetime?
    Zeke answers my thought with a whispery bark.

    (Nominees on my FB page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/George-Wells-Author/365574010191061)

    By Scott Warrender

    Outside, the fog is thick. Rainwater jewels slide down the glass – falling stars. Sightseeing during a thunderstorm is humiliating. We should be in Milan, not on some crowded gondola.
    Thirty-thousand lira I’ll never see again.
    Italy was supposed to be different. I scan the funicular, look at John, exhale.
    “This says George Clooney owns a home in Bellagio,” he says. I grin.
    A boy finger-paints on the fogged-up window – circles and lines.
    The funicular surfaces from the clouds. A hard blue sky swipes across every window.
    “Amazing!” John says. I look down the mountain, trying to see where we began.

  4. Pingback: Empire & Great Jones 100-Word Challenge | icantbelieveitsablog

  5. Fiendish wanderers whisper of wonderful tales,
    An internal enticing that boils the blood,
    Seemingly driving to the brink of war,
    This waging battle to get out and explore,
    Our skin writhes at the thought of staying local,
    Eater for desperation to shoot us skyward,
    Blink and its gone, pause it disappears,
    Our clinical obsession comes and goes,
    But never let it leave,
    It burns hot, dark behind the eyes,
    And propels us to places the best in our lives,
    A malignant tumor with the best intentions,
    Swearing your fealty before we die,
    To explore our hearts and set out ourselves,

  6. Light slants in bright through the kitchen window, along the sill, down the wall, across the counter. It is not insistent, like that which pushes in all through the summer months; rather a light which warms and glows, and the air smells of leaves and wood smoke, things that remind the bones of an agrarian past when this would be the time of the year of harvest, and bounty. Soon there will be pumpkins and sheaths of corn, and when we take the dogs out, the ground crunches beneath our feet. A bowl of red apples sits on the table.

  7. A Poem for Charlie

    When we were green and I was a vampire,
    It felt natural to believe that you—

    Regret lingers, transmutes desire.

    Wasted years, a paralyzed view,
    Dead sublimity, unsure you were real,
    Yet it felt natural to believe that you—

    Dead sublimity, did you feel
We belonged, maybe, we chose to be here?
    Face to face, a heartbeat between now and
    Sublimity, unsure you were real.

    Wasted moments and second chances sear,
    But we belonged, baby, we chose to be here,
    With your teeth on my neck, unsaid fears.

    We were green and I was a vampire,
    Regret lingered, transmuted desire.

  8. If I could love you any more
    I would.
    If my words could bring you any nearer
    They would.

    If the sky was any higher
    I would rise above the rest,
    I would tie a bow in heaven,
    I swear I would do my very best.

    If I could love you any more
    I would.

    There’ll be days enough for loving
    As the sun sinks slowly in the west.
    Stand up strong now every morning,
    Lay down heavy for your rest.

    If I could love you any more
    I would.
    If my words could bring any nearer
    They would.

  9. I heard them telling me to not go in the house: a cacophony of voices as I opened the front door.

    She lay naked on the hardwood floor. I fell to my knees; cradled her withered body, stared into her sightless eyes.

    This was a remnant of the woman who had taught me how to be by default; the woman always just out of reach of the child still inside me. The woman whose hands had stroked many foreheads (but never mine.)

    Her hands, my hands. The thumb creases just so. They enveloped and warmed the still and waiting child.

  10. I ache, so very much. In different ways on different days, but all of the pain is in the vicinity of my heart. The figurative one that has been permanently broken for months, since Mom died. Nothing is as right or as bright or as funny or as great because she’s not here. I miss her. More than one hundred or one million words could ever explain. A piece of me is missing and there’s nothing to fill the hole that exists because she’s gone. She’s in me and my daughter. She’s everywhere but she’s nowhere and I hate it.

  11. If I could love you any more
    I would.
    If my words could bring you any nearer
    They would.

    If the sky was any higher
    I would rise above the rest,
    I would tie a bow in heaven,
    I swear I would do my very best.

    If I could love you any more
    I would.

    There’ll be days enough for loving
    As the sun sinks slowly in the west.
    Stand up strong now every morning,
    Lay down heavy for your rest.

    If I could love you any more
    I would.
    If my words could bring you any nearer
    They would.


    Twenty shillings once were hard to earn
    And almost as difficult to spend
    Bobs now languish nostalgically
    In the minds of ageing men
    They once bought smiling faces
    When presented with matronly care
    Squandered on treats in the corner shop
    Sadly no longer there
    Reams of archaic one pound notes
    Long ago shredded and burnt
    All gone along with the lessons
    No one ever learnt
    Humble pennies, h’pennies and farthings
    Princely thruppenny bits, tanners and bobs
    Copper, bronze and nickel
    Earned from Saturday jobs
    Two fists full equaling The Noble Quid
    Worth a small fortune when I was a kid

    • Well done! I’m impressed that there’s so much poetry in response to this challenge, and pleased to see you take on structure and rhyme, too.

  13. It hurts to fall in love with the wind.

    My mom knows it. She married my dad, a wind spirit. He would’ve stayed, but when wind goes still, it dies. So my dad had to leave her alone in her house by the sea. And since gravity didn’t bind me the same way it did for most with human blood, he took me with him.

    I fell in love with a wind girl. We explored some caves, surfing the rush of wind tunnels. But we hit dead air, and she died. I nearly did, too.

    It hurts, loving the wind.

    • Great concept. It would be very interesting to see this expanded into a longer story, exploring the relationship both between the narrator and the wind-girl and between the narrator’s parents.

  14. He drank his one cup of coffee with one sugar and one creamer next to the window, watching people through the blinds pass on their way to work. His one coffee in one hand, his one cigarette in the other, he scanned the throngs of passersby for the one woman. He smoked his cigarette to the filter, dropped it into the empty cup.

    In the shower, he scrubbed himself from head to toe with his one washcloth and pulled at the memory of the one woman, auburn hair, white blouse, black bra. He aimed at the drain and scrubbed again.

  15. “Let me make you some coffee, then we can talk,” Derrick said.
    Sara eyed the cappuccino machine dubiously. “That thing doesn’t make coffee, it makes steam.”
    “You must be doing it wrong.”
    Sara shrugged. “It doesn’t matter. I don’t want any coffee.”
    “Well, I’m going to have some.” He carefully filled the machine while Sara looked out the window. “So what brings you here?” he asked, while his coffee frothed.
    “I need a favor,” she said, turning her blue eyes back to him.
    “From me?”
    “It uses a unique set of skills.”
    “Ah,” he said. “You want someone to disappear.”

  16. Backing Off

    Back goes the boy’s head—
    Back go the bullets—
    Back goes the cop’s gun—
    Back goes the kid’s hand from his coat pocket, trying to ditch the red spray paint–
    Back goes the boy, turning back to the cop—
    Back goes the cop yelling stop—
    Back goes the boy running–
    Back goes the call about someone tagging on Fifth Street—
    Back goes the cop, fresh from a child abuse call —
    Back goes the boy to the wall he was tagging with red spray paint—
    Back goes the lady, calling 911 on her cell phone reporting some kid spraying graffiti.

  17. He’s too young to go out by himself. Everyone says, ‘Let him go. Kid’s got to fly’. Look at him. Not even dressed properly. What if he gets cold? What if he gets lost? What if…?

    “Suit up. Make sure your helmet’s on tight.”

    “I know. I know.”

    “When I was your age…”

    “I know, you weren’t allowed out of the back yard by yourself. You had to wear seat-belts—couldn’t do anything…”

    Things are different now. So many changes.

    “Be careful. It’s a big universe out there.”

    “I will Momma.”

    He opens the door and steps off the earth.

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