Journal of Writing & Environment

Web Rove: Tiny Art

by Erin Schmiel

As incoming social media editor, I spend a lot of time on Twitter promoting content from Flyway. In so doing, I have discovered short contests available only on social media.

For instance, CNF magazine has the Tiny Truths #cnftweet contest—to join, follow @cnfonline and tag your tweets #cnftweet. Making art out of 140 characters, Twitter is a perfect venue for a simple moment of clarity.

In that vein, this web rove deals with tiny art. As a graduate student I appreciate short pieces, pieces I can read on the bus, digest all in one bit—be moved by people’s true stories, and then move on. Maybe this is just me. Rare is the day I can finish an entire Harper’s article in one sitting.

Here are a few links exploring why writers write short pieces and including some great examples of tiny art. I hope they get you through that bus ride to wherever you’re going. Savor quickly, but these will stay with you.

Breathless” by Heather Sellers  (

This is a one page scene, from the Current Issue 45 Winter 2014. is a great source for short pieces.  We get a whole life of the young narrator encapsulated in this dreary walk to her father’s apartment.

Seascape” Nicole Stellen O’Donnell (

In “Seascape” Nicole Stellen O’Donnell says, “Think feathered indifference. Think abstraction. Think stare.” Here she describes a scene on a beach through many layers of lens, camera and otherwise.

The State of Flash (and Prose Poetry)—Why we Write ‘Em!“by  Christopher Critro (Nano Fiction). 

What’s great about this piece is it plays with form and function of flash fiction and prose poems in a dialogue back and forth with one another as he explains, why he writes these forms. Very meta, but important in this discussion appreciation of tiny art.

Now for some short fiction. I recently introduced six word short stories to my students. We started with Hemingway’s infamous, “For sale/baby shoes/hardly worn” and they played along with the form, some coming up with some equally creepy pieces. Here is the official website of six word stories, listing them daily in a twitter-like feed. They’ve had over 5,600 submissions since 2009.