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The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories 2 might be small in size, and its stories might be short lengthwise (just two pages long), but these stories are long on imagination and possibility.

I like this book better than the first; the collaborative effort seems more cohesive, the stories more fantastic, the drawings more tender. Stories we invent in order to live in this world.

The genre of the short-short story (or micro-fiction) is so appealing; in our overly busy and technology heavy lives, we need tiny escapes from the madness. That is just what this collaborative effort does: gives us a break from the madness. In short-short form. Who has time for long reads these days, anyway?

I highly recommend this book along with Volume I. Volume III is already in the works, so if you’re a writer/artist looking for a great project to work on, check out the link. And get to RECording.

Tiny Stories II

In late 2009, in response to a Twitter message, I joined something called Bite-Size Edits.  The idea was that writers would upload stories and other contributors would make editing suggestions, which the writer would then accept or reject.  Hitrecord.org goes just a bit further.

Where Bite-Size Edits was more editing help, hitrecord.org is full-on collaboration– and not just text, but audio/visual files too.  Any kind of art is welcome– drawings, recordings, words.  But, as they warn you when you create an account, anything (including your profile pic, so think carefully!) is up for grabs.  Anything can be edited and re-submitted.  In fact, this is the whole point.

I am lucky enough to be on the list of book reviewers for a major publisher & therefore got a review copy of the latest from the hitrecord collaboration, The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories.  It is indeed filled with tiny stories (some only six words) and whimsical illustrations for each.   The Tiny stories are reminiscent of the short-short story or the six-word memoir:  short, concise, and often laced with humor and wit.  Often poetic and sometimes dark, these tiny stories are just plain endearing.  I dare you to read this book and not laugh or nod in happy agreement at some point.

I was worried, as I read through the book, where all the writers & artists were listed?  At the end, there is a list of contributors and their record numbers.  Your records, I found out later, are your contributions.  Intrigued by the list of usernames and record numbers, I looked up hitrecord.org on the web.

After perusing the website for oh, say, 30 seconds, I immediately created an account on hitrecord.org.  As a writer, I have often collaborated with others.  It’s not always been pretty:  in grad school, my memoir class professor hooked me (a self-proclaimed atheist with a very sarcastic tongue) up with a young, religious and straight-as-an-arrow editor to work on a chapbook.  In my memoir, I talk about smoking weed and cursing god.  I don’t think my editor appreciated it.  As a result, the collaboration didn’t work too well.  But this type of collaboration– on the nets, and in a way anonymous– might just work.  It might work out just fine.

Any ‘record’ you post to the site– be it text, audio, visual, or any combination of these– is a record that can be downloaded and edited and changed by any other member.  It’s really freaking exciting to know that someone out there– someone you don’t know– can take something you started and turn it into something else entirely.  Open-source, creative, collaborative.  I love it.

And The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories is the result of such collaborations between 83 members.  And they all get to share in the profits:  on the hitrecord.org site, it states explicitly the percentages shared with contributors.  It’s a pretty good deal.  And the book is simply charming.  Really.

Some of my favorite Tiny Stories in the book are the darkly humored ones (the egg who optimistically follows the orange off the kitchen counter)  or the ones that reflect something much deeper about our lives (the person who doesn’t get dressed anymore because they ‘don’t feel like it’).

These are the whimsical, witty, dark and delightful stories that make up our lives. This is the first volume of Tiny Stories, and I hear the 2nd volume is in the works. I can’t wait.

PS:  here’s a link to the Tiny Stories video made by Joseph Gordon-Levitt:  Watch Here.

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