Stories of our times

How many words do you need to tell a story? How many words to spark a thought? How many to stir an emotion?

While the world ducked and weaved through one disaster after another these past few years, a million stories emerged, many that required few words. Those of landmarks in populous cities rendered deserted on many days of 2020. Those of family members separated from each other by thousands of miles, sometimes unable to see each other in person one last time before the pandemic claimed them. And of houses that used to be visited by maids almost daily now locked and dusty. Masks that became inseparable from the face, creating anonymity of a kind. Babies that raced to toddlerhood without seeing their entire family. Old people falling down stairs during lockdown, hiding bruises during video chats with their children. Others stranded in one city while their lives stood waiting in another.

But other stories emerged too. Those of cities that returned to life, albeit a different life. And those of people separated from family who made friends with the few strangers in their building. Others, of family members who met after years of separation once travel found a new normal.

Babyhood toys that lost their color at home but never their meaning for the child or parent.  Lives that ended, but leaving memories that will survive for long. Parents working from home who could now see their babies wake up. Babies who giggled as they at last heard stories from both parents on the same night.

The paragraph of sad stories may have more words, but the stories of hope have more paragraphs. What stories will the future hold, and how will we remember our present, soon to be our past?

Speaking of the present, a clump of tall trees stands guard in my backyard, where many ideas have come to me. One tree has met its end and needs to be cut down. But before it goes, I cannot help but look at its tall trunk reaching for the sky. What stories may even this tree have to share, watching scene after scene unfold over the years from high above? And what stories do I walk by every day, unaware that there are more screaming to be told?

My first novel is a work of historical fiction, but I felt compelled to change tracks and document several short tales of a historic time. I captured a dozen, a dozen drops in an ocean of human experience. Here they are, at

I would love to know what you think of them.