Author Archives: Jacob Schatz

About Jacob Schatz

Filmmaker, Writer, American Revolutionary. Cartoons avatars caused Climate Change and I can prove it.

“A short story is a shard, a sliver, a vignette. It’s a biopsy on the human condition but it doesn’t have [the] capacity to think autonomously for itself.” ~Will Self

Life is a distraction mine-field and often we delay the art we’d oft create because we lack the “ideal writing conditions.”

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Jump Rope, by Kathleen Rashid

It is a fiction, not far different from the stories created thus, that writers only write in petite, woodsy cabins inhabited by suspiciously attractive, non-bilingual, Portuguese women. No, no we’re far too poor for that — so we write to the dulcet tones of screaming children, to the falsetto of a ringing telephone, to the hum of the espresso machine. It is in these distractions that we find the rhythm, the music, to churn our stories out.

As it so happens, tonight was a distraction for both writers. However, the stories crafted herein explore more thoughtful territory than either writer has a right to expect.

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White Hair Harlequin by thienbao (Deviant Art)

In murder., Jacob utilized the prompts: 1. Murder, 2. A Harlequin Mask,
3. Ice Cream to scratch the long-gestating itch to write a creepy, gothic narrative. The result is a playful dreamscape following the stream-of-conscious observation of a woma
n placed in an all-too-remarkable situation. Utilizing elements of first & second person perspective, the story draws you into the world while remaining comfortably vague until the very end.

Conversely, ZB took off with the prompts: 1. A Dried Cheeseburger, 2. A pack of cards, 3. “Sting!” to create an absolutely stunning end-of-innocence narrative. Some stories are best told from a far-off vantage. Unlike murder.One, Two, Three, Four focuses on the street-level action from the perspective of a man on his high-story balcony. Cutting through the potential for melodrama, ZB hones in on the honesty of inner-city living for young girls. A truly remarkable piece of flash fiction, even if one prompt was more inspiration than practical application.

Happy reading! Oh, and remember — if you have your own story inspired by these prompts, submit it to us! We’d love to feature it here on (H)our Stories!

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“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.” – William Shakespeare

Some stories take an hour, some take months. What is the “writing process?” Is it only the minutes we spend typing staring at words on the page? Or can we count the hours spent trying, to no avail, to forget that there’s a page waiting for us to fill with words?

We like to think that the answer only appears at the end, when the process has wrapped and you’re left with your product. You can look back at your work and see which of your thoughts/actions/interactions in the past have impacted your work.

But really… it’s all process.

All of the false ideas and time spent down rabbit holes that lead to nowhere are part of the process. As you can’t bake a cake without breaking some eggs, neither can you write without following the wrong path. We might hold up the final story and say, “see, look what I made.” The truth, however, is that you made so much more than that small product. Your process was expansive; iceberg-like underneath the surface of that story.


It was just over three weeks ago that each writer submitted three prompts to the other. What, you might ask, happened?

The answer ranges from the obvious: financial troubles, lack of passion, being too busy, celebrations, blahblahblah. To the less common: friends dying, dietary insufficiencies, Google Certification exams, etcetera.

In the end, it took three weeks to sit down to write a one hour story, but unlike past stories, this hour embodied nearly a month’s worth of self-doubt & reflection. In a way it feels as though our writers are more legitimate in their craft. For what story of success has ever been constructed in which oneself wasn’t the most capable obstacle?


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A fragment of Childhood Backyard, by Stacey Fabre

Inspired by the prompts: 1) Indian Food, 2) Luna, 3) Moving, The Story with the Rope explores Jacob’s experience with grief by weaving together two timelines — a story within a story — to show that the road to recovery is rarely laid out clearly before one’s feet.

Then, in Schizophrenic Monkey Farts, ZB explores the ensemble of a teenaged garage band using the prompts: 1) Rooftop, 2) Grunge/Punk, 3) A Sloth. With a protagonist who self-identifies as a musician without much skill to back up the assertion, it’s not hard to see the elements of self-doubt in one’s art permeating through ZB’s piece.

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untitled, Helmut Middendorp, Singer II, 1981

P.S. We know how hard the last three weeks has been without us. We promise we won’t let that happen again. And we half-promise that our promises only get broken 50% of the time.

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