Olivia Folmar Ard

Short Stories & Poetry

January 13, 2016 was important for me. On that day, I, for the first time in my life, began taking a creative writing workshop class. Several of my friends, family members, and readers were surprised to learn this. Many of them said, “But you’ve already written two books! Don’t you already know how to write creatively?” 

Well, yes and no. Yes, I am now quite comfortable with my abilities as a full-length fiction writer, but I would not (and probably will never) call myself an expert. There is always something new to learn, and I am an eager lifelong student.  

The course I took focused mostly on short fiction and poetry, two forms that legitimately terrified me. While I’ve always enjoyed reading short stories and poems, I have not been inspired to write either in several years. I was skeptical about what I would be able to produce for the class, but nevertheless I soldiered on.  

The results of our various writing exercises, discussions, and assignments comprise most of what you will find in this short, sweet read. Despite my initial misgivings, I was pleasantly surprised with the work I produced over those four short months, and after a few more rounds of editing, I have decided to share them with you.  

I must warn you, these are nothing like the work I’ve shared before. If you’re looking for a companion piece to my novels, you will not find it here. But if you’re interested in traveling with me as we take short, compelling glimpses into the lives of those on the margins, you will enjoy reading this quick foray as much as I did writing it.

 

Death of a Friendship

It was a sudden demise, but
cancer had been eating away at
her bones, her liver, her brain— 
her— 
for a long time. 
You tried to ignore the signs— 
the forgetfulness, the strain, 
the mood swings, the pain— 
but when you woke one day
and you were there and  
she was not, 
it was a long-awaited surprise.  

You laid the body out, dressed it, 
did all you’re supposed to do— 
a fistful of flower petals, a handful of soil, 
black heels and saltwater pearls. 
You tried to feel the right things— 
to mourn, to sigh, 
to grieve, to cry— 
but all you could grasp was relief
because you no longer needed to pretend
she wasn’t dying.