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.

 

Missed Connections

You put ketchup on your steak – f4m (Clementine, AL) 

Date: 2016-07-10, 12:51AM CST 

You were in Bernardo’s Steakhouse last night, around 7 or so. You are tall and dark-skinned with a buzz cut and a tattoo of an angel in white ink on your forearm. I think you told one of your friends it was for your grandma who died of ovarian cancer. I think you were there for a bachelor party or something—it was you and a bunch of other guys in the private back room, and one of the others was wearing a paper crown. I was the server with blonde braids and big hoop earrings who took back your undercooked salmon, and I think one of the reasons I like you so much is actually because of how nice you were about that. Most people would have been rude, even though I’m clearly not the one cooking the food, so thank you. If you want to meet up, message me with what cut of steak you ordered after the salmon didn’t work out. You were wearing a blue polo shirt.  

I taught you how to use coriander – f4m (Leland, AL) 

Date: 2016-07-14, 4:46PM CST

You were in Foodieland Deluxe this afternoon. You’re a black guy, tall and muscular, with some sort of tattoo on your arm, although I didn’t get a good look at it. I can’t remember what you were wearing. I was the one giving the cooking demonstration at the sample kitchen near the seafood. I was demoing coriander-crusted salmon, and you said you were glad you came by in time because you had a bad experience with salmon in a restaurant recently so you wanted to learn how to make it at home. I helped you pick out the ingredients and when you went to leave, our hands accidentally touched. Or at least I think it was an accident. I think we have a real connection, and if you feel the same way, message me with what veggie you decided to make with your fish.  

You bought 1 dozen purple orchids– f4m (Leland, AL) 

Date: 2016-07-15, 6:32PM CST

You came by the florist here in town this afternoon—strong black man, kind of tall I guess, white bird tattoo on your arm. I was working the counter and sold you an arrangement of one dozen purple orchids. I’m really hoping they’re for your mom, because you’re hot and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you since you left the shop. I didn’t even have to tell you roses are cliché, you just knew that somehow. If I’m wrong and those are for a girlfriend or something, she’s lucky to have you. But if I’m right and you’re free, message me with what color ribbon I tied around the orchids.  

From: Jenny McRae
To: All Contacts

After four years of dating, Doug finally popped the question! I’m so excited to be marrying the love of my life. He asked in the sweetest way, too—he made a fancy salmon dinner for us at his house, and he gave me this bouquet of the prettiest purple flowers, and then he got down on one knee, and . . . well, you know the rest. :D We couldn’t be happier. I am such a lucky woman.  

Love,