The word “potpourri” originated in the early 17th century, when it denoted a stew made of different kinds of meat. Today’s “True Stories Well Told” is a mixed meal of opportunities you might want to take advantage of.

Over the last year or two I’ve become increasingly interested in short-short form writing. Marion Roach Smith’s “go small,” in The Memoir Project,  Alan Gelb’s “finding the ‘once'” in Having the Last Say–these are authors pointing us toward the small scene that carries deep meaning.

Now I find that Creative Nonfiction magazine is publishing micro essays on Instagram. So here’s your first opportunity–check out the call to post an original photo and write a story/caption in under 2200 characters.


Here’s your second opportunity–Later this spring, I am teaching a “Flash Memoir” workshop through the UW Madison’s Wheelhouse Studios (formerly Mini Courses). We’ll challenge each other to develop true stories well told in under 1000 words.  More info here.

And your final opportunity–Doug Elwell, whom I met through his submissions to True Stories Well Told, alerts me that a short story of his is now available for purchase through the War Writers’ Campaign.

“There is a black wall in Washington D. C. with the names of over 58,000 Charlies on it. My Charlie was just a guy like them who got caught up in somebody else’s fight and paid the ultimate price. And every Charlie on that wall left behind buddies and families and a few people he didn’t know who touched his life in some way. Here we meet Harry and Cap Steiner. They were two of those people…”

Read more about “Charlie” or make your purchase here, just  $2.99 in Kindle or iBook format. At 31 pages, it’s not “flash memoir,” but knowing Doug’s work, it’s a good read (Just bought my copy). Doug has been experimenting with the line between creative nonfiction and fiction, using “Harry” as is his alter ego/protagonist. I look forward to learning more about Harry’s wartime experience.


The War Writers’ Campaign guarantees that 100% of all proceeds will go to support of its mission, to its authors as a royalty for their work, and to programs of veterans organizations impacting the lives of veterans and their families. Find out more about the War Writers’ Campaign here.

Got news from your corner of the writing pond? Send it my way! And remember, submissions of guest writers’ work is always welcome–see guidelines here.

Sarah White

About first person productions

My blog "True Stories Well Told" is a place for people who read and write about real life. I’ve been leading life writing groups since 2004. I teach, coach memoir writers 1:1, and help people publish and share their life stories.
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