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#30Words30Days April 2024 - 01 Calendar

#30Words30Days April 2024

  12+   In April 2023, Sumitra (@pleomorphic2) and Danielle Baldock (@WritingDani) from the Twitter/X #WritingCommunity ran a #30Words30Days microfiction writing challenge.

Danielle re-ran it this year, posting a daily "Nature" themed prompt word and inviting writers to share their 30-word stories, read and cheer everyone else, and have fun!

I enjoyed writing and posting my daily stories for the #30Words30Days in 2023, and it inspired me to publish an anthology of my microfiction in November 2023. So, I was keen to participate in the challenge again in April 2024.

Creative and Cathartic

As I did last year, I composed most of my 30-word stories first thing in the morning, a creative kick-start to my writing day over a mug of tea. Once again, plot ideas came to me quickly after reading Danielle's prompt, and the stories were random creations. But some were inspired by topical events.

For instance, I posted the story for April 14th's prompt, "Space", after being caught up in the horror of the Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre attack on Saturday 13th. While I didn't witness the attacks, I was in Westfield and only "five minutes or fifteen metres" from where I would have encountered the murderer. 

(Please note: I updated the story I'd posted from twenty to fifteen metres after pacing the distance when the shopping centre reopened.)

It took me time to process the grief and "what ifs?" of that terrible day, and as I wrote in the piece for the 17th, "My waking head [was] full of heavy thoughts."

Writing daily 30-word stories helped me through this period, and I thank Danielle for her prompts, which proved to be creative and cathartic "distractions" from my "heavy thoughts".

My 30-Word Stories

In her "30 Words for 30 Days" blog post in May, Kathy Prokhovnik (@KProkhovnik on Twitter/X) explained how she'd decided to write her 30 pieces for the challenge as a series. Other writers wrote standalone stories but interpreted the prompts within the month's Nature theme. 

I took the "standalone" route, though I may consider writing a series as a double challenge next time, especially as 30 days times 30 words would make a good-length 900-word short story! As for the theme, only 8 of my stories were nature-orientated, 3 were "sort of", and 17 were pure riffs on the prompt word. 

I've listed my #30Words30Days microfiction pieces in date order below, with two takes for the 27th's prompt, "Shape" (I prefer the second one!). Danielle's daily prompts are in italics, linked to the post and any comments on Twitter/X:

1. Dozing on his morning commute to the concrete jungle, he dreamed of how nature had flourished, with forests echoing the sounds of birds, animals, insects, leaves rustling, and fresh-flowing creeks.

2. We called it the "bush", a wild block behind our house where my brother and I played. One day, bulldozers and builders arrived and replaced it with a boxy house.

3. I miss the blooming of the cherry blossom, the buzzing of bees, the song of birds, and the fragrant, smog-free, cool air of spring mornings in our climate change-ravaged world.

4. She climbed the stairs to the loft, eased herself into her favourite sofa under the skylight, opened her book to the dogeared page, and started reading. This was her sanctuary.

5. I stare at a blank screen with empty thoughts. The words won't flow. My dog lays a hopeful muzzle on my lap. "Okay, let's go for a walk," I say.

6. Earth (noun): A rock locked in an orbit around a nondescript star on which oceans, plants and complex life formed from gases and primaeval slime and evolved into our precious world.

7. "You never know what you'll discover digging in the garden," Grandma said. "A treasure chest, a dead body, or soil rich with roots and earthworms." 

8. I'm comfortable in my rocking chair in the warm sunshine on the veranda. I should get up and be that dynamic person I once was, but I can't be bothered.

9. Red light bathes the horizon. Is it sunrise or sunset? Am I looking east or west? I can't say. I've lost sense of time, place and direction in my life.    

10. She's got that remote look in her eyes again. She's reflecting on the past when the kids filled the living room and drowned out the bleak news on the TV.  

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11. There were gasps around the table as the Ouija board tumbler moved under our forefingers. I suppressed a yawn and the yearning for another form of spirit in the tumbler.   

12: I remember the first day at the office when Dad put his arm around my shoulder. "This can be yours, son." But I never felt his fire in my belly.  

13. Everyone was sad after Grandpa's funeral. When Ginny heard someone say, "He broke the mould", she fetched a gluestick from her pencil case to give to Grandma to fix it.

14. "Space" is a measurement of time, distance and possibilities. For example, five minutes or fifteen metres is the difference in space between typing this today and not having the possibility.

15. Humanity's first multigenerational deep-space expedition had planted a flag on an exoplanet. But returning home for a heroes' welcome, they found our pale blue dot bleached yellow by desert sands.

16. "Look into your cups, read the tea leaves, divine your future." I can't see a pattern in the leaves, but I'll be giving my cup a good scrub after class.

17. My waking head is full of heavy thoughts, but when I sleep, I dream of a lighter world. I spread my arms like an eagle and soar through the air.

18. Never mind Being John Malkovich. I want to be myself and live a life where I'm not constantly apologising for not meeting people's expectations. Then again, John's life is interesting!

19. The council planted the sapling in the barren verge outside my flats. No one cared for it. But I recycled water from showers and clothes washing and watched it grow.

20. The chemicals fizzed and popped in the beaker, solidifying into a new element as he withdrew it from the flame: Earthinium. Its purpose was unknown, but the name was marketable. 

21. "Sorry, your book deal is void."
"But I wrote 80,000 words, it took five years, and you promised to publish it!"
"Sorry, our AI-author computed higher sales for its book."

22. The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea, a brave voyage because neither liked water. But they swallowed their fears for love, adventure, and to dance on a moonlit beach.

23. Old skin and bones is all you see now. But look at my photos on the walls and trophies on the mantelpiece and remember I was once young like you.

24. I'd known him for years, so naturally, his lawyer asked me to provide a character reference for the sentencing hearing. Stupid lawyer, as I said, I'd known him for years!

25. I sat beside my grandfather on his veranda. "I don't have long, so listen carefully," he said. As he told his tale, the wind gusted, carrying voices from his past.

26. I've checked the usual places: down the back of the sofa, under the kids' beds and in the dog's kennel. I lost an hour yesterday, and I can't find it.

27. I joined a gym class today. The buff instructor said, "We'll get you back into shape." I don't think I'll bother going back again because I've never been in "shape".

27. (Take 2) I joined a gym class today. The buff instructor said, "We'll get you back into shape." I don't think I'll bother going back again because I'm happy with my "shape".

28. He'd passed the psychological testing for the interstellar space program. "No, I never feel homesick," he'd said. And yet, every night, he stared through the telescope at the ever-receding Earth.

29. I loved visiting my grandparents. I'd sit at the kitchen table and help Nanna bake cakes, mixing the ingredients, savouring the sweet vanilla essence and licking the bowls clean afterwards.

30. Green is the colour of her eyes and the emerald rings that sealed our love. It's also the colour of my jealousy and the tea I drink to master it.

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#30Words30Days June?

I felt bereft on the 1st of May. Fellow writer Rananda, "The Ink Rat" (@rat_ink on Twitter/X), wrote in her May newsletter that April's #30Words30Days challenge was the "dream lever" that inspired her to "amp up her creativity and writing output for the year".

But while Danielle's daily story prompts "amped up" my creativity during April, there was a hole in my writing day without them! 

And then I spotted a post by Danielle on Twitter/X: "I’m thinking of #30Words30Days June. Anyone keen?"

"Yes, yes, yes!" I responded.

So, come July, you may see another 30 microfiction stories from me. Or if I take on the series challenge, a 900-word short story

© 2024 Robert Fairhead

Thanks to Alexa for the desktop cube calendar for April from

N.B. You might also enjoy listening to the Tall And True Microfiction Anthology episode on the Tall And True Short Reads storytelling podcast. 

Robert is a writer and editor at Tall And True and blogs on his eponymous website, He also writes and narrates episodes for the Tall And True Short Reads storytelling podcast, featuring his short stories, blog posts and other writing from Tall And True.

Robert's book reviews and other writing have appeared in print and online media. In 2020, he published his début collection of short stories, Both Sides of the Story. In 2021, Robert published his first twelve short stories for the Furious Fiction writing competition, Twelve Furious Months, and in 2022, his second collection of Furious Fictions, Twelve More Furious Months. And in 2023, he published an anthology of his microfiction, Tall And True Microfiction.

Besides writing, Robert's favourite pastimes include reading, watching Aussie Rules football with his son and walking his dog.

He has also enjoyed a one-night stand as a stand-up comic.

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There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. ~ Maya Angelou

Tall And True showcases the writing — fiction, nonfiction and reviews — of a dad and dog owner, writer and podcaster, Robert Fairhead. Guest Writers are also invited to share and showcase their writing on the website.

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