Like Haiku, Only Much Longer

420 Characters is a online book of stories (limited to 420 characters each, including spaces and punctuation) by illustrator Lou Beach. “I started out filling in the ‘status update’ box on Facebook with short fiction musings rather than the usual b.s. last year,” Beach told me. “Turned out people liked them and I liked the challenge of creating a new story each day.” Since posting a 420 Characters fan page on Facebook the other day, he has gotten over 400 fans! “I interested my famous friends in doing readings (e.g. Jeff Bridges and Ian McShane, here) and some established writers for blurbs and voila!, handsome little site for the wee tales. I’ve got several hundred stories which I’ll switch out on the site regularly and more audio as well. I keep writing, hoping someone will extend a check.”

Here’s one of the stories:

THE PRISONER OF NOISE stood before the bathroom sink, fingers in his ears, head down, mouth wide open, willing the sounds in his head to spill into the basin – the yelps and booms, screeches, screams and howls, crashes and groans, explosions and roars and babel and bangs. What if they formed a hairball of din, clogged the sink, scared the children when they came in at night to pee? He closed his mouth, went back to bed.

5 thoughts on “Like Haiku, Only Much Longer

  1. Nichole

    I love the concept of utilizing those silly status updates for short stories. That’s really all they are anyway – but your execution is way more robust. Maybe I’ll experiment with it for a week and see what kind of response I get. Thanks for all the great content. I’ve been enjoying the Daily Heller very much!

  2. Claire

    Now that is the power of facebook used for good! Thank you so much for these wonderful bits of prose and glimpses into everyday life. The book is beautiful and inspires me to look more deeply in the little stories that make up my day.
    Thank you.

  3. Lou Beach

    Dear Dr. Heller:
    Thank you for the diagnosis. The patient is fine and can be found here:
    The lower most illustration, alas, is not from 420, but from an upcoming exhibition. Please to forgive the misconception. Also, I hope I did not give the impression that the book is an actual physical tome. It is, indeed, a virtual book and thus less susceptible to smudges, spills and smears, but not, apparently, to my own mishandling of information.

  4. Vicki Borrelli

    Hey Steven,
    I like the new look of the Daily Heller and I look forward to your take on design each day.
    Ever since being introduced to Print in 2003, I have been a fan of yours.
    Thanks for keeping me in the loop.
    Vicki Borrelli