Free English Story Essay

Announcing the 100 Word Story Anthology!

Each 100 word story is its own kind of special. Now you can read 117 of our favorites published over the past 6 years in "Nothing Short Of: Selected Tales from 100 Word Story."

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Lost Downstream

By Linda Grierson-Irish
Our father was an ancient river god. We, his fish, speared by his glance, gutted ‘til our mangled hearts bled, steeped in his ale-soused breath.

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Photo Story: The Doll Inside

By Ryan Dempsey
They’d tried to forget it, tried to leave it in Raleigh, but it made the trip, hiding amongst the other boxes still sealed from the move.

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Immediate Family Only

By Laurie Ann Doyle
The very least he owes me is a body. A thumb, a wrist bone, the big barrel of his chest. But there my father sits: gray soot in a gold cube.

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Photo Story: welcome to the states

By Madison Blair
my first lover smelled of indiana; cigarettes, dust, and cheap leather. the one after him, kentucky (bourbon and broken horses), and the last, a hint of florida (citrus, salt, and spring break,) and a dash of texas (barbeque, heat.)

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Kosher

By J. Bradley
You watch your mother and father kiss one last time before their ashes marry, just like what happened to all the other parents.

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Full-Length Mirror

By Paul Strohm
Claire has been wanting a full-length mirror in our New York apartment. How come, I want to know. You can look at your top half in the bathroom and you see your feet any time in the shoestore.

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Photo Story: Winter Birds

By Kris Faatz
Every winter, thinner ice on the lake, rotting and fragile. Soon the birds will go farther north, chasing the last crystal cold.

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Waiting

By Kathy Steblen
Fourteen days holed up here with peels of wallpaper, like streamers, looping in mock festivity above my head.

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Mica

By Rishee Batra
Everything changed when we started to role play. I dressed up as sunrise, you the wanderer staring east over the ocean.

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Lightning

By Bronwen Griffiths
The lime green coat with piping. She loves the way the coat shines, the contrast of greens, the acid of the lime against the pine-coloured braids.

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Ranch House

By James Z. Schwartz
A garden-variety ranch house on a street full of garden-variety ranch houses. His tidy room’s a refuge from dirty dishes, unmade beds, soiled laundry.

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Listening

By Charlie Stephens
Through the peeling wall I can hear you snap your bones one by one. Tiny pings of destruction. In the morning you start with your feet: tiny bones are easier.

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Photo Story: The Cold Bullet

By David Drury
The story goes that when bank robber Wells Duluth was shot dead, the bullet came out the other side encased in ice.

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Photo Story: The Liver

By Charlie Stephens
We called that bay “The Liver” then, for its brown thickness, for its shame. We had moved back in like roaches, once the wealthy foreigners abandoned us for someplace cleaner to enjoy themselves.

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My first exposure to the writing of David Sedaris came fifteen years ago, at a reading he gave in Seattle. I couldn't remember laughing at anything before quite so hard as I laughed at the stories of the author and his fellow French-learners struggling for a grasp on the language. I fought hardest for oxygen when he got to the part about his classmates, a veritable United Nations of a group, straining in this non-native language of theirs to discuss various holidays. One particular line has always stuck with me, after a Moroccan student demands an explanation of Easter:

The Poles led the charge to the best of their ability. "It is," said one, "a party for the little boy of God who call his self Jesus and... oh, shit."

She faltered, and her fellow countryman came to her aid.

"He call his self Jesus, and then he be die one day on two... morsels of... lumber."

The scene eventually ended up in print in "Jesus Shaves," a story in Sedaris' third collection, Me Talk Pretty One Day. You can read it free online in a selection of three of his pieces rounded up by Esquire. Sedaris' observational humor does tend to come out in full force on holidays (see also his reading of the Saint Nicholas-themed story "Six to Eight Black Men" on Dutch television above), and indeed the holidays provided him the material that first launched him into the mainstream.

When Ira Glass, the soon-to-be mastermind of This American Life, happened to hear him reading his diary aloud at a Chicago club, Glass knew he simply had to put this man on the radio. This led up to the big break of a National Public Radio broadcast of "The Santaland Diaries," Sedaris' rich account of a season spent as a Macy's elf. You can still hear This American Life's full broadcast of it on the show's site.

True Sedarians, of course, know him for not just his inimitably askew perspective on the holidays, but for his accounts of life in New York, Paris (the reason he enrolled in those French classes in the first place), Normandy, London, the English countryside, and growing up amid his large Greek-American family. Many of Sedaris' stories -- 20 in fact -- have been collected at the web site, The Electric Typewriter, giving you an overview of Sedaris' world: his time in the elfin trenches, his rare moments of ease among siblings and parents, his futile father-mandated guitar lessons, his less futile language lessons, his relinquishment of his signature smoking habit (the easy indulgence of which took him, so he'd said at that Seattle reading, to France in the first place). Among the collected stories, you will find:

For the complete list, visit: 20 Great Essays and Short Stories by David Sedaris. And, just to be clear, you can read these stories, for free, online.

Note: If you would like to download a free audiobook narrated by David Sedaris, you might want to check out Audible's 30 Day Free Trial. We have details on the program here. If you click this link, you will see the books narrated by Sedaris. If one intrigues, click on the "Learn how to get this Free" link next to each book. 

Related Content:

Be His Guest: David Sedaris at Home in Rural West Sussex, England

David Sedaris Reads You a Story By Miranda July

David Sedaris and Ian Falconer Introduce “Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk”

David Sedaris Sings the Oscar Mayer Theme Song in the Voice of Billie Holiday

Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture and writes essays on cities, language, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.


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