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No Such Thing as an Unimportant Day · Original Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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The Trip
When mom woke me up this morning and dragged me out of bed, the only thing in the entire world I wanted to do was crawl back under the covers. When she, along with my dad and two brothers, crammed into the family sedan and hit the highway to visit our grandparents for Easter, all I wanted to do was open the door and leap to freedom. Instead, all I did was stare groggily out the window for three hours, imagining myself running along the countryside at seventy miles an hour, arms pumping, hair flying crazy in the wind, basking in rare April sunshine.

When we got to my grandparents’ house and everyone went inside, all I wanted to do was go back to the car and drive home. My grandparents cooked us lunch, however, so I relented and went inside.

While we sat around the table and ate, I noticed how old people talk funny. They’re always going on about things they used to do or people they used to see or what they think about things going on right now. I don’t really know what’s going on right now. None of that bothers me.

When the meal was over, the only thing in the entire world I wanted to do was anything else. My grandpa, who I think likes me more than my other brothers but won’t say it out loud (mom says it’s bad to hurt peoples’ feelings like that), noticed me squirming in my seat and asked me if I wanted to go outside and take a walk. My parents agreed. So out I went.

The suburb had only a few spread-out houses in it, with lots of empty lots and tall old trees. There was nothing much to look at. I imagined myself trying to run across the landscape like I did during the car ride, but it didn’t work so well at a walking pace.

Grandpa pulle a mint from his pocket and offered it to me. While I gnawed on the edges, he told me these kinds of visits were precious, and he appreciated how much suffering I was willing to endure to make him happy.

“What did I do to make you happy?” I asked.

“Just being here,” he said with a smile.

We kept on walking. Grandpa told me that life moves awfully fast when you see a lot of it, and sometimes it’s tough to hang onto things as long as you’d like. I guess that makes sense.

When we got back to the house, my legs felt kinda tired. Grandpa said I could sit in his big reclining easy chair in the living room. Normally he didn’t like us crawling on it, but he lifted me up and I sunk in like it was made for me.

Soon I was rocking back and forth, laughing for no reason. Sitting in a big easy chair was perfect. I could move around and sit down at the same time. I just can’t contain myself.

Grandpa joined in the laughter, and soon the both of us were in hysterics. Mom and dad looked confused. Grandma looked concerned. I couldn’t care less.

When my parents said it was time to leave, the only thing in the entire world I wanted to do was stay.
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#1 · 1
There was an 'all' structure in the wording that was noticeably repetitive, though I'm not sure how intentional this is, as it did factor into the ending.

This has a strong perspective of a young child, which is appropriate. The descriptions and motivations were sometimes simplistic, but generally not incongruously so. There were a few notes that felt off; 'resolved' didn't quite fit, and the sort of 'decided then did' structure to some of the actions felt a little tell-y compared to just showing the actions. Still, the interactions themselves, and the slow but steady shift in attitudes was effective. Someone getting all giddy from sitting on a chair doesn't really make objective sense, but is entirely plausible for a kid. Simple but heartwarming.

A thought on tense - it starts off 'this morning' but is all past tense. Given this setup, you could have made the ending present tense for additional impact.
#2 ·
This has a low-key sweetness that deftly avoids being saccharine. Nice work with the mood building and the recollectively-styled narration!

I think my biggest issue with this one was that it never really grabbed my attention during my first read-through. The deliberately muted tones are easy to bounce off of without a good hook. I think you were trying to make the main character relatable/immediately interesting with the whole mental run-alongside/jumping game bit, but to be honest this trope does feel a bit well-worn to me—I think I've just seen it too many times in this kind of scenario. Therefore, I would suggest rethinking how you want to pull us into the piece.

A smaller issue: the two lone lines of dialogue in the middle do feel kind of odd. I almost want to tell you to nyx them and make this an entirely dialogue-less piece, but I'm sure there's a way to keep them and make them work without having them stick out so much.

Overall, these's a lot of pretty strong writing here, but I might have personally bounced off of it because of its somewhat plain-jane opening.
#3 ·
Very nice:

The only thing I could suggest looking at would be the narrative voice. Whenever you've got a 1st person narrator, the question becomes: is the narrator contemporaneous with the action, or is the narrator looking back on a past event? Right now, it reads to me like a mix of these. The way the narrator pops into present tense in the third paragraph makes it seem like the narrator's reflecting on the situation as it's happening, but the vocabulary and sentence structure sound a little old for such a young character--words like "however" and "relented" and "hysterics" and the line "So out I went" strike my ear as more something an older person would say than a kid.

#4 ·
This is a very cool story, and I mean that colloquially and temperature-wise. You show people as they are and why that matters differently to them, and thus the theme. The story is also measuredly low-key (there doesn't always have to be big conflict in a story) and it flows nicely in that way from the page to the head. The POV choice was perfect. Hidden in it are little gems of philosophy like:

While we sat around the table and ate, I noticed how old people talk funny. They’re always going on about things they used to do or people they used to see or what they think about things going on right now. I don’t really know what’s going on right now. None of that bothers me.

That was not the only one, but it struck me.

In my opinion, fiction has two duties: Get across a message (the author's philosophy) and second, to make the reader think or to ponder your words long after reading the last one you wrote. I believe that's what you have here, perhaps because Mort de l'Auteur and my context as not exactly young, but there you go. If you don't understand what I've asserted, pick up the story in a month or so and read it with fresh eyes. Then study it. It will bode well for your career.

Regardless, good job.
#5 ·
This is a nice vignette, as the others have sum up, it is sweet but without being maudlin or mawkish. So good job of introducing just the right quantity of syrup into it. It made me smile, is quite well written, rings reasonably true, and made me smile. It is not a very striking story in the sense that it doesn't sound profound or leave us with a takeaway to mull on, but it definitely achieves what it was set up to do.

Kudos for that.