Any Seven Stories From My Life: The End



Reading What You Are by Katelyn Hemmeke inspired me to start the series, Any 7 Stories From My Life. The brevity of her stories, the economy of language used to tell a long long tale, impressed me. In justifying his 2500-word story, which he published on his blog, a friend told me he needed that many words to tell his story, to build tempo and descend to a satisfying finish. Maybe he is right. I saw as I read that he could have used fewer words to tell his story. But what do I know? I have a bias for the short short story.


I do not say other people’s no for them. This means I am bold, unapologetic, and convincing when inviting others to contribute to a series on my blog. However, I kept talking myself out of approaching a particular writer because I thought the writer would decline. An anticipated no was bruising my ego and plummeting my confidence. Finally, I contacted the writer, who as it turned out, was delighted to contribute to the series. Two letters could have kept me small. When you don’t ask, the answer is always no.


The task before the writers for the series was deceptively simple. Fashion a beginning, a middle, and an ending using about hundred words per story.  Regardless of whether all seven stories have a theme or are sequential, each one must be able to stand alone as a complete story. For all of us, it required practice. Good writing isn’t a science. It’s an art, and the horizon is infinite. You can always get better.


Aspiring writers should know this: I am not in and of myself interesting to readers. If I want to seem interesting, work must be done to make myself interesting. I agree. It means I must dig deeper within my experiences to find that kernel of truth that transcends race, sex, religion, and geography. Writing one hundred words about my life may be easy. But do readers want to read it?


My friend tells stories that everyone wants to hear. Although the stories are interesting and often times meaningful, they are not extraordinary. The way he tells them is beyond ordinary, a meaningful inflection, a pause, a suspense-filled crescendo, a slow denouement peppered with reflections. Writing is more than a good story. Like theatre, writers should keep the audience glued to their seat until the final curtain call.


While the series lasted, I received several unsolicited contributions. I could not honour them all. Although external validation has its limits, it spoke volumes to me that others beyond my circle wanted to participate in what I was doing, that seven short stories could have meaning and impact.


To write about your life in a way that touches others is to be vulnerable. The edits and rewrites were not merely about grammar and sentence structure. I pushed every writer to take off their mask so we could see the fear, angst, joy, love, written there. Brene Brown says that what makes you vulnerable, makes you beautiful. I believe that in good writing, this is true.

Thank you Ife, Pemi, Tomi, Samuel, Adaeze, Kemi for sharing seven stories from your lives with us.


©Timi Yeseibo 2016


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28 thoughts on “Any Seven Stories From My Life: The End

  1. “It means I must dig deeper within my experiences to find that kernel of truth that transcends race, sex, religion, and geography.” This is how I blog.

    “Writing one hundred words about my life may be easy. But do readers want to read it?” And this is the other thing I wish bloggers would understand.

    I am glad you continue to grow in and enjoy the different aspects of blogging. Wishing you all things good in the new year, T.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for revealing where you were inspired! I went back to the ‘original’ story and never really realized Brevity had this whole other world besides its blog. I suppose I never looked any further. In any case, thanks again for being an inspiration 😀

    Happy New Year, Timi! xxoo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ifunanya, I’m also letting the message sink in, it’s humbling. But it makes me want to write even better.

      @ beautiful platform, thank you. I expect that there’ll be more collaborations in future.

      Merry Christmas. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I am fascinated by writing as a means of expression and admire those who have made conciseness an art form, saying so much with so little. Good to know we are in this together. 🙂

      Thank you Benn, you are too kind.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thoroughly enjoyed the series as always (sans the name of a Lagos bar which I am intrigued by but not sufficiently enough to dedicate an evening to discovering)..

    When you don’t ask, the answer is always no , that will be my take away from all of this… Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lol@ Lagos bar 🙂 The photo is tasteful and I’ve saved a copy. I’ve come to terms with it. I hope I don’t see it on a billboard or other form of advert though!

      I wonder how many dreams the fear of NO has intercepted?

      Thanks for reading and following the series. You encouraged us to keep at it.


  4. Saw Brene Brown’s TedTalk on vulnerability. It ready struck me because I find it difficult to write personal stories.
    To go naked with words and let others see you is tough. The fear of misinterpretation, of someone judging and seeing a secret you keep even from yourself inhibit the flow.

    After I wrote “The Smell of Blackness” on my race series, I told a friend it was difficult to write. Some people will read and get offended, and it might end up strengthening another’s biases.
    Still with writing as I am discovering, if you can strip and go skinny dipping, you can rarely connect with others. It’s in our shared vulnerability that we see our reflection.

    PS: Should I say I enjoyed this series while it lasted? No need, you already know that.


    1. @ To go naked with words and let others see you is tough, I agree. Vulnerability is risky, but fear will keep us small and hold us down. I am looking forward to reading more of your Race Series, to see your naked face 🙂

      Thank you for following the series. I am glad you enjoyed it.


  5. I remember Katelyn Hemmeke’s story now too and how it made me feel when I read it: like she had condensed a lifetime into 10 short snippets, like cramming a whole culture into a junk drawer.

    I really enjoyed the series. I’m positively biased to some of the writers who contributed to it, but still found many of them really delightful to read.

    Did this year featured more collaborations on Livelytwitst? It sure feels like it but I remember last year was full of that too. It’s been really great to be part of this. Thank you Timi, for letting us share our stories with your readers. Merry Christmas.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I haven’t checked, but yes, I feel as though there were more collaborations on Livelytwist this year than in previous years. I receive tremendous satisfaction from curating stories, sometimes even more than writing my own… perhaps this is an indication of the direction Livelytwist will take in future… who knows?

      Each writer taught me something new about writing and I enjoyed reading their stories.

      Thank you Ife for being a part of virtually all the series on Livelytwist this year. It’s always a joy and an honour to have your work featured here.

      Liked by 1 person

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