Notes on the Micros

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June 22, 2022 by The Citron Review

Being Micros editor at The Citron Review means that I have the honor of reading incredible work that pushes the boundaries of form. This really is a genre of unique genres. We see mere hints that may tell a story or a devastating truth. We indulge in up-to-one-hundred-word prose both nonfiction and fiction – under the surface these may be glaciers about to carve new continental geography. We read and reread precise, delicious micropoems that feel elusive and yet also like home. All these different delights fill our online orchard. Here we pick our extended metaphors fresh from the vine. Is Submittable the vine in this?

I’m often intrigued by our connection point, as readers, to the work. Sometimes our pieces connect to something true and horrible about our society. Sometimes they are a celebration of our human transcendence of pain and suffering. Maybe they are a simple emotional journey. We may look to be surprised, wowed, shocked, or shown insight into a world where we connect so deeply we learn something about our own lives. But there’s another way to engage us. Get us in the gut. Get us in the heart.

All a hopeful contributor must do is create one of the Great Stories. Simple, right?

In Chapter 12 of Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things (now celebrating its 25th publication anniversary), the writer offers a definition, and perhaps a manifesto, for The Great Stories:

The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again. The ones you can enter anywhere and inhabit comfortably. They don’t deceive you with thrills and trick endings. They don’t surprise you with the unforeseen. They are as familiar as the house you live in. Or the smell of your lover’s skin. You know how they end, yet you listen as though you don’t.

Our Summer selections connected deeply with our editorial staff. These are pieces dealing with family, death, and escape. They may be critical of society. Even in the funniest moments, they punch up, never down. They make us feel. They take us to town. To the party. To the edge of the world.

For me, I don’t need to relate to a piece, I need to connect. It’s important to me that I could transcend my own life, but to see that life experience as my own. I believe this is why creative writing is so valuable in our life. How else will we recognize true love, passion, heartache, if we didn’t have these mirrors? These distorted images might just be, as Albert Camus has suggested, the “lie through which we tell the truth.”

Arundhati Roy further explores The Great Stories thus: “In the way that although you know that one day you will die, you live as though you won’t. In the Great Stories you know who lives, who dies, who finds love, who doesn’t. And yet you want to know again.”

With these selections most micro from Milo Projansky Ono, Abigail Chang, Melissa Llanes Brownlee, Nayt Rundquist, and Aanuoluwapo Adesina, I want to know again and again.


JR Walsh
Online Editor
The Citron Review



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