NEW YORK — Arjun Basu writes short stories. Very short stories.
“The marriage didn’t survive the honeymoon. They acknowledged the majesty of their mistake. But they remained together. Because of the gifts.” – Twister story by Arjun Basu (@arjunbsau)
“I’m doing 140-character stories on Twitter,” said Basu, one of scores of authors and poets downsizing their literary talents to the limited format of the hot micro-blogging service.
“I call them Twisters because everything on Twitter has a stupid name,” the 42-year-old Basu told AFP at the 140 Characters Conference – a two-day talkfest devoted to all things Twitter held in New York.
“Each story has a beginning, a middle and an end,” said Basu. “I started with one story. I had an image in my head and I just did it, and I slowly built-up a following.” Basu began writing his Twisters last year.
“They went out hunting. They killed some large mammals. Later they saw the animals butchered. And one by one they ordered salads that evening,” reads the tale in one of Basu’s Twisters.
Haiku, which lends itself to the 140-character format, is another popular literary form on Twitter and the search term #haiku occasionally rises into Twitter’s list of “Trending Topics” – the 10 most popular topics on the site.
“And in the middle / of the rising city heat / the fountain is dry,” reads a Haiku from a Twitter user and poet with more than 3 800 followers who goes by the handle of @LadyParadis.
Websites have also popped up collecting the best of Twitter Haiku — known variously as Twaiku or TwiHaiku — and many users take part weekly in what is called Haiku Thursday.
Basu, who works in the magazine industry, said he has been surprised at the reception his byte-sized stories have received. “Things that I couldn’t have imagined,” he said.
“Some people have been using my stories in classes — English as a second language, creative writing,” he said.