Posted by melissa kandel on January 19, 2015 in Fiction | 2 Comments

[This story is part of an ongoing project called little word art, artistic collaborations with various passionate and talented illustrators from around the world. Learn more about this artist here.]

The first time Leander fell in love, it was in complete darkness. This was also the only time he ever fell in love, so it would be right to say he saw love as nothing more than fallen shadows of the night.

It happened last August as he was swirling boring ice cubes around the insides of his boring, empty glass, leaning against a boring white wall at the most boring party he’d ever attended. Before love, the party: This gathering, called A Something-Boring Summer Night to Benefit Some Boring Disease, had been organized by his parents’ distant friends, husband and wife philanthropists (also boring), presumably because they needed an excuse to throw away their boring money and pretend to care. Leander knew the truth: They were just bored. 

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Posted by melissa kandel on January 13, 2015 in Fiction | 1 Comment

“Our mission is to correct only the most flagrant name confusions, leaving undisturbed much that is to be regretted but can be endured.” – Charles Murdock

Benedict Brown didn’t think himself capable of admiring anyone more than he did Mr. Charles A. Murdock, chairman of the 1909 San Francisco street naming commission, a group whose chief objective was exactly as it sounds. Benedict did have a few friends he liked, though no more than four or five, and then his everyday acquaintances – the mailman, the crossing guard and Belinda, his nettlesome wife – but all were mildly drawn characters passing through the roadway of his life, tolerated on occasion and never worthy of the kind of pure, well-earned praise reserved only for Charles.

At the very brim of the 20th century, Mr. Murdock, a successful printing professional, organized a small but dedicated coalition of local San Franciscans to comb through the confusing street names given to the thoroughfares and byways of the booming Northern California metropolis. (Benedict loved calling a city a “metropolis,” especially at fancy dinner parties when cloth napkins had to be used. He believed that such a word made him seem endlessly more interesting during any occasion for which mere paper napkins wouldn’t do.)

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Posted by melissa kandel on January 10, 2015 in Fiction | 3 Comments

Her name was Annalee.

I say was because she’s no longer with us but you should know she was my Aunt Annalee and was forever saying strange things to me like, “you’ll never understand what’s sitting inside or outside the ocean, so the best you can do is try.”

“Yes, Aunt Annalee,” I’d reply, unsure if there was any other answer to give.

Every Thursday after school, my mother used to make me sit on the plastic-covered couch of Annalee – the kind with the green swirls of floral designs underneath its glossy coating – and eat Aunt Annalee’s three-day-stale sugar cookies as if I had nothing better to do. Read More


Posted by melissa kandel on January 3, 2015 in Photography | 2 Comments


The bad news: In honor of the new year celebrations, there will be no new story this week. The best news: Starting Sunday, Jan. 11, tiny tales are coming your way each and every week of 2015. Need to catch up on all the tiny tales? Click here.

Also, for more photos, check out little word studio on Instagram.



Posted by melissa kandel on December 30, 2014 in Fiction | 7 Comments

The woman who walked through the blue front door of Precinct 27 at 11:43 p.m. on December 31 wasn’t exactly pretty but from the confidence in her stride, you knew she had once been exceedingly beautiful.

Now, at 11:44, she looked desperate, with hair clinging to her forehead in thick, oily slats and a narrow face stained by liver spots that ran a calculated route across both cheeks. And then, if you don’t mind, let’s describe her eyes: big and wide and fearless in their assertion of being a certain shade of green too brilliant for the dull, wrinkly landscape in which they were found.

Of course, I expected my share of the unseemly and irreverent tonight, the accidental drunk who lost his wallet, the pick-pocketed girl with a broken heel who couldn’t find her way home. It was the second year in a row that Lieutenant Slink Stayhome – no, I couldn’t make that name up if I tried – huffed over to my desk, shuffled the short hairs of his gray mustache, shoved a fat index finger into my shoulder and said, “Eh, Officer Mavis Brannigan!” Read More


Posted by melissa kandel on December 26, 2014 in Photography | No Comments

For more photos, visit Little Word Studio on Instagram. And check back this weekend, a new story is coming your way …


Posted by melissa kandel on December 23, 2014 in Fiction | No Comments

“The rhythm of good music casually beats to the steady sound of our souls.” -Salamandre, Brixie Boundaries for Social Interaction Volume VIX

“There you are Salaslav!” Louisa exclaimed and it was the prettiest word he’d ever heard. He’d change his name to hear it again. And then change it to hear a third time.

“Oh good, Jax got you a drink. Everything’s free for a Stickless here, so don’t worry about the tab.”

“No, no, I won’t.” Salamandre mumbled, unsure of whether he’d even offered to pay a single fish for his Stormed Waver.

“Great! Salaslav, meet my friend Alaura.”

He shook hands with the girl standing next to Louisa but couldn’t be bothered taking any real interest in her, not when she stood before the first great being of his life and beside a nearly full jar of juice in his hand. With mild amusement, Alaura tipped her head in Salamandre’s direction and continued a conversation that Salamandre had so juicefully interrupted.

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Posted by melissa kandel on December 21, 2014 in Photography | No Comments

Check out little word studio on Instagram for more photos and come back tomorrow, I’m working on a new story as you read this very line …


Posted by melissa kandel on December 14, 2014 in Photography | No Comments

Check out little word studio on Instagram for more photos and come back to visit soon, something new and story-ish is coming your way …


Posted by melissa kandel on December 8, 2014 in Fiction | 2 Comments

They were broken before they began, two snowflakes pirouetting toward the ground, toward the lights of a city made just for them.

Everything was ordinary when the morning in question appeared, new and bright with a faint layer of fallen snow. December days were sometimes like that though, routine at first glance then cold and tricky as the sun settled down.

“A day off is a day wasted,” her boss told her late in the afternoon, his right hand splattered wide on her desk, the other clasping a phone for dear life. This was a warning, she knew, to refrain from ticking off that small VACATION REQUESTED box blinking red on her computer screen, beckoning for her touch.

So what if she was here for it all? So what if she was typing memos and filing reports for McMillian Architecture & Design when turkeys were supposed to be carved then glopped with gravy? Or when gifts were meant to be torn open to the smell of cinnamon french toast and the music of Nat King Cole? Or when passionate kisses were exchanged between strangers as a midnight hour struck the year anew? So freakin’ what? Read More