I was interested to note that the 2013 Man Booker International Prize was awarded to Lydia Davis. She is a writer who specialises in very, very short stories – so short they make Mr Key’s own effusions seem like mighty epics. Could it be that the hermetic and blinkered literary world is at last opening up to the odd and the unfamiliar?

I don’t know Lydia Davis’s work, other than a small selection of stories which appeared in the print edition of the Guardian at the weekend. But I am heartened by her success. It may prompt publishers to be just a tad more adventurous and – who knows? – I might not be told (as I have been, more than once) that I have “absolutely no commercial potential whatsoever”.

To that end, and also as a way of emerging from the influenza-racked hiatus that I know has had you lot mired in Hooting Yard-less misery for the past week or so, I thought I might have a bash at a few shorter-than-usual stories over the next few days. Clearly last year’s thousand-words-per-day scheme, interesting as it was (at least for me), did not quite capture the zeitgeist. All those hundreds of essays were far too long. Cut!

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