Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: facebook fiction

Author Interview ~ Johnpaul Mahofski

As many of you know, I spend lots of time in the virtual world, Second Life (and, recently, Kitely, too).

Lots for a writer to do in these worlds—at a café, library, or even a fishing club—talking about writing or, as writers do, talking about everything else

One of my long-term friends has had three names, so far, for his avatars—Soup Johnson, Relish Resident, and Brokali (trying on personae is often practiced in virtual worlds…).

His real-world name is Johnpaul Mahofski and I’ve done four past posts featuring him and his unique fiction:

Breaking Boundaries ~ Microfiction

Microfiction ~ Revisited

MicroFiction Reprise :-)

And, we had a mini-interview in this post—My Friend ~ Micro-Fiction Writer & Prison Librarian

And, here’s an article about Microfiction, itself.

Those links to Johnpaul’s posts will lead you to some of his stories

So, let’s have a proper interview with this man.


Would you tell us a little bit about yourself, Johnpaul?

Let’s see I have low self-esteem and suffer from depression and anxiety. I definitly think those two aspects are me. On paper, I am Johnpaul Mahofski, age 43. I’ve been in the taxable workforce since I was 15. Prior to that, I carried newspapers and cleaned offices and, along the way, I’ve earned a B.S. Education, emphasis Mathematics; and, an M.L.I.S. Masters, Library and Information Science.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I read a decent amount, work my day job, fish, and attend church regularly. Oh! And, hang out in virtual worlds

And, the title of our mini-interview revealed that day job as prison librarian—an exemplary service you perform

So, Johnpaul, when did you start writing?

I always enjoyed writing; but, I’d say it was in the early nineties that I penned a column for the college newspaper called Pope’s Thoughts. Little did I know these stories were what I now call microfiction. After that, I earned a bit in journalism (on the side) up until about five years ago—sports reporting, feature writing, local meetings. I did this mostly for Pittsburgh newspapers.

Can you explain your motivations for being a microfictioneer?

I think the best I can say is that short columns and stories are what feels the best. I don’t know about novels for me I love to just punch, hard and quick.

Where do you get your ideas?

I’m a people watcher.

Do you ever experience writer’s block?

No, but I do experience laziness.

Are there any particular authors who’ve influenced you?

Charles Dickens, David Barry, David Sedaris, Lydia Davis, Eminem, Biggie, Tupac, Nicholas Sparks—not in that order.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

I think when you self publish the only challenge is yourself.

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your book or getting it published that you would change?

I feel like I would have done more stories

How do you promote your work?

I haven’t marketed this work yet. (see above—low self-esteem, anxiety, depression {Also see my punctuation.})

Would you say your stories are mostly based on your people-watching or is it also imagination?

Yes, both play hard in these stories.

Do you have any favorite stories in this collection?

No, every little story is important to me.

What project are you working on now?

I’m working on a professional project, an anthology; plus, I’m doing a lot of research about Saints, hoping to write microfiction about them.

What’s been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? Or, what’s been the best compliment?

As a journalist I was often criticized and told “We’ll call you”. It hurt a lot. The best compliment is being interviewed on this blog.

Well, Johnpaul, your best compliment is a compliment for me :-)

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Read, visit your libraries, and write with your eyes closed once a week.


Thanks, so muchJohnpaul, for an interview that’s let my readers peek into a corner of the mind of a microfiction author…

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Microfiction ~ Revisited

A few days ago, we had the post, Breaking Boundaries ~ Microfiction, which you may want to look at before reading the rest of this post; mostly for the links and references it provides for this very new genre of literature

So, without further ado, I’ll present six more of Relish Resident’s microfiction stories.

Oh! One tiny ado: These are all a sub-genre that can be called Facebook Fiction; or, as Relish likes to call them, Status Fiction—they each have less than 460 characters–not words, but characters!!


All stories copyright, Relish Resident, 2011

House Hunter

“I love you, but I hate our house,” he said.
They stared at it. It was green and too tiny.
The newspaper even looked too big for the front porch.
“Your problem is you notice houses and not new curtains. You notice windows and doors but not the antique table from Grandma inside.”
He spit on the ground, grabbed the grocery bag, and walked towards the house he hated.


They drove for hours to the ocean city boardwalk, split a delicious pizza, bought salt-water taffy, fed a one legged seagull and commented on how it didn’t stop her spunk, and they drove home satisfied they had vacationed.

Best Friends

My dad’s best friend Mich is ill. Two kind men, one illiterate, but handy, the other literate, but all thumbs.
My dad found his friend free places to live, a farm once, a drive-in theater, apartments, finally a small house.
Mitch fixed our broken house, tubs, stairs, garage doors.
My dad wrote out Mitch’s bills and read his mail aloud to him. And now they just sit in a hospital room and watch tv together.

Close Encounter

“Take me to your leader,” the Alien pointed at him.
“We don’t really have access to our leaders. If I email the President, and I say an alien wants to see you they will put me on a watch list like my middle-eastern friends that fly.”
“Take me to your leader,” it said.
“I can take you to meet my friend Lucinda. She is easy on the eyes and owns a Dominoes pizza.”
“Okay. Take me to Lucinda.”


The cow was livid and he marched right into the tiny butcher shop in the inner city. He rang the bell for assistance at the butcher counter.
“Umm can I help you…si—-cow?”
The cow grabbed the counter man, hacked off his head, arms, and used his machines to create 2 butt roasts, a shoulder roast, ground human, and some delightful stew meat. He then carefully wrapped up the items in white butcher paper and walked out of the store. Stopping twice to moo.


“It is all cycles,” the bike shop owner said. “God’s cool then God isn’t. Having babies is cool, then it isn’t, then it is. Tattoos are bad, now they are good. Cycles.”
The customer seemed confused realizing he had fallen into a deep semantic trap spawned by generations of talk radio, and excessive newspaper reading.
“I mean, I’d like to know more about BIcycles.”
The owner pointed to his sales representative.
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Breaking Boundaries ~ Microfiction

I just left the virtual world, Second Life. I’d been to a literary Happy Hour, hosted by Relish Resident and dedicated to microfiction.

Microfiction is so Niche that even Wikipedia doesn’t have a separate entry for it—it’s in with Flash Fiction

I’ve written many times about my experiences in Second Life and tonight’s event was superb.

I’m going to reproduce four of Relish’s microfiction pieces below but first want to give you a reference to some considerations when approaching execution of this genre. As with all opinions about literature, and especially concerning something as new as this, take the article, The Essentials of Micro-Fiction, with a grain of salt

Read by Relish Resident, at the Writer’s Block Cafe on Book Island

(All copyright 2011 by Relish Resident)


The whole thing was blown out of proportion. A large woman had reached for the tic tacs and a slender man, with the waistline of a teenage girl, felt that she had interrupted his personal space.

Many words were exchanged, which led to pushing and shoving, and soon an all-out fist fight erupted. The slender man was tossed over the boxes of fruit loops (3 for 3.50) and the large woman took 4 gutshots and a knee to the face without so much as flinching. I was gambling, feeding crisp dollars into a poker machine, trying to receive an illegal payout, trying to pay my way through barber school, trying to make a difference in this world by cutting hair.
I was amazed to see the slender man suddenly working an effective jab and cashing in on the large woman’s late-round fatigue. That is when it hit me. I’d never be a success.

Horror Part 1

Blood dripped from its eyes, its head tilted to the left, its chin and cheeks seemed to melt in layers, its skin was painted white, its lips black, it was toothless with a long hairy tongue. It walked from room to room and we all curled into little balls of fear. It yelled, “I am real; you can’t comprehend me.” Everything we ever believed died that night.


They all ate chocolate deserts, average steak-ranch hoagies, pizza, and listened to a lengthy love poem that was read aloud. One person danced while a tall man sang, small electric fans were frequently being turned off and on. Their boss away, they all felt sleepy and useless. It was heaven.

Bird Watching

“What in the hell are we supposed to do now?”
The two men hung from the ledge suspended 36 stories in the air. Many curious spectators gathered below.
“We’ll get a closer look at the nesting Falcons. We are going to die now you ass.” Firetrucks sirened in the distance. The sun blushed.
“You know what’s funny? I just wanted to spend time with you. I hate birds.” They looked at each other and dangled their legs.


One of the best parts of Relish’s weekly microfiction event is that we get to discuss the works after they’re read.

As the LitReactor site says:

Micro Fiction is “…an art form of its own—a different medium for expression—as different from shorts stories as short stories are from novels.”

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