♦ a new category of readings — “Short Stories.” And a new reading: — “Death of Three Graffiti Artists”

• A new reading category “Short Stories” has been created. It can be accessed from the “Other Reading” section of the Reading Directory; a new reading, “Death of Three Graffiti Artists,” 305 words in length, has been placed in the category.

• Since completing the Second Series of paired stories more than five years ago, I’ve been looking forward to working on a Third Series. Since then, however, the expansion and re-design of flesl.net has left no time for such a project, and now, even though progress has been made, there is still a great deal of work that needs to be done to fill in several quite empty areas of the site. So the prospect of being able to concentrate on writing another twenty stories seems more remote than ever. Recently I’ve been hoping to succeed in making some headway by slowly putting together a collection of “potential paired stories” that could someday form the basis of a third series. When I heard the story of the death of the graffiti artists, I felt that that would be a good place to begin, but when I set out to do the research, I was disappointed: Although, when it occurred, the incident received a good deal of coverage both in broadcast news and in newspapers, in the aftermath, there were no further informative stories. (As far as I know, no interviews with the survivors were published.) Despite not being able to find the cohesive details required for a paired story though, I felt I did have enough information to make a useful reading, so I went ahead. By doing so I also gave myself an effective motive for creating the “Short Stories” category that I’ve often thought of instituting in the past when I’ve come across a tempting small story. And there were, as it turns out, two other good reasons for going ahead: first, in using the skimpy information to write a not-very-story-like account of the incident I found I was using a lot of worthwhile vocabulary that was new to flesl net (e.g. “railway,” “tangle,” “ramp,” “muffle,” “freight,” “fatal”). Second, I found that the readers’ comments on the articles were — unlike the articles themselves — rich in material which could, in the future, be put to good use in supplementary exercises and activities.