CNF: There Was a Coupon in the Newspaper

by Erin Pringle-Toungate

So after the dinosaurs and oil paintings, we boarded the shiny train that ran to nowhere but outside. I ran past the empty seats and Mom called SLOW DOWN and Grandma hurried after. Then she tripped, small woman, and broke against the concrete, her forehead blooming coffee-stained napkins from Mom’s pockets.

Erin’s first story collection, The Floating Order, is published by Two Ravens Press (2009). “How The Sun Burns Among Hills of Rock & Pebble,” the title story of her next collection, just came out as a chapbook with The Head & The Hand Press (2015). She’s now the fiction editor over at Literati Quarterly. Please visit

What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “There Was a Coupon in the Newspaper”?

    I had my creative writing students write three-sentence pieces in order to teach them what few words can do. I did the exercise, too, of course. Then, I proceeded to write more and more, and now I’m deep into a larger work composed of three-sentence memoirs.
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