How to Make an Origami Mouse

by Bethany Jarmul


  1. Visit the craft store. An employee who reminds you of man-who-broke-your-heart explains your paper options.

  3. Avert your eyes as he scans, bags your selection.

  5. Watch a how-to video. Eat a donut and watch the video again. Wipe the gooey chocolate from your fingertips onto a golden sheet of foil paper. Shake your head at yourself.


  6. Fold, fold, fold. Create an ugly rat with enormous ears.

  8. Sigh. Place the creature on the shelf with the half-knitted scarf, misshapen clay bowl, unfinished painting, crumpled-up letter.

  10. Question why you keep reminders that you’re terrible at everything, like he said. Never finish what you start, like he said. That you’ll never find love, like he said.

  12. Google “easy calligraphy.” Write a sticky note for tomorrow: “Buy calligraphy pens. Make eye contact.” Underline “make eye contact” three times.

  14. Eat another donut; allow its strawberry filling to drip down your fingers onto the floor.


Bethany Jarmul is a writer, editor, and poet. Her work has appeared in numerous literary magazines and been nominated for Best of the Net. She earned first place in Women On Writing’s Q2 2022 essay contest. Bethany enjoys chai lattes, nature walks, and memoirs. She lives near Pittsburgh with her family. Connect with her at bethanyjarmul.com or on Twitter: @BethanyJarmul.


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What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “How to Make an Origami Mouse”?

This piece was something that I wrote based off of one of the daily photo prompts provided by SmokeLong Fitness. The photo was of several origami mice who appeared to be alive, climbing down a chair. The photo prompt sparked the title “How to Make an Origami Mouse” and the story followed from the title.
The first draft of the piece was about 350 words, but I wanted to submit it to a 100-word submission call, so I compressed the story. Eventually, I went back and added in a few words and sentences that I really loved from the first draft, and that’s how I ended up with this final draft, which tells the story in a few words but still includes some fun sensory details that really make it come to life.


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