Welcome

Hi there! I go by Maura Yzmore. Maura1

This website is devoted to my fiction-penning pursuits; I focus on short stories and flash. The pen name Maura Yzmore is a self-deprecating joke — “more is more” is the opposite of “less is more,” the essence of short-form writing.

Under different pseudonyms, I’ve been blogging and writing nonfiction essays for almost eight years (here since 2014). A  book of my essays and cartoons was published last year by a small press in California.

My day job involves quantum mechanics, dry-erase markers, bad puns, and lots of technical writing. I write, draw, overcaffeinate, kickbox, and wrangle unruly offspring somewhere in the American Midwest. You can reach me at maura dot yzmore at gmail or @MauraYzmore on Twitter.

Enjoy the published stories or check out useful resources!

New Published Flash: Curriculum Cupidinis

The Fiction Pool just published my flash Curriculum Cupidinis,  which can be translated as “the course of desire.”

Go check it out, it looks gorgeous! Jo Simmonds (editor of The Fiction Pool) did a great job with the layout and the choice of image to accompany the story. Thanks, Jo!

I really like the feel of The Fiction Pool — Jo comes with experience as a reader at PANK Magazine, and The Fiction Pool definitely reflects it. The stories feel modern, edgy: interesting, flawed characters; realistic dialogue; raw, unfiltered emotion. It’s an honor to be published there!

New Microfiction: A Man’s Reach

This one isn’t really a story — it’s more of a joke, inspired by real-life events. While I toyed with the idea of submitting it for publication, ultimately I decided not to. I find it amusing nonetheless, so here it is, in all its microfiction glory.


A MAN’S REACH

“I cannot believe I just lost two hours of my life on this crap” was among the nicer  things Mike said after watching The Lost City of Z. The rest of his critique was mesmerizing, provided you appreciate vivid amalgams of beloved classic expletives. “The only good  thing about the whole movie was the quote ‘…a man’s reach should exceed his grasp.’ “

I wheeled myself across the space between our two desks, docked on his left, reached across his lap, grasped his mouse, and clicked on Remove from Watchlist button.

Having the exact same reach and grasp is vastly underrated.

New Published Microfiction: Wayward Willie

WAYWARD WILLIE

 

Wayward Willie was warned—woods were worrisome.

“Whatever.”

Wayward Willie walks woodward, whistling.

***

Wilderness.

Werewolf wanders, weary.

Werewolf whiffs, wonders. “Whistling wimp, walking woodward? Wonderful!”

***

Werewolf whiffs.

Werewolf waits.

Werewolf wallops wayward Willie. Willie whimpers.

***

Werewolf Willie wakes.

Werewolf Willie whiffs.

***

Wilderness.

Werewolf wanders, weary.

Werewolf Willie wanders, whistling, wayward.

 

Originally appeared in 50-Word Stories on October 6, 2017. 


This story was great fun to write, but also required a fair bit of work, more than you’d guess from its fifty-word length, because it pushes alliteration to the extreme — every single one of the fifty words starts with the same letter. However, I didn’t want it to just be a gimmick — I wanted it to work well as a story and I think it does. “Wayward Willie” has a protagonist whom we meet at the outset and to whom something happens (“the conflict”); the conflict gets resolved by the end of the story and results in a change in the protagonist’s character.

 

New Poem: Hair

Remember how I couldn’t believe that my microfiction “Hair” would be published in Microfiction Monday Magazine? After submission, I started finding flaws with the story, massaged it further, and realized that it should probably be longer… And also that it read as a poem and could be formatted as one. I even sent it to a poetry journal and then withdrew it when the original story got accepted, at which point the poetry zine editor said he liked it — I’m holding onto this notion as a special badge of honor.

Ladies and gentlemen, here’s the longer, poem version of the microfiction “Hair,” never before seen anywhere on the vast intertubes.


HAIR / THE COWARD THAT I AM

by Maura Yzmore

 

Sometimes,
I cut my own hair.

I comb each long,
wheat-colored strand;
I hold it flat between two fingers,
look my mirror image in the eye,
and cut.

I watch the dead locks fall,
without sheen and curled up,
as in pain,
and I feel new and light.

Yet,
I always cut too much,
by an inch
–or five–
more than I should.

I would love to cut it all off,
bzz bzz bzzzz.
But being bald would make me ugly,
make my life hard,
and I am a coward.

Ugliness is never carefree.
Other people,
offended,
angry,
demand that ugliness vanish.

So,
when I cut too much of my hair,
by an inch
–or five–
more than I should,
I’m new and light and ugly,
all that I wish to be.

Weeks or months later,
I walk away,
carefree,
the coward that I am.

New Published Microfiction: Hair

HAIR

Sometimes I cut my own hair. I comb each long, wheat-colored strand; I hold it flat between two fingers, look my mirror image in the eye, and cut. But I always cut too much, by an inch—or five—more than I should. I watch the dead locks fall, without sheen, and curled, like in pain, as I grow lighter. I would love being bald, but that would make me ugly and my life hard. Ugly people cannot be carefree; others force them to battle ugliness. For a bit, when I cut too much, I am both ugly and carefree.

Originally appeared in Microfiction Monday Magazine, 64th edition, October 2, 2017


I am very proud of this microfiction. It’s interesting that I had no expectation whatsoever that it could actually be accepted at my first-choice market for it, Microfiction Monday Magazine. All the stories there seemed to be really, really good, and I didn’t think my amateur attempt would measure up. I was really happy to receive that email of acceptance from Gayle!

New Published Flash: No More Cat Pics

NO MORE CAT PICS 

After a grueling day of social media, watching YouTube, and flirting with Ginger from Human Resources, you picked up a Big Mac meal at the drive-through and devoured it in the car, then went home and jerked off on the sofa to an online Ginger lookalike.

A beautiful orange tabby jumped onto your abdomen, barely missing the fresh warm puddle. The cat raised its left paw and held it up, as if it were to wave hello. This was the moment when you realized that the pink cushions at the bottom of your adorable feline’s paw were covered in translucent wormlike parasites, hardly visible with the naked eye.

You passed out and have been unconscious ever since.

No, you did not imagine it. We are indeed parasites, sentient alien parasites that feed on the blood of small mammals, with particular fondness for domestic cats. We have been here for a very long time.

Humans such as yourself cannot usually see us or hear us, except while they are having a stroke. Yes, you just had one, thanks to the high blood pressure and arterial plaque that stem from your proclivity for junk food and sitting all day. The Ginger lookalike was the trigger.

Unfortunately, seeing us appears to traumatize you humans so profoundly that you can never fully recover. In the future, whenever you see a cat, you will feel a knot in the pit of your stomach, followed by flashbacks of translucent wormlike parasites and inevitable vomiting.

This means no more cat pictures or cat videos for you. Get off Facebook and Instagram, and forget that YouTube exists.

The good news is that your stroke was mild and you will be waking up momentarily. And with all the time freed up from social media, you will get a lot of work done, maybe even receive a promotion.

Just remember to give your beautiful orange tabby to someone trustworthy, someone who is not aware of our existence. We suggest Ginger from Human Resources.

Originally published at No More Cat Pics — The Dirty PoolIssue 4, October 1, 2017.


“No More Cat Pics” is a weird story that I love dearly. When a person close to me read it and laughed out loud, I realized it’s probably just as funny as it is weird, if not more. So it found a home over at the The Dirty Pool, a relatively new online humor magazine that will forever hold a special place in my heart as the market that published my first non-microfiction flash. I wish there were more venues for humorous stories — there is only so much serious, deep emotion that one can take!

New Published Microfiction: Brad and I

BRAD AND I

I hear a noise in my kitchen and come down to find Brad Pitt guzzling chocolate milk straight from the carton. He says his motorcycle broke down en route to Missouri. Brad, if you left me without chocolate milk before breakfast on a school day, I will have your ass.

Originally published in  50-Word Stories, September 14, 2017.


“Brad and I” is officially my first fiction publication. I might have squealed when I received that acceptance email from Tim of 50-Word Stories!