Writing short stories isn’t like writing novels. It’s harder, for one thing. Every word has to justify itself in a short story, like it does in poetry. You have to pare the story down to its pure essence but at the same time enrich it so it reveals an untold universal truth. Nadine Gordimer called the short story process “burning a whole” on the page. Madeline Mora Summonte is one who does it superbly. Madeline’s story “The People We Used to Be” placed in the top ten of the WOW! Women on Writing Winter 2010 Flash Fiction Contest. The story will break your heart with its immediacy, and at the same time anger you and inspire you with its larger truths. You can read it at Madeline’s blog. After you read it, you’ll never look at a cup of coffee the same way again.