Personal Essays, Stories, and Short Nonfiction




Personal Essays and Short Nonfiction

by Skip Van Lenten



Benny's Teacher

    "A large reel-to-reel tape deck sat on a rolling table at one end, and a classical guitar leaned against the bookcase. I asked Maria if I could play it, and after strumming a few chords, I asked her what her grandfather did for a living." Full Story


A Little Adventure

    "I entered the woods above the carriage house and followed the narrow rocky trail up the side of the mountain. The snow began to pick up, and by the time I reached the top, I was beginning to feel the strain of slipping and sliding down the hill." Full Story



    "About 10 or 15 minutes later, a police car pulled up, and we froze. The officer turned on his lights, stepped out, and asked us what we were doing.
    "We told him about the trucks, but he didn't believe us. Who would?" Full Story


The Shoes

   "I became a single parent when my son was five years old. It wasn't always easy, but I wouldn't trade that time with him for anything in the world. I wanted him to grow up with the same values my parents tried to instill in me, so I took advantage of a situation that I thought was perfect for teaching him the value of money." Full Story


The Boat and the Violin

     "We think of technology in terms of electronics, computers, cell phones, or any number of devices, but in Stradivari’s time, there was no electricity, no batteries, no earphones, loudspeakers, or any form of amplified music whatsoever. The only sound was produced by the instruments themselves, pure and simple, but for someone hearing music for the first time, it must have seemed like the dawn of technology itself." Full Story


The Bike Trip

     "We took what seemed to be the easiest route, and sometime around the middle of the morning, we ended up in a very rural area, farther from home than we’d ever been on our bikes. We probably didn't know it at the time, but we were somewhere up in the mountains above Haverstraw, New York, with beautiful meadows and rolling hills all around us." Full Story



More Stories

The Trade
First Car
Learn to Draw
Charles Atlas
Mr. Stewart's TV
The Parade
My Father's Violin
Little Big Books
Welcome Home
Minnesota Nights
The Radio
Wildlife Sanctuary
A Dog Story

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All material Copyright 2016 Skip Van Lenten