E W Shaffer

Poetry & Prose

House shapes are universal as well as elemental. When children learn to draw they are inevitably attracted to houses—simple and squarish, usually with an angled roof and maybe a window or chimney. Around 2007, I began writing very short descriptions of odd characters to relate to features of some of the works in the series.

Mike Shaffer from The Small House Works

Copyright © Mike Shaffer, 2009


Burl's House

Burl was 33 years old when he watched a new community being built in Clarksville and he couldn’t wait to save enough money to buy a home there. By the time he was 63 he was able to realize his life-long dream but three days after he moved in a terrible thing happened. Coming home on Friday the 13th he ran into the kitchen and kissed his wife or 43 years only to discover he was in the wrong house. Burl realized then that all the houses on the street where he lived looked the same. With the embarrassing incident constantly on his mind and to prevent it from happening again Burl painted his entire house red.

Katrina's House

Katrina tries not to wish she had a different name because her name is the same as the name given the hurricane that destroyed her house and her neighborhood in 2005. She had always loved her name since it was given her in honor of her great grandmother Katrina Anne. While Katrina’s father rebuilt their house, Katrina went to stay with her uncle Mathew who owns a jewelry store. On her birthday, Uncle Mathew surprised her with a beautiful black onyx necklace because black onyx is known to protect its owner from misfortune. When Katrina moved back to New Orleans the next year she found that her father had built a beautiful new home on four strong posts and finished the outside with crystals made from black onyx.

V ShortStories


SHORT HOUSE STORIES—Not short houses, short stories. Very short stories of no more than 150 words, usually about imaginary occupants of small house-like sculptures from Mike Shaffer's House Works Series,