Grit abrades, wears down, even crumbles into quartz sand or the stuff you sprinkle on porcelain to scrub it clean. True grit is a roughness on the inside, a rocky kind of defiance in the face of life’s storms. Grit is determination, resilience, perseverance.
Writers scrubbed words into stories and played with true grit. Like no grain of sand is alike, you’ll find creative variety within this collection.
The following is based on the September 5, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that shows true grit.
PART I (10-minute read)
True Grit by Joanne Fisher
I was at the excavation site. I walked into William’s tent. He was the Chief Geologist of the site. Inside there were various rock samples of different sorts. We were digging into some strata we had never encountered before.
William sat on the chair by his desk. In the palm of his hand there seemed to be some coarse sand he was peering at intently.
“What do you have there?” I asked.
“It’s the grit that all other grit in the world originally comes from.” He informed me.
“You mean it’s the True Grit?”
“Yes.” He replied quite seriously.
True Grit by Sally Cronin
Each year on her late father’s birthday, Molly would watch True Grit, his favourite western. This year she was nine months pregnant and hoping after three boys it might be a girl. Her husband rubbed her ankles, passing her tissues as she wept at the end of the movie. The baby kicked and Molly felt a sharp pain.
‘It’s on the way love.’ She smiled at him. ‘I am going to call the baby Mattie, boy or girl.’
‘Thank God, I thought you were going to say Rooster for a minute.’ Laughing and excited they headed out the door.
Stepping Out by D. Avery
When Dad told us Jimmy’s mom had asked him on a date, Jamie took my bike to her house.
“Is it okay, August?” He was looking at the trunk underneath the tired white shirts in his closet.
I swallowed. “Yeah, Dad. It’s okay.”
Pounding up the stairs, Jamie was back, brandishing brightly colored shirts. Dad protested but seemed glad.
“It’ll be all right.” He smiled then because when Jamie says something you believe it.
Later Jamie told me what he’d said so quietly I hadn’t heard, that he’d whispered this was the hardest thing he’d done in seven years.
This Woman Has True Grit by Susan Zutautas
Let me tell you about a good friend of mine. When she has something, she wants to do she goes out there and does it. Being achievement-oriented with long term goals she’s full of confidence and creativity. No matter what the situation is, good or bad, Charli will fight for what she believes in for herself and others. This gal has moxie and has true grit.
What’s true grit to you
Someone fighting with their might
For you and for me
Courageous as hell
Never giving up or in
Supportive to all
Bobbi Bowen by Faith A. Colburn
In 1937, at fifteen, my mother quit school and went to work singing in a nightclub—to support herself and her parents. For the next seven years, she dodged pinching fingers and groping hands. She traveled the Great Lakes and Eastern Seaboard and got stranded, alone, without a job. For three days, without food or shelter, she hit the streets until she found another, but as soon as the Army started signing women, she joined, then she got an offer for her own radio show that she couldn’t take because she already had a contract with her Uncle Sam.
True Grit (or Determination) by Anita Dawes
Over the years I have noticed
How many members of my family
Grit their teeth when trying hard
To achieve their goal
I tend to do this when getting angry
My teeth grit, my jaws clench
Muscles moving, trying not to let out words
I could not take back
I have seen a young woman
Eyes bulging, teeth gritted
Trying desperately to move her car out of harm’s way
A lot of teeth are getting worn down by determination
I did wonder why no one offered to help
Maybe they worried about their teeth
Do you do the same?
The New Becchino (Part 1) by JulesPaige
Seemed like Ole Ricciardo had a high forehead. He was teaching young Marcell about gravedigging. “You’re early,” he said as Marcell’s long legs seemed to lope towards the open door of his caretaker’s cottage at the far back edge of the large old cemetery. “Takes true grit to do this job. Especially when you’ve got to put someone in an unmarked grave.”
“Get many of them kind,” asked the younger man?
“More than the locals think. Mostly ‘cas they don’t wanna know. Them lives, they lived true. All they got left is me and you now. Soon just you.”
The New Becchino (Part 2) by JulesPaige
Marcell wondered if Ole Ricciardo had always been bald. Or if the job made him lose his hair? With times being tough one took on the apprenticeship of whatever was available. If grave digging was going to be his lot, might as well be the best at it.
Even with the shifting of burial practices, most folks seemed to think that six feet under was earned. The paupers field in his old home town held too many who couldn’t afford fancy boxes. Marcell had gotten used to quiet of such sacred spaces. Especially after having to bury his kin.
The New Becchino (Part 1) by JulesPaige
Ole Ricciardo sized up Marcell. There was a quiet about Marcell that said he had what it took. The young man had true grit. Had to have had it to come from a war torn town that probably wasn’t going to be on future maps. Ricciardo couldn’t imagine how much could be built over unmarked graves.
Ricciardo thought he’d end up an unknown himself. After a lifetime of caring for the dead, especially the unknown… It was time to live in a different light. Maybe some sandy oceanside place where nature’s grit would blend with his own salty tears.
True Grit? by Chelsea Owens
Sand grinds ‘twixt dusty yellers; red-shot eyeballs glint and glare; farm-strong flexes years-old cotton.
“Mmm-breeay!” bawls the milk-hung ma, denyin’ an’ defyin’ all. “Don’tcha touch ma babe; her drink.”
Laughter breaks ‘top wind-bent grass; ‘top cow-pied field; ‘top boy an’ cow. “‘Reckon she’s got best a’ YOU.” Cacklin’ grandpap crows and coughs.
Eyes-bright pride waits, sideline spyin’: apple seed not far from tree. Rope loop lies in glove-sweat hands.
Brain-bright boy drops standoff staring; proffers dusty, gloved-hand oats.
Cow an’ calf come happy, hungry. Dad, an’ dad, shake worn hat heads.
Finish Line by Allison Maruska
I round the second curve for the eighth time. The first to finish crosses the line, his arms raised in triumph. I have four more laps to go.
I slow to a walk, catching my breath and imagining what else I could be doing at 7:30 AM. I wish I had a bagel with blueberry cream cheese.
I slow jog through the next three laps. Time is almost up.
The finish line appears and I sprint, desperate to finish. When I cross, my friends cheer for me. They don’t care that they finished first.
All that matters is we finished.
Determination by Annette Rochelle Aben
“You can do this! Keep breathing.”
The physical therapist was encouraging but firm. Of course, she could do it, in spite of the fact that her body would shake as though it wasn’t as certain.
Every day, she could stand was a victory over the weeks she’d spent in a hospital bed. Every day she could move her feet forward even an inch, she was one step closer to the door.
So, here was the walker. She steeled herself for standing and with one loud, YES, I CAN! she rose and gripped the walker with firm and determined hands.
Jack & Sally by Colleen Chesebro
After the hurricane, Jack, the monarch, fought the constraints of the chrysalis. He struggled, but his foot remained lodged within his birth home. Wings as delicate as tissue paper flashed in the afternoon sun, drying at an odd angle. Jack would never fly.
Sally, the monarch, emerged from the chrysalis drunk with victory. Weak, she staggered and fell to the ground where a fight ensued. She had to break free from the fluid she’d pumped out so her wings would dry. Now, deformed, Sally would never fly.
Despite their handicaps, the pair remain triumphantly alive – vibrant inside the lanai.
On Her Terms by Di @ pensitivity101
She refused to give in to it, to feel sorry for herself and let it take over her life.
Determined to smile, she’d make jokes about losing her hair and chosing a variety a wigs in colours and styles she’d only ever dreamed to try.
She sought out others, raising their spirits, encouraging positivity rather than misery and defeat.
She exuded unbounded energy, forever upbeat, offering a listening ear, hand to hold, or shoulder to cry on.
When her time came, she met it full on, surrounded by friends and family, and died with a smile on her lips.
True Grit by tracey
I stare at the steep path up the canyon wall and breathe deep. “I can do this. One step at a time. Nice and easy,” I tell myself.
“Think about how happy you will be at the top,” I continue with my pep talk. “How many people can say they have hiked rim to rim of the Grand Canyon? You chose to do this. So what if you are 55 years old. You are in shape for this. Eat some granola and keep moving.”
“You okay back there?” the guide yells. “Yup, gritting it out just fine,” I reply.
Diamante (from “Trissente”) by Saifun Hassam
Diamante trekked through the Trissente coast and mountain region. The villagers always welcomed him. Children gathered around him fascinated by his stories and sketches of the world beyond.
When he returned to his village at the coast, he wrote to the Abbott. His hand trembled but he was resolved to remain a teacher, to live in the Trissente region. He did not wish to be a priest.
The Abbott’s reply was terse but wise. Diamante was an excellent teacher. The Trissente villages wanted him to train their own teachers. He would remain a guardian of the ancient Tramonti temple.
A Bucketful of Grit
“Miss, Jimmie’s crying.”
“Thanks for letting me know, Susan,” she smiled through gritted teeth.
What now? Couldn’t she just finish her tea for once? Something trivial, no doubt. Better go see, just in case.
She met a small posse escorting Jimmie across the playground. Their imploring eyes begged her sympathy.
“What’s wrong, Jimmie?”
“I, I —”
“He got grit in his eye, Miss.”
“Let’s see. Ah, yes. Better take him to First Aid.”
The children moved off as one, except George. He turned and held out a bucket.
“You told Jimmie to find some grit. Here ‘tis!”
Teacher Grit by Ritu Bhathal
It’s not easy, teaching.
Sure, the kids are there from 9 to 3ish, but I’m still up at 6 am, at school at 7.30 am or a bit later if my kids drag their heels.
I set up, get the classroom ready to engage the minds of little sponges.
They go, and I’m there past 5 pm, clearing up the messes their enquiring minds created, assessing, planning, preparing for the next day.
Then I go home to be wife and mother.
Don’t mention holidays…
But I love it.
It takes true grit to be a dedicated teacher.
PART II (10-minute read)
Grit Storm by Bill Engleson
Ainsley Bilge tossed and turned throughout the night. Grit! Grit! What the hell was grit? The question not only bedeviled his sleeping hours; it haunted him through the day.
He vaguely remembered Gramp’s telling him about Clara Bow, the IT girl back in the twenties. What the hell was IT? He never knew. She was just a girl. A little too flashy for the times, he supposed.
By the time Gramps related the story, she’d become a crazy recluse.
Her IT Storm drove her bananas.
Was that his future?
He had no idea and remained grit to be tied.
Chin up, Boris! by Anne Goodwin
The game kicks off at Eton, wellspring of uneven playing fields. Tactics tested and perfected in the hallowed halls of Oxbridge, it’s bowled by banking barons to the Palace – Westminster, that is – batted back and forth between the Commons and the Lords. Though dressed in Greek and Latin, there’s nothing classy about the rules. Leave truth behind in the changing rooms, trounce the opposition and lay tripwires for those of your teammates who won’t pledge one hundred percent support. Forget fair play, sell your granny if you have to: winning’s all that matters; true grit will grab the prize.
Another Hit by Yvette
Stirred his tea
Pulled off his hat
Waited for his food
Midst of humdrum
hoping for new normal
Yet in view
To make it through
Sitting tall – rather than slouching
He forced a smile – avoiding grouching
Food set down
Sniffed the crust
“Thank you,” he said,
then chomped his bread
One day at a time…
Hard Knock’s Degree
Last sip of tea
Road Crew by Liz Husebye Hartmann
The road ahead was long, no end in sight. Maybe relief…just over that hill? She couldn’t be sure.
She sighed, squinting into the midday sear, then looked down at the road under her naked feet. The gravel, poured heavy and sharp from the back of the Transportation Department truck glinted maliciously.
Those assholes’d stolen her shoes again, their jeers floating behind as they drove out of sight. Practical jokes were one thing, but with sexism in the mix, was it worth the higher pay?
Bullshit! This was about more than money. Her feet bled as she started to walk.
True Grit by Pete Fanning
George glanced at his fellow soldiers. Most were sleeping, recovering, hocking into spittoons, sprawled and spent against a fallen oak. The 8th New York Cavalry was plum exhausted.
It the quiet after battle where George found it hardest to hold his secret. Here, in the sweltering humidity of Virginia, it was almost easy to melt away.
She’d enlisted searching for freedom. Having escaped, she found a way to disguise herself. It was a plan so crazy it worked. Now, with a sword and rifle, an equal among white men, she’d found she was an excellent soldier.
A Few Good Men by TNKerr
Gunnery Sergeant Michael Paxton kept his head down as he worked his way forward. The fighting had died down somewhat, but the enemy knew he was still there. There was constant gunfire directed toward him, but they mustn’t have known exactly where he was. The rounds weren’t hitting all that close.
That ‘boot,’ Bim was the last man in, but when Paxton found him, it was too late. Undeterred he hefted Pvt. Bim over his shoulder and carried him back to the LZ. Where the quick and the dead waited together, waited for the Hueys; no one left behind.
True Grit by FloridaBorne
“I wasn’t this way when I was twenty,” I told my new therapist.
“What created such anxiety,” She asked.
“My husband might get out of prison soon,” I said, lifting my shirt to show her a scar. “I’m scared he’ll hurt our children.”
“Knife wound?” She asked. I nodded yes. “How old are they?”
“Eight and ten. If he serves his time, they’ll be eighteen and twenty…”
Between heaving sobs, I explained about his upcoming hearing for early release. Good. She was forming tears.
It takes courage to stab yourself with a knife. Anything to keep that parasite away.
True Grit by Jane
They dragged her into the brightly lit interrogation room, struggling and spitting, and forced her down into a chair.
Once they’d read her the standard caution, the words flooded out of her exhausted frame. How she’d put up with his violence for years until she’d finally snapped and decided to kill him. How she’d set up an alibi and learned the patrol patterns at his heavily guarded office so she could slip between them unnoticed, in and out like a ghost.
“And I’d have got away with it too, if it wasn’t for that stupid pebble in my shoe.”
True Grit by Charli Mills
Jose tended cattle while Angelina refried pinto beans, mashing them in the cast-iron with lard and flour. At night he tooled leather to sell at the market, making coin purses and wallets. Nightly she carpooled with three other amigas from the ranch into Paicines where they cleaned the elementary school, using grit to shine the grout on the bathroom floors. When the winter rains returned, the foreman would drive them all south to the border so they could spend three blessed months with family before returning to work the rest of the year. Only now, there was a wall.
Gritty Gray Hope by Jo Hawk
Walking the city streets, I choke on the summer heat as it boils the simmering stench. Gray skies descend, reflecting the hell rising all around me. Everything lays dead or dying, and the devils threaten to consume the little I have left. This is my creation.
Time killed the last honest man. There is no way to wash away the rain. My black hole life ensures I cannot move past this singularity.
A warm wind blows, prying the cold, damp dread from my heart. I grit my teeth, grasp a sliver of hope and dare to reinvent my future.
Miles of Mountain, Miles of Sand by Anne Goodwin
“Go home!” they hissed, when she left the high-rise, dragging a child by each hand. Did her headscarf offend them, or the coffee tint of her skin? Those who were kind were equally confusing, saying, “It takes true grit to survive as you have.” Checking the words in the dictionary in the refugee centre, they clashed with the nightmare in her head.
Miles of mountain, miles of sand, a boat so overladen it was bound to capsize. Robbed of her dollars, fearful of rape, grit was the stone in her shoe that plagued her every step of the way.
Stick to Your Guns by Chris Hewitt
The train pulled away in a cloud of steam. His breath hung heavy in the crisp morning air, he dreaded the walk home. They’d point and shout the usual names, spit on him as he passed and barge him into the gutter. The vicar would turn his back as the children kicked his shins. Every day was the same.
One more mile of hell and he was home. Leant against the closed door, his angry tears fell into another handful of white feathers. Tomorrow he’d do it all again, and the next, but he would not fight their war.
Bunker by The Dark Netizen
It has been four days now.
For four days we have been trapped in this bunker as those dastardly planes bomb our city relentlessly. The torrential explosions in the day are followed by distant detonations in the night. It then that we venture out of the bunker. A group of four or five at a time. We make a run for the storeroom and grab food for those in the bunkers. The devils in the sky think they can make us quit with their rain of hellfire. That won’t happen. We will never give up.
Long live our Fatherland!
Good Boy by Joshua G. J. Insole
During the days they walked, the man and his dog, searching for food, clean water, and shelter for the evening. They also searched for other survivors in the rubble, but were yet to find anything alive.
At night, they hid, and took refuge from the things that stalked the twilight for prey. They slept sporadically, huddled together for warmth.
They shared each other’s food and each other’s company, refusing to surrender that last ounce of hope. They held on to their reminiscences, remembering the good times.
But they could not erase the awful memory of that blooming mushroom cloud.
His Knees by Nobbinmaug
He fell to his knees as a bomb exploded in his chest.
It was P.J.’s school on the news. Sae was dropping her off. She’s not answering her phone.
Again on his knees at the graves. “God, if you’re there, take me too. You can’t take them and leave me.”
Alone in the dark on his knees with the gun to his temple.
“Just fuckin’ do it!”
“She wouldn’t want this.”
“She’s gone. I can’t live without her, without them.”
“You have to.”
“You can’t pull that trigger either.”
“I’m scared. I’m too weak.”
“You’re too strong.”
Bacon Grit by D. Avery
“Up an’ at ‘em Kid. Time ta ride.”
“Yep, agin. Let’s go.”
“I need sustenance. Shorty servin’ breakfast?”
“Ugh. You’ve groat ta be kidding. I need food that’ll give me the strength ta do what’s gotta git done. By the way Pal, what needs ta git done?”
“Dang, Kid, why’m I always havin’ ta wrangle you? Ya need goals fer yersef.”
“My goal is ta have breakfast.”
“Ya need a big goal.”
“A big breakfast then. With bacon.”
“What’s yer long term goal?”
“Ta eat fer a long time. Ya might wanna git started without me, Pal.”