Now Accepting Submissions for Fiction and Poetry

Photo by Thomas Necklen on Unsplash

A sleeper wave is a wave that seems to come out of nowhere. It’s dramatic and impressive even “when most of the surf looks small and unspectacular.”

That’s what we’re going for here at Sleeper Wave: stories and poems with surprising force and impact. We look for the unpredictable, the unexpected, and above all, the beautiful.

We love stories told by voices historically excluded from the traditional fiction distribution channels. That includes—especially and explicitly — those who lack the means or the background to pursue something like an MFA in creative writing.

Above all, we love the original and the…


A collection of food bowls and platters with sliced meats, shredded cheese, and chopped herbs and vegetables
A collection of food bowls and platters with sliced meats, shredded cheese, and chopped herbs and vegetables
Photo by Rudy Issa on Unsplash

“Mise-en-place” is one of the fundamental steps of the cooking process. It’s a basic tenet of professional cooking and is, thanks to the explosion of food media over the last two decades or so, a term many home cooks know as well.

A conjugation of the French mettre en place, which means “to put in place” or “to prepare,” mise-en-place means to prepare your station and your ingredients before beginning to cook a recipe. If you think of cooking as preparing food, doing your mise-en-place first means that you’re preparing to prepare food.

(I’ve even heard chefs refer to “preparing…


A photograph of a small dog wearing glasses looking at a laptop like it’s a person.
A photograph of a small dog wearing glasses looking at a laptop like it’s a person.
Photo by Cookie the Pom on Unsplash

My colleagues are incredible technologists who know their products inside and out. Technology companies are all filled with people like this, and that’s why there are so many great products and services in the tech space. It’s also why much of the help documentation supporting those products and services is just so … bad.

I see this situation all the time: Companies, having worked hard to cultivate a warm relationship with their customers, throw it all away once those customers start having questions or experiencing issues. …


Photo by Stefan Johnson on Unsplash

“Do you ever regret it? What we did?”

Penelope looked across the table at her ex-husband. With her fork she pierced a chunk of romaine lettuce and put it in her mouth. She crunched and smiled, enjoying the cold explosion of water. Her fingers wrapped delicately around her sweat-covered glass of white wine, and after finishing her bite she took a long, slow sip.

“You must,” she said, “if you’re asking me that.”

“I don’t want to.”

So dramatic. He was stronger and (if she was being honest) better-looking than he had been at any point in their seven years…


Photo by BAILEY MAHON on Unsplash

Imagine this scenario: You’re close to two hours into a long run, approaching your turnaround point. It’s hot. Beyond hot, really. Scorching: dry, pounding heat, the sort that turns clay into dust. For every single minute of your run, there’s been a mountain standing prominently and ominously just off to your right.

They call it Mount Diablo.

You’re not hungover, exactly, but you’re not not hungover. After all, you work in a restaurant and last night, a Saturday, you didn’t get home until one in the morning, your mind still racing, and as always, you had a beer or three…


Revisiting my habits in the pursuit of autonomy

A photograph of a woman running alongside water, wearing sunglasses and a watch, with a phone strapped to her arm.
A photograph of a woman running alongside water, wearing sunglasses and a watch, with a phone strapped to her arm.
Photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash

Strava is a useful tool, allowing athletes to record their activities and connect to others. Its dual role as both activity tracker and social network has helped it become enormously popular.

I’ve used it for years. Through 2020, Strava was one of three apps I use to track my activities. (The others are Garmin, which actually records it, and MapMyRun, which I use mostly as a legacy app because it has my lifetime data going back over a decade.) I haven’t been running lately, but until recently, I was still using it to record yoga sessions and other workouts.

After…


This story was written as my January submission to my monthly writing group. The prompt required three elements: a garden, broken glass, and a song that a character can’t remember.

A photograph of an elderly woman in a wheelchair in a kitchen.
A photograph of an elderly woman in a wheelchair in a kitchen.
Photo by Vlad Zaytsev on Unsplash

Yesterday was exactly like every other day. I awoke just after nine in the morning and I was immediately grumpy about waking up so late. Even though I have no reason to get out of bed earlier than that — even though I have no real reason to get out of bed at all — my mind was conditioned by decades of waking up at six a.m. every single day…


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

There must be a word for this feeling. I haven’t been able to find it yet — not in English nor in German nor in any other language — so I guess I’ll have to spend a couple hundred words describing it instead. The feeling I’m trying to describe is the one you get when you remember a time in your life that was challenging — if not outright hellish — but instead of the memory giving you pangs of residual despair, it makes you oddly happy.

Is that a universal feeling? I have no idea. It’s certainly new to…


This story was written as my December submission to my monthly writing group. The prompt was: Out of the ashes rises a hero.

Photo by Almos Bechtold on Unsplash

The fire department left. The block reopened. The neighbors returned to their buildings in a slow trickle. The neighborhood was now asleep, like nothing had happened. Out of an open window in one of the apartment buildings came the dancing blue light of a television and the murmur of a late night talk show. And around the corner came Damian.

Damian was once Damian Williams, but for the last several years he was just Damian. “Got as…


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Who is a runner? My answer to that used to be simple: It’s a person who runs. But not everyone agrees with that definition.

I frequently talk to people who run four or five days a week and say they are not a runner. When I interrogate this a little, it becomes clear they’re comparing themselves to people like me — people who’ve run multiple marathons, who love track work, who run hills because they know the pain is good for them. The implication is that they need to do these other things to really be a runner.

I recently…

Alexander J. Hancock

Writer, runner and reluctant technologist.

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