The good news first: I and some of my favourite flash fiction writers are now for sale on Amazon.com. Check out The Molotov Cocktail: Prize Winners Anthology for details. There’s some fantastic work in here by fellow writers Sylvia Heike, Aeryn Rudel, Fred Senese, and others.
The bad news second:
Saturday Night Reader, the magazine that published my humourous piece “Debt,” is closing its doors. It’s going to be a SAD-urday Night.
I’m not much for rubrics, those pesky little university-endorsed things that supposedly make grading papers objective so that when Suzie the Freshman visits the Dean to complain about her under-inflated grade, you’ve got something to back you up.
[As always, those looking to be stimulated by seizure-inducing animated GIFs of random celebrities are encouraged to try a different website. I hear Sesame Street’s is quite colourful.]
I’ve never been much for grading writing, either. My favourite grad-school professor limited our syntax papers to two double-spaced pages because he said, and I quote, “Most people can’t get from the first to the last word in a sentence without losing their minds.” He didn’t want to read twenty pages of shit, and when I started teaching, I understood what he was talking about.
But I digress.
It turns out I do have a sort of rubric, even if it lives in my head. It’s a simple one, and starts with a single question:
Is this good?
Now we have talk about what “good” means.
When I’m reading flash fiction slush (which, by the way, I like a lot more than reading frosh comp five-paragraph essays on sleep-inducing topics like ‘The Dangers of Cell Phone Usage’ or ‘Why Carbonated Drinks are Bad for You’), I have a list of questions running in my head. Here are a few:
Does this resonate with me?
Is this memorable?
Do I ‘get it?’
Has this concept been played out before?
How original is the form?
I’d like to expand on each of these. Ready? Let’s go. Read more
I had a few alternate titles in mind for this post:
How I got the flash bug and why I’m in no hurry to get over it (gag)
I write flash, and you should, too (even worse)
A flash a day keeps insanity at bay (true, but way too rhyme-y)
[Attention: This post contains no animated GIFs of celebrities freaking out. It does, however, include an awesome photograph by Morgan Sessions via Unsplash for those who appreciate the beauty of stillness.]
So I went with something shorter, sweeter, and all multiple-entendre-ish. Consider it my gift to you.
I got all nostalgic the other day last month here on Le Blog and put up a few links and pics of the short stories I grew up with. You won’t find them on your ten-year-old’s school reading list, which is too bad. If more kids read Shirley Jackson and Stephen King, I think we’d live in a better world. Especially if all of Jackson’s and King’s work was in cursive.
The bittersweet part is in the content of the story. I wrote it shortly after this past Christmas while I still had a small plate of the traditional Italian treat called struffoli (honey clusters) remaining on the kitchen counter.
It’s true. I freely admit it. That’s the first step, right?
I love flash.
And flash, it turns out, has been pretty good to me these days. While I’m wading my way through edits of Lucky Thirteen (it often seems I’m stuck in an infinite If-Then-Do Loop), solidly into the first 10K words of Work in Progress (I borrowed that catchy title from one of my writing friends), I have to find innovative ways to refresh my mind. Read more