Tim Conley's, Pass the Mustard, cracks wise over a hotdog game. This almost reads like a joke, but it points to something more, something in the relationship of these two people. That thing might be funny, benign, or rather grave.
This is one of those portrait Flash pieces. Call it a character study. Watch the writer, too, he's in there as well.
Brown carries us through this Lucy's life like a Ghost of the Past - to be seasonal, like Marley's Ghost. We find the longing and heartbreak Lucy has endured and coped with. She's done some shocking things, but we find compassion for her.
Brown shows us in the first sentence that she is a person who deserves compassion. She's an "sympathetic character" in more sterile language. This is what I look for. This is what Algren showed me was possible: finding compassion for a person whose actions we might otherwise find objectionable.
Lucy is not a horrible person. She sleeps with her Math teacher in high school, an incident we might (legally) find the teacher culpable for, but Brown also shows what drives Lucy to that alley.
Then there's the writer, "writing her." Lucy finds him at the end, reads over his shoulder in an intimate scene so palpable I know Brown feels her breath and senses her heat. Lucy is now a ghost, visiting the lonely writer scribbling at his desk, a ghost on a visitation.
Patrick was instrumental in my deciding to pursue writing. He was gracious enough to do a complete critique of a story I'd sent to him, a story titled Transparencies. He raked it over the coals in a critique that was nearly as long as the story itself, but I was so pleased that he'd spent that much time with it that I decided to write more. I guess it was the few words of praise for a lyrical passage that really got me going.
So, check out Piano. It's a short and beautiful poem. I love the imagery so much it makes me drool. Get the podcast of it, too, I think Keillor does a great reading.
The above link is to a Stefanie Freele Flash, Sisters. I'm tempted to call it a microfiction, as it's so darn small. I'll stick to Flash for the sake of consistency.
Sisters shows us serious conflict in 3 brief paragraphs. The older sister has some serious stuff boiling under the surface. The younger one may have done something wrong, the older may simply be jealous. The younger is a free-spirit, travelling around. The older is stuck at home with a baby and calls out seemingly for help, to be recognized with the 137 iterations of her own name in a text message.
Sisters is a wonderful multi-layered Flash which took my breath when I first read it. Now that I inspect it again, I find more stuff. I re-read and am intrigued all over again. The writing is so tightly wound that I know I would love to revisit this one over and over again.
Auster has long been one of my literary heroes. He really turned me onto literature in a new way and it's unlikely that I'd be writing were it not for him.
Early on I tried to emulate him, but didn't quite hit the mark. Now, I'm just happy that I read so much of his work, especially his less fictional stuff which informed so much of my knowledge of literature and gave me a real approach to the craft.
I've found my own voice and am honing my vision. More importantly, I'm honing my craft and figuring out this whole "plot" and "narrative" thing.
After reading this interview with Auster, I am left with the question of whether or not I want to tackle any issues from the "news." Topical, timely stuff. 9/11 or the past 8 years of misery imposed by the Loser in Chief.
I've spun off from certain themes which can relate to that Loser, but to hit that directly feels like biting off a LOT.It would be so important to hit every note perfectly, because interjecting recent historical facts bring up so many fresh feelings for the audience.
For instance, just bringing up 9/11 in conversation is still somewhat awkward, it seems. People don't want to talk about it. So, from that I conclude that feelings are still raw.
Cheney, et. al. Used 9/11 to their own ends. Thus, no real healing was able to occur. They used that horrible event to drive a wedge in the populace and that wedge remains, I fear.
Hmm... Perhaps this is why it needs to be written about. With compassion and with the aim of finding truth and finding the human lessons we had the possibility of learning but which were switched with the lessons of hatred and MORE violence.
I now need to find the time to read Delillo's Falling Man. Of course, Auster's A Man in the Dark is on my list as well.
Interesting development. I'm a HUGE fan of Zoetrope.com, but I'm all for more writers coming on the scene. More writers mean more readers, and vice versa. I wasn't the biggest reader prior to kicking my writing into gear, but I am now. It helps to be in school, but still...
Oh, I put up a new design on the black/blue long-sleeved t-shirt at Flash Frenzy. Check it out.
Kathy Fish's Tenderoni is a Flash which will stick with you. The image of the dead kitten in the rainy road will not soon leave you. The seething emotions of the characters (my read) compound the horror of that innocent life lost.
Read this one a few times. Let it seep in like rain through a Sears poncho. You'll be glad you did (or not.)
I put up a little shop on CafePress. Flash Frenzy is there to satisfy all of your flash fiction accessory needs. Buttons, t-shirts, mugs, and sweatshirts. Let me know what you think of the designs, I'm making more which I'll rotate through. So, check back often - never know what you'll find!