I know there tends to be a heavy lean toward fiction here, and particularly toward short, short fiction, but I do try to incorporate poetry from time to time.
I just have a harder time falling in love with poems. But it does happen.
And here’s one now!
Almost two years ago, I took an online writing workshop that focused on writing flash fiction. One of the publications we were encouraged to read was The Collagist, and with good reason. One of the pieces of flash we studied was this one, and I still think it’s a great example of the short, short story form. It’s a story that, honestly, could have gone on much longer. It could have been infused with more scenes, more backstory, more character examination. But I don’t think that adding “more” would have done anything for the effect. It just would have been more words, which isn’t always necessary.
In an interesting twist, I was going down my list of recommended pieces and this one actually fell on this date without pre-planning. I honestly didn’t even realize that 9/11 was a Thursday this year. Part of me wanted to reshuffle my list. Part of me thought it was a little too weird. But, I left it. Some things happen for a reason. And other things happen without a reason at all.
Take it for what it’s worth, but it’s true.
In a writing workshop I participated in this past spring, this story was recommended to one of the other students. The recommendation was made in regard to a family dinner scene the student was trying to pin down, and it just wasn’t working. The workshop instructor recommended this story as a great example of a compelling dinner scene. She was right. But, man, the story was so much more than that.
As the internet wildly proclaimed this summer, The New Yorker opened their archives. Did you catch that? The New Yorker opened their archives. This means that all of The New Yorker‘s pieces were available to read for free. But, it’s only for a limited time. So, I’m not sure if this link will continue to work…
This piece, published as debut fiction in 2000, was available to read for free prior to the opening of the archives, so I’m hoping the link remains active into the future. If not, well, hunt down the story elsewhere perhaps. It’s worth it.
Earlier this year, I accepted a new position as the Production Editor of fairly well-known literary magazine. It was an amazing opportunity and it has worked out better than I could have hoped. I get to work with some amazing people, read some wonderful stories, and help produce a fantastic literary magazine.
So, in the interest of shameless self-promotion, go read the stories in Carve magazine. All of them.
Okay, not really all of them. But all of the stories published from 2007 to the present are available to read online for free, so go make the most of it! Read ’em all until you’re cross-eyed. Or, read two or three. And subscribe to the print-based premium edition (which is what I help to create) because it has even more awesome features, including author interviews, in addition to the stories.
In life, there are often quiet moments. There are often quiet moments that are masking a hidden current of electricity so palpable the room seems to vibrate. But still, the moment itself is quiet.
This piece of flash fiction is one of those kind of moments.