New Class, New Flash, New Micro

This summer I’ve been busy teaching flash fiction workshops for Cleaver Magazine and Truro Center for the Arts, but also managing to get some writing done.

What’s next: I’m teaching Afterburn: the Art of Flash Revision for Cleaver starting the first week in August.

Two new stories were just published in MacQueen’s Quinterly: A new flash fiction piece, “Slip,” and a microfiction, “War Bride.”

Doe in woods

 

The first time he kissed her he asked permission; he hasn’t asked permission for anything since, as if saying yes once was a blanket permit.

Read “Slip” at MacQueen’s Quinterly.

 

 

 

Woman with vintage plane

 

Everything trembling and hopeful and uncertain is in her face, her nervously wide smile.

            Read “War Bride” at MacQueen’s Quinterly.

 

 

 

 

Where is fancy bred, in the heart or in the head?

Where is fancy bred?

Stories Published This Spring

The pandemic spring, when time moved strangely and everyone swam through a dark dream, until reality shone a floodlight on us all.
It felt like I did nothing this spring. I often berated myself for doing so little. But I taught a few classes and I wrote a few stories.

“Paul’s Room,” The Write-In (National Flash Fiction Day), June 7, 2020
Since when do you have a ferret, I said, because not a boy in that family had ever been able to keep even a cactus plant alive.
What it is: Micro flash inspired by a Write-In acrostic prompt and three bonus words
Where it came from: I did this exercise with my May-June Art of Flash workshop students

“Church on the Hill,” The Write-In (National Flash Fiction Day), June 7, 2020
It makes me think of the news, back when there still was news, a constant crawl of panic. It was a relief when all the satellites went down, and nothing worked.
What it is: An excerpt from a work in progress, All I’ll Carry
Where it came from: A Meg Pokrass novella-in-flash workshop

“Follow It Down,” Flash Flood, June 6, 2020
He only likes me in the dark.
What it is: Dream-inspired flash fiction
Where it came from: Woke up with the first line in my head and worked on the rest in my writing group

“Devil’s Breath,” 100 Word Story, May 24, 2020
Some days there wasn’t enough starch in the world.
What it is:
A photo story, inspired by a picture prompt in 100 Word Story and by my great-grandmother, Jessie Sharp Drake Walker Willis Ethier
Where it came from: We worked on this as a group in my winter 2020 flash fiction workshop for IWWG

“Knock,” Women’s Studies Quarterly, May 2020
You imagined that car, parked outside, startling the sensible black Fords and tan Studebakers of Tiogue Avenue with its pale-green  glamour, like a visiting luna moth. But he didn’t offer, yet, to take you for a ride. He knew the power of the pause.
What it is:
Flash fiction piece with a mid-century gothic sensibility
Where it came from: Woke up with the first five lines in my head and worked on it in a Kathy Fish Fast Flash workshop

“After Wings of Desire,” Milk Candy Review, April 23, 2020
You belong to the past, like nips of peppermint schnapps at the vampire girl’s grave.
What it is: Ekphrastic flash inspired by the film Wings of Desire and the words past, future, and silence
Where it came from: A Meg Pokrass prompt workshop

Flash Fiction Boot Camp

Do you sometimes need a push to get writing? I do, especially in this time of quarantine, when normal life structures have been lifted. I find it helpful to have deadlines, prompts, and someone to hold me accountable.

That’s why I often sign up for writing workshops, flashathons, silent writing sessions, and other creative classes–to challenge myself. Just immersing myself in a world of writing, where other people are creating new work, is energizing and motivating.

I also find inspiration from leading writing workshops, and I’m teaching several this summer.

Right now, I’m teaching a flash fiction workshop for Cleaver magazine. A second session will start on June 20. This four-week class has weekly readings and writing assignments.

I’m also teaching a one-week intensive flash workshop for Truro Center for the Arts, June 15-19. This class will meet for three two-hour Zoom sessions in which we’ll generate and share new work, along with reading and discussion. Sign up here!

And coming later in the summer? A revision workshop.

Sometimes we all need a little push.

Feet dangling over river

 

The Monday Prompt, #5

Mix tape

The Mix Tape

Write a flash prose piece (fiction or nonfiction) that begins with a line from a pop song. Aim for not more than 400 words, and in the body of the story, use at least four other words that occur in the song lyrics (but no other complete line–just individual words).

The Monday Prompt, #4

Color My World

Pick a color that appeals to you from the color wheel, or a box of crayons, or the Pantone color web site.
Set a timer or stopwatch for one minute and brainstorm all the words and images that the color suggests to you. For example: blue = ocean, sky, blue note, having the blues, etc.

Next, pick a color that is the opposite of your original color. Set the timer again, and brainstorm all the words and images that come to you with that color. For example, yellow = sunshine, daffodils, banana, mellow yellow, etc.

Finally, set your timer for 10 minutes and write a short prose piece or poem that incorporates at least 3 words or images from each color prompt. If 10 minutes isn’t enough, keep going!

The Monday Prompt, #3

Opposites Attract

This week’s prompt: write a flash fiction (or nonfiction) story, or a poem, using pairs of opposite concepts, such as light/dark, sun/moon, sleep/wake, summer/winter, etc. You can brainstorm some specific opposites first, then use either the actual words or images that suggest them in your work.

Keep writing!

Salt and Pepper

Attachment Theory

New Stories in a Strange Time

We’re at it again, pretending nothing’s changed.

“Attachment Theory” published in trampset

_____

I liked that we could craft whole conversations around lines from 1940s crime films. Or country songs. I liked that we could change the rules at any moment and not have to explain.

“Upstairs, Downstairs” published in Ilanot Review

_____

He never tells me to smile. He says he likes me best for my perfect blankness.

“The Artist Poses His Muse Before a Goldfish Bowl (after Henri Matisse, Woman Before a Fish Bowl )” published in New Flash Fiction Review

The Monday Prompt, #2

Rainy Days and Mondays

How are all of you doing out there? Are you writing? I know I’ve been having a hard time focusing, tuning out the rest of the world to get into that state of creative flow. Living through a pandemic can do that to you!

I miss my writing group. I miss the days when writing about dystopian futures meant writing fantasy. But I’m still going to keep up posting a new writing prompt every Monday. Some will be words, some will be pictures, and some will be specific writing challenges.

No deadline, no pressure. Use these on your own, however you like. I hope they provide some inspiration!

This week’s prompt: Write a short prose piece OR a poem that begins with a line (or fragment of a line) from a song lyric.
Also incorporate the following:
– A word having to do with rain (could be rain, rainy, storm, cloud, etc.)
– A day of the week
– A type of fabric

The Monday Prompt, #1

These are interesting times we live in. As a pandemic virus spreads across the world, many of us are practicing social distancing and staying home. We’re doing the right thing, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be boring, anxiety-producing, and frustrating at times.

Maybe writing can help. Starting now, I’m going to be posting a new writing prompt every Monday. Some will be words, some will be pictures, and some will be specific writing challenges.

No deadline, no pressure. Use these on your own, however you like. I hope they provide some inspiration!

Person alone in window
Photo by Christian Lue on Unsplash

Prompt #1

The Four-Year Itch (A/K/A the Leap Year Prompt)

Write a flash fiction story in four parts. Each section must have exactly four sentences. In addition, each section must follow the same character or characters, but take place four years apart.

Heroines wanted. Apply here.

Take aim at the Spider’s Web Flash Fiction Prize. Send your best, 750 or less.

The 2020 Spider’s Web Flash Fiction Prize Is Looking for Your Best Work

Do you have a flash fiction piece, 750 words or fewer, featuring a complex, female-oriented protagonist? The sixth annual Spider’s Web Flash Fiction Prize, sponsored by Spider Road Press, a woman-owned small press, is accepting entries through April 1, 2020.

I’ll be judging alongside writer Jae Mazer, and we want to read short stories that dazzle and sing. Stories with a female lead who is strong, or learns to be strong. She doesn’t have to ride dragons, fight crime, or single-handedly dismantle the patriarchy (although if you have a good story about someone who does that, power to you.) Maybe your heroine shines because of her inner strength, quiet endurance, or courage of conviction.

First prize: $300 plus online publication. Four honorable mentions receive $15 plus publication. Entry fee: $10. Full details and link to enter on the Spider Road Press website.