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Tag: flash fiction

Short story: “The Day the World Broke”

“The Day the World Broke,” by Autumn Owens

Appeared in Daily Science Fiction, August 7th, 2018

760 words

I like the atmosphere of this piece, and the ambiguity around the character’s final confession.

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Flash fiction story: “Fawn”

“Fawn,” by Carrie Cooperidge

Appeared in Ploughshares Summer 2018, guest-edited by Jill McCorkle

A few hundred words, I think

I like the subtle anxiety that builds up to the last line. Seems to be the dawning awareness that motherlove is not as dependable as the protagonist has hitherto unthinkingly believed.

Flash fiction story: “A Woman Looking at Cards”

“A Woman Looking at Cards,” by Carol Smallwood

Appeared in Fewer Than 500, July 24th, 2018

449 words

This story leaps skillfully across time: a recent memory, a fifty-year-old one, and then an ambiguous paragraph that perhaps fuses the two. Reminds me somehow of Virginia Woolf. I like it.

For some reason the narrator dithers over whether that second memory was more than fifty years ago or less. A mistake, or just a symptom of an aging mind?

I notice some typos.

Microfiction: “A Moment of Silence”

“A Moment of Silence,” by Josh Lefkowitz

One of the winners of Electric Literature‘s 280-character story contest

47 words

I think this is about shootings, and if so I’m very impressed with it. We’re all tired of this.

Flash fiction story: “One Night Stand”

“One Night Stand” (shouldn’t that be hyphenated?), by Cameron Bryce

Appeared in Neon Issue Forty-Six, May 29th, 2018

A few hundred words

A charmingly surreal piece with great pacing. Kind of in the tradition of “The Swimmer,” though what it really reminds me of is “Going for a Beer,” naturally enough—I mean, not just because of the beer.

Flash fiction story: “Greased Lightnin'”

“Greased Lightnin’,” by Meghan Phillips

Appeared in Pidgeonholes, June 2018

181 words

I like the line “Just like the real thing.”

And of course I like the erotic car imagery. Amazing how impressionable kids’ minds and sexualities seem to be.

Short story: “A Little Off the Top”

“A Little Off the Top,” by Mark Crofton

Appeared in Daily Science Fiction, April 24th, 2018

662 words

A charming twist on a familiar plot.

Flash fiction story: “Everything Is Green”

“Everything Is Green,” by David Foster Wallace

Appeared in the collection Girl with Curious Hair, published by W. W. Norton & Company, 1989 (though Goodreads for some reason says November 1st, 1988); then in Harper’s (PDF), September 1989; read by George Carr for Miette’s Bedtime Story Podcast; also read and discussed by the Austin Writing Workshop in 2015 in the podcast Saturday Show, episode #87

Less than 700 words, I’m told; less than a page in Harper’s

A thoughtful slice of life. Certainly not the kind of thing I usually expect from Wallace, but he’s a versatile writer.

Curious whether they’re arguing over an affair or perhaps (since Mayfly’s name, as pointed out in a comment here, suggests rapid reproduction) a pregnancy. It doesn’t seem to matter. That post I linked to posits that Mayfly’s name means she will be part of Mitch’s life only fleetingly—though I wonder if that name might instead suggest her youthful flightiness, her tendency to indulge in brief flings and fancies. That could be the source of the friction.

At the end, you can feel how Mitch loves her.

Edited to add: I wonder how authentic the voice is. I don’t know any trailer dwellers, but presumably Wallace knew some. In his essay “Getting Away from Already Being Pretty Much Away from It All,” he seemed contemptuous of a certain type of insulated white lower-class people—”trash,” as I think they’re popularly called—who wear T-shirts with unfunny, sometimes misspelled slogans and want a Republican in the White House. Here, though, you can see his compassionate interest in Mitch and hear the music in Mitch’s voice. I wonder if someone as urbane as Wallace putting on this kind of voice—this kind of life—is necessarily being a little patronizing, a little inauthentic.

Edited again to add: I notice the window is “her window” but the sofa lounger is “my sofa lounger.” Intimacy, the way their separate possessions mingle. But more than that, distance, since he’s separating those possessions in his mind; they’re not “our window” and “our sofa lounger.”

Regarding the Austin Writing Workshop discussion: I disagree that the narrator is inarticulate or sounds drugged. It seems to me he’s expressing almost exactly what he means to express (at least to the reader—he fails to get through to Mayfly) and his thinking is reasonably clear. I think these readers are being misled by the rough simplicity of the style, what they call “redneckese.” I also disagree that Mitch idolizes Mayfly; his attitude towards her feels realistic, though loving, and the ending feels bittersweet to me, tinged with the awareness of their incompatibility. I also disagree that the story is too simple.

Mitch shows an admirable, perhaps unusual emotional openness. Not what you would stereotypically expect from a man of his social class, or any man.

Flash fiction story: “Caged In”

“Caged In,” by Adam Millard

Appeared in Defenestration, December 20th, 2017

1008 words, but I’ll round down and count it as flash fiction

Charmingly silly, though I feel like the ending could have been stronger.

Flash fiction story or fictional essay: “Columbia Market”

“Columbia Market,” by Paul Beckman

Appeared in Bartleby Snopes and winner of their December 2016 Story of the Month poll

712 words

I didn’t really get this, it felt more like a fictional essay than a story. The experiences of this impoverished thirteen-year-old are certainly interesting, but there’s no plot movement.