Tag: parent-child relationships

Short story: “Mother Tongues”

“Mother Tongues,” by S. Qiouyi Lu

Appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, January/February 2018, Vol. 42 Nos. 1 & 2 (Whole numbers 504 & 505)

Maybe 2,000 words? Very short

My favorite piece in this issue so far. A very simple story, but effective.


Flash fiction story: “The Two of Us”

“The Two of Us,” by Jeff Bakkensen

Appeared in Flash Fiction Magazine, August 31st, 2016

Only 331 words!

A moment of awakening, seems like. Maybe even a coming of age (though I sort of dislike that term/concept). I definitely feel like this kid is a child, not a teenager.

Short story: “Those We Feed”

“Those We Feed,” by Layla Al-Bedawi

Appeared in Fireside Magazine, January 2018, edited by Julia Rios; online here

557 words

An awesome parenthood nightmare.

I like that it’s not clear what the child actually is. An alien, a demon … it doesn’t matter.

Flash fiction story: “One-Way Family”

“One-Way Family,” by Claire Polders

Appeared in (b)OINK, December 12th, 2017

544 words

I like this story. The tragedy of the protagonist finding her (?) way to loving her sister only when it’s too late.

“Happiness, he said, is a pause between misery and regret.”

Short story: “YouTube Comment 2 to Video of I Like America and America Likes Me by Joseph Beuys”

“YouTube Comment 2 to Video of I Like America and America Likes Me by Joseph Beuys,” by Yxta Maya Murray

Appeared in The Cincinnati Review: 14.2 Winter 2018; excerpt here

No idea how many words

A really interesting piece about the tension between the artistic drive and the life of a single mother.

See also the Review‘s commentary.

On a writer’s obligation to their parents

“I often wonder what my obligations are to my parents when it comes to my writing. I assume most people would say I’m not obligated to sugarcoat things, that my primary responsibility is just to do my best to create characters that are three-dimensional and rendered with empathy. Often, when I’m awake at 3:00 a.m., I tell myself I’ve accomplished that goal, that many readers have told me they feel the characters in my book are drawn with compassion. This fact, coupled with the fact that my book is fiction, usually makes me feel better, but there are times when nothing I tell myself allays the guilt.

“In a recent review of [the author’s collection of linked stories] Outside Is the Ocean, Paul La Farge called Heike, my fictional mother, ‘one of fiction’s great bad mothers.’ […]

“People who know my mother have told me the risk of showing her the book isn’t worth it. They think the chances are low that she would see the portrayal of Heike as nuanced and compassionate, that it is likely she would latch onto one of the less flattering moments in the book, without registering the overall arc.”

—Matthew Lansburgh (x)

Short story: “Make Your Mother Happy”

“Make Your Mother Happy,” by billy lombardo

Appeared in pages 59–62 of the October 30th, 2017 issue of The Tishman Review (PDF); a Tillie Olsen Short Story Award semifinalist

Maybe 1,500 words?


I reread the first part and realized it’s not the last day before a break, it’s the first day after a break. Dear god. I hope the second day goes … at least a little better.

Flash fiction story: “Birth”

“Birth,” by Timothy Parrish

Appeared in Vestal Review some time in 2017 (the page isn’t dated), online here

235 words

I really like this. Great last line.

“The author’s picture is not posted at the request of the author” is good to see. Although I would prefer to see no comment on the matter at all, just a blank space.

Short story: “The Return”

“The Return,” by Debbie Urbanski

Appeared in Terraform, September 22nd, 2016

2,516 words

Disturbing and elegantly ambiguous. Edit: Or maybe the word I want is “unresolved.”

Short story: “Bomb”

“Bomb,” by Tim Raymond

Appeared in Wigleaf, November 11th, 2017

1,016 words

A sort of sad story. Nobody knows what to do; there are no grown-ups here, just angry and worried people playing grown-up.

Counting this as flash fiction since it’s barely over a thousand words.