This has been such a distressing week with all the bad news. I had a personal joy though, small as it is. My story, “Incident at Shady Acres,” is First Runnerup for the Julia Peterkin Literary Award. This is a huge honor for me. Smiling . . . .
I know I’ve been writing for quite awhile, but really only started flash and micro fiction in earnest this February, so this really tickled me. I’ll keep keeping on!
Congrats to the winner Caridad Moro-Gronlier and the other finalists.
The stories will be published in the winter issue of South 85 Journal. A thank you to them and to the judges.
So no story to share yet, but I wanted to share my news!
When the eclipse occurred the other day, we had our usual clear blue skies in Phoenix, so the phenomenon was very clearly shadowed on the ground!
Editor Keith Hoerner has published my 50-word story (called a Dribble, which makes me a Dribbler!) at the illustrious The Dribble Drabble Review. The story is called “Historia de La Iglesia Católica del Sagrado Corazón,” but the story itself is in English.
Editor Robert McEvily has published my six sentence story at, you guessed it, Six Sentences. The story is about animal rescue and called “I Got Sick of Making Excuses for Dog #586 at Paws Perfect No-Kill Shelter.”
I have a micro up at Scribes *MICRO* Fiction, thanks to Managing Editor Edward Ahern . It’s a surreal drabble (100 words). This link is for the whole issue, which is full of fun stories and poem. https://www.fairfieldscribes.com/issue-32.html/ My story is about 3/4 through the issue–if it were in pages it would be page 10 out of 13.
I will also post a screenshot here, but you should really check out the whole issue because it’s chockful of goodies.
I am very excited to see five of my Remedios Varo inspired micro stories published at The Ekphrastic Review! A huge thank you to EIC Lorette C. Luzajic for this and more. Each tiny story is accompanied by the art that inspired it. Some of these, like the one last week in Bending Genres, are about poets. I am pretty proud of all my Varo stories and think they are some of my best work. Whether or not they are to your taste is another matter. They tend toward the sarcastic. I hope you do like them, though!
As I have been pursuing my new passion of microfiction, I have also been having fun with ekphrastic writing, and my favorite artist to work with is the surrealist Remedios Varo. The amazing journal Bending Genres has published a story I wrote based on a Varo painting; it concerns the idea of writing or art muses that are not complacent “nice” creatures. This story also happens to be completely indebted to Sylvia Plath and her poem, “The Disquieting Muses.” My story is called “Disquieting Muses with Pets and Fruit: A Still Life.”
The Varo painting is called “Vegetarian Vampires.” Here is the Plath poem:
The Disquieting Muses
Mother, mother, what illbred aunt Or what disfigured and unsightly Cousin did you so unwisely keep Unasked to my christening, that she Sent these ladies in her stead With heads like darning-eggs to nod And nod and nod at foot and head And at the left side of my crib?
Mother, who made to order stories Of Mixie Blackshort the heroic bear, Mother, whose witches always, always, Got baked into gingerbread, I wonder Whether you saw them, whether you said Words to rid me of those three ladies Nodding by night around my bed, Mouthless, eyeless, with stitched bald head.
In the hurricane, when father’s twelve Study windows bellied in Like bubbles about to break, you fed My brother and me cookies and Ovaltine And helped the two of us to choir: “Thor is angry: boom boom boom! Thor is angry: we don’t care!” But those ladies broke the panes.
When on tiptoe the schoolgirls danced, Blinking flashlights like fireflies And singing the glowworm song, I could Not lift a foot in the twinkle-dress But, heavy-footed, stood aside In the shadow cast by my dismal-headed Godmothers, and you cried and cried: And the shadow stretched, the lights went out.
Mother, you sent me to piano lessons And praised my arabesques and trills Although each teacher found my touch Oddly wooden in spite of scales And the hours of practicing, my ear Tone-deaf and yes, unteachable. I learned, I learned, I learned elsewhere, From muses unhired by you, dear mother,
I woke one day to see you, mother, Floating above me in bluest air On a green balloon bright with a million Flowers and bluebirds that never were Never, never, found anywhere. But the little planet bobbed away Like a soap-bubble as you called: Come here! And I faced my traveling companions.
Day now, night now, at head, side, feet, They stand their vigil in gowns of stone, Faces blank as the day I was born, Their shadows long in the setting sun That never brightens or goes down. And this is the kingdom you bore me to, Mother, mother. But no frown of mine Will betray the company I keep.
This Plath poem is also an ekphrastic poem, inspired by the Giorgio de Chirico painting, also called “The Disquieting Muses.”
I’ve been writing a lot of microfiction lately. Some stories are 50 word, some 100, some 200-300 or so. And then I’ve also been writing flash, around 400-500 words. Here is one that was just published by Friday Flash Fiction. It is called “Bed of Roses” and is 100 words, which is essentially a short paragraph. In case you’ve never heard this, a 100 word story is called a drabble. Hope you enjoy this drabble.
Six years ago, I published a piece of flash fiction at The Story Shack called “Parking Lot Superhero.” I posted a link on this blog and yadda yaddaed about fiction giving me more freedom for structure. The story was one of the first flash pieces I wrote.
Here’s a confession. I don’t even know why I wrote that about freedom because the truth is that this story is completely true except for the names. So maybe the freedom actually came from changing the names. And by changing the names I was able to change the structure and how I ended up structuring it made all the difference. So, yes, I submitted nonfiction as fiction by changing the names.
Is this a character defect? Or is it just a genre, like a roman à clef (novel where real people occur, but their names are changed)?
Have you ever written nonfiction and disguised it as fiction?
This story is not one of my most well-written (and at some point I might revise it), but it’s still one of my favorites because the hero of the story (not me) was such a larger-than-life character in real life.
Going back to my title–Is it Real Life or is it Fiction?–maybe fiction is often real life, just many different aspects of real life glued together in a different combination and order.
One more thing. Why did I want to come clean about this story being true? Although I published it as fiction to protect “Jack” and his family story, I have felt guilt at not giving him credit for being a hero. I still won’t publish his name, but I feel better letting you know that he is a real living hero.