Originally published 11 August 2016 in SmokeLong Quarterly. To jump to the essay, click here.
Many thanks to editors Virgie Townsend and Annie Bilancini for working with me to compress and revise this. I am grateful to have my voice included in their essential and informative series of essays, “Why Flash Fiction.”
There’s talk occasionally, most famously Stephen King in his oft-quoted introduction to The Best American Short Stories 2007, that the only people reading literary journals are writers of literary fiction; that “It’s more like copping-a-feel reading. There’s something yucky about it.” I love Stephen King — I was in his audience at the first stop of his most recent book tour, at Loews Jersey City, and his stories are entertaining and thrilling and I often think he must be off to his next novel by the time I get to the end of the one I’m currently reading–but he’s wrong. He said the short story was more or less on life-support back in 2007. That’s coming up on a decade ago.
What’s happening in flash fiction is akin to what happened when Marc Chagall and Chaim Soutine and Amedeo Modigliani hung out in the 1920s. It’s a small but dynamic aesthetic. It’s a beauty machine. It has ramifications.
I’d also like to thank my good friend and workshop partner April Bradley, who helped me cut down my narrative voice in this essay to one, and whose extraordinary knowledge of philosophy and literature blesses me every time we speak or share writing.
The portrait of me that runs with the essay at SmokeLong was sketched by my husband, the artist Paul Weisgerber. He’s also a beauty machine. He makes my life beautiful. The photo with this blog post is of his tools of the trade. How cool is that?
Thanks for visiting my blog here, and please hop on over to SmokeLong and enjoy my essay on Flash Fiction as Language Art.