The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

Flash is Finally Here–And They Like Me!

with 2 comments

A piece of mail I’ve been waiting for all summer finally arrived two weeks ago.  It was the April, 2015 issue of Flash:  The International Short-Short Story Magazine.  I was contacted last May by the nice folks who edit and publish Flash at the University of Chester in Chester, UK; they wanted to put up my flash fiction piece “Zadie.”  I wasn’t going to argue with them, of course, though we did debate a little about line and content edits.  And I had to get my head around why I was contacted in May about inclusion in an issue that was intended for April, but they said it was all a matter of busy-ness and marking piles of undergraduate papers at the end of the term.  I know that racket all too well.

I’m happy.  Flash is a reputable international publication that in the very least has included a writer for whom I hold a great deal of respect because of her stories in The New Yorker.  I’m honored to be joining their ranks, even if it is to the tune of a mere 314 words.  That’s not a typo—my story is 314 words, and it’s not even close to being the shortest one in the issue.

How does one write such a short, short piece of fiction?  Kinda like one writes poetry, I guess.  Seems logical, too, that since I’ve been studying and practicing poetry and fiction for the last five years that I’d “discover” a way to merge them.  What happened was that I arrived early at a local school board meeting last January and happened to have my journal with me.  I challenged myself to write something that I could complete in the 30 minutes before the meeting started; plus, I wanted it to end with a compelling visual image that would act metaphorically.  I wasn’t quite sure what that image would be, but I had an opening line that I deliberately crafted to be rude, profane, and shocking if only to get the reader’s attention right away:

“Suzi was the type of girl who would fuck on a pile of coats on a bed in a spare bedroom at a party.”

I wrote fast and hard, and then let it go by the time the meeting started.  I didn’t visit it again until I typed it two weeks later, and then I pottered around with it here and there over the next few weeks.  I wrote another story along with it, but I really only viewed the pieces as practice.  I showed them to a writer friend who really liked them, which was enough to encourage me to submit them to Flash when I found a listing for the publication while scrolling through a database of publications that were accepting stories.  I was surprised to hear back from them because I hadn’t really thought much of the piece.

So now I’ve got an international publication to my credit.  I’m pretty happy about that.  A copy of Flash will cost you about $14, but I can save you the money.  If you text “pure genius” to 847-528-2873, I’ll text you a PDF of “Zadie.”  And hey—it’s only half as long as this blog post!

P.S.  Lest you think I got away with a potboiler writing stunt, the opening line mentioned above is not what was published.  Instead, it was this:

“I practically heard the synapses firing in Zadie’s brain the moment she started scheming.”

P.P.S.  That second piece of flash fiction I wrote along with “Zadie”?  Nobody seems to want it.  I’ll put it up later this week and you can decide the quality of it yourself.

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Written by seeker70

September 29, 2015 at 8:50 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. congrats, my friend. h

    HRam47@aol.com

    September 30, 2015 at 11:16 am

  2. […] “State of the Union” came to me last winter in a flurry of short-short pieces I was writing.  I had poetry on my mind after last year’s Poem-a-Day Chapbook Challenge, and the concision I had been practicing (along with the use of symbol, inference, and all kinds of other stuff) paid off when I got a few ideas for non-poetic writing.  I wrote three short-short pieces, and “State of the Union” is the second to be published (I mentioned the first back in September). […]


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