What is Flash Fiction?

I think of Alice and the little door.

A cloud. Marveling to the ocean. We all see something different. We must bring ourselves to the event. A catalyst for the imagination. A great flash I will discuss with others, to see their opinion, to see mine, to see. A cloud.

jewel

Reading, by definition, is an opening to the possibility of meeting half way.

A cloud? That’s flaky.

Not a puzzle, a hint.

Miniature donkeys are very warm, loving animals.

kip 2

The Statue of Liberty re-created in the eye of a prose poem. (Critics riot.)

There is a section of the creek out back my backyard. Just a section, yet I don’t see it that way at all. It is its own entity, no doubt. It is a world, of the river, but without the river.

What value is the sound of water on stones?

Stop being flaky, though I understand your need to correlate—or attack the correlation of VALUE with money, consumerism as default, WORTH.

What is the value of a mile, of movement.

nachos 9

Allowing you to bring yourself. The mind crackles, that’s just science. They’ve done scans. Reading crackles more than passively watching. You have to bring yourself.

Nuns who do puzzles don’t get Alzheimer’s?

More and more.

More and more shards, in every medium.

A Diagram. (You might find some flash here) Behind the flash is a scaffolding, a math, an intricate and beautiful machine. Flash is enjoyable to disassemble and to assemble. Flash fiction is an intellectually engaging exercise, like chess or archery or disc golf or shoplifting.

Flash as subversive?

As attacked for its very brevity? “Kids these days…attention spans.”

sign 5

A sculpture of your thoughts at 3: AM molded from the eye of a mosquito.

I have always been obsessed with the wiring of a story.

Flash is a mastery within a mastery, a knowledge transferred within an intricate machine, a Fabergé egg, and, as Sherry Simpson says, “…and this is true 100 percent of the time – we’re all tiny masters of something.”

A clipped curiosity.

Every sentence could be a paragraph.

Like an arrow, it flies and strikes and cuts into us.

Zoom.

Some publishers admitted to a policy of no poetry.

Something in archery, the line, the angle, the result. Some things are innately simple as to be correct in themselves.

Moving water.

tub nachos

Brad Leithauser goes, “It clarifies the contours, it revels in the sleek and streamlined.”

Example: a loose crewel of bloody paw prints on the marble steps.

Flash fiction is what life feels like.

Flash fiction is like a feather made of mirrors. Feathers retain heat, among other things.

Flash fiction in ONE DAY.

ONE DAY something happened…

Life is too short to stuff a mushroom.

Your ass painted on a hair one-twentieth of a millimeter wide.

ed

A story is not when a character undergoes a change. A story is when a character undergoes a change. A change.

Shapard says, “It was like an unannounced, unplanned rebellion by graduate student writers and young professors who liked the experimental writers of the seventies as an alternative to the established fare of longer stories.”

In flash, the inciting event might have come before the page, the event might appear AFTER.

Tenacity. Grind. I like to grind on a draft.

Stacked stones. So many flash collections.

velveeta guy

This one.

This one.

This one.

Stacked stones are eerie and wonderful and odd. They wobble, too. They climb.

Stacked river stones. Who doesn’t admire a tower of river stones?

Flash is ancient, like a boulder.

Like a cave, waiting.

Short attention span, my ass.

A water jug stuffed with bells and glow sticks.

Bells and glow sticks! That’s flash fiction!

ZIIIINNGGGGGGGGG

Or as Brian Oliu says, “I am constantly in medias res.”

Flash fiction—especially the creation of—is play. Play is essential to humans, especially difficult play. Golf is popular because it is very hard to do well. Flash is the same, the buzz of capturing a moment. Golfers return to their awful rounds because “they remember the one good shot.” The buzz of doing it well, at least occasionally. That’s flash. We return to this difficult play. We have to. Try.

Flash is useful manipulation.

Reproductions of your regrets reduced a million times.

Flash is a chimney swift in the sky.

Flash is an impression.

To mark on a plan, map, or chart: To plot.

Smash a fucking windshield. (This one is really, really strong.)

Picasso’s Guemica painted on a bean. The bean stolen from a faculty lounge refrigerator.

 Tension is the mother, Jerome Stern says.

gurl

A moving sidewalk. Walking backwards up a moving sidewalk.

Flash is an image, no doubt.

Who are we to define story?

That seems reductive.

“I’m a flash fiction writer,” she says to begin the reading. “So if you don’t like what I’m reading, just wait a minute.”

An airline terminal, sociology.

For the miniature does not exist in isolation: it is by nature a smaller version of something else.

Randall Brown says, “Flash fiction lacks that past and future for the reader. It only is.”

If you like to watch people, I’d wager you’d like the genre of flash fiction.

Flash is WHITE SPACE.

Are you an architect or a technician or both?

You could do it ALL in one page.

shaw shank

The moment after you read a news story and think: all that thinking, conjuring.

A slop-free zone, Nathan Leslie says.

Read slowly, as you might a poem, several others have added…

Smart surprise, says Jennifer Pieroni.

Black Tickets.

You couldn’t tell the truth if you wanted to.

Go ahead and value ambiguity.

Flash nonfiction necessitates a lyric impulse.

The whole is actually greater than a sum of its parts, has to be, must be…must echo, folks. Make it echo.

I like Elvis Presley’s swimming pool. It is small, kidney shaped.

It is a fragment.

Janet Burroway uses the term, density.

It is NOT a fragment: David Starkey.

Charles Baxter: “Something suddenly broken or quickly repaired.”

Look around. There is a crevasse. It continues to grow. Will flash fiction fill that crevasse? Is it time?

What did Aesop bring upon us?

Mythology.

Man bites man.

The New York Times: Quicksilver dreams.

One day you, too, will, astonishingly enough, be dead.

polar 3

“…like a crystal jewel. I will sketch it in words.” Kawabata.

Suspended.

Dangling.

Not everyone aches for narrative.

What is narrative?

What if story is defined as aesthetic beauty?

get it

The lyric.

Mike Resnick says, “Brevity is not just the soul of wit; it is damned hard work.”

A word I detest: markets.

Wes Welker is small and contained. Compressed routes. Chunks. Of yardage. He doesn’t do things BIG, he does them precisely. He does them right.

We aren’t’ doing things the same length anymore. Our fiction can’t be the same length anymore. Not everyone is going to get off our lawns. Possibly, no one will.

Anything you learn in writing flash fiction will inform a longer form.

Some sprint, some marathon, but I know—I really do, having run many sprints and many marathons—that fast-paced interval training will make me a better long distance runner. The genres INFORM one another.

White space allows timelessness.

Go ahead and muse, go ahead and ponder. Patrick Maddon is basically philosophical.

katie nachos

It’s not “part of the story.” You have to work much harder than that. Painting the door on your house and painting a van Gogh take basically the same amount of paint.

Poets do it more than fiction writers.

There is no difference between a grain of sand and a galaxy.

My ass painted on a fly’s wing.

But I digress.

toy 2

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3 responses to “What is Flash Fiction?

  1. Sir,
    What is with all the cheese posts? Can you not do something anti cheese? Is cheese your triangles?

  2. That is one of the satisfying things about being a flash fiction blogger-you’ve got a lot of moves, each one good as gold.

  3. I thought I’d send you a heads-up to let you know that I’m going live tomorrow with a blog post that reviews your flash from Juked.
    It’s a very positive review.

    michaelalexanderchaney [dot] com

    It goes live Friday morning.
    All my best,
    Michael A. Chaney

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