I wrote this story in a weekend workshop at Iowa Summer Writer’s Festival taught by Crazyhorse editor, Anthony Varallo. The premise of the class was the “three-jump story.” This was an F. Scott Fitzgerald concept of short story writing, and it helped me form the structure of the story. Basically it was land in a situation, flash back, finish the situation. The class laughed a lot through the story, but Anthony didn’t like my ending. He thought I hadn’t developed what I was calling “the revolution” in the story. I don’t know. This was one of my favorite stories. I still don’t know why it didn’t catch on more. Maybe down the road some day I will re-write it and get closer between my original idea and what Anthony was seeing.
Here is the opener:
My wife and I were on the Vampire Tour in New Orleans when I saw the woman with the Barbie doll on her shoulder. That’s more interesting than vampires, I thought. I wondered if my wife would agree, but I noticed she had strayed to the other side of the group. She did that sometimes which most of the time bothered me, left me wondering what kind of husband gets ditched by his wife and if my wife secretly thought I was a dick.
It’s another one that died out on the site it was published. I think Corvus Review has a PDF you download for each issue. That’s another one I won’t submit to anymore. I don’t think it’s a workable model for writer or reader. I think some of these editors want to get a traditional magazine feel, but I feel they need to embrace contemporary internet paradigms. Here is the story reprinted on my site: Not Big Not Easy
I wrote this one on a picture prompt for a contest up at 1000 Words. It didn’t get accepted there, but I was happy to have it run at Wyvern Lit, where it was commended in their flash fiction contest. It was one of the first Sydney stories I wrote after her first one. It’s based on a girl I used to know back in the University of Northern Iowa days, back in some experimentation with drugs gone bad.
Here is the opener:
Sydney told me she wanted to do eight hits of acid at once, maybe ten.
I didn’t know what to say about that. I held her face in my hand, and it didn’t feel like chaos.
And here is the link: Bokeh
Here was my first story up at Spelk. It is also a Sydney story I wrote soon after Bokeh. It borrows an awesome nickname we learned from a friend through a friend and had to use in story.
Here was the opener:
Sydney likes to watch her little brother with his exceptional brain play in the oil stains out on the driveway. He dangles toe to toe around the black edges, calling them fire or volcano or shit.
I really love this Sydney character. I need to give her a chap or novella length story some day. Here is the link: Next to Cleanliness
I wrote this one after a strange fit of alienation in Seattle at AWP. I had tried to go find a bar that Nirvana supposedly played at a lot in the early days. Phones weren’t quite as good with the navigator or I wasn’t but I ended up walking a freaking long way to find nothing. It was depressing and I felt stupid being out at AWP and talking to no writers. So out of this came Disintegrator. Here is the opener:
I wasn’t even cool enough to turn into a cockroach. Instead, I had to disintegrate. In a cab, my ears loosened. Outside the airport, they completely fell off. I put them in my pocket. A hand broke free at the kiosk. It was still holding my ticket when it dropped to the ground. I put it with my ears.
I’ve tried this in different lengths and flavors. I still don’t feel it’s “done.” It ran at the Flash Flood. Always a fun day for flash writers. Here is the link: Disintegrator
Here is another personal favorite. I think it was influenced a lot by Jared Sexton. It borrowed a lot of things that happened to me and a fun story a coworker told me about a game he would play when shopping with his wife. It ran at Thirdpoint Press, a newer site at the time that had published many of my favorites in their first issue.
Here is the opener:
It was my job to take care of the dead animals and I was a dedicated worker. Maybe not a soldier, but I did try to be the Marine of the household. This meant no animal left behind, which meant get the dead out before the wife and kids saw them.
Here is the link: Taking Care
I was proud of this one in Literary Orphans. A cool site that mixes magazine format with the online model very well. I wrote it for the NYC Midnight Madness Contest. I can’t even remember the prompts but it helped me find a story I didn’t “have” before. A little darker maybe than what I usually write? Here is the opener:
Young, beautiful-skinned, Mary Agnus sits alone in a booth at the bar she has forgotten the name of but suspects it’s something like The Lucky Tap, Angie’s Bar & Grill, or maybe The Yellow Bird. She has one hand on her face and, under the table, her other hand holds a necklace full of wedding rings. She strokes it like it’s the rosary even though this one’s a talisman of her own design. No one has offered to buy her a drink or even eye-hunted her. Not yet. Waiting, she thinks about all the sinners.
Here is the link: Lamb of God
Young, beautiful-skinned, Mary Agnus sits alone in a booth at the bar she has forgotten the name of but suspects it’s something like The Lucky Tap, Angie’s Bar & Grill, or maybe The Yellow Bird. She has one hand on her face and, under the table, her other hand holds a necklace full of wedding rings. She strokes it like it’s the rosary even though this one’s a talisman of her own design. No one has offered to buy her a drink or eye-hunted her. Not yet. Waiting, she thinks about all the sinners.