2016 was a big year for me. I got 2nd in the Spring Bath Flash Fiction Award. They really run a great event. They announce quickly and the long/short lists are full of suspense! It was super fun to get some money for the work too! I also had a story accepted at Cheap Pop, one of my favorite online flash sites. Jellyfish Review nominated one of my stories for Best Small Fictions. This is still my only annual prize nomination.
I had my second story published in Spelk. This one was written during a Kathy Fish workshop. It was inspired by an actual late night trip to the grocery store where the clerk asked me in jest a very existential question. I love moments like this that are both small and large in our lives. The play of being alive that we sometimes forget to do as adults. Here is the opener:
The grocery store was so dark, empty, and incomplete. I wondered if I had died. Or worse, everyone else had. Maybe in the time it took me to walk from my car to the produce section, The End had come. When was the last time I had seen someone? I couldn’t say.
Here is the link: I’m Trying to Tell You Something
I had my third story run at Red Savina Review. I’m very fond of them as they were one of my very first acceptances in 2013. The only downside is their archived stories don’t stay online! I don’t think that’s a workable model for today’s online writing arena. I’ve posted the story here on my site. I wrote it from a picture prompt for the site People Holding but alas, it was rejected. Here was the opener:
Allison and I have been scoring drugs and crashing in rich California homes while the owners are out of the country on vacation or business. Not too long ago, we resolved to quit this life before we turn thirty which means I have less than a year to go, but for tonight, we’re in the nicest place we’ve ever been.
Here is the link: Happiness is a Warm Gun
This story was another Kathy Fish workshop exercise. I was very happy with Jellyfish as Christoper suggested some edits that made the story better and he also paired it with the above awesome picture. Then he nominated it for Best Small Fictions. This one borrowed some events from my childhood and merged it with some recurring dreams as an adult. The annoying parts of existence. Here is the opener:
I do the little things wrong. I put extra rubber bands around newspapers I deliver. I leave two papers at my favorite houses and throw the others into random backyards. The thought of doing things wrong lingers with me long after the act. It physically haunts the back of my throat. It sticks there like black licorice or the bored energy of an older brother.
And here is the link: It’s Been a Long Time Since I’ve Rock and Rolled
One more Kathy Fish specialty here. I was particularly stuck on this prompt. I was in a bad mood and sure that I just wasn’t going to complete the exercise. Then I put a Courtney Barnett Austin City Limits concert up and the attitude of Pedestrian At Best gave me the voice for this story, an extension of my Sydney character that I had a few stories published years before. This was the first one to give her a first person voice. Here is the opener:
Sometimes, I’m too tired for pigeons. I talk about them too much. Birds this, birds that. I hear you too, you know. You think Sydney is all over the moon. So what. I know you think I’m absurd. So what, so what, so what! So what the fuck if I am. So are you. Okay? You tell me how the bird turns its neck that way, this way, my way, your way, three way, no way, every which way circles and circles.
I love Cheap Pop. Their stories have a unique power. They really Pop and I’m glad I got to be a part of it. Here is the link: It’s All So Beautiful
This story formed on my forty-minute commute to and from work every day. I had the general idea of Fight or Flight and how humans have a lot of problems, but we have more solutions than those two. To have it do well at Bath has been one of my favorite publishing experiences. I probably have more writing friends bring up this story more than any of my others. Here is the opener:
When you encounter a bear in the woods, lock arms with a friend. Make yourselves appear stronger. Transform into a collective self. When they ask how little girls like you survived the bear, shrug your unlocked shoulders and agree: isn’t it a wonder?
Here is the link: You Have So Many More Choices Than Fight or Flight