One of my highlights of 2018 was having a story accepted by Hobart. They have been a dream publication of mine since I dedicated to this effort in 2013. I feel closely aligned to their aesthetic.
Serve and Protect Yourself is one my personal favorite stories. It’s mostly auto-fiction: based on things that happened to me. I was happy with the voice I found to convert it to story. Here was the opener:
I was coming from meeting my ex-girlfriend for beers, or to return our stuff, or maybe it was for closure. Red and blue lights were already telling the neighborhood I had done some wrong. At this point, honesty seemed like the best policy.
When I read it, I hear Marc Maron’s voice narrating it in my head. Here is the link: Hobart – Serve and Protect Yourself
This next story was prompted by a sign I drive by to and from work with bible verses on each side that always feel like a warning. The voice was different for it. I tried to make it close to prose poetry and that’s why I submitted it to Bending Genres. This was not autobiographical in any way. I’m still interested in these characters, and I hope they show up again in my writing, maybe a full short story. Here was the opener:
My dad won’t leave the porch again. He’s attached to his rocker. The rotted wood and the chipped paint, parts of his body now. His elbow and butt, parts of the chair. I offered to go on a walk with him, but he just looked at me, a Swisher Sweet hanging from his mouth, a steady line of smoke leading the way, his mind keeping up, always moving, always plotting.
Here is the link: Bending Genres- We Both Know Combustion is Never Spontaneous
This story was long listed in the Spring 2018 Reflex Flash Fiction contest and appeared in their fine print anthology. It was a second person one that started as a play with numbers and ended up meaning more to me at least. It’s one that made me realize I often choose second person voice when I believe the character needs some form of grace. Here was the opener:
Arrive at the airport ninety minutes early, maybe more. Don’t count the people in line. This is just security. Nothing more. Resist the temptation to moo. They aren’t cattle. They’re people, just like you, mostly like you, one by one. How do you know how cows feel? Still, the line moves. Still, you moo.
Here is the link: Reflex Fiction- Ghosts in the Machine
This is one I originally wrote at the Kenyon Review summer workshop and it was rejected by so many places even though I had read it publicly to lots of laughs, and shared it with tons of writers trying to find the missing piece. We never really found it, but it found a home in the fun celebration of National Flash Fiction Day. Here is the opener:
You have to understand. It was Jolene’s idea to hide me in the attic. Such a problem solver, my girl. Her husband Buster was working late. He wasn’t supposed to come home. All clear, she had texted, always word efficient. Like when Buster shouted from downstairs: Surprise, Honey! I’m home! She only said: Wow! Then she sat up on the bed, got her knees solid, hands together, and formed a step. She didn’t say a word. I put my foot on her hands, and she flung me right up there. My head shot thru the attic cover, and just like that, I was hidden.
Here is the link: Flash Flood- Every Breath We Take