First of all, I am totally stoked to have new creative nonfiction up at Split Lip Magazine! Our Younger Selves is under 500 words so it should only take a few minutes to read.
Also this summer, another short piece of nonfiction inPersimmon Tree, an "online magazine of the arts by women over sixty." Arts and Crafts is under 500 words too (scroll down to find my contribution to this themed collection of shorts).
I'm a newcomer to flash, fiction or nonfiction. After months, in some cases years, slogging away on longer work that doesn't always come to fruition, it's been gratifying to take a small bite of something and chew it thoroughly. Not let its edges blur and expand into another short story, novel or memoir project.
To take an experience of regret, a friendship lost, a memorable meal or encounter -- an emotional turning point of some kind -- to drill in on that, distill it down without losing the resonance, the reason it tugged at me in the first place, demanding to be written. Mining for truth in small moments. Making each word count.
With full disclosure of my novice status at the craft of writing flash, a genre many talented and skilled writers have been honing for years, I want to express gratitude. Writing is a lonely pursuit. Sometimes you wait a year or more, only to receive an impersonal rejection in your inbox. I am excited by the many opportunities presented by the dozens of diverse, vibrant journals out there that publish flash, however they define the word count -- be it 50 words, 500, 1000, or more, or less. Their responsiveness and dedication to producing quality journals against the odds, most often with little or no monetary incentive, makes the process of writing, submitting and sharing one's work feel more like a conversation than a monologue.
A big shout out to all the editors, writers, readers, teachers and mentors.
A special thanks to flash fiction author and teacher Kathy Fish. I participated in one of her generative online flash workshops, this one focused on flash creative nonfiction, and it was amazing. With prompts, feedback, encouragement and a strong sense of community, I wrote the piece that shortly thereafter wound up inSplit Lip Magazine. And thanks Word Tango for hosting the online workshop with Kathy Fish and building an international writing community in so many ways.
Thanks also to Jan Haag, a talented and generous writer and professor who convenes and facilitates weekly workshops using the AWA method of generative writing. In 30-minute writes on Saturday mornings, I have scribbled my heart out. Arts and Crafts on the Persimmon Tree website was generated that way, in a book-filled loft with like-minded writerly souls.
Jan and the AWA method have shown me that I don't need to be told the work sucks in order to push myself and to improve. Tough love isn't always the way. Saying what is strong, powerful, and what sticks with the listener can be just as effective at rooting out those elements of the writing that aren't those things and maximizing those that are. Hmm. Sounds like something my mother used to say. About catching more flies with honey than with vinegar. Though why I would have wanted to catch flies escapes me.
Also super helpful for identifying places to send your work -- whatever your genre or word count -- are Duotrope and the resources for writers at Poets & Writers Magazine. Both have searchable listings of literary journals and magazines. There are a number of other excellent resources out there; these are the two I tend to use most.
Short, long, or in between, write on!
Dorothy, author of GRAY IS THE NEW BLACK, blogs about the challenges and opportunities of being a woman and a writer of a certain age in a youth-centric universe.