Genre Blur: A Fab Flash

20 Jan

Introducing Fiction Friday! A weekly signpost to a stunning micro or flash, waiting, somewhere online, for your eager eyes.

Last month I posted about discovering a terrific micro while doing what, researching submissions, of course. Stopping in the middle of my own submissions slog to marvel at someone else’s work, hitting “Publish” with the belief that I was surely sending ONE grateful person to that delightful piece, made my writing day. Then I went back to my slog.

I post about submissions so much because as an apprentice writer, I spend far more time actually doing them. It’s a grueling part of my writing life, and the reward of publication comes too infrequently to properly support all that labor. Daily Shorty provides! I’ve created regular rewards I can deliver unto myself, now, something besides a latte or a chunk of chocolate, here in my digital home.

Tangible reward #1: Market Monday, introduced here, is my weekly spotlight on a magazine worthy of our best shorties, and ensures my hours of research amount to something other than my own efforts at publication.

Tangible reward #2: Fiction Friday, starting today! Each week* I’ll point the way to a shorty gem living out there in the vast online wilderness, a story and author known only to the lucky few, for the simple reason that this is the way of our literary world. Fiction Friday will promote a writer working in the usual writerly obscurity, delighted to have published a cherished piece but wishing that publication had changed her life. Let’s change it just a little, shall we? By giving our lonely writer-in-the-garret just a bit more reader-love. If we do that, I can thankfully say once again that my hours of submissions research matter to someone besides my-in-my-own-garret-self.

I am thrilled to highlight today a flash fiction that blurs genre lines, Shannon Peavey‘s “Millepora” at Flash Fiction Online.

I don’t tend to read science fiction. Given my adolescent crush on Mr. Spock (Mr. Nimoy, you are missed) and during those same years my attachment to Ray Bradbury’s short stories, I wonder why I don’t. In any case, excepting anything porny or gory, I haven’t met a fiction genre I can’t love. If what I’m reading is just damn good work, then I’m going to be happy. The sci-fi-like “Millepora” makes me very happy indeed.

I don’t know how the Smart Ones define “literary,” and I refuse to appeal to dictionary authority. I define it as beautifully written, fully imagined, and speaks to universal truths, and this story accomplishes all three in a flash. “Millepora” met my gold standard—I immediately read it to the husband. He loved it, too.

I don’t agree with the complaint I hear and read so often, that most work in literary magazines is bland and contains workshop DNA, that literary publishers only accept elegantly crafted stories about nothing. I see proof that this is wrong literally almost every day. But I will say that I wish there was more range of subject matter and style than I generally see in literary short fiction, more widespread willingness to be strange or outrageous or freaky. And I know this: If more readers celebrate stories like “Millepora,” more magazines will publish them.

 

*Feb 3 Update. Fiction Friday will be a monthly, not a weekly, feature.

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2 Responses to “Genre Blur: A Fab Flash”

  1. Sarah January 25, 2017 at 8:41 PM #

    Thank you for the introduction to Flash Fiction Online. I don’t tend to read Sci-Fi either, but I really enjoyed Millepora. And I love your definition of literary: “beautifully written, fully imagined, and speaks to universal truths.” Yes!

    • Claire Guyton January 26, 2017 at 10:45 AM #

      Wow do I love that story. It’s just so damn smart, on top of everything else. You go, Shannon Peavey, wherever you are!

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