Short shorts

I’m convinced that storytelling is what makes us human. And while we are also defined by self-awareness, our fiction is more real than anything else on earth or in the universe at large. We create, dream, and die in words thousands of times a day. Our lives are shifted after we overhear a joke being told while we wait in line for a coffee. It is this kind of brief encounter with words that contain our humanity, our compressed brushes with other humans. Flash fiction encapsulates these encounters, forcing other people’s views against our own, relating humanness, pain, joy, birth, murder.

Lately I’ve been rewatching the Georges Méliès shorts. I love their brevity, their concentration on a short period of time or a single event or idea. Their brilliant humor seeps out of the television long after the short is finished. I think that flash fiction (which I am using generically here) offers the same scintillation. The stories are inevitably much deeper than their word count, much more lasting than the pages they are printed on.

In this week’s story, our first entry, you will find a woman’s sense of loss and possible redemption. Its complexity is due in part to the wistful, sad tone and the striking, magnified chain of events (and, of course, what is not there). Claudia Smith, the story’s author, is a local writer working on a novel. She writes flash fiction and has been published in such magazines as Quick Fiction, Mississippi Review, and many more. For a list of her work and more information, check out her webpage:

So guess what? We’re accepting submissions. Send me your micro fiction, your short shorts, your sudden fiction, your postcard stories, whatever you want to call them. I’m looking for stories around 500 words long (though anything shorter is fine, too). Please send all submissions to [email protected]. The deadline is rolling, though the first one will be Monday, October 6. I look forward to seeing our city step up to this wonderful creative opportunity.

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