Wed 28 Dec 2011
Link to to Lifting Up Veronica:
Wed 28 Dec 2011
Link to to Lifting Up Veronica:
Wed 28 Dec 2011
With the holidays upon us, we decided to take a hiatus from Wednesday December 28 through Tuesday January 3 2012! All our regular programming-The Slant with Michelle Reale, Rumjhum’s Ruminations, and Aubrey Hirsch’s First Mondays will return in February. Our normal publication schedule will resume on Wednesday January 4.
We at Flash Fiction Chronicles want to wish you a very Happy and Prosperous New Year!
Mon 26 Dec 2011
Years ago I had the honor of interviewing Ernest Gaines when he was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature. When we scheduled the interview he said it was to take place at “ten o’clock, sharp” at his home in Lafayette, La. I left on time, got caught in traffic on I-10, and arrived on his doorstep at ten minutes after. Mr. Gaines opened the door, balanced on his cane, chided me for being late (You’re late were his first words, followed by hello) and led me to a sitting room where we commenced the interview. Needless to say, we’d gotten off to a semi-rocky start but soon he was telling me about his life and inspirations, accepting my not-too-gushy praise about his work, and autographing one of his novels for me.
Toward the end of the interview, I asked Mr. Gaines about his writing process. Being a writer myself (of slightly more modest means), I try not to romanticize the process too much, but when he replied that his writing process involved waking up and writing until a specified hour every day, I was a bit deflated. He said he set aside the same chunk of time for writing and that’s when he wrote, whether it was fifty words or five thousand. This caused me to reflect on my own writing process, which went something like this:
I feel like writing, so I’m gonna.
Over the years I’d read technique books and interviews with admirable writers and discovered that each had their own process. One writes one-thousand words a day, no matter what. Another writes from nine p.m. to eleven. Still another writes one chapter and closes shop.
This all seemed so disciplined and professional compared to my own process of I feel like writing, so I’m gonna.
Determined to discipline my own novels, I tried various approaches. I sat down and told myself I wouldn’t get up until I wrote one-thousand words. Twenty minutes later, I was staring at one paragraph and a blinking cursor.
I set aside a block of time to write, but found myself uninspired when the scheduled time came.
I tried writing one chapter, but it felt more like a school assignment than a personal masterpiece.
I wanted to have a more serious approach than just writing whenever, until I finally came to a glorious revelation: It’s okay if I only write when I wanna. Know why? Because I always wanna. About eighty percent of my waking hours are spent writing, either in my head or on paper. So if I only write when I wanna, I would eventually have a novel.
I was right. Once I broke the cuffs of scheduled writing, the words came more easily and soon I’d written two novels and two dozen short stories. I realized that I’d become so swept up in what it means to be a “serious writer” that I’d lost sight of the writing. The fact is, what works for one doesn’t work for all. As writers, we have to follow our own routines and we usually know it better than anyone, because we know ourselves.
When people ask me how I find time to write, I just shrug and say, ‘I write when I wanna.’ It works for me, just like Ernest Gaines’ block of time works for him. (Granted, his process is working much better for him than mine is working for me – but at least it’s not from lack of words on paper.)
I’m not the type to tell someone to meet me somewhere at such-and-such-time-sharp, just as I’m not the type to only write from nine to noon. Great writing can come from many different routines, all of them dependent on the individual – and thank god for that diversity, otherwise all of literature would read like bland school assignments.
Readers: What are your thoughts on writing routines? Do you have a set routine or do you just write when you wanna?
Erin Kelly is staff editor for Flash Fiction Chronicles. Her fiction has been published widely in places like Keyhole Magazine, Monkeybicycle and the Kyoto Journal. She was short-listed for the Eric Hoffer National Fiction Prize and the Philippines Free Press Literary Award for Short Fiction. She currently has two novels under representation with the Jenks Agency in Cambridge and New York and works as a freelance fiction editor, as well as assistant editor for Thrive Magazine. Read more at www.erinkellywrites.com.
Sat 24 Dec 2011
Fri 23 Dec 2011
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes,
silver-white winters that melt into spring
These are a few of my favorite things.
–My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music
In the spirit of the holiday season, I wrote a few of my favorite things. In paragraph form, they sort of look like a piece of flash. Perhaps this prosey list (or listy prose?) can act as prompting for some new flashes, or just remind others of some of their favorite things.
My husband’s lobster-mitt hands. My daughter’s almond-shaped eyes. My other daughter’s beauty mark, a lone cinnamon sprinkle on her cheek. My six-year old son’s bare shoulders, tender. Puppy paw pads. My hip hop shoes, their flex and click. Fictional characters I can’t forget, who I miss or remember unexpectantly. Scratchy voices. Coffee, the first sip. Peanut butter, wine, and cheese, in that order. Unlikely friendship. Music loud in my car, thumping. Erotically choreographed music videos, my fantasy to dance in one. Words, the exact ones in the exact order. Thunder storms and the smell they leave behind. Skinny days. The lady at the supermarket who lets me go ahead when I have fewer groceries, just because she’s kind. Learning something from someone three decades my junior. Learning something from someone three decades my senior. Crushing on someone, its sweetness when nothing will come of it.
Nailpolish, red. Hot baths with candles and books I’ve already read, must read again. The smell of inked paper. Songs that re-mood me. Plans gone wrong that are more right. Blue, every shade. Titles. Siblings, the history and bonds. Tears for strangers because they’re human too, and because I understand. Cracking up and how that erases stress. Kisses, every kind except goodbye. You reading this, and maybe wanting to write something, or just enjoying the words.
To view a video clip from the wonderful musical Sound of Music with the song that is like a string of flashes around a melody, click here: My Favorite Things
Nicole Scarpato Monaghan is editor of Stripped, a Collection of Anonymous Flash Fiction due out from PS Books in spring, 2012. She has been honored with several writing awards from both the 61st and 62nd Annual Philadelphia Writers’ Conferences for her literary short stories, flash fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry including three first prizes in 2010. Her recent work appears or is forthcoming in Bartleby Snopes, Storyglossia, Foundling Review, PANK, Used Furniture Review, and many other venues. Visit her atwww.writenic.wordpress.com, where her literary posts have become regular contributions to the Philadelphia Stories Weblog. She lives with her husband, three children, and Redbone Coonhound puppy outside of Philadelphia.