The Oscars are about to start. I was just logging off and my flash fiction "Framed" popped up on JUKED. JUKED is one of those magazines I've wanted to get into forever and forever. They've published a daunting roster of famous people in their print magazine (Aimee Bender, among other flash greats), and they're just very cool. So I'm thrilled. I don't know whether anyone online will read this before the Oscars, but maybe after.
I'm grateful to the editor Ryan Ridge (who was also in SLEAZEMAG's inaugural issue, maybe he recognized my name from there when I sent to JUKED?). And to Tara Laskowski at SMOKELONG QUARTERLY, who suggested I dig deeper into the story when she rejected it. Her comments were inspiring, and the story doubled in size.
I'm supposed to be grading essays today, but I've been working on rewrites all day (and yesterday), and produced a couple of new microflash as well. Sorry to see the end of Kathy Fish's online Fast Flash class, as it got my creative juices flowing.
My horoscope in the local newspaper this morning gave me only two stars out of five for the day. But then I had two nonfiction flash accepted by THE COLLAGIST, one of my DREAM PUBS, so the newspaper astrologist must be wrong. (I’ve been sending work to THE COLLAGIST since 2011! I’m so excited!) There's an opportunity to do an interview on their blog, and since "Dermagraphism" and "Huntress" are part of the Lunatics Ball project, that will be particularly great. (At least if I can untie my tongue and describe it.) The flash will appear in their April issue.
How exciting! Steve and I are reading on Friday night at AWP in the Black Lawrence Press reading for the anthology THEY SAID. And now we just got invited to read in the CATAMARAN LITERARY READER offsite reading as well. The Catamaran reading ends at 5pm on Friday, the Black Lawrence reading starts at 5:30. But that can be done, right?
Nearing the end of the two-week Kathy Fish FAST FLASH class and I love it so much. Her prompts are perfect for me, I write every day with no anxiety at all (though she pointed out that my segmented dream flash today—"Who Are These Animals and People?"—was about anxiety both in dreams and reality!), I love the way my creativity has been awakened, I love reading the other students' work. I should try to do this more often.
Nice responses in my online twitter and Facebook communities to "Free Fall."
FICTIVE DREAM is doing a great #FlashFictionFebruary series with a new flash each day. Excited to see my flash "Free Fall" in this lineup of terrific flash. The artist Claudia McGill is doing art each day that interprets the flash (love the apples in mine)
My first version of this flash was half as long. I'm glad I wrote further and that she escapes.
Pleased to see my nonfiction flash "My Mother's Suitcases" in the up-and-coming creative nonfiction journal THE NASIONA MAGAZINE (which has published some great essays in their first six issues, including work from my husband Steve Gutierrez and writing friend Tom Molanphy). A big thanks Julian Esteban Torres López and the other editors!
Al Kratz, one of the editors at NEW FLASH FICTION REVIEW, has a craft essay on endings today that features my flash "Pretty Girl." In "Notes from the Slush Pile: Endings," he suggests that the ending is "the most important part of flash fiction: "A Choice is made. Something is realized. A character wins. A character loses. A character wins something even if it wasn’t the thing they originally wanted to win. Someone dies. Someone lives. Chekov’s gun goes off. Satisfaction. Expectation. Surprise. Resolution. Echo. The ending does all the work. The character’s balance has to be either restored or destroyed. The character does something different. They are taken to a place they weren’t at in the beginning, and therefore, the reader is moved as well." He has nice things to say about "Pretty Girl" and how the delayed ending works. I'm pleased because I feel it's always hard to end a story that involves danger and violence:
"Pretty Girl, by Jacqueline Doyle, was one of our Pushcart nominations this year at New Flash Fiction Review. It is a difficult story to read that pulls no punches. Right from the start, it’s going for your gut as hard as it can. It doesn’t take long to find where our character is or what her balance is or what’s at stake:
She has no idea how long it’s been since he came up behind her in the dark parking garage, one hand squeezing her throat, one holding a gun to her head, whispering “Don’t scream, pretty girl,” his breath hot on her neck.
For the next 800 words or so, we progressively learn that she is duct taped and lying on the floor of the back seat of her car (as far from balance as possible), driven by her attacker. It blends with memories of her life before (balance).
One of the punches not held back is the idea of how it will end for her. The reader is in the same spot as the protagonist: wanting to delay the inevitable ending. Wanting to see anything else. The only grace given is that delay. Everything that happens, every word is in balance with the mission.
She feels sick, she’s never had a headache this bad, she’s trembling from the cold, the grit on the floor cuts into her bare arms and legs, which are covered with goose bumps, and all she wants is to curl up beside her mom on the ratty brown couch in the family room with the green afghan wrapped around her, watching some dumb show on TV. Cramped on the floor of the back seat, twisting with her arms bound behind her, she watches streetlights on the freeway whiz by outside the car window above her, then nothing, telephone poles, an increasingly emptier night sky, hazy, with hardly any stars. She can’t remember ever looking at the sky for this long before."