Filtering by Tag: flash fiction

Publication News: The Medulla Review

I received wonderful news last night: my short story that I had submitted to The Medulla Review was accepted! Better yet, the new issue has just been published and is available here to read.

A few months back, a friend of mine had sent me an email about The Medulla Review's call for submissions;  she thought the theme was a bit of a challenge - and perhaps something I'd want to try. And she was right. I was very excited to create a story to submit. 

The theme was Tarot cards, particularly the Major Arcana. The editor-in-chief, Jennifer Hollie Bowles, says this about her issue in the editor's letter:

This was an ambitious issue, for the writers who submitted, and for me. Yes, I wanted comprehensive works on 22 of the most amazing archetypes: The Major Arcana. I wanted the positive and negative energies of each card balanced and expressed in a story, in a poem — in seven hundred words or less...

I didn't know much about Tarot cards, but when I read up on them, I was intrigued by the archetypes that could be found in each one - kind of like how, as writers, we use archetypes of define our characters in the early stages of a new writing project. The card I liked best is called The Star, so I chose to write my story based on my own interpretation of it. 

Various illustrations of the Star card. So pretty!

The Star card traditionally represents an oasis of sorts; it's a place or state of mind where you're comfortable, calm, and at rest. Tranquility, hope, good will, and renewal are also some great words to describe this card.  

After having a particular difficult spring semester at school, I had longed for some stress-free moments and rarely got them. So, for me, my oasis had to wait a few months until summer vacation hit. Even with the crazy heat, I can still find relief by relaxing and getting inspired by books, movies, and video games that I didn't have time to indulge in during the semester, haha. 

Combining my own feelings about finding rest, with the imagery that appears over and over again with this card, I created my story aptly named "The Star." 

Excerpt from my story, "The Star." Get ready for an interesting vacation!

There isn't a table of contents in this issue (I think, because, reading each story is supposed to be representative of a journey), but if you want to skip to my story, the link is right here. Enjoy!

Dime Stories: Animal Net

Summer is a magical time; with that said, I'm going to try something new on this blog! I'm going to write posts entitled "dime stories." They'll be very small stories, under 300 words, inspired by an image.

The author of The Night Circus, Erin Morgentern, writes what she calls her flax-golden tales on her blog. I've read a few of them and I love the idea. But it wasn't until fellow figgie Hannah decided to give it go that I wanted to try it myself. 

I'm not sure how frequently I'll do this, but I think writing one at least once a month is a good goal for now. We'll see how it goes. 

Found here on We Heart It

Animal Net

  When the world turned plastic, Tina left her home and wandered barefoot through the farmland. She whistled to keep her feet from turning cold and hard, to keep the blood running through her veins like clockwork. 
       The neighbors were frozen in place. Glazed eyes stared, wide-eyed, reflecting the last moments of their lives before their hearts turned rubbery and perfect.  
       “Good morning,” Tina shouted to every plastic person she met. Just in case. But she only heard her own voice echo through the fields.
       Although she had left home before sunrise, she had been too late to save the animals. Tina examined a chicken coop: all eggs pearly and inedible, chicken clucking silently, feathers and feces pristine. The world is clean when it’s wrapped in plastic. 
       Tears dripped down Tina’s nose. She hiccupped and rubbed her face on a dishtowel while the wife of the farmhouse bent over a fresh pie, poised to blow on it. A little black dog curled up in the corner of the kitchen drew her attention. Without thinking too hard, she picked the dog up and cradled its hard, plastic body in her arms. She went back to the coop and stole a rooster, left it perched on her shoulder as she whistled her way to becoming a plastic animal thief. 
       The rain smelled like vanilla beans, the droplets impure as they fell upon Tina and her plastic menagerie of animals. Her skin stretched and she whistled harder. She massaged her cheeks to keep them warm and soft. But the animals didn’t last the rainstorm. They shriveled up like raisins so Tina threaded them into her hair. 

The Traveling Dreamer

I often tear up when I see things that are overly whimsical. I can't explain it exactly, but it must have something to do with the ideas of imagination blending with and distorting the real world to create something wholly beautiful and nostalgic. It's harder to do this, I think, than bending reality for a new horror film.

I seem to have a penchant for commercials (Refer to my Mr. Peanut post) and so I admit with no shame that, yes, a mere commercial sparked this sense of wonder within me. Again.

Why commercials? I have a theory. Commericals = flash fiction. Do you see it? They share the same power. Both are short on time. Both can leave an imprint. Either you can flash a bunch of numbers and facts with a plainly dressed woman with white teeth or... you can take the opportunity to hit your viewers hard. Create not just a good ad, but an unforgettable story; something that still lives inside the viewers mind long after the program comes back on.

The commercial this time is for the Kia Optima 2011. Now, I usually hate car commercials. I'm not impressed with grinning families piling into shiny cars. I yawn when the sleek racers traverse various terrains. But this is no average car commerical. Here's a bar of screenshots:

A train full of animal-headed gentlemen and a pretty girl? Ooooo. Here's the commercial in its entirety:

Cool, right? I'm in love (of course I am - did you see the diorama?).

It's nostalgia alright. A pure dose of it. But after my head stopped spinning, I noticed that there was something familiar about it. Boy is in his room, ready to fall asleep, and then he goes soring off somewhere in his bed. Hm. Okay. Just like the animated movie, Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (1989).

Originally a comic by Winsor McCay, Little Nemo became one of those classic videos that was a staple for little kids growing up. No matter how it made it into your VHS collection, it was there. I think we have to thank it for a lot of things. Sparking creativity? Number 1. If you haven't seen it yet, here's a nice clip to give you a feel for it (and prolly the main plot):

So what is with this image of the sleeping child going on a moving journey through odd, magical worlds? It's become a symbol. I believe it represents hope because we still have the ability to dream. The most important part is to never forget. So even as the kid in the Kia commercial becomes a grown-up in a fancy car and Nemo wakes up after his final adventure in Slumberland, we still leave both worlds with the strong sense that they won't forget what happened in their dreams. What do you think?