Who is Jacki Donnellan?

 Who is the author?  Comments Off on Who is Jacki Donnellan?
Mar 312015
 

Jacki DonnellanOur most recent winner is Jacki Donnellan. Follow her on Twitter and check out her blog and Facebook page. If you enjoyed Jacki’s MB1.24winning story, you’ll want to read her stories, Napkins, Teacups, Ribbon and Getting Myrna to Play the Piano. You can find some of Jacki’s other writing on her Amazon page.

I am from England, but for the last 13 years I have lived amongst tulips and windmills in the Netherlands, with my husband and two lovely children (who are growing up much too fast for my liking.)

I love reading and writing flash and am lucky enough to have several contest wins and publications under my writerly belt. I also love being part of the wonderful online flash-fiction community, who constantly prove that it is possible to use social media for nothing but creative and supportive ends.

So, great story. How did you get there from the prompt and bookends? It struck me that there was a bright and sunny version of the truth in one photo, and a tainted, darker version in the other. It made me think about how pride might cause someone to try and whitewash their past, and why.

100 words ain’t many. How do you fit a story into so few words? I try to use words in such a way that they have several more words hidden underneath them (or, to put it more simply – to write between the lines!) I don’t always manage to do this but I always enjoy trying.

Why do you like flash fiction? I like writing- and reading- between the lines! And the world of flash fiction is so fresh and vibrant; constantly moving.

Been writing long? Couple of years.

You write anything else? Slightly longer short stories. And I have a half-written novella which has been half-finished for well over a year now…

Any advice for other flash writers? Keep going, keep writing, join in, connect, take part!

Any interesting writerly projects in the pipeline? I have a short story due to be published some time this year, and I’m currently working on something for Volume 2 of the Flashdogs Anthology, which I am thrilled to be a part of.

I just finished reading a book. Can you recommend another? I am woefully under-read, so it’s usually me on the lookout for recommendations! However I recently read The Best British Short Stories 2013 published by Salt, which contains some really fantastic short fiction.

Micro Bookends 1.24 – Results

 Results  Comments Off on Micro Bookends 1.24 – Results
Mar 292015
 
Photo Credit: lisa rigby via CC.

Photo Credit: lisa rigby via CC.

Thanks for dropping by for the results show. I must admit I thought PREJUDICE as the closing bookend was a step too far. Of course you all rose to the challenge and came up with a crop of fantastic stories.

A huge thanks to Foy S. Iver who has not only done a splendid job of judging, but has given feedback on everyone’s stories. Thanks Foy! Here’s what she thought of this weeks entries:

Wow! I think this week might have been particularly challenging with the bookends but how I loved the prompt and introduction. Paring Pride and Prejudice (one of my favorite books) with Photoshopping (one of my least favorite societal sins) is such a deliciously difficult juxtaposition. With that being said, the winners were those stories that evoked emotion, smoothly incorporated the bookends, and captured that sense of life being “retouched.” Thank you to everyone who dared to pick up the challenge and to Dave for laying it down!

Relaxed and Messy by Sal Page

I’ll never be like that.” Such an oft-repeated phrase that usually means someone will be just like that. Great final bookend with the double meaning on prejudice! Is her family judging the “bits on the carpet” or her decisions in a partner? Unfortunately, probably both. Well done.

Of Love and War by legreene515

A sweet tale of love temporarily torn apart, it felt especially poignant because it’s something I might need to be brave through in the future. I loved the beautifully descriptive line “The chopper’s flurry, like a manic butterfly evacuated him from his memories.” Lovely.

Sepia Day by michaelsimko

I adored the uniqueness of this flash! The line “[t]he site of a lady in a wedding dress using a plasma cutter is frightening and exhilarating” says it all.  Who wouldn’t want to see that? Beautiful phrase “sepia moon light.” Also, the fact that the zombie bride’s name Kamili means “perfection” tickles my linguistic brain. Fun Trivia: If you look up the name Kairu on Urban Dictionary the 2nd definition is “A human piece of Swiss cheese.” I hope that wasn’t his fate…

Daddy’s Girl by N J Crosskey

How true this is “the silence cut deeper than any scorn ever could.” It’s that feeling of being cut off that destroys. Many of the stories this week dealt with the pain that comes about from a clash in worldviews and this one was particularly moving. Great job.

A Wedding by Susan O’Reilly

This was one of the few stories that gave us delight and happiness. A beautiful portrayal of prejudice left behind. I loved the structure of this piece; the way the writer styled it looks like columns inside a church on a wedding day. Thanks for bringing some light. 🙂

State By State by stevenstucko

All I had to read was “bacon-rolled mushrooms and tiny crab quiche” and I was hooked. Pair that with a great music selection (kd lang), and I want to be there! This story did a nice job of showing us more than politics and regulations; we see human emotion behind the change. The penultimate line (“tardy Justice of the Peace finally arrives with the paper work”) feels rather indicative of the current process. Good job.

Runaway Vows by Susan O’Reilly

I read this poem out loud to fully appreciate it; the rhyme is lovely. Both sweet and solemn, the writer’s words paint us a picture of young love not to be restrained. I was happy they found peace after “their vows [had] been sworn.” Very touching.

Pride & Greed by Holly Geely

Your wife-to-be ran off with your brother” a ready-made episode for Jerry Springer! I loved the contrasting opening and closing lines; we start with Mandy’s sin (pride) and end with society’s (prejudice). My heart went out to the MC but the last line was hopeful so I’ll imagine she was brave enough to speak up. 🙂

Tradición No Más by stevenstucko

¡Qué pena! Of all the people to “no-show” your wedding, your father is one of the saddest. “He won’t give her to a Mexican” this line snatched my heart from my chest. I wanted to scream, what’s wrong with you people?! A patch of levity with “tuxedo stuffed groomsmen” gave quite the amusing mental image. Overall, heart-breaking write.

Differences by Mark Morris

With the prompts many types of prejudices were brought to the forefront and this story’s might’ve been the most relatable for me, especially the sentence “he’s a little more tanned than everyone else in my family.” Being of Irish-Welsh decent, almost everyone in my family are all gingers. I married a very tan Thai-American and “Differences” made me appreciate all the more not having to struggle against a hateful ignorance like this. Job well done.

CHRIS AND MIKE vs THE BRIDES OF VENGEANCE by Brian Creek

Chris and Mike are becoming a weekly favorite of mine and this was no exception! Usually, all fun and games, this episode explored tragic themes. We get a glimpse of  Chris’ dark past (“before I was institutionalised”) and watch as he struggles to handle the death of a former colleague. I hope you get your ghosts, Chris.

The Trespasser by stephellis2013

Wow! So many chillingly beautiful phrases throughout this piece: “Pride had crept through the house for centuries,” “a greedy grasp that mouldered its way down barren corridors,” “it scented something new, and as yet, uncorrupted,” “[m]urmured their displeasure,” and my favorite “only the house could decide who stayed” Eeeeee!!!

I debated and debated whether to place this and bump one of the HMs but ultimately, decided I couldn’t find the Photoshop element. I would give this a Special Mention for most fear-filling entry if I could. 🙂

What’s in a Name? by Stella T

“Pride Ann Joy” Oh so painful! But such a sweet tale of fatherly love and pride in his daughter. This was one of the few uplifting stories this week and I enjoyed the smile. I’m certain that the sister is loads more thankful that she didn’t get tagged with “prejudice.”

Pride Left or Right? by stu06bloc9

Great commentary with this piece! Now we’re shipping robotic women and do you want one who can think for herself or one who panders? At this point in our history the antecedents of Pride104 are only just outselling Pride107. Let’s hope intelligence and reliability win out over that “extra-sensory responsiveness.” Also, I loved “she computed” in place of “she thought”!

The Happiest Day of My Life by Geoff Holme

This flash did an amazing job of painting people in less than 150 words. The voice was captivating and emotions soar to know that they’ll be together, only to crash again on reading Mum wasn’t there… Dad tore up the invitation.” I liked that it presented support in the face of differences though, ending on a laugh with the words, “100% heterosexual but not a trace of prejudice.”

Taking Stock by Ed Broom

It’s funny that some professions are seen as less despite the massive paychecks they draw in. Just reading “I spent yesterday morning in a bluebell field pretending to use a laptop, and that’s my mortgage covered this month” made me ask where do I apply? I loved the final bookend (“her academic prejudice”), too. Very fresh.

Mrs. Martin’s Lonely Heart’s Club by voimaoy

This was one of the stories that utilized the bookends seamlessly! The line “not necessarily beautiful,” is painful and made me feel for those sad hearts entering Mrs. Martin’s Club. Also, I did wonder at the high mortality rate in the female founder’s men…

Regrets by mediocremeg14

With the rise of Bridezillas, this apology (“I was so caught up in my “Perfect Day” that I didn’t register how unhappy you were”) is unfortunately relevant. These days, even the flower arrangements are more important than the groom. 🙁 I was happy though that she knew enough to see her mistake!

Photoshopped Out by zevonesque

What began as bride contemplating her “day of days,” the writer slips in an intriguing turn on assumptions with the phrase “[s]he corrected her thoughts; not alone – with her husband”. As the tale closes, I’m left with the sense that she’s getting married more for her sister’s pain than for her own happiness. Well done.

Wedding Crashers by davejamesashton

Goodness, having your wedding crashed is never a good thing but when the crashers are half-raised corpses, I’d wonder about what bad luck is in store for the rest of my marriage – if I lived that long! I liked the closing line on this one (terminate with extreme prejudice!”) because it was the first example of prejudice as a very good thing! Fun write.

Honourable Mentions

APPROACH WITH CAUTION by Jacqueline Pye

I thought this would be a little story about rivalries until I read “man” in quotation marks. Then that “satanic finger” pointed and the world spun on its head with a vindictive explosion. The author gave us a smooth use of bookends (“Anyone else for prejudice?” LOVED this!), and an excellent allusion to the Photoshopping bit (something hidden because it’s not what the mundane world wants to see). It definitely deserves an honorable mention.

The sins of the mothers by Geoff Le Pard

This was one I kept rereading, knowing each time I would find something I missed. The bookends were invisible (what I look for) and we clearly see two worlds (or more accurately, “two women” in the same body), one that society wants hidden and the other that’s accepted. The truth is good girl and bad girl are part of her and “sometimes [she’ll] need them both.” The wordplay and repetition of going back to the dictionary also won me over. Stellar job.

SAMSARA by Jessica Franken

This story was one of the stands out for cleverly incorporating that sense of something hidden, something edited. The beautiful title and line “As kids we played mirror image” clue the reader in that Vivian is more than her sweet and proper exterior.  Her “evil twin” will be away for the honeymoon but not divorced from the cycle, and perhaps in the future Vivian will once again be the reflection rather than the reflected. Bonus points for the gorgeous line: “as if not to wake her wedding dress.”

3rd Place

Without Prejudice by Geoff Holme

As soon as I read this, I knew it had won a placing. What a perfectly original piece and format. The bookends were quiet – though that name, (“CHOLMONDELEY FARQUHARSON”) I had to look it up and see if it was real. It very much is – and though the story strayed from the idea of retouching, it made up for it by resurrecting the spirit of Pride and Prejudice. Some of my favorite parts? When Mr. Darcy “suffered impairment to his pride” and when “Miss Bennet’s unwarranted prejudice…was rekindled” and of course “{undecipherable scrawl}”. A worthy flash.

2nd Place

The Family Way by Marie McKay

What an opening line:Pride is the colour of a cheap gold band.” Volumes spoken in 9 small words. Oh how these phrases sprang into heart and memory: “secrets scurry into ancient alcoves that reek with the stale stench of tradition,” “new spun funereal tones,” and “pursed lips of prejudice”! Flawless bookends and a quintessential tale of retouched history. Whether this was an arranged marriage or a shotgun wedding, we’re not told but the ache at the last is the same because she lies but “he lies too.” Brilliant flash.

Winner

My Life in Sunlight by Jacki Donnellan

Wow… So much of this imagery swept my heart away, “Pride bathes my life in sunlight,” “white freesias cascading,” “tears draggling my wilting bouquet” and “rustling white crepe.” The use of italicized text reveals what’s real and what’s “reprinted.” One woman’s struggle as a single mother to raise her child, pay rent, and “ward off pre-judgement” for lack of a man. Her life re-imagined to better suit a society where diamonds, husbands, and babies come in that exact order. I have not had a harder time picking between two stories for the winner but “My Life in Sunlight” won thanks to its MC. My soul wants to wrap this woman in a hug. Masterful work.

My Life in Sunlight

Jacki Donnellan

Pride bathes my life in sunlight; my memories reprinted in white.

I joined you beneath the honeysuckle bower, white freesias cascading from my hands.

I didn’t wait and wait in a draughty corridor, tears draggling my wilting bouquet.

I kept the dress- for our daughter, one day! A wardrobe brimming with rustling white crepe.

I didn’t sell the dress to pay rent on the bedsit in which I gave birth, alone.

I took care that those diamonds on my wedding band didn’t scratch against my baby’s face, or my husband’s hand!

I didn’t wear a brass curtain ring to ward off pre-judgement; to fend off the cold sting of prejudice.

Mar 262015
 

Welcome to Micro Bookends 1.24. Something genteel for you this week. Have fun.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

If that’s not the best opening line of a novel then I don’t know what is. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen was first published in 1813. It tells the story of Mr and Mrs Bennet and their five unmarried daughters after the rich and eligible Mr Bingly moves into the area bringing with him his snobbish sisters and his surly friend, Mr Darcy. There are no reliable sales figures for the book, but it is thought to have sold over 20 million copies. In a 2003 BBC survey, Pride and Prejudice was voted the second most beloved book in the UK behind Lord of the Rings.

There have been many TV and film adaptations of Pride and Prejudice (my personal favourite being the 1995 BBC adaptation starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth: no one does period dramas like the BBC) including the 2005 Joe Wright movie starring Academy Award nominee, Keira Knightley, who celebrates her big three-o today. Keira was born into an acting family and has been acting since she was six years old. Her incredibly thin figure has been blamed on an eating disorder, a claim she has refuted. She agreed to appear topless in an edition of Interview so long as the images were not Photoshopped in an attempt to highlight how

women’s bodies are a battleground and photography is partly to blame.

Let’s wish Ms Knightley a very happy birthday with this week’s photo prompt:

Photo Credit: lisa rigby via CC.

Photo Credit: lisa rigby via CC.

The Judge

Judging this week’s contest is Foy S. Iver, winner of MB1.18 and MB 1.23. Read her winning stories and what she has to say about flash fiction here.

What?

A story of between 90 and 110 words starting with PRIDE and ending with PREJUDICE and incorporating the photo prompt.

Who?

Anyone, but especially you!

Why?

Why not! Because it’s fun. Because it’s a challenge. Because the winner will receive their own winner’s page, their story on the winning stories list, a ‘who is the the author’ feature to be posted next week, entry into the ‘Micro Bookend of the Year’ competition, and a copy of this year’s winning stories compilation.

When?

Now! Get your entry in BEFORE 5:00 am Friday (UK time: http://time.is/London).

Where?

Here!

How?

Post your story in the comments section. Include the word count and your Twitter username (if you’re Twitterized). Don’t forget to read the full rules before submitting your story.

Anything else?

Please give your story a title. It will not be included in the word count.

Please try to leave comments on a couple of other stories. It’s all part of the fun, and everyone likes feedback!

Remember, only stories that use the bookends exactly as supplied (punctuation is allowed) will be eligible to win.

Micro Bookends 1.23 – Results

 Results  Comments Off on Micro Bookends 1.23 – Results
Mar 222015
 
Photo Credit: Wendy via CC.

Photo Credit: Wendy via CC.

Welcome to the results show. You all did remarkably well with the difficult bookends and photo prompt this week. Such a photo obviously led to wide range of interpretations and I enjoyed every single one of them.

A huge thank you to judge, Jessica Franken. Here’s what she had to say about this week’s contest:

Thanks to David for another creative contest. I think I would have found the prompts this week quite challenging, so I was a little bit glad to be judging rather than writing…

It was so fun to see what everyone came up with. Thank you to every one of you beautiful, twisted, joyous, talented, adventurous writers for sharing your work. I spent a lot of time with each story and it was my pleasure to live in your shining worlds. It was not easy to select the winners. I know judges always say this, but it’s true. Great work, everyone, and keep writing!

Honourable Mentions

The Gifts of Belief by Emily Livingstone

I liked the dialogue in this story: the new-agey mystical vagueness of the doctor, Ella hesitant but hopeful. We feel for Ella, who just wants to get better. But we also see things from the doctor’s perspective—people make themselves so easy to con! I couldn’t decide whether I wanted Doctor Which to get his comeuppance eventually, but I knew I wanted to see him in action for a while longer first.

Professor Doctor History by Holly Geely

OK, a character with the first name “Doctor” is just really funny. “Professor Doctor” made me giggle. But this story is more than that joke. The concept of a history professor being made to rewrite human history, reprogramming humans so they wouldn’t even know history had been rewritten, is spooky. And this piece gets bonus points for creatively incorporating the photo prompt. I could really picture evil robot ACE-17 walking around with an iPod stuck to his magnetic body.

Homeostasis by Meg Kovalik

Objects are not just objects—they are reminders of all we’ve experienced, and can be really hard to let go. As the title of this story alludes to, these ojbects, especially when accumulated, can keep us from moving forward. Maria begins this story feeling embarrassed and in the wrong for hoarding sentimental items (she “stammered apologetically,” her “lip quivered in shame”), but by the end what she feels is “self-acceptance.” I liked the progression she went through, and that she is choosing stasis even when those around her are trying to move her.

3rd Place

Petty Theft Jacki Donnellan

Being a teenager, as I imagine the narrator to be here, is an experience so heightened and traumatic I’m surprised any of us get through it. The only thing possibly scarier is being the parent of a teenager. I feel for them both in this story, the kid who needs attention and the dad who wants to show his son that crimes have consequences. I like the rhythm of the first line and the imagery of the second. I hope things turn out well for these two characters.

2nd Place

Untitled by Casey Rose Frank

This piece has great rhythm, and uses line breaks and punctuation well to create atmosphere for the driving single-mindedness of the task at hand (changing a memory). This back-and-forth could be within the narrator’s mind or could be a second party pressuring the protagonist to forget what he or she saw. Either way, it’s a chilling meditation on guilt and the way we fixate on the moment that could have changed everything.

Winner

ctrl + alt + delete by Foy S. Iver

I liked that this piece used the “doctor” prompt in a creative way, and incorporated the photo prompt as well. But I especially liked the vivid and visceral language. It was easy to feel myself within the story, especially with phrases such as “I drive my fingertips into the keys” and “The badge burns a circle in my breast pocket.” As readers, we don’t know what catastrophe left Earth in “sooty remnants,” but we can see even in these few words that people haven’t changed: there are still “company people” calling the shots and rewriting history through propaganda, and workers with little choice but to follow. Small details carry heavy weight in this story. It says a lot about a person if he’s getting manicures when others are living in “stick-and-blanket shelters,” and it says a lot about our narrator that he is willing to defy orders to keep the badge. We get the sense that we are witnessing the first small rebellion in what will hopefully grow into a larger resistance to the company—that the badge will continue to burn and give the narrator the courage to fight back.

ctrl + alt + delete

Foy S. Iver

“Doctor that image, will ya?”

His poke sends pixels scattering. The muscles in my arm tense. I drive my fingertips into the keys to keep from smacking his flawless hand away.

Damn company people and their manicures.

Clawing through the sooty remnants of Earth left mine ashen from a million memories, bodies, souls.
I wipe the stick-and-blanket shelter from the image along with another piece of my autonomy.

“We can’t have Earth looking hospitable. Theo said you found trinkets.”

I nod.

“A knife, an iPod, a picture. Anything else?”

The badge burns a circle in my breast pocket.

It is humanity. A testimony. There are survivors.

“No.”

Mar 192015
 

The name’s Bookends, Micro Bookends. License to flash. Welcome! Enjoy!

Dr. Noreleased in 1962, and based on the 1958 Ian Fleming novel of the same name, was the first ever James Bond film. Sean Connery played the suave British spy in a role he would go on to play a further six times. The plot, typically ridiculous, sees Bond being sent to stop the titular character from sabotaging an American manned space mission with a weaponized radio beam. The film established several motifs still used in contemporary Bond movies including the prolonged, stylised title sequence, the gun barrel sequence, and the role of the Bond girl.

Ursula Andress, who celebrates her 79th birthday today, played the shell-diving Bond girl, Honey Ryder (a fairly tame double entendre compared to later efforts) who has been described as the quintessential Bond girl. Her appearance from the ocean wearing a white bikini (which she helped design and sew) and large knife strapped to her thigh, is one of the most famous scenes in cinematic history, and was voted most sexy in a Channel 4 poll. Andress’s Swiss-German accent was considered too strong for the finished movie and was dubbed by German voice actress Nikki van der Zyl.

Let’s help Ursula celebrate her birthday with this week’s photo prompt (the actual contents of her bikini pocket):

Photo Credit: Wendy via CC.

Photo Credit: Wendy via CC.

The Judge

Judging this week’s contest is Jessica Franken, winner of MB 1.22. Read her winning story and what she has to say about flash fiction here.

What?

A story of between 90 and 110 words starting with DOCTOR and ending with NO and incorporating the photo prompt.

Who?

Anyone, but especially you!

Why?

Why not! Because it’s fun. Because it’s a challenge. Because the winner will receive their own winner’s page, their story on the winning stories list, a ‘who is the the author’ feature to be posted next week, entry into the ‘Micro Bookend of the Year’ competition, and a copy of this year’s winning stories compilation.

When?

Now! Get your entry in BEFORE 5:00 am Friday (UK time: http://time.is/London).

Where?

Here!

How?

Post your story in the comments section. Include the word count and your Twitter username (if you’re Twitterized). Don’t forget to read the full rules before submitting your story.

Anything else?

Please give your story a title. It will not be included in the word count.

Please try to leave comments on a couple of other stories. It’s all part of the fun, and everyone likes feedback!

Remember, only stories that use the bookends exactly as supplied (punctuation is allowed) will be eligible to win.

Who is Jessica Franken?

 Who is the author?  Comments Off on Who is Jessica Franken?
Mar 172015
 

frankenOur most recent winner is Jessica Franken. Follow her on Twitter, check out her blog, then read on to learn a little more about her and her writing. Jessica has very kindly agreed to judge this week’s contest so pay attention:

I am a writer living in Minnesota, U.S.A. By day, I work in nonprofit communications and marketing. By night (and by weekend, and by lunch hour, and by early morning), I write and read and fall down internet rabbit holes. I recently contributed to Lockjaw Magazine and wrote a master’s thesis on Margaret Atwood. I think obsessively about how to put words together to find truth.

So, great story. How did you get there from the prompt and bookends? The archives got me thinking about legacies and what kind of information is documented (“beat”) and what will be passed down (“generation”). We’re doing our best to fill the archives: Every day we share 500 million tweets, 70 million photos on Instagram, and 26 million minutes of video on YouTube. But so much is missed, or not able to be documented in that way. This story is much more personal than the flash I usually write. The man with the newspaper is fabricated, but serves as a stand-in for the myriad moments of wonder I experience in any given day. They seem so important, these small human adventures or moments of transitory natural beauty, and I feel real sorrow knowing I’ll forget most of them. The idea of all these moments mattering, being recorded and shared in our bodies if not our minds, was intensely comforting to me and to my narrator.

100 words ain’t many. How do you fit a story into so few words? I write a crappy first draft just to get something down. For me, writing is thinking. I don’t worry too much about word count or succinctness during this first pass, and the draft is usually two or three times too long and three or four times too incoherent. Second round is for deep, ruthless cutting. I hunt down the weak and superfluous parts and ax them. Third round I sew the survivors together into something resembling a complete story. Fourth round is for surgical trimming, and looking for places where the language I’m using could be more compact. Fifth round I’m looking for more specific or poetic ways to say what’s there. Have I fallen back on clichéd writing? Has the rhythm become too same-y? Sixth round mostly consists of me obsessing over one stubborn word that I keep replacing and unreplacing for way too long until I let my gut decide and hit submit.

Why do you like flash fiction? I love language, and flash is concentrated language. It’s like when you heat stock or a sauce to reduce it: that which was diluting the flavor evaporates, leaving something thick and intense.

Been writing long? I wrote a bit growing up and as an undergrad (didn’t we all), but am just coming back to it many years later. I recently finished a master’s degree, so my writing energies were all going into academic papers for those years. It’s great to be writing creatively again. But hard, right? You are all heroes.

You write anything else? Yes, I also write longer short stories, poetry, essays, and nonfiction. And killer thank you notes.

Any advice for other flash writers? Lean your weight against each word to test it—especially adverbs and adjectives. If it’s not a load-bearing word, send it away. I think a piece this short should be at least 75% load-bearing words.

Any interesting writerly projects in the pipeline? I have a piece in the awesomely crazy Choose Your Own Adventure experiment over at Lockjaw Magazine. Other than that, I’m focusing on amassing a body of work, but I hope to gather the courage to send things into the wild at some point.

I just finished reading a book. Can you recommend another? My first recommendation for anyone who hasn’t read it is always Fingersmith by Sarah Waters. Other must-reads: Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler. For short fiction, I love anything by Kelly Link or Alice Munro.

Micro Bookends 1.22 – Results

 Results  Comments Off on Micro Bookends 1.22 – Results
Mar 152015
 
Photo Credit: Matt Brown via CC.

Photo Credit: Matt Brown via CC.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the flash mothers out there. I hope your little darlings have treated you well. There was such a wide range of interpretations of the photo prompt this week. The old scrolls in the photo seemed to go perfectly with the closing bookend, GENERATION. I don’t just throw this stuff together you know. 😉 On to the results.

Honourable Mentions

The Problem With Marriage In Our by Holly Geely

Very creative use of the closing bookend by having it as the missing word from the title, which is itself the name of a manuscript in the story. The story is very cleverly structured with the main character, a female private eye Raymond Chandler would have been proud of, being engaged to find her self by the wife of her recent lover. Great fun.

On Message by Steph Ellis

A chilling interpretation of the photo prompt. I love the triad of rebellion quashing: “take his voice so he cannot protest, his eyes so he cannot scorn, his brain so he can no longer understand.” “Make him speak our words,” he says. Dissenters  beaten flat into parchment on which the words they rebelled against will be written. Such a novel idea.

Creation by Marie McKay

“An existence bound only in binary,” is one of many great lines in this wonderful sci-fi tale about the rise of the machines. The machines “looks for our essence in its electronic bowels” as it plots the down fall our “skin and bone generation.” Fantastic ending and use of the closing bookend. I think this story should serve as a warning to us all about relying to much on the machine.

3rd Place

Change is not always progress by Geoff Le Pard

Nice use of the photo prompt as a contrast between new and old technologies and attitudes. “Acrylic-tipped finger nailing his retirement” captures the new technology perfectly. Even better is how the MC’s actions in his role as a policeman have changed throughout the history of his country: from “apartheid’s certainties” to “Mandela’s golden years … he shifted his prejudices to find the new norm.” He can cope with all that but a computer is too much. A whimsical ending for a serious story perhaps, but also one that rings true for the older generation.

2nd Place

The Samsaran Scrolls by voimaoy

This story had such an energy to it that not only used the photo prompt brilliantly, but also captured something of the beat generation mentality. You can really feel the characters’ need to capture the story, “we left our words on the walls … we would write on napkins”, and how they find inspiration everywhere, “the red-haired waitress was our muse.” There’s lots of fantastic description too: “high octane coffee, black as the open road” and “faces sharp as knife blades.” At last the elusive Samsaran Scrolls are found, “we could read between the lines, the lightning in the words, the flash of a new generation.” What a great, spine-tingling ending. Excellent writing. Well done.

Winner

PIXELPUSHER by Jessica Franken

This piece has such a unique style and voice. It opens aggressively with the narrator’s wish to document everything: “If I don’t describe it, it will remain undescribed.” Then a wonderful switch in pace to describing an old man collecting his newspaper. But the narrator sees so much more in this simple action than most people would see and this thought weighs heavy. You get a sense of guilt that the narrator is unable to document everything and fantasizes about ending the futile endeavour to do so. Beautiful writing that deserves multiple readings. I’ll certainly be bookmarking it to read again and again.

Pixelpusher

Jessica Franken

Beat the drums. Shout it out. Write it down. Document everything. Fill the archives. Build more archives. If I don’t describe it, it will remain undescribed.

Walking to work today I saw an old man in boxer shorts open his front door, float up his rosebud fingertips, and fold into a perfect arabesque penché to lift the newspaper from his front stoop. I worry so much that no one will know this.

Hunched modern scribe, I fantasize about ceasing—ceding to the universal subconscious (a gyre spinning slowly below, gathering in all our tiny hearts). Every sigh and sandcastle would be inherited, written onto the bones of the next generation.