Saturday, 14 February 2009

short short heaven

I have been reading some short short fiction this week. I want to talk about Tania Hershman's beautiful little short in PANK called Missy. She has five pieces in the February Issue but this one really drew me in. Bold start: 'If I had a daughter, this it how it would be.' Then the voice, wow. It is so authentic, yet also surprising, because the character is not what we expect. A wonderful dynamic established between mother and daughter, a hateful, loving, dsyfunctional relationship that we think we understand and then new depths are revealed. A whole past implied. But then knowing that this is all imagined... 'If I had a daughter..' And the pace is wonderfully breathless, yet artfully controlled. All this, for under 300 words. This story is why I love flash fiction.

Another short short... on Expresso Shots by Anthony SidesShot No 22. This time we have only 73 words... exploring the relationships between three people, the narrator, his friend, and friend's girlfriend. what I love about this short is all that is unsaid or implied. I love the strength in the female character, the unacted betrayal of the friend and the phrase 'she can make a long time slide'. A lot is happening in so few words.

I'm also enjoying Fiona Robyn's A small stone which are the smallest most delicious images, glimpses of life. I especially loved this one:
'A snow hill looms from the mist, the horizon missing. Someone's scissors
have cut out cattle shapes.'

I went on my second Paper Planes workshop today... it was a wonderful afternoon. I wrote four very short shorts. I'm quite pleased with them. In one,I invent the three minute silence, another is about a singles night, another about a lonely woman who wants to learn Urdu, and the other has a title I love (stolen from the back of the toilet door in Fuel Cafe Bar)
PO Box 332, Salford. Tell me your secrets, I will respond
Most of my titles are so boring, I love this one. it's ridiculously long, but so perfect for the piece I've written. So tonight, I plan to work on these pieces and a few others I have been writing.

Oh, how much I love writing or reading a lovely piece of short fiction or prose poem.

And then a lovely surprise through the post from Lynne Rees for my prize poem 'Recovery'. It's a gorgeous little notebook that I am going to fill with prose poems. My aim is to write everyday in March. Thank Lynne for the inspiration.


Tania Hershman said...

Annie, thank you so much for what you said about my flash, Missy, that really is heart-warming, it means a great deal. I am looking forward to reading the other short shorts you link too, and the 4 you wrote today, when you find homes for them. Isn't PANK wonderful? Send them there.

I am also totally in love with short shorts and prose poems. It ruins you for anything else, i think, because when you see what can be done in one page, you become a very very tough reader to impress with anything longer.

Enjoy your prize-winner's notebook, I'm sure you'll fill it very quickly, especially if you write every day in March.

Maybe we can do an online flash-writing session together, remotely...? I'll bring some prompts, you make the tea, and then we write. What do you say?

annie clarkson said...

OO, I would love to do a flash-writing session, any time at all. Prompts are great to find new ideas, ideas that I never knew where there...

Tania Hershman said...

Sounds grest, let's do it when I come back, in a few weeks.

PS You've added a bonus extra "c" into my name:)

Michelle said...

A lovely, positive post, Annie, and a joy to read.

Thanks for the heads up. I'm going to read Tania's short right now.

Glad to hear about the workshop. You're leaping and bounding and it's only February. I love your Salford title too!

TOM J VOWLER said...

Don't complain, Tania, that's 3 more scrabble points ;)

Megan said...

Wonderful tips and wonderful things, Annie.
And what a lovely and well deserved notebook gift. I'm sure you will fill it with lots of dark and beautiful writing

annie clarkson said...

Oh Tania, I have removed the offending c... sorry :)