Now that Napowrimo is over, I’m settling back into my routine of morning online reading. This is my time to look for wonder-full flash and poetry and get lost in other places and other lives. There are many good writers out there but there are also some exceptional ones. Here’s a few of those writers and the stories that graced my recent mornings. I hope you enjoy – no, I know you will!
The Origin of Silk by Lori Sambol Brody in Gulf Stream Journal. I was completely absorbed in this story – the richness of words and images, the exotic locale, the foreign culture. The subject of kidnapped brides is one I’ve read about in a non-fiction, documentary genre but this little fiction story made it seem more immediate and scarily possible. I just love this story, clearly a favorite for 2018. I’ll be watching and hoping for a Pushcart and/or Best of the Net nom.
I couldn’t sleep, the greed of the silkworms was so loud. Aiporshir slipped into my room, sat on my mattress. I want to tell you,she said. I’ve heard that Nursultan is planning to bride-kidnap you.
That doesn’t happen anymore.
Her eyes closed; her scarf fell from her head. I was going to university. My husband took me as I walked from the bus. Gulnara locked me into this room and then let him in. I had no choice. My family would not have me back. She curled against me; I spread the patchwork quilt over us. The silkworms chewed and chewed. They did not concern themselves with two women.
The Less Said by Jolene McIlwain in New Orleans Review. I cannot stress enough what a subtley frightening story this is. Almost everyone loves a good horror story but it’s very, very difficult to find one without gratuitous gory descriptions (Hello, Stephen King.). It takes a big talent to write a truly frightening tale with finesse and subtlety- what’s not said is as important as what is said. This woman is on fire with this flash fiction. Run, don’t walk, to New Orleans Review if you like fright.
Marion noticed the plant after he saw the pulley, but he didn’t tell Chick or the guy from Penn State extension about the pulley or that gambrel he spotted in the high weeds. He didn’t tell either of them about the hump of dirt he saw a few yards away either.
Never can get all that dirt back in the same way after you’ve buried something.
Parachutes by Sara Lippmann in Diagram. I confess, I have a penchant for mother/daughter stories and this is a prickly and too-close-to-home one. Sara talks childhood, adulthood, motherhood, dreams, fears, betrayal, oh, just everything about life and I nod my head and say, yes, yes, it’s just like that. Sara is one of the most skillful story-tellers and we are the lucky readers.
You don’t need school to know everything signifies something else. Vanity. Fear. There are categories. It is false to go around puffing stuff up with extraneous meaning. Still, people see what they want.
Honolulu Souvenir, 1941 by Kathryn Kulpa in Spelk Fiction. This is a flash in five paragraphs with five seemingly disparate headings. As you read, you sense a connection: a thread here, a couple of words there…until you get to the end and it all comes together. I really loved how Kathryn spun this tale without giving up the ghost until the end. And in so few words – well, it’s magic. Very well done.
Thirteen plus three is sixteen. Sixteen plus two is eighteen. Sixteen can pass for eighteen. Eighteen is old enough to go to sea. Eighteen is old enough to be a man. The mermaid promises me time will pass quickly.
The Tenants Try to Cope by Jess Conway in Jellyfish Review. I liked the premise of this story, tenants of a building in the midst of reno. The reader is a kind of voyeur in the daily goings-on but in a good way. There’s a thread woven into the daily life scenarios that is very carefully but not completely concealed. Just enough to raise a red flag. Good stuff here.
She said to Anna that there was something literary about it, about the incongruity of soft fleshy sensitive human bodies living in rubble. She said that there was something romantic about having to make do, having to be flexible and share beds and cook dinner round other people’s houses.
Finally, I want to mention that my dear friend, Tara Isabel Zambrano, is a finalist in Bat City Review’s 2018 Short Prose Contest for her story, “Mumtaz in Burhanpur”. I love Tara’s stories, so many of which are set in her native India. She’s a natural-born storyteller and writer. Watch for her work online, you’ll never be disappointed. Congrats, Tara! 😘
Sometimes the girl dreams of Mumtaz. The empress tells her, “Death makes you larger than who you’re.” The girl thinks she embodies the spirit of Mumtaz ― an embarrassment since she doesn’t know Arabic or Persian languages like the illustrious queen did.
Have a great week-end, readers, and a wonderful Mother’s Day.