flash fiction

Phantoms by Chad Simpson

It would be convenient to fly. But I can’t fly, so I read drugs and do books and wobble my way along.

Phantoms (Origami Zoo Press) is a drug. It is belly habit/super flu of 9 flash fictions. Chad Simpson ignites them tight.

The book came to me in the mail with my Bodog magazine (this a gambler’s rag with a blacked-out cover so pretty much the mailman thinks I am a pervert) and with two origami rabbits. They were cute. I didn’t know what to do with them, so set them free, atop the roof of my shed. There they crumple now, somewhere in time and space, out of most vision, out of eye, primarily in the mind.

The first flash is “Miracle.” A man is run-down by his own car. Primarily in the mind. Chad Simpson writes, “And I will imagine…I will imagine…I will imagine…” It is a collection/recollection. It ricochets internal monologue off objective scene (often primo way to present  drama/calamity; I actually wish more writers would learn that sex/guns/thunk are often best written with a neutral eye). Image to notion, notion to image–dreamlike.


Uncategorized / 6 Comments
May 25th, 2010 / 6:45 pm

Wink Wink Contest

Been following Hint Fiction?

The contest?

If you read HTML, yes. (Thanks, Roxane)

I glow flash, write/teach/advocate for flash. But I’m wondering. When do we do this big, when do we go all the way, I mean fucking Double Down KFC big?

I want  a contest where every submission is a blank page. Everything off the page.

Who will write the next silent symphony, the 4:33? The Godot of flash?

Who is up for a blank page flash contest?

Oh that’s just silly (or smart?). Let’s go 3, 3–a holy number, words. Give me 3 words. I’ll begin.

Dolphin Nachos, Bono?

(The award is a good book [my choice–it will rock ass], hot sauce [It will kill your spleen and brain. It will be hot like donuts or making out in the bathroom at that Halloween party] and a brand new deck of kick-ass cards [literary theme])

Random / 380 Comments
April 28th, 2010 / 6:14 pm

5 paper antlers of god

1. Sixteen drinks named for authors (with recipes)

2.Harry Smith sort of rambling a bit, sort of blowing a few joints. Cat’s cooler than buckets of toad.


3. Holy shit Sonora Review flash fiction contest will give you a sweet grand! That’s like 90 ecstasy tablets or 13 Poking Boxes. Joe Wenderoth will judge.

4. You edit an anthology. Do you include your own work?

5. Happy Easter!


Author Spotlight / 108 Comments
April 2nd, 2010 / 12:15 pm

Back Flash: Margaret Atwood

–like she’s pretending to write a story but really examining plot, the art, the control, all that writer shit. It’s like a trick and a lesion.

–Yes, I know. But it’s a book I’m saying, not just that story.

–Well, people only know that plot story. It’s a trick, you know, meta, but a legion, sort of supposed to teach you—like with Buddha, a Kola. You could use it in class plenty.

–You mean a Koan.

–Yeh, a colon. A story not about the story. Sharp as a cat’s eye. Lorrie Moore did it and then Grace Paley, too.

–No, no, you’re off-focus. Forget the plot picking. I’m saying it’s a book. Atwood did a whole flash book. It goes out of print because so many people think flash fiction is the lining of a diseased lung. Well, it was coughed up and won the Booker. I don’t know how these things work.

–You mean Fletch?

–No, no, phlegm, not Fletch. Just read the book, if you can find it.

Author Spotlight / Comments Off on Back Flash: Margaret Atwood
February 24th, 2010 / 1:32 pm

Back Flash: Mikhail Zoshchenko

(cake by Lukka Sigurdardottir)

Words by Mikhail Zoshchenko.

He liked to yap out, “This is not theatre!”

He had a bird he named Dog.

His writing often deadpan. We know why people write deadpan (E.L Doctorow to Dashiell Hammet to, oh hell, Tao Lin)–they are saying what they are saying and are not. A deadpan is an iron skillet. The flavor is “cured” in the core. Like a bowl of bacon or a jelly intruder. [But now I am getting hungry.]

He saw that flash fiction (“snapshots” his term) was disreputable to the bourgeoisie. (At the time, they felt the genre unfit for critical analysis, so unfit, period.) This glowed Zoshchenko to the form. The bourgeoisie lived as if life was theatre. Worms under teacups, something.

So fuck them.


Author Spotlight / 6 Comments
February 9th, 2010 / 3:49 pm

Curriculums Change of High School X 2

While we all crack-block the HS offerings of America, I would like to suggest Palm-of-the-Hand Stories by Nobel laureate Yasunari Kawabata.

He liked to drink spirits and the spirits he drank were actually spirits.

Yes, you know Snow Country, and good for you, but Kawabata himself, especially later in his life, repeatedly asked readers to turn to his 140+ (like Carver stories stuffed in closet drawers, new ones seem to spontaneously unearth) very short stories. He claimed they contained his essence.

I find his sentences airy, floating, lonely, but the type of paradoxical loneliness we recognize as our own. In sum: He is a big man. His words will auto-tune your ass.

Children found him amusing.

His final work was to rewrite his popular novel, Snow Country, as a flash fiction. He then killed himself.

(Have I convinced the anti-flash [flashcist] yet?)


OK, bring out the rainmaker:


Random / 2 Comments
January 21st, 2010 / 10:32 am

Barry Graham shoutout at Chicago Now. He’ll be reading tonight at Quickies! (along with others who glow like tongue-cannons)

Back Flash: Daniil Kharms


People sometimes scoff flash fiction by noting its recent flabelliform of popularity. I occasionally refute by bringing past authors of flash to the now. I hope you may one day gather this feature and create a joiner’s mallet.

Enter Daniil Kharms.

He felt cause and effect were funny, buy not ha-ha funny. I once thought serious silliness the only real answer to life (but I digress), so was/am happy the day I stumbled upon Kharms. Automatic and lifeless makes us into a thing. This is good or bad?

Excellent site here of his work.

Here is a flash for you, titled, “How a Man Crumbled.”

– They say all the best tarts are fat-arsed. Gee-ee, I really like busty tarts, I love the way they smell.

Having said this, he started to increase in height and, upon reaching the ceiling, he crumbled into a thousand little pellets. The yard-keeper Panteley came, swept all these pellets up into his scoops in which he usually picked up the horse muck, and he carried these pellets away somewhere to the back yard.

And the sun continued to shine as ever and splendiferous ladies continued to smell just as ravishingly as ever.

Author Spotlight / 37 Comments
January 6th, 2010 / 7:15 pm

What We Talk About When We Try To Talk About What To Call The Stuff We Write: Notes Toward an Answer to Sam Pink’s Question from Yesterday


>>is there any definable characteristic that separates what is called “flash fiction” from what is called “short story” or “novella” or “novel.”<< (click thru for Sam’s whole post)

When I was younger I was obsessed with word-counts. I always wanted to know how long a book was “supposed” to be. No writer I have ever asked about this has ever wanted to give a straight answer to this question. I used to think it was because they were fussy and protective over their secrets, but now that I am older and wiser I understand that it is because they don’t actually know. Nobody does. When Amazon put in that feature with all the book stats, it was one of the happiest days of my life. I spent hours looking up every book I could think of, to see how long they all were. A few months ago, when I switched to a Mac, I was delighted to learn the Pages gives me a running word-count at the bottom of the work-window, and that if I highlight a section of text, I instantly get the word-count for that section. (This blog-window does the same thing, btw.)

But many years before the machines came to the rescue, there was one man who attempted to give me the answers I sought. READ MORE >

Craft Notes / 16 Comments
August 14th, 2009 / 12:46 pm