I’ve spent more time than usual thinking about writing this week. Not my own writing, I sink into that dark, sloppy, porous ground often, but the prose of others. Or how writers can do things with plot, structure, word choice, cleverness etc… that I can’t. It would be easy to get discouraged when you read outstanding flash fiction. It would be easy to become jealous of other writers depth of skill and the success that follows. And when the depression is broiling in my mind, sometimes that negative junk fills the cranium. The lovely chant of I’m not good enough. I am a worthless hack. I write like a child. My ravishing face is an aphrodisiac to women, men, and the big cats of Africa. Oh, that last one occurs on the narcissistic days not the depressed ones. Oops.
Ultimately, knowing there are über-talented writers out in digital world is a good thing. Not only do I get the opportunity to read a story that moves me at my core, that makes me stare at walls for hours in some kind of emotional trance, but I also get to learn from them. The best way to improve your writing is to read others who do it better. It’s that simple. Peel away the arrogance that all writers wear like a mink parka, and let more accomplished writers illuminate the path with their mastery of precision, thought, imagery, and word manipulation.
This week on Sunday Prose I’ve included six stories instead of the usual three because I’m going to switch these posts to once a month instead of once a week. My laziness is a brutal dictator.
Pour some sugar on me. Or in me. My new diet is killing me softly.
Let’s do this!
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* A Lesser Cement by Anna Lea Jancewicz (FLAPPERHOUSE)
A love story involving a hammer? Yes, please.
* Timeshare by Dolan Morgan (Third Point Press)
A lesson in restraint and brevity. Beautiful in a weird, poignant way. So good.
* The Jigsaw Puzzles by Rebecca Harrison (Cease, Cows)
The descriptions in this story are vivid and fantastic. Love every word of this emotional tale.
* Them Boys by Ron Gibson, Jr. (Spelk Fiction)
I actually commented at the time this was first published. Still resonates. Get your grit on, yo.
* The Raptor and the Boy by Len Kuntz (Jellyfish Review)
Dark and disturbing story with a side of comeuppance. My kind of flash.
* On the Way to the Killing Spree the Shooter Stops for Pizza by Tom McAllister (Sundog Lit)
This is more short story than flash but I had to include it. Remains one of my favorite pieces of writing. So detailed and profound. Imagery is off the charts. Phenomenal.