Flash Frontier’s theme for April is ‘slow’ and as with other stories I’ve written, Around the Block is a fictional piece with its origins in my own experience. (In December 2015 I wrote about the mix of fact and fiction for Headland magazine, when they posed the question, “Do we write what we know?” in Seeds of a Story.)
I really enjoy reading flash fiction and I’m especially fond of the New Zealand variety – I like to read our own narratives. And reading a complete story restricted to a mere 250 words reminds me of the surprising burst of flavour you get when you bite into a tiny pomegranate seed.
I hope you’ll take the time to visit Slow. I think it’s fascinating to discover how other writers interpret a simple theme. And the stories pack plenty of punch!
A good piece of flash fiction should leave you thinking.
Or… well, I think you should find out for yourself.
When you make the decision to take writing seriously, you are faced with the ‘grind’ of trying to write each day, and then not knowing if you are on the right track with your stories.
There is also the matter of personal confidence. Creating anything involves giving up a part of yourself. Whether you are a visual artist, an actor, a singer, a songwriter, or a practitioner of creativity of any kind… once you put a piece of yourself out there, or even express the desire to do so, then you are placing yourself in a position where people can (and will) comment on your offerings.
This is scary. You have to move beyond self-doubt and the fear that whatever you do ‘won’t be good enough’. You have to be able to say to yourself, ‘So what if it isn’t?’, and get on with it.
A mote of dust in a sandstorm
The internet has completely changed things for this hopeful author. Where once I might have slaved alone for years over a book or a collection of short stories, I now have the opportunity to take some time-out. I can respond to the challenges provided by the numerous sites that accept one-off pieces of work – from Drabbles, through Flash Fiction to the more familiar styles of writing. All the while, still scribbling away at my longer projects.
Even so, I do this with the knowledge that there are immeasurable numbers of people out there working at the same thing. It’s a world-wide market and I am just one tiny speck, one individual writer tapping away at the keyboard, trying to draw out my thoughts and weave them into something cohesive that I can express with a degree of eloquence. I suppose the aim is to find my own original voice, amongst all the others.
It’s both exciting and depressing. But the urge to write is strong.
Sharing a piece of yourself
Back in July I wrote a short story, ‘Water Baby’, for a project entitled ‘Strange Little Girls’. Water Baby was unsuccessful for that market so I submitted it to a few other places and heard last week that it’s been accepted for an online publication.
This felt really good. But I also experienced a secondary feeling that I was struggling to identify. I’ve come to the conclusion that it was an infinitesimal feeling of loss.
Until a piece of writing is published, it’s all your own. Then it’s out in that big, wide world, hopefully to be read by someone. (That’s what you do it for, right?)
It will be dissected by some. Dismissed by others. Read and enjoyed by a few? Maybe… I’d like to hope so. But you’ve effectively given it up to the masses. Your baby has grown up and left home.
And because it’s the age of the internet, feedback will be pretty damn quick.
(Water Baby will be published on 16 November and once it’s up, I’ll post a note about it.)
PS. I know the ‘baby leaving home’ bit is corny, but that’s what it feels like. 🙂