A look. A gesture. A tone of voice. We read these cues like we’re reading the news, skimming to find what we need to know. There’s just one problem.
Perception is a slippery thing.
In my latest story for Short Fiction Break, a tour of ancient Mayan ruins in the sweltering Yucatan jungle forces Rachel and Will to reckon with their own recent history.
Read it here: https://shortfictionbreak.com/the-ruins/
Most of the time, we’re all just trying to put one foot in front of the other, hoping we don’t trip over ourselves. Or someone else. Or fall backwards into a muddy puddle.
Just over a year ago, as I was staring at my feet and trying not to fall, I wrote a flash fiction story – my first – that went on to win a writing contest. Since then, I’ve written eleven more flash fiction stories. And I didn’t even know I could write flash fiction. This little 1500-word story revealed a facet of myself I didn’t even know was there.
To honor this little-story-that-could, I’m re-posting it here today. I hope it touches you as much as it’s touched me.
We spend our days making decisions. Some are small, like what to wear, what to eat. Some are bigger, like what to do with your life. No matter how many pros and cons lists we make, no one knows what the future holds. No one knows just how all those decisions – big and small – will add up in the end.
In my latest story for Short Fiction Break, Susan’s out on her daily walk when a small decision – to go left instead of right – takes her in a direction she never anticipated.
Read it here: https://shortfictionbreak.com/the-walk/
Yesterday, the world lost a unique mind, a powerful voice, a passionate advocate.
Urusla LeGuin was a truly singular writer. It’s impossible to read one of her books and walk away unchanged. She set human problems and emotions and frailties and strengths against fantastic backdrops, and in doing so challenged us to face reality. She fought tirelessly for the legitimacy of science fiction and fantasy as literature, and for the legitimacy of those who wrote it. In her book on writing, The Wave in the Mind, she wrote, with her usual cutting wit, “To think that realistic fiction is by definition superior to imaginative fiction is to think that imitation is superior to invention.”
She called on all of us to use our imaginations in her 2014 National Book Award speech. She warned us, “Hard time are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope.” Then she took on the publishing industry – a large part of the audience that night – for its lack of imagination. “Developing written material to suit sales strategies in order to maximize corporate profit and advertising revenue is not the same thing as responsible book publishing… Books aren’t just commodities.”
In releasing the news of her death, her son called her a “peaceful warrior.” I can’t think of a better description of such a courageous spirit.
Yesterday, I lost one of my literary heroes. Thankfully, one whole shelf in my library is stocked with her books and short stories and essays. Her words will always be with me.
Sometimes we fear, when we should embrace. Sometimes we protect, when we should risk. Sometimes we push away, when we need to pull in.
Sometimes the view from the bottom is clearer than the view from the top.
In my latest story for Short Fiction Break, Kasey is afraid Tom will ruin her independence. But turning her back on him could cost her everything.
Read it here: https://shortfictionbreak.com/deep-down/
When you live up north, it takes a lot of snow to trigger a snow day. Like, a LOT of snow. When it finally happens, it’s nothing short of magical. The sculpted snowdrifts, the snow-etched trees. A post-blizzard world just begs you to come out and play.
In my latest story for Short Fiction Break, a surprise snow day stirs up more than just fun.
Read it here: https://shortfictionbreak.com/snow-day/
Decisions. Choices. Trade-offs.
No matter how well-thought out, no matter how many pros and cons lists we make, decision are made in the moment. There’s no knowing how it will all turn out.
In my latest story for Short Fiction Break, Kate made a decision she believed was best for everyone. But she wasn’t prepared for the aftermath, and now she’s stuck between what’s best for her family and what’s best for her. And the weight of her choice is crushing her.
Read it here: http://shortfictionbreak.com/cracked/
It’s easy to get lost. A wrong turn here, a missed street there. And suddenly nothing looks familiar. You don’t recognize street names, you have no landmarks. You have no choice but to plot a new course. Draw a new map.
In my latest story for Short Fiction Break, an artist who’s life has taken a unexpected turn gets lost on the streets of Paris, and realizes she has no choice but to keep moving forward.
Read it here: http://shortfictionbreak.com/lost-halden/
I’m honoring today’s extraordinary astronomical event with a story about an almost-astronomer who’s reexamining her life with the help of the night sky.
Sometimes we must look far beyond ourselves to see deep within.
Check it out… http://shortfictionbreak.com/starry-night/
Summertime at the community pool. Those blue-tinged, chlorine-scented waters can hold as many memories as it can people. And it can hold A LOT of people. Look close enough, and you just might catch a reflection of your past self in the always-shifting water.
In my latest story for Short Fiction Break, a challenging afternoon at the community pool turns into an opportunity for Tara to recapture her inner child. If only for a moment.
Read it here: http://shortfictionbreak.com/pool-day/