Discover more from Pieces of String Too Small to Use
And bourbon scented ?
What makes something “flash?” It’s evocative, surprising writing of varied, usually short lengths, between 50 and 1,000 words, welcoming of risk and experiment that leaves the reader feeling something deeper than what the words on the page might immediately suggest. Flash writing needs to have a turn, or a surprise, or something that happens in the reader. That is the “flash” of the piece.
It is, Heather explained, much easier to do poorly than well.
Ah ha! I thought, I’ve found my milieu! Or genre! Or whatever the French have proclaimed this to be! I am 100% suited to something that’s easily done poorly!
The key, apparently, is to know the difference between an anecdote and a piece of flash writing.
The other key is to make good use of the title.
You can make titles really long. Fit a lot in there if you want to. Launch your reader into the story.
She used, as an example, a piece by Beth Ann Fennelly
I Knew a Woman
Everything she had was better than everything the rest of us had.
Not by a lot. But by enough.
It has everything. The title throws you in, and three short sentences tell the tale while our brains fill in the rest.
I am very excited about this new-to-me discovery of writing, though I have real concerns about understanding the difference between anecdote and flash.
A recent full-body MRI showed that I am genetically 89% anecdote. Yes, I, too, was unaware that magnetic imaging could show DNA, but who am I to argue with science? While the scan showed no surprises, I’ve included a copy of the image here to explain why flash writing is a daunting undertaking for me.
Nevertheless, I’ve decided to play with this art form from time to time, and you, dear readers, will be my playmates. Feel free to write your own flash pieces in the comments, or in your own Substacks if the urge overtakes you.
Of Course I’m Not Going To Answer The Phone
Can it really be tax season again?
All the gifts I gave were of wisdom, and time, or too small to remember to keep the receipt. They never really ask for proof, do they?
I thought signing someone else's name was kind of funny.
Or perhaps this
On Being Able to Tie a Maraschino Cherry Stem in a Knot With My Tongue
I’m not the only one hoping someone will spill something, or maybe start choking on a piece of steak as my father proudly and enthusiastically tells his lab colleagues about this amazing trick I can do.
“Go ahead, honey! Show them!”
He fishes the cherry out of his second Manhattan.
I really just came to get him to sign the permission form. Our 7th grade field trip is tomorrow.
“Oh, come on. That can wait. This is really cool!”
At any rate, prepare yourselves.
This tea is much like an ex-husband. It had promise, but it turned out to be terrible, and in the end the wisest thing was to cut losses and just throw it out.
And it, too, lied. “Bourbon scented,” I think not, but “smoky” absolutely, if by smoky you mean, “Oh damn, someone pulled this tea out of the soggy detritus left from a devastating house fire. But not the quaint kind.”
Still, it seemed like a good idea, and I really thought I’d like it.
Yes. Just like an ex-husband.