Life Askew

By Julia Galosy

The Writer’s Corner

The Writers Corner


The most powerful relationship in fiction is between writer and reader. The writer can only progress to a certain point while presenting a fictional world, the imagination of the reader completes it. Over time fiction has become more sparse and readers’ imaginations have flourished. Enter Flash Fiction. Where there used to be novels, short novels, short stories and short-short stories there is now Flash Fiction. Flash Fiction enables tales to be told in the shortest space possible, the remainder of the tale then conjured in the imagination of the reader.

Long descriptions and character development, and even plots are replaced by more visceral writing, leaving the “story” to be written by the imagination of each individual. Flash Fiction contests are prolific with challenges and word count strictly enforced. Consider these:

Challenge: In fewer than 250 words use the Einstein quote. The winner: It’s All Relative: “When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.” Fat lot of good that does me now. A head full of quotes doled out to the unwashed and uninterested seems like a pretty wasted life. Doesn’t matter, does it? Everyone’s life is wasted in the end, isn’t it? We all come to this. Time has slowed down now. The preparations are taking place. Ah, so that’s why that quote just popped into my head. Freud wasn’t so far wrong, the old unconscious works overtime.

The bitch had it coming anyway. Sitting there crossing her legs all Basic-Instinct style with those tight short skirts and that smirk. She knew just what she was doing. Those little gropes in the hallway and then the big number on that old couch in my office; dust leaping from it as we rutted away. The blackmail. My reputation. My marriage. My tenure. Bitch. I could’ve done a better job of it if I’d planned it. How could the jury think it was first degree, couldn’t they see a man like me would’ve planned it a lot better? Stupid pigs. My peers, yeah that’s rich. How bloody long does it take to put on three straps for gods sakes? Seems like forever. I guess it is, isn’t it? Hah! A joker till the end. Put the damn needle in will ya’?

Challenge: In fewer than 150 words write a story about a different epoch. The winner: The Queue:

I had on all of the clothes I had brought and still the wind chilled me as it whistled through the cavernous building sending the black and brown scarves of the hundreds of people in line twirling. We shifted position backing away from the wind but careful to maintain our places in the queue.

Two weeks at sea to get here. The pungent vinegary smell of urine still clung to our muddy shoes. No one smiled. After all this time we were still not here. Those at the front got dismissed for reasons none of us behind could fathom. I inched closer watching the doctors chalk “L” on the people being turned away. I pulled my shawl closer, holding off the organisms that might return me to the horror of life outside of here. The stethoscope was freezing through my blouse. The doctor nodded. I was free.

The reader pictures the protagonist, the surroundings and even the back-story. The most famous Flash Fiction, whose authorship remains in dispute, is six words: For Sale. Baby Shoes. Never Worn.

A special thank you to readers everywhere for accompanying us on our journeys.

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