Flash nonfiction is a fascinating, short format, and I do not exclude it from the more general idea of “short work,” which I employ here. As I’m sure I’ve said before, what I love about flash fiction/prose poetry/nonfiction is it is an extraordinarily dynamic form (defined, for me, by brevity more than anything else). And I think that there is easily room for works of short nonfiction here on the flash fiction blog. After all, once you’ve read New York Romance by Danny Herrera, you’ll find yourself with much the same kind of reaction you would have had if it were fiction (or if I never even mentioned it was not fiction). Sure this might have happened, but it’s been formed into a polished piece -- a slice of life -- and the “I” of the piece is, at most, a masked aspect of the writer; 500 words is too short to definitively (as much as that is possible at all) reveal the author as we understand it in longer forms. Indeed it is the outline of a mask. Therein lies the challenge of and fascination with flash nonfiction.
Obviously people will have different thoughts about it and I welcome your input. Leave a comment. And don’t forget to send in your short work: email@example.com
New York Romance by Danny Herrera
Recently, I watched the movie Serendipity starring John Cusack and Kate Beckingsale. The movie is about a man and woman who meet one night while Christmas shopping for gloves in New York. They hit it off but ultimately decide to test fate by splitting up to see if destiny would bring them back together. Years later, they are reunited and presumably, live happily ever after. As one reviewer put it, the movie “requires a heavy suspension of reality” but it’s enjoyable nonetheless.
About a week after moving to New York, I was heading home when I noticed a good looking girl walking toward me. I straightened my posture and made strong eye contact. She straightened herself up as well and made eye contact with me. We locked eyes for what seemed like an eternity. As I stared into her eyes, I pictured us together on our wedding day: exchanging vows, cutting the cake and sharing our first dance as husband and wife. Meanwhile, our friends would be gushing about how perfect we are for one another. After we passed each other, I thought to myself, “That was really special.” So I turned around to get one last glimpse of my future wife–and as I did, I saw her undoing a major wedgie that she had. She dug really deep too. And then to my dismay, she put the wedgie hand to her nose.
Perhaps years will go by before one night while Christmas shopping for gloves, I’ll see her again. And maybe her wedgie issues will be resolved. Until then, I walk away thinking, “She’s the one.”
Lyle Rosdahl, a writer living in San Antonio, edits the flash fiction blog & best of in print for the Current. He created, facilitates and participates in Postcard Fiction Collaborative, a monthly flash fiction response to a photo. You can see more of his work, including photos, paintings and writing, at lylerosdahl.com.
Send your flash to firstname.lastname@example.org.