FLASH FICTION [via Wikipedia] is fictional work of extreme brevity that still offers character and plot development. Identified varieties, many of them defined by word count, include the six-word story, the 280-character story (also known as “twitterature”), the “dribble” (also known as the “minisaga”; 50 words), the “drabble” (also known as “microfiction”; 100 words), “sudden fiction” (750 words), flash fiction (1,000 words), nanotale, and “micro-story”. Some commentators have suggested that flash fiction possesses a unique literary quality, in its ability to hint at or imply a larger story.
Flash fiction has roots going back to prehistory, recorded at origin of writing, including fables and parables, notably Aesop’s Fables in the west, and Panchatantra and Jataka tales in India. Later examples include the tales of Nasreddin, and Zen koans such as The Gateless Gate.
In the United States, early forms of flash fiction can be found in the 19th century, notably in the figures of Walt Whitman, Ambrose Bierce, and Kate Chopin. In the 1920s flash fiction was referred to as the “short short story” and was associated with Cosmopolitan magazine; and in the 1930s, collected in anthologies such as The American Short Short Story. William Somerset Maugham was a notable proponent, with his Cosmopolitans: Very Short Stories (1936) being an early collection. In Japan, flash fiction was popularized in the post-war period particularly by Michio Tsuzuki
If I must be bound to the Plastic World, I will fully immerse myself into it. For this is how I shall understand…
Inside, the blueprint medicine man with talking fingers.
I’ve seen him before, that long turquoise nose obsessed with glue and freedom.
He’s been through this kind of thing already, skipping along the imperceptible forest road in a striped monochromic suit, banging violin notes on his head.
I’ve seen him this way all too often. Sloped. Droopy. Intoxicated—
It was I, the desert tarantula, weaving the doorknob of infinite combustion.
I have joyously avoided life by watching the furniture collect articles of invisible lobsters with incredibly long eyelashes. Etcetera, stockpiled on the condom, covering the love seat, wishing for the houseguests to drown the silence back to the living.
That fucking clown keeps playing his instrument! and the rainbow creatures of the forest pretend to comfort themselves, applauding his amateur stroke.
“Touch it, yes, there… oooooh,” the apparition echoes in from the highlands.
How embarrassing—“Scene change!”
A smile hangs from the moon.
Ice cream cones hors d’oeuvred for little herpetic lips.
Antarctic beachwear distributed amongst the forest patrons for the premiere of the silent film, Godscream!
I am the green powder that settles along the wet dirt.
I am the dead grass colonized in daffodil sweat—the willow that blew all the windows shut.
I noticed a tree in the mess of mind. I approached and began peeling its bark. I heard it scream. It was only I… folding leaves in half and building a house, picking each individually from its branch. I wrote on the sidewalk, close to where the tree stood. I thought, “How did this get here?”
Dear Future House & Forest Spectators—
Parsed sections dividing parts:
One part bark
One part leaf
One part branch
One part trunk
Each box was surrounded by rings like Saturn.
The assumed center, the root, like a trunk.
It was to symbolize the encompassing life force.
I would de-earth it. Then, re-earth it.
As I tore up the tree and made appropriate piles, people gathered around to watch. Some sat cross-legged or like a potato. Some meditated. Others pretended to be spiritual or acted as if they knew what they were doing. They didn’t. The crowd was obviously confused. I’m not even entirely sure what it was I was doing or what the spectacle was. I was simply conducting on impulse. Sure, to my applaud, I’ve done a good amount of that one particular thing, whatever that one particular thing may have been. I must’ve known my way around, or at least I felt I did. But surely, they must have known this was fiction. And it was supposed to change the world, for better or worse… wasn’t it?
A squirrel crossed my path. It paused and looked up at me. It then lifted its leg, exposing itself, and began to urinate. I’d never seen a squirrel pee. It wagged its little leg and scurried off. No one seemed to mind. That weird little moment reminded me of childhood. How wonderful and absurd!
I suppose, depending on how, what, and who:
We choose the reception of future self and the magnificence of predecessing thought,
as though watering a flower.
What that means, if anything…
My arms hurt and everything was soaked.
My brain was filled with condensation.
I kept working the tree.
Sitting along the crescent moon, I made a wish that disrupted the Zagros…
it pointed to a digital map that pointed home.
I knew of such as the forest knew, making banana peel hammocks out of spider quill.
I have seen hair beside the Roman queen, unshaved.
We’ve climbed the sacred bush in a miniature Dalmatian formation.
Dalmatian Formation?—that can’t be right. I must’ve missed the premiere to that one.
“Ok, set scene” back to organized thought: The Forest. The Living Room. The Theater. Over there, people dancing. Right here, music—“Mmm, that couch is sexy and covered in plastic”—
“Cut-Cut-Cut! Reset scene, folks! Come on, get it together!”
We have arrived the Neptune sun with hands like sea crests quoting Lambist operas with comb-overs like spunk from the Violin’s ass.
The porcupine only dreams when his shadow has seen music. Or not seen it.
We are welcoming new guests with bows and shrunken barracuda heads, handing out stereoisomeric salutations, “Welcome to the palace, go make a name for yourself!”
“The palace welcomes you, make yourself at home!”—I suppose, perhaps, diastereoisomeric, depending on who’s giving the lecture.
We’ve been given gills to find this God character…
between atoms, buried between atoms.
My heart, a sailor’s dock. Wood curling at the painter’s creased print.
His feet like miniature gorillas, falling in love.
I am sweating, and misinterpreted. I’d like to pull my bottom row of teeth around the sky’s umbilical and rip, from the trenches, all the motivational speakers and self-help paraphernalia jammed in the cracks, twisting the antebellums of tomorrow. Sure, why not, let’s write a screenplay of our own. We’ll call it, The Graveyard of Empires.
I don’t feel the empty space where bicentennial wrinkles rattle like shattering glass horns—blue indoor frost, hip to the scene.
I have teeth that are prehistoric, and others that remind me (not of eating, but) of everything else teeth are good for—occasions, formally, my occasions. You, my bakery of syncopated grease fires. I am walking amongst the tiniest with the heaviest of burdens, understanding the earth extremely well, yet, very and terribly unwell. Not I, but the burden above my crusted wet feathers, striped like an elegant nomad in a fruit dress.
I see your shadow, but you, nowhere in sight. Dipping backward into the effortless breeze you came, with just a winding memory, reveling here, now, always.
“Take five, as you were! Assume your similarities from the realm of shadows!”… lint like bangled giants chewing their fat wrists.
I am crawling through mud, catered between sluggaphoric Destitutes and seasick Lucifers, looking for my third eye, with my third eye, to find where and who I have become.
And skipping back, this mudclown, this heathen, washing through the magnificent forest like a broken ship, upended by the damnified giants of the narcoleptic underworld. Is it possible for such things being Eternally Bad For You. What a shit play that was. More spunk, now parading from the Television’s ass.
Perhaps on his return back, we should discuss our collaborative work, Shipwrecked.
We can brush-up on others, too: Violinor It Sounds Like Screaming Babies When I Dream or Car Wash Screwdrivers. All very antonymical and pertinent. Perhaps, he will never make it back. Perhaps, I’ll still be lying on the living room floor, dreaming, between the rope and the invisible man, running and rerunning short films on beauty and the collective mind and the constant obsession with the end of the world.
Perhaps, I need to shower and begin my day.
by LORIN DREXLER
What is Gen Society?
Gen Society is an art space blog for visual art and creative writing collaborations, and other randomizations. Hosted by writer and musician, Lorin Drexler, this online venue is an expressive experience for those interested in the world of the arts. It is a literary journey through the hearts and minds of contemporary artists in practice and a reflection of those that have long passed.
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