If ever it seems to you that this blog is just a place for me to tout the superlative skills of one LiAnn Yim, that’s because the lady is on fire these days. Her flash piece “Security” appeared recently in First Stop Fiction:
The soldiers who came for us had their orders in the form of stamped papers out in their hands. They let us read them over. Take as long as you like, they said. The soldiers were trained to stand still for hours and walk for hours and they were doing the first part very well in our kitchen. Our home was too small for them to form any sort of phalanx or regimented line, so they had to stand in an islanded knot, between the table and the oven and the sink.
Seriously, this the sort of story I want my stories to be when they grow up.
My dear friend LiAnn Yim has a piece of flash fiction out in NANO Fiction volume 7.1!
LiAnn’s writing never fails to delight and amaze me, and I am so, so excited to see this in print. Besides being my co-editor on The Golden Key and my own ideal reader, she’s also the sharp eye behind Lightning Cake. Congratulations, LiAnn!
Go order a copy now and check out “The River of Discard”! Apparently, they sell out fast so make sure you get your copy before they run out!
The Paris Review‘s ‘Art of Fiction’ interview with Amy Hempel isn’t new, but it’s a good one. The whole thing, obviously, is worth a read, but I wanted to excerpt a bit I particularly liked here:
The term [minimalism] had meaning in the art world, but quickly became meaningless and pejorative when applied to literature. It came to denote what certain reviewers felt was missing in fiction—conventional plot or obvious emotion, for example. I had the sense that these reviewers who leaned on the term felt that certain ones of us were getting away with something. Some of these critics had a very limited sense of what story could be.
So what do you think a story is?
Years ago, Lenny Michaels was publishing some really fine short-short paragraph-long stories in good literary magazines. And I asked him if he took some heat from people who thought they weren’t really stories. He said, “You tell them what a story is. They don’t know.” This corroborated what I already suspected. It harkens back to the way you examine experience. Some writers have a more defined sense of cause and effect. Plot. My sense of life is more moment, moment, and moment. Looking back, they accrue and occur to you at a certain time and maybe you don’t know why, but you trust that they are coming back to you now for a reason. And you make a leap of faith. You trust you can put these moments together and create story.
Today I read:
The truth is she who was milk-white is redrawn by the man she lives with. Newfangled machinery prickles glyphs nightly into her skin. She is quilled, traced, re-lined. He hovers over the device with reverence. The machine touches her with mechanical science. Pictures unfurl, snug as a ribbon tied around her throat. The machine’s dreams of the jungle are writ into her skin; sometimes, the lion roars. The contortions of her body bares the hidden sides of her limbs. The soft white underside of her arm. The deep of her thighs. The hollow at the back of her knees, the crook of her elbows, the inside of her eyelids. Sometimes, the hummingbird pierces fruit with its bill while the horse gallops, gallops, gallops.
— LiAnn Yim, “To Those Who Ask,” Verse Kraken
LiAnn also has another piece up on Verse Kraken, “Her Companions” and you should go read that one, too.
Oh, and did I mention I have a short short story up on Lightning Cake today? Because I do, and LiAnn did the most marvelous illustration for it.
It’s called “Darling” and you should go read it right now.
Have I mentioned lately how much I love LiAnn‘s flash fiction project Lightning Cake? Because I do, a lot. ♥
Today I read:
Perhaps predictably, the cloud became enamored of a girl who came to visit it occasionally. The cloud adored her. She was both sillier and more serious than the other visitors. Instead of poking, she petted, curving her palm into gentle bowls. Rather than grab the cloud up, she turned her face from side to side, enjoying it against her cheek. The cloud changed itself into shapes to entertain and amuse her. When the weather grew colder and the cloud was stretched out, worn and wispy, it gamely shaped itself into a chicken that laid an egg that broke into a castle with glass walls and locked doors; a hippo that carried on its back an entire town; an oyster that ate a submarine; all her most favorite shapes.
— L. Chapman, “Cumulus,” in Lightning Cake