Flashy writing

I’ve always wanted to be an artist in one way or another. Drawing—painting—singing—playing a musical instrument—acting—writing. Although I’m not great at any of these, I would say I have sufficient artistic talent that could turn into something decent if I stuck it out long enough and consistently practised. I’ve always wanted the honour of being considered a real artist.

I’d been feeling creatively stuck over the past few months. I’ve had this great desire to write, but all my ideas seemed pointless.

I searched online for inspiration and I’ve rediscovered flash fiction.

I remember when I was in high school, a teacher asked us to bring in a photo of any random person for a writing assignment. I had a lot of teen and music magazines at home at the time. I cut out a photo of Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue, outside in the sun. His bushy black hair covering his eyes.

He then told us that we had to write a “nouvelle litéraire” about this person. (My schooling was in French. I’m pretty sure “nouvelle litéraire” is French for flash fiction.)

Well, I didn’t do my assignment until the very last minute.

I’m not joking. It really was the very last minute.

Because my last name starts with a “J”, when teachers went alphabetically to get people to do class presentations, I’d pretty much always be in the middle—alphabetically—whether they started from the top or bottom of the list.

So as my fellow students read their flash fiction pieces one by one, I frantically started writing. I didn’t want to get in trouble, once again, for not doing my homework.

When my turn finally came, I read what I had just written. It was a story of a young man, the extreme thirst he felt while mowing a lawn on a sweltering summer day, his desperate search for relief, and the pleasure of finally being able to quench his thirst by drinking water from the garden hose.

Once I was done, the teacher said that what I had written was a prefect example of the type of work he was looking for.

I was relieved that I didn’t get in trouble. Proud that he liked my story. Maybe even felt a little smug about my work being a good example.

If I remember correctly, this is when I felt I could become a real writer. I wrote poems and punk song lyrics. I tried to write a play. And I wrote more flash fiction.

I loved writing flash fiction! It kind of felt like the literary equivalence of a snapshot or a rough sketch—a potentially beautiful raw quick piece of art.

So, I’ve decided to go back to what I used to love.

My plan is to publish a new piece of flash fiction once a month. I already have a few ideas. Snippets I’ve already written that I can work on to make them worthy (in my eyes) of being published.

I might even publish some of the ones I kept from back when I was a teenager, just for funzies.

 16-year-old me – 1991

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