Sissy Spacek reading.
Last Thursday I went to a Wayne State University Press spring gala for their fiction and poetry books. I was especially interested in hearing Michael Zadoorian read from his volume of short stories (The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit), and in saying a few words and getting a book signed by poet, Keith Taylor (If the World Becomes So Bright).
Megan took a few classes with Keith Taylor at the University of Michigan and she's always claimed he taught her whatever she knows about writing. He got a kick out of Megan's mother tracking him down. First time, he'd met a student's parent, I think.
However the point I am coming to today is I've been reading TIKI PALACES, a much darker book than Zadoorian's recent novel, THE LEISURE SEEKER, which I loved and featured on here a few months back.
The other suprise was a flash piece (I don't know if he'd called it that, but it's just two pages "East Side") about a man standing in front of a wig shop and imposing his image under various wigs in the window and the crowd that gathers and begins to do the same. No surprise ending here. No twist. We don't know anything else about the man. We don't know if wigs have any special meaning for him. We don't need to. The temptation for many writers would be to take himhome where his sick mother is in bed, making it a cancer story.
But that doesn't happen. It's a snapshot of a moment in time and it has all the tension a story needs. I don't think I can pull this off for the Cake idea but I'm going to try it this summer. Do you ever read flash fiction that is not crime-oriented? For all the raps a flash fiction piece takes, it can slam you right into a wall before you know it. And sometimes it is just the writing or insight that does it.