Me and Ricardo: A Novel

It’s funny how things come about sometime. Case in point: I was minding my own business this time last year when a friend of mine announced that he had been attending a flash fiction group. I had no idea what flash fiction was at the time, but when he shared a piece he had written for the most recent group meeting, I was hooked. I found out the group challenged themselves every week to write a 500-word story, give or take a few words. Continue reading “Me and Ricardo: A Novel”

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Losing It Again

“I don’t want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again.” ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

Memory is a fickle thing. It used to be my constant companion. People often asked me for clarification when anything involved a shared memory because they knew I would know what had really happened. It was a gift I guess I took for granted, that I lorded over others like Excalibur newly freed from the stone.

But unbeknownst to me while I was in the middle of that blessed time, memory was also fickle. I imagine it had begun curving away from me, its ends a bit frayed by time, without my even recognizing the shift. As time went on I started to lose fragments of my massive memory. I used to joke about it, back then.

“I guess that memory had to leave to make room for this one, right now,” I would tell people, but inside my brain this niggling doubt began inching its way in. Continue reading “Losing It Again”

The Awesome Power of Writing

“The writer isn’t made in a vacuum. Writers are witnesses.” ~E.L. Doctorow

Truer words have ne’er been spoken. Seriously, though, writers don’t just write for the pleasure of it. So often we are compelled to speak, by time, and circumstance, and this endless need to fill a black hole inside of ourselves. What compels us are our everyday lives, though many of us don’t write specifically about those everyday lives.

We write science fiction, fantasy, horror, ways to escape that world for the amount of time it takes us to get our thoughts out. But we aren’t escaping as much as we are creatively chronicling those times, those experiences.

For every character who goes to Mars there is a little boy living with domestic abuse who needs to get away. For every post-apocalyptic love story, there is a woman who needs to escape the mundanity of her relationship. For every “Team Edward” there is someone hoping for change they can believe in. Continue reading “The Awesome Power of Writing”

One of the Crowd

I have always hated being one of the crowd. For as long as I can remember, it was always imperative to me to maintain some semblance of difference from the “unwashed masses” who listened to the same music, who read the same books, who did the same things in their spare time.

I fought hard against being the same as anyone else. If you told me everyone liked the color blue, I would have told you I hated it (even though I have no feelings whatsoever for the color blue). If you told me everyone was drinking white wine, I would have preferred red, for no other reason than that everyone was drinking white.

Of course, after a time, this default setting of mine to be different made me forget that sometimes I really did agree with the majority. Sometimes I found myself swaying to Britney Spears, reading and enjoying John Grisham novels whilst drinking white wine. Sometimes I found myself hating that I loved something, simply because everyone else loved it and that made me normal. Continue reading “One of the Crowd”

No Silver Linings

“That cloud looks like Mike Tyson,” Sheena said, poking me in the ribs.

She was always poking me in the ribs, but I had nowhere to go. We had been shoved together in the backseat for five hours straight, and if I thought she was annoying in a room, Sheena in the car was worse.

“That cloud does not look like Mike Tyson,” I responded without looking.

“You didn’t look!” she squealed. “Joey didn’t look!” she told my mom, who also didn’t look.

Honestly, I don’t even think my mom wanted to go on the trip in the first place, but Barry insisted on it. He and my mom had been together for two years, and I felt like he was pushing it a little bit, with those stupid family trips. Sheena was his kid, a little brat who never stopped talking.

“You missed the cloud that looked like Mike Tyson,” she said, pouting. Continue reading “No Silver Linings”

Smells Like Vanilla

“Struck brightly by the winter, when the snow falls thick and silent, I can only hear you breathing.” ~Matt Pond PA

I miss the smell of freshly fallen snow. When we were kids I used to dive into it, just lie there all clean, just waiting to get washed in white. It wasn’t about the snow angels, or about the snowmen, or even about catching snow on my tongue, even though I did all of those things. It was just about the symbiotic relationship. I fed off the snow, and it off me, as I carved out a spot in its purity for my incomplete self.

It didn’t matter that my coats were often ratty and full of holes. It made no difference that on my block the snow was mostly black instead of white, with car exhausts wreaking havoc almost before it had even landed. I would always find a patch on the postage stamp-sized front lawn and turn it into my utopia. I would lie there with my face turned sideways, my lips nearly blue, smelling that vanilla goodness. I closed my eyes and pretended it was heaven.

I closed my eyes and pretended it was heaven.

Sam

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