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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Read Me. By John von Daler

                   "Mommy, Mommy, they're calling me names!" I used to yell, not realizing at that age how much the same problem would trouble me later in life.

I suppose no one likes being "called names", depending of course on whether the appellation used seems flattering or derogatory. I do not really like being crowned that way, even when the intention is positive.
                Of course precision is important; a rose by any other name might smell as sweet, but would it still be a rose?
                For more than a year I have been writing small stories for this blog. The basis of that work has usually been a kind of counterpoint: Will these two disparate things elucidate and enrich each other? What would happen if you turned a metaphor into a person, for example?
                The other day someone suggested that I had been writing "#flash fiction". Just the suggestion that I am working within a certain genre under a certain title curdles my blood. I started trying to analyze the words.
                Flash? As in lightning quick? Ah, but these articles had taken a long time to write and they vary greatly in length.
                Flash? As in to expose yourself? Are these pieces a great unveiling of my inner thoughts? Only partially.
                Flash?  As in showing off? My intention is not to brag.
                Fiction? Well, sometimes they are just ideas rattling around together, more essay than fiction.
                Fiction? Sometimes the episodes described are very true to life, recounted from my own memories.
                Well then, I would not call these blogs flash fiction. What would I call them then?
                Why anything at all? I do not think that defining terms like, say, "impressionist" enhance the artists about whom they are used. Manet and Degas certainly do not fit into the category very well, but somehow they always end up being herded into that corral anyway. Certainly the most interesting traits of those two artists do not belong within the definition of impressionism. In fact, the realism of both Manet and Degas seems to me to be more important to their identities than whatever "impressionistic" qualities they may have employed at various times.
                As for my little blog? Please do not call it flash fiction. All my life I have tried to escape from fast food, acronyms, and tedious slang. Hopefully as a writer I have not presented blogs that were "flash fiction" either.
                Maybe they do not have a name at all.
                Maybe they should just be read.

My book 
cannot be called
flash fiction.
It took ten years
to write!
But you can see it in a flash:

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