Gotta say I’m a fan of the old flash fiction, and I loves me some of that prose poetry too, even if it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between them. So it was kinda excitement to hear that I was going to get to be in Small Wonder, an anthology published by Spineless Wonders featuring some of Australia’s better proponents of either/or form.
Also pleasing is the opening page of Small Wonders that posits a possible definition of both ff and pp, courtesy Jonathan Carr:
Flash fiction is a compact distilled piece of writing that follows all of the dictates (or lack thereof) that one would place on a work of fiction. It is an act of distillation. Of sparseness. Minimal strokes. A prose poem is often the very opposite. Where flash fiction is a working down of a form, prose poetry is an exploding up of a form, a release from structure, a star erupting, a channel run straight from the brain stem to the pen.
It’s a lovely quote, and I particularly like the way that the stuff about ff is all short punchy sentences, while the stuff about pp is a long imagistic run-on sentence. Kudos, Mr. Carr.
Anyway, I’ve got this thing called “Sequel” in there (and can we just pause for a moment to go eeeeeeee! because it was shortlisted by joanne motherfucking burns?) which is a reimagining of sorts of that terrible Cowboys vs. Aliens film that I hadn’t seen at the time, but which I have seen since and boy is that a terrible film.
There’s some excellent stuff in there from names I’m familiar with, like:
- joanne burns’s “…the empirical cheese roll turns abstract.” (from “buffet”)
- Anna Couani’s “My manuscript was disrupted by another manuscript that had to be written. Now the old manuscript comes back to haunt me.” (from “The old manuscript”)
- Judith Beveridge’s “…’my heart just falls into the dust – where my heart just falls into the dust there is a squabble of geese’…” (from “The Book of Birds”)
and some equally excellent stuff from a few names new to me (though really, what does that mean exactly?) including:
- Vivienne Plumb’s “Plan A. Leave town. Plan B: stay in town but move to another part where no-one knows you.” (from “The alternative plan”)
- Carol Jenkins’s “The first eggs ever laid were covered in a fine pelt of nutrient fuzz which grew out of the main pores in the shells.” (from “Co-evolution”)
- Moya Costello’s “Eucalyptus. Electric cars. Web designers, multimedia artists. Ferals, old hippies and refugees.” (from “Australia: terra omnium”)
- Shady Cosgrove’s “I saw my dead mother yeterday like she’d driven through time. She was stopped in city traffic, the car ahead of me” (from “Visiting”)
A handful of the pp/ffs are delightfully illustrated by Paden Hunter, whose man-with-a-milk-carton-head, sad miner and woman-with-cut-here-dotted-lines-over-her-body are very sweet indeed, which is a bonus.
I’m not going to separate the above into ff or pp myself – suffice it to say that these and many other things in Small Wonder are both small and wonderful. You can pick up a copy wherever good &c &c, or shnaffle an ebook version online, if that’s what you prefer. Tell ’em I sent you.
There’s an interview with me, partly about “Sequel” and partly not, on the Spineless Wonders website at the moment, and lots of the other authors from the anthology have been interviewed as well, so if you’re into finding out who’s got game in the flash fic or prose po world right now, well, there’s your shopping list. Or if you’ve read the anthology and you just gotta get into the head of the person who wrote, say, “meds” or “Cinders & bugs”, well, now you can, a little bit.
You still here?