Reading & Writing

Weekend Reading: Four (Female) Flash Fictions


I’ve been poking around on a lot of flash fiction websites lately. I love flash fiction. I don’t always love every piece of flash–there’s a lot of difference of opinion about what makes it work, how it should work, etc–but I’m always curious how different writers work within this very limited (usually 500 to 1000 words–there are disagreements about that, too, and some writers would consider some of these pieces “short-shorts” rather than flash) form.

These are the four I’ve enjoyed the most this week, and I’ve found a common theme: they’re all by women, about women. Otherwise, they each approach the form quite differently, their styles are different, their characters are different.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

“Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” by Lillian Ward-Packard

The day after the Russians launch their satellite into space, Jacqueline and I skip school and hide in her attic.

“Princess Shipwreck” by Tessa Yang

Night creeps around the bonfire’s circle of light. From the ocean comes the noise of frantic splashing and a fierce, slobbering crunch. Someone begins to weep, and soon we’re all weeping. Our tears make gray freckles in the sand. They sprout no blossoms. They summon no fairy godmothers. Princess tears are just tears.

“A Woman of Color Walks Down a Path” by Emi Benn

The path down the hill is right by my apartment, so it seems safe, though it’s obscured by trees. Sometimes coyotes lurk around. When the back door’s open, I can hear people trudging up it. Once, I heard a couple screaming at each other.

“I Was Burning Before This” by Sarah Jane Cody

These are things my father’s hands touched: lighter, wrench, knife, kittens, a brick.




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