A year ago, the wonderful Kaaterskill Basin Literary Journal published this surrealist flash fiction of mine, so to honor the event, I am reprinting it here. I hope you enjoy!
I’m so excited to announce that my short story Log Jam has been published by a lovely journal called The Bohemyth. This piece, about the often inexplicable nature of depression, is very dear to me and was in submission for a long time, so I’m deeply thankful it found a home. It would mean the world to me if you read it.
I just need to make it through this party. I just need to make it through this party and then I can cry.
Alright. I can do this. Just fix a smile on my face and no one will ever know. Say cheese! Now hold it. Hoooold it. Damn, the corners are twitching. My cheeks hurt. I probably look like I’m snarling. As though I’m about to eat someone just to get out of here.
It’s as ubiquitous as “Show, don’t tell.” You probably can’t even remember the first time you heard it, it’s touted so widely – in advice books, in classrooms, in movies about writers. Even the most non-writiest nonwriter who hasn’t held a pen since high school knows to write what we know.
But what does that actually mean?
A full year ago today, I was honored to have this flash fiction published by Gingerbread House Literary Magazine. This is my personal favorite of my work, so to celebrate its anniversary I am reprinting it here. I hope you enjoy! 🙂
Rain fell the day he went to the shore, to see the place where his wife left him. Grey weighted the clouds like sacks full of stones, sagging closer and closer to the sea. Grey upon grey, water upon water, the sea and sky took hands. The way he once took hers.
She never held his hand long. Always wrenching from his grasp, her flesh still as slippery as a seal. Sometimes she would oblige him, sit shaking like a penned animal as he made hushing noises and rubbed her knuckles with his thumbs.
Please let me love you, he would say. I’ve earned it. I found your skin.
I don’t know about your pets, but my dog lives a rich and varied emotional life. Such feelings include:
See? Rich and varied.
~ a fictional letter-story ~
To the woman on the bench left of the crabapple tree by the fountain, who wears that coat with all the buttons and I think has black hair but might just have really dark brown hair, and who yesterday was looking much sadder than usual —
Ruby Browne is a poet and autobiographical essayist who lays herself bare with raw and intimate writings on mental illness, addiction, and healing. With a blog and a recently published book devoted to these experiences, Ruby is no stranger to vulnerability, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. I asked her what that’s like for her. Here’s what she had to say:
For this week’s post, here is prose-poem I guest-wrote for Ruby Browne’s blog, about the subconscious ways our emotions find their way out. While you’re there, I highly recommend reading some of Ruby’s writings about mental health. She’s amazing.
You heard it before you knew what was happening, before you were even fully conscious, opening your eyes to the dark and to the sound. A ghostly sob behind hypnopompic curtains, fuzzing into your dream like an alarm clock. And maybe it was an alarm, in a way. Not the ring-ring-ring kind, but an alarm of another variety. An alert, a Mayday signal from your subconscious, saying wake up and feel this.
You woke after the crying had already started, the pillow wet beneath your cheek. You tried to keep the noise down, so as not to wake him. Because you wanted to be polite in your grief, because you didn’t want him to ask. Because you didn’t know the answer.
But you also needed to get it out. Out of your body as if it were something…
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I am so, so, so happy – like, heart bursting out of my chest happy! – to announce that my short fiction entitled The Selkie’s Husband is officially published at Gingerbread House Literary Magazine! This is my favorite piece I’ve written thus far, and with a journal I adore, so this publication is a personally significant one. It would mean the world to me if you gave it a look. (If not for the story then at least for that wowzers artwork by Anna Dittman – holy smokes!)