A Flash Fiction (re)Flection

Posted by Sara Shawe, GD reader for 3.1

Flash FictionNever before have I read anything that so thoroughly upended my expectations as when I read the flash fiction submissions for Gandy Dancer 3.1. The flash fiction pieces we are featuring in this edition of the journal are quite diverse from one another, in that they all come from different authors and they each cover entirely disparate subjects. In 2.2 we published three flash pieces—though all were by the same author—and in 2.1 the journal published its first and only flash fiction piece. I appreciate that this issue of Gandy Dancer has seen a growth in the number and variety of flash fiction submissions we received, allowing me and my fellow readers to compile a flash fiction section, which showcases three strong pieces by three strong authors.

Our flash fiction section opens with “Parkinson’s,” by author Cassidy Carroll; the title reveals the heart wrenching subject the piece tackles.  Readers are immediately confronted with the harsh reality of Parkinson’s disease and understand that the narrator faces a prolonged and devastating decline.  The author shows immense care and originality in this story.  “Parkinson’s” is a short, powerful, and profound interpretation.  The hypothetical plane crash yearned for by the protagonist provides a metaphor for her inevitable descent into the illness.  A striking depth of emotion is wrought from the author’s imagery and insight into the character’s emotional and mental state.

In Leandra Griffith’s piece, “The Divide,” the delicate handling of the subject and the vivid images draw me into the emotions of hope and betrayal. Within the confines of a bedroom inundated with tension and suppressed yearning, the author alludes to the loss of passion in the characters’ relationship; the sensual depiction of the porcelain lamp has a subtle beauty in its clean construction and clear message. Not only does the author maintain a feeling of apprehension—will these characters find a resolution?—throughout the piece, she cleverly bookends the story with the symbolic image of the yellow blouse.  By opening and closing with this image, Griffith leads her readers to an inevitable conclusion, without explicitly writing it down.  This use of imagery was a delightful element to “The Divide,” and its inclusion cemented my decision to include this piece in our flash fiction category.

In our last flash fiction piece, Ethan Keeley’s “Fledgling,” the author encapsulates the feelings—both physical and emotional—of being on a rollercoaster and then completely overturns all expectations of where the ride is going in such a short piece.  “Fledgling” is merely two hundred and forty-four words in length; the skill required to accomplish the amount of movement and feeling in so few words is paramount; Keeley has this skill in spades.  On another level, the author has titled his piece with an image that could either convey hope or doom; bringing the reader into his writing with an ambiguous opening.  Additionally, the reader is provided with the imagery of a helpless bird, dependent entirely on its guardian; this transcends
a simplistic image and morphs into a layered metaphor for the young boy relying on the safety bar to anchor him.  At the end of the piece, we are left worrying about our protagonist—will he fly or falter?

But enough about my thoughts and reflections, come see for yourselves! We are hoping to have at least two of our flash fiction authors—among other contributors to this issue—read their work at our Launch Party.  We invite you to join the Gandy Dancer staff in celebrating the culmination of a search for deserving literary and artistic selections—particularly the fantastic assemblage of flash fiction!

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