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discuss not only several of her short fictions, but her ideas about fiction from her interview.

please write about the interview and use some of her stories too.

For full credit discuss not only several of her short fictions, but her ideas about fiction from her interview.

Nancy Stohlman and Background on Flash Fiction

Born in 1973, Nancy Stohlman is our youngest writer yet, and she works largely with the form of flash fiction. This fiction of extreme brevity is usually between 300 and 1000 words. It is also called micro fiction, micro flash, postcard fiction, short short fiction, and sudden fiction.

As you can imagine, Hemingway is seen as having great influence on the flash fiction writers of today. In fact, as I think I have mentioned, there is a writerly legend (now disproved) that Hemingway won a bet that he could write a story that could make you cry in less than 10 words. His alleged winning answer was For Sale, Baby Shoes, Never Worn. In fact, in Stohlmans interview, she will incorrectly attribute this sentence to Hemingway. In any case, it is easy to understand flash fiction as the Iceberg Principle taken to the extreme.

This very short and often intense fiction gained attention with an anthology called Flash Fiction that circulated in 1992. In it, the editors described flash fiction as short enough to fit on two facing pages of a digest style magazine. Since then, a new term, Micro Flash has also come into use, designating even shorter works, more appropriate for phone screens.

I think it is important to be reminded at this point that the forms of short stories weve covered have largely been shaped by, or in correspondence to, the mechanisms through which they circulated. So Poe, for instance, wrote his Theory of Single Effect when literary print journals were on the risethe perfect format for the length of his works, which could be read in one sitting. Similary, Cekhov and Hemingways theories of writing, or more specifically of cutting things out of writing, comply with space limits in print newspapers. And today, Nancy Stohlmans flash fiction makes perfect sense with the internet, when print media is increasingly turning to fully online formats to save printing costs and mail costs. To be sure ipads and mobile phones have trained us to read flash fiction along with other things that are short and intense.

There are two significant things to know about Stohlmans biography (the real one, as opposed to the made up one she includes on her website). The first is that she is also a performer and musician. This performative aspect is clear in her writing as well, as you will see in her reading/performance of her flash fiction story The Fox. Because self promotion over the internet through things like websites, Youtube and facebook is increasingly important for a writers recognition, performative writers like Alexie, who also does stand up comedy and Stohlman, who plays in the band Kinky Mink, do well. The second significant thing is that Stohlmans MFA (Masters in Creative writing) is from Naropa University, which is a Buddhist leaning institution that really encourages self-expression and individuality. Stohlman accredits a teacher there for encouraging her to leave her work raw, unpolished, and brief at a time when flash fiction was still not accepted as viable short story. I see Naropas emphasis on meditation and silence as having an impact on Stohlmans willingness to trust the gaps in her work.

What to pay attention to in this weeks reading

For this weeks required reading Im directing you to Nancy Stohlmans website where you will find several of her flash fiction pieces and an interview in which she talks about the flash fiction form. The list below of 6 steps may look like gobs of reading, but trust me, it isnt (especially because her work is short and compelling). Ive included the links below, but you can also just go to her website and root around. In particular, if you click on the links for Flash Fiction and Uncategorized material (under categories), and then scroll down through it, youll happen upon some fun stuff.

As I mentioned, get ready for weird (or surreal) and sexy. In Stohlmans work: a woman turns into a piano, a fox becomes a lover, a six inch man becomes a boyfriend, and the Avon Lady is a stalker. Often inanimate objects or animals take on human characteristics. My favorite of all is Death Row Hugger which happens to be the most realistic of her stories.

Step 1) Start with these. Read Below I pawned my Boyfriend for 85$ and the two micro fictions

flash fiction by Nancy Stohlman

Im not saying Im proud of how it all went down. But maybe if those collection agencies hadnt been calling me all the time. After avoiding another 800 number last Saturday morning, I looked over at you sleeping, lips pursed, eyelids fluttering, all mussed up like a baby koala, and I thought: there are plenty of people out there who would pay good money for that.

Youre still pissed. I tried to explain that I wont have the money to get you out until my next paycheck, but the pawnshop owner said that I was just riling up the merchandise and if I wasnt gonna buy nothing then it was time for me to leave.

When I went in today youd been moved to the front window display wearing a lovely tiara. I wondered if he would give me a deal on both because I really liked that tiara. You looked away when I walked in but then the owner said to be nice to the customers because Fathers Day is coming up, after all.

Today is actually our anniversary, but you didnt want to hear it and wouldnt open the card I brought. Look, you cant hold onto your resentment forever I said. But you just turned away, tiara sparkling in the mid-afternoon sun.

Two Micro fictions:


How much are you getting paid to do this? he asks.

Enough to pay off my student loans, I answer, as he begins to tattoo the Coca-Cola logo across my face.

True Tales From Therapy #5

Though there was absolutely no correlation between seeing a new therapist, and that therapist killing himself with a shotgun the following week, Mr. G couldnt help wonder, for just a fleeting second, if his wifes claim that everyone was sick of listening to him whine about his problems had some validity.

Step 2) Go to the following links and read the flash fiction works.

Read all of the pieces (Dont worry they are short!) Cut and paste the links if they seem dead:

“Barbie Arm”

Barbie Arm by Nancy Stohlman

Requiem for Piano:

“Requiem for Piano”

Death Row Hugger:

The Homunculus:

Step 3) Read or Watch “My Mother Was a Circus Clown”




“The Fox”

Step 4) Read this interview with the author.

Nancy Stohlman Flash Fiction Award Judge July 2019 – October 2019