A Very Short Story

Boxed In 

Flash fiction by Kim Siegelson

Published in the 19th edition of The Steel Toe Review

There are short stories, and then there are even shorter stories. Generally a short piece of writing might be from 1500 to 7500 words in length. Usually a short story will have a small cast of characters and centers on a particular incident or encompasses a short time frame. Taken to its most brief extreme there is a form called "Flash Fiction" or "Micro Fiction." These stories can be from 100 to 1500 words, but most typically are around 1000 words in length. Children's book writers will understand the form immediately because this is the typical length for a children's picture book. Poets will understand the difficulty of creating an emotional impact in very tight quarters.

At a recent gathering with U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, she shared two profound quotes about what drives so many of us to write. The first came from a poem by W.H. Auden In Memory of W.B. Yeats: "Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry..." It is the response to hurt, or rage, or sadness, or joy, or some other powerful experience that requires a considered attempt at an expressed answer from within ourselves.

She also offered this quote from Yeats: "Rhetoric is the language of our fight with others; poetry is the language of our fight with ourselves." Writing is the physical manifestation of an interior struggle-- our attempt to understand. The best writing is brave and ruthless in its confrontation of our inner struggles.

I enjoy stretching into new venues as a writer, finding new publishing outlets, and challenging myself to grow in my craft so that I never find myself in a creative box.  Boxed In is an example of flash fiction at less than 1000 words. I'd consider it a YA cross-over, and it can be found in the latest issue of THE STEELTOE REVEIW out of Birmingham, AL.  

Click on the highlighted links to read my story and also the work of other fine authors in this 19th issue of a publication dedicated to contemporary southern literature.