Notes from Norway

(35mm, ISO 100, 1/90 sec)

(35mm, ISO 100, 1/90 sec)

He was Jimmy-Carter-crying kinda honest, sucking tongue-salty tears between breaks in his speech. A man born in Bodø whose youth was spent running wild and free on a northern island nearby.

"Half of Norway’s marriages end in divorce. I landed on the wrong side of that statistic…I do miss my wife.”

His words spilled like a confessional. Marking time with low notes, rehearsed and rehashed in an unseemly composition.

“I’m sorry. Can you hear that?” He coughed up a chuckle. “It's the world’s smallest violin and I'm playing it.”

Her eyes answered back, “All I hear is music.”

I’ve grown increasingly non-committal over the years. Flirting with various creative practices expands the ways in which I can approach storytelling. Flash fiction, in particular, allows me to cleave to the written word, my first love, without the demands required to develop lengthier works. It kinda likes that I mingle. It’s into it, I’m into it, and your judgment doesn’t phase us one bit.

What is flash fiction? Ooh, la la! It’s a whole narrative universe, a tiny cosmos with corresponding planets, mostly determined by word count, usually 1,000 or less. There’s Twitterature, a 280-character story. Six-word-stories are a thing, but don’t be fooled, this format requires literary precision. You can cheat, though, with a hefty title that frames the words to follow. This type of lit is also known as postcard stories, microfiction, nanofiction, minisagas, dribble, drabble, and my favorite - short shorts.

Every summer The New Yorker runs a series of very short stories. SmokeLong Quarterly is an online mag strictly dedicated to the form. Author Lydia Davis is flash fiction famous, known for her works of “extreme brevity." Using hashtags, you can locate tiny fiction enthusiasts on your favorite social media platforms. And sites like BookRiot and Electric Lit can point you to the genre’s classics. Enjoy all the quick reads. And do share your favorites, I wanna know what you like!

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Words & Image by Malika Ali Harding