Last Saturday was National Flash Fiction Day and Big Smoke Writing Factory were running Flash Fury in Arthur's Pub on Thomas St. Dublin. It was a reading event of flashes up to 500 words plus a competition for 99 word stories. All readings were chosen from submission by email.
Maureen and I decided to enter flashes as we liked the idea of getting to read on that day, and we were happy to do the road trip to Dublin. Two of my teenage daughters wanted to come along for the ride (to go shopping of course!) so we could fill the car and go.
Well, both our stories were chosen for readings, and we were mightily pleased and honoured that we got the opportunity to read together. Garden Room Writers (well, two of us) hit Dublin. It was a hot day, but there was an appreciative audience there for Flash Fury. The organisers were so welcoming, and very pleased that we'd made the effort to come from Donegal. And, I really enjoyed the whole event - thank you Big Smoke Writing Factory, it was well worth the drive. I'd recommend the experience if it's running again next year.
There were a wide range of readings, and readers - from new writers to the very experienced. Nuala NiChonchuir was judging the 99 word competition from 5 shortlisted stories read out for us by their authors. She read one of her own flashes from Of Dublin and Other Fictions called Fish which was an unexpected treat.
I'm not going to try to name names because I'll end up leaving someone out. The readings were very diverse in theme from funny to sad, real to fantastical, and all were very enjoyable. The 99 word stories had been printed on postcards and were spread around the tables, so I've a handful of stories home with me too. Bernard O'Rourke won The 99 competition - well done Bernard.
Here's me reading Only Words - the story of a revenge by dictionary.
There was a nice Summery buzz in the room upstairs at Arthur's pub, sunshine streaming in behind us as we read and street sounds rising in the open windows. I really enjoyed the imagery in one particular story. I can't remember the guy's name, and he's not on the BSWF twitter pics. Aghh, that's annoying. He wrote of the disco-ball effect of sun dappled through leaves in a gorgeous love flash called The Dance.
Here's the winning 99, Bernard O'Rourke's Sunbathing, published on gorgeous postcards along the other four 99ers.
Here's me reading just after Deirdre. I read Cover Girl which you can read below.
Karen stood behind her friend and twisted Sarah’s hair in a loose knot. The girls smiled at their reflection.
“I can see the album cover now, you and Tom standing just like this,” Karen said. “It’s so exciting. You’re going to be massive.”
The dart was quiet. Sarah wrote on the train sometimes at this hour, took her notebook or phone out and put down a few words or chords. She hummed aloud if the going was good and no one bothered. The crinklies couldn’t hear her and the mums were miles away dreaming distant futures into the eyes of their kids.
Sarah’s mum wasn’t one for dreaming. More of a planner for rainy days. Sarah took after her dad. Always greener on the other side with those two. Sarah’s favourite memories were of the two of them listening to music on Sunday afternoons while her mum visited her aunt and whatever new cousin had just been born.
“Didn’t they call the last one Shannon?” or Lauren or Jamie or whatever it was, she would ask when her mum announced the name of a new arrival.
“You know perfectly well they didn’t. Have you done your homework?” her mum would reply going out.
Then it was just her dad and her and a long Sunday stretched on the floor, while he filled in her real education: the history of rock and roll, punk, mods, prog rock, new romantics, stadium rock, of pop, decent pop when there were still songwriters. She’d play a new song for her dad and he’d listen, really listen. Then he’d pronounce it derivative and pull out an old album, or wait for her to search itunes for the original.
She admired the dress again. Sarah would be her brand ambassador Karen said when she tried to offer payment. This dress was way more than Sarah could afford and they both knew it. Wearing it on the album cover was the least she could do.
She checked her appearance in the mirror as the lift brought her up to the hotel room booked for the shoot. She floated out of the lift. She kissed Tom who dashed toward her.
“You smell good,” he purred, “Come, meet Jenny, the photographer.”
“We’ve been thinking Sarah, of something like this,” Jenny handed her some photos. “Maybe Tom and his guitar on the right, you looking ahead beside him. The light is fading guys we need to move on this. In five ok?”
In five it was. Sarah numb. Tom taking centre stage. Karen’s dress crumpled on the bed. A hotel robe dropped to her waist and Sarah barely able to stop shaking long enough for the photo. The image was right first time. Jenny was delighted. Tom bit her ear when the others left.
“Nice dress babe, new? You can buy a whole new wardrobe once the money starts coming in. We’ll be minting it Sarah. You’re amazing. That cover will be smoking.”