So! It was nowhere near as bad as I'd thought. Actually it was lovely.
This time last week I was feeling decidedly pukey at the thought of reading my flash fiction at the Flash Mob, Flash Fiction Competition as part of the Chorlton Arts Festival 2011.
But it wasn't scary at all.
The Flash Mob Team worked so hard to make it a great event. From lining up a great programme of fun, non-stuffy readings from themselves, the prince of Flash Nick Perring, who read from his collection 'Not So Perfect' and from all of the shortlisted writers. The evening was broadcast live on Chorlton FM (no swearing please...)
I read first, which was a blessed relief. People clapped kindly when I stopped reading. Also a blessed relief.
There were twelve pieces on the shortlist. Unsurprisingly, my flash didn't get further than the shortlist. But I was delighted to be beaten to the top positions by three incredible pieces of writing. Third place with 'The Dryer Monkey' was Sal Page, second place, with 'Marked' was Michael D Conley, and first place was Socrates Adams with 'Water Pressure'. Three brilliantly varied pieces of work. The whole twelve shortlisted flashes are included in a downloadable myebook. Definitely well worth a read.
My actual personal favourite was the second placed entry - 'Marked' by Michael D Conley, in which, one day, alphabet letters fall from the sky. It appealed to my fascination with obscure supernatural events occurring in a otherwise measured and understood setting. Lovely. It made me wonder what incriminating words would appear on my skin after an alphabet shower. It stayed with me, which is what I reckon a good flash fiction should do. Each word has a far more powerful resonance than in a longer piece. 'Marked' is full of gorgeous ideas and images, without feeling heavy or overly condensed.
Many thanks to the superb Flashmob organising team, the Dulcimer for hosting such a great event and all who read. I'm already looking forward to next year's do!
On a course recently, I mentioned flash fiction in passing during the coffee break. A bloke took me to one side and asked me what flash fiction was. "Tell me..." he asked with a blush and a little smile some might have called salacious... "Has it got anything to do with... erotic fiction?"
How tempted I was to say; "Well, actually yes. It's designed for the gentleman with a penchant for displaying his wears in public... a story of similar intimate brevity, and an equivalent size..." But I worried he would take me seriously and felt for the poor judges of flash fiction competitions everywhere... so put him straight. And gave him a wide girth... I mean berth for the rest of the day.