Sunday Aug 19: At the Inkwell presents Flash Fiction Night!

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Join host Hillary Leftwich and readers Tara Campbell, Kathy Fish, Trent Hudley, David S. Atkinson, Brian Seeman and Nancy Stohlman for a night of flash fiction at Bookbar! Have some wine, hear some stories, leave with some books!

Sunday, August 19

5:30 pm

BookBar

4280 Tennyson St, Denver, Colorado 80212

 

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Flash Fiction Books Online: $10 off for 1 week

FLASH FICTION BOOKS 

Sept 10-Oct

$10 off until August 21! Use link below

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So you’ve been writing and editing–now you’re thinking about a book. But how do you put it all together?

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Whether you are an editor designing an anthology or journal, an author attempting a collection, or you are embarking on a flash novel or novella, there are new things to consider when you go from the micro to the macro view of a body of work. Learn strategies, avoid pitfalls, and gain new inspiration for how to package flash fiction for the world in this brand new class.

This will be a 4-week online workshop format class with limited availability.

Tuition $159

$10 off until August 21!

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Other questions? Contact me below:

Reflections on Europe and Filling the Creative Well

 


I was so happy that so many of you joined me for my photo romp through France and England as I was teaching and reading this past July. And…I didn’t get much writing done. But I was “filling the well” and restocking the creative stores for winter, so here are some of the things I learned:

  1. Meet Your Writing Colleagues in Person

It’s so so important, in the internet heavy reality of our careers, to meet colleagues in person whenever possible. There is nothing that can replace looking people in the eye, giving them a hug, or sharing a meal (or a round of karaoke!), especially if you have “known” them online for a while.

  1. Eat Real Food

I’ve decided that’s the key to French food—it’s actual food. The dishes are deceptively simple but the ingredients are real—not processed, frozen, sugar added or factory farmed.

  1. Walk and take public transportation

Europe does this really well—whether it’s trains crisscrossing countries or metros within the cities, you can walk and take public transportation almost everywhere. I do this already in a limited capacity in Denver; not only is it ultimately cheaper, better for physical health, better for emotional health, and better for the environment, it’s also better for my creativity. My morning journals and first handwritten drafts now happen during my work commute.

  1. Dress up for no reason.

The French have this effortless chic style that I really dig—messy but beautiful and not overdone. But they put effort into looking nice for no reason. And when you look nice you feel nice.

  1. Don’t spend all day on the internet

Duh, right? But in Europe I didn’t have an international roaming plan, so I was inaccessible much of the day unless I was connected to external wifi. No surprise: I was much happier checking in with my online friends once or twice a day rather than all day long.

  1. Take more pictures

I’m a closet amateur photographer, and it was glorious to express myself visually for awhile rather than always with words. And It’s easy to take lots of pictures in an unfamiliar place. It’s good to take a break from your preferred genre and play a little.

  1. Learn another language

Seriously. It’s proven good for your brain as you age anyway, but as writers it reminds us of the plethora of new words out there. I speak mid-level Spanish already but I stared learning French on the Duolingo app in the spring and I highly recommend it. Just 10 mins a day—10 mins not on social media—and I usually did it on the train while commuting.

  1. Put away the phone.

Europeans have phones, and they will pull them out to text one another, but then they put them away. You do not see Europeans on their phones while sitting at cafes or on the metro. Even if they are alone they are watching the world go by. I felt self-conscious being on my phone in public there. I was happy putting it away.

  1. Eat slowly

I tend to eat very fast, like a starving wolf. I’ve justified this my whole life. I also burn the roof of my mouth regularly. I am now consciously slowing down, lingering and enjoying more.

  1. More cultural cross-pollination, please

Not only was I excited to read for new audiences, but I forgot the joy of also being a new audience member. Both in Paris and Bristol I discovered writers with different sensibilities, styles, and subjects. I felt for the first time ever like I was an “American” writer.

  1. Consume more art

When you visit a place like Europe there’s the unnaturally high consumption of art—daily museums, architecture, music. I consume a lot of art already but I’m lucky to get in 1 artistic outing a week.  Imagine how creative you would be if you did this as intentionally in your own town?

Traveling forces us out of what is familiar and makes our brains work differently. I think that keeps us young, vital, and full of creative juice and wonder. The trick is to be filled with wonder in the day to day, too. Working on that!

Happy end of summer! I hope to travel with you soon!
Xoxo

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Sabine Dundure Photography

“The Rapture” in Open: Journal of Arts and Letters

Read original in Open: Journal of Arts and Letters here:

Artwork: “The Unknown God” by Gary Van Haas

The Rapture

by Nancy Stohlman

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When St. Joe, Missouri was announced as the Best Place Ever to watch the rapture, the people felt chosen. Not since Lady Gaga had come to Kansas City had they felt so special.

No one was exactly sure what would happen. Some thought it would be a fiery ball dropping from the sky, or ash blocking out the sun until they all choked, or floods, earthquakes, hurricanes or volcanic eruptions. As the day of final judgement drew closer, Motel 6 jacked up its prices to 800$ a night, the porn shop repaved the parking lot, and gun shops ran out of both guns and ammo. Red Lobster, the nicest restaurant in town, put gluten free items on the menu. Dunkin Donuts, overwhelmed by it all, just said fuck it and shut down.

Half a million people descended upon St. Joe. They came with rapture glasses, rapture t-shirts (prepare for the rapture with Pepsi!), and rapture key chains, booking out the KOA and every hotel room in town. When the grass was all claimed the people started pitching tents right on the concrete; rooftops became prime real estate. Dan Rather showed up in a RV. Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Lawrence were spotted raving about “untouched Americana” and eating a hot dog for the first time ever.

The day of the rapture everyone was ready. Some had UV glasses, some had hazmat suits, some were naked and meditating. Some boarded up their windows and the tornado sirens sounded for good measure and everyone waited outside, watching the sky. Crowding the streets and waving fireball pompoms and trying to shove rapture pancakes in their mouths.

As the rapture was about to begin the sky became covered in thick black clouds. It will blow over they assured, twitching. Then a rumor swept through the town that Beatrice, just one hour north, was a much better place to see the rapture. People dropped their pancakes mid bite and fled to their cars and flooded the highways, which became gridlocked almost instantly for 40 miles in either direction, leaving St. Joe like an exhausted whore.

Some that remained put on their UV glasses anyway just in case and they were lucky because hundreds of people went blind without seeing a thing.

 

About the writer:

Nancy Stohlman is the author of the flash fiction collection The Vixen Scream and Other Bible Stories (2014), the flash novels The Monster Opera (2013) and Searching for Suzi (2009), and three anthologies including Fast Forward: The Mix Tape (2010)which was a finalist for a 2011 Colorado Book Award. She is the creator and curator of The Fbomb Flash Fiction Reading Series and the creator of FlashNano in November. She teaches college in Denver and Boulder. Her newest book, Madam Velvet’s Cabaret of Oddities, is coming in the fall of 2018.

Image: “The Unknown God” by Gary Van Haas. Van Haas was born in Los Angeles. In his paintings, he combines an illusionary vocabulary with non-objective subject matter as a way to impress color and collage, which instead of relying mainly on imagery, responds formally and expressively to the illusionist idea of surrealist space and time.

Our Breckenridge Retreat is 1 week away!

Our “Rendezvous in the Rockies: Mining Your Literary Gold Retreat” is almost here.

Kathy Fish and I are excited to welcome our inaugural group of visiting writers for a “summer camp” of inspiration, contemplation, and camaraderie in the Colorado mountains. The retreat will be held in a mountain lodge home in the ski town of Breckenridge with a hot tub, alpine views, starry nights, and meals lovingly prepared by visiting writer and chef Chris Bowen.

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We’ll be finishing at the infamous Fbomb Flash Fiction Reading Series in Denver on Tuesday, August 14 at 7:30–which means it’s going to be a fantastic night at the Fbomb–don’t miss it!

We will post updates. In the meantime, meet our visiting writers:

MEETAnne Weisgerber
MEETChris Bowen
MEETPaul Beckman & read about his book!
MEETJayne Martin
MEETApril Bradley
MEETAnnie Q, Syed
MEETHolly Lyn Walrath & read about her book!
MEETSally Reno
MEETJan Saenz
MEETPavlos Stavropoulos
MEET: Chelsea Voulgares
MEET: Leslie Archibald

*We plan to make our Colorado retreat a yearly event. But if you can’t wait that long, consider joining us in Costa Rica this January or Italy next May!

Sculpting Flash Fiction starts Aug 13: $10 discount until Sunday!

SCULPTING FLASH FICTION

August 13-Sept 2

Update: SOLD OUT–(Please feel free to join my mailing list for announcements of upcoming classes)

Editing is the most important part of the writing process. As serious writers, you know it’s through the editing process that we begin to refine and sculpt our messages.But just as writing flash fiction requires a different set of skills, so does editing flash fiction.

article-2337449-1a32cffb000005dc-882_634x439In this 3-week intensive we will use the tools of ambiguity and implication; we will learn the different between chipping and chopping; we will learn how to shrink-wrap and swap text. You will learn how to achieve the specific needs of flash fiction as I guide you and other participants to edit your real works in progress.

Participants should have a basic understanding of flash fiction and come to the class with flash pieces already in progress. Each participant will have the opportunity to submit 1-2 stories per week.

This is an online workshop format class limited to 8 participants.

“The Pilgrimage” in Ripening: 2018 National Flash-Fiction Day Anthology

The Pilgrimage

by Nancy Stohlman

After the rapture, the people began a strange pilgrimage. They traveled from the broken cities, through streets littered with expired business cards, past billboards that had long ago stopped promising anything.

They walked over the Rocky Mountains and across the desert towards Salt Lake City, Utah, and the Very First Kentucky Fried Chicken, the one started by the actual Colonel Sanders when “fried” was still part of the name. It seemed pointless to care about things like cholesterol now; those who had been vegetarians and those who didn’t eat fried foods journeyed side by side.

The route to the Very First Kentucky Fried Chicken was marked by cairns and amulets. People who were interviewed along the way said they felt a certain calm on the months-long journey, that it was good to be away from the normal pressures of daily life and just be one with the scorching 100-degree temps of the high Utah desert, where understandably a certain number of pilgrims would not make it and their bodies would be left as they fell, adorned by the pilgrims to follow like roadside altars.

For those who made it, a large yet modest daily buffet awaited so pilgrims would not be forced to choose between original and extra crispy chicken, and there was both brown and white gravy and some even claimed to find a real lump in the mashed potatoes. And the fountain drinks ran freely and people shared their sporks under the grinning life-sized Colonel Sanders, decorated with beads and sunglasses and candles and smudge sticks and good luck fortunes left in thanks for a safe journey.

And then the people, desperate to avoid what came next, took their chicken bones and kept walking. They walked west for many days towards the setting sun until they reached the edge of a vast hole. But no matter how many bones they threw over the edge, they couldn’t fill the great, yawning silence that followed them back to the remains of their ruined lives.

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Get the anthology now! Click here

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Editors Santino Prinzi and Alison Powell

This seventh annual and established flash fiction writers. The authors have cooked up a smorgasbord of entertaining, moving and tantalising flashes for your reading delight. From fudge to oysters, apples to mangoes, gingerbread to (of course!) cake, there’s something in this anthology for everyone to sink their teeth into. Authors include: Alison Powell, A. E. Weisgerber, Abi Hynes, Alan Beard, Alicia Bakewell, Amanda O’Callaghan, Angela Readman, Anita Goveas, Anna Rymer, Anne Summerfield, Calum Kerr, Catherine Edmunds, Charlotte Wührer, Charmaine Wilkerson, Christopher Allen, Christopher M Drew, Claire Polders, Damhnait Monaghan, David Cook, Deborah Meltvedt, Diane Simmons, E. P. Chiew, Elaine Dillon, Emily Devane, Emma Harding, Erica Plouffe Lazure, Fiona J. Mackintosh, FJ Morris, Frankie McMillan, Gay Degani, Gemma Govier, H Anthony Hildebrand, Helen Rye, Ingrid Jendrzejewski, Ioanna Mavrou, J. E. Kennedy, Jacqueline Saville, Jan Kaneen, Jennifer Harvey, Joanna Campbell, Jude Higgins, Judy Darley, Kevlin Henney, KM Elkes, Kymm Coveny, Laura Pearson, Leonora Desar, Lisa Ferranti, Meg Pokrass, Megan Giddings, Nadia Stone, Nan Wigington, Nancy Stohlman, Nuala O’Connor, Olga Wojtas, Philip Charter, Poppy O’Neill, Rachael Dunlop, Rebecca Field, Robert Scotellaro, Ros Woolner, Sal Page, Santino Prinzi, Sara Chansarkar, Sarah Evans, Sharon Telfer, Sophie van Llewyn, Stephanie Hutton, Sylvia Petter, Tara Laskowski, Tim Stevenson, and TM Upchurch.