“The Awakening” in Digging Through the Fat

The Awakening by Nancy Stohlman

Read original at Digging Through the Fat

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After the Rapture, the people were waking up, but I’m not sure what that meant, and I’m not even sure they knew what it meant, and I never trusted anyone who claimed to have woken up. My friend claimed to have woken up a few months ago, but she still seemed like a bitch to me. And, even at Starbucks, they would stare at you, and if you weren’t awake they wouldn’t draw a heart in your latte foam.

I started to see someone about it privately because I was getting worried that I should have woken up by now—if my neighbor, who loves NASCAR, was now awake as he had claimed when we were both at the mailbox on Thursday—hey, guess what, I woke up! he said—then surely I should be awake.

But then a new movement started to discredit those who were awake, claiming there was no science behind it, after all, and “awake” was subjective, and by the way what is wrong with sleep?—sleep is scientifically proven to be good for you—and pretty soon everyone claimed that lucid dreaming was more evolved, and people started sleeping 18 hours a day and taking classes where they would try to meet each other inside of dreams and a new café called Asleep opened next to the Awake café and they served chamomile and valerian drinks and everything was cushioned and comfy and if you fell asleep anywhere, in class, on the train, people would assume that you were on some spiritual path.

And of course, I talked to my guy again because I didn’t know if I should be awake or asleep now, and he said to become asleep while waking was the true goal.

Pretty soon a rock shattered the front glass of Asleep café, and everyone assumed it was the awake folks, and some people thought it was a provocateur, an asleep person who wanted to frame the awakes and turn public opinion against them. Splinter groups further divided–those who claimed to be both asleep and awake as well as radical groups that never slept or never woke. And people had no idea who was awake and who was asleep and so people were afraid to interact at all.

The government, or what was left of it, called a state of emergency. Pretty soon all the awake people decided they should leave. So they all got on boats and trains and buses and left. And the asleep people felt sad they had no one to fight with and some of them wondered if maybe the awakes had been right all along and they tried it and woke up. While the people on the boats and trains, free from the pressure of always having to be awake, finally fell asleep.

Art by C. Alvarez

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Sculpting Flash Fiction May 7-28

May 7-28, 2018

*Earlybird discount through April 25.

SCULPTING FLASH FICTION Online Course

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 with limited availability.

Cost: $125

*Early-bird discount $115

(ends April 25)

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Contact me with questions at nancystohlman@gmail.com

April 14: 30th Annual Poetry Rodeo in Denver

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Team Fbomb includes: Nancy Stohlman, Trent Hudley, Brian Dickson,
Carol Covington and Matt Clifford.
The Mercury Cafe
2199 California
11:30 am–midnight! (Fbomb on approximately 5:30 pm)
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“Madam Velvet’s Cabaret of Oddities” forthcoming from Big Table Publishing!

I’m thrilled to be pulling up a chair at the Big Table!

My newest book of flash fiction, Madam Velvet’s Cabaret of Oddities, is forthcoming this October from Big Table Publishing.

More details to come!

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Is This Your Flash Fiction Manuscript?

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If you answered yes, you are not alone. But now what? How do you put it all together? 

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If you feel stuck at this phase of the process, take heart: This is one of the most common questions I get from writers working on a flash manuscript. But there is good news: this part of the process is creative, inspiring, and can be be approached with your own unique vision, resulting in a product that is much more than just putting various pieces under one roof.

Flash Fiction Books: Putting it all Together

April 2-30, 2018

In the Flash Fiction Books online course we will learn from different kinds of flash books, including anthologies, collections, novellas-in-flash and flash novels. So 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, the transition from the narrow to the wide view of a body of work can ultimately be just as rewarding as the writing itself.

Learn strategies, avoid pitfalls, and gain new inspiration for how to package flash fiction for the world..

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

 

 

 

 

 

“The Bad Thing” in Connotation Press plus a Compressed Q & A with Jonathan Cardew!

Read the original plus the compressed Q & A in Connotation Press here

NancyStohlman
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The Bad Thing
by Nancy Stohlman

Once a bad thing happened, and the people were horrified and cried, played the details over and over like a particularly painful heartbreak. And someone decided that a memorial should be built and everyone should wear red and once a year everyone wore red and remembered the bad thing and it seemed right.

The next time a bad thing happened people decided it was only fitting to designate another color—white this time—and people wore white and some people wore red and white together to show how the two bad things were connected and that also seemed right.

But the bad things kept happening. Soon the primary colors were gone—then the secondary colors. The newest tragedies had to come up with creative coloring like teal or lavender and soon it expanded beyond colors—people in mourning for a specific tragedy could either wear the color or buy a bracelet made of that color and some people had 10-15 bracelets going up their arm until it was pointed out that the bracelets weren’t produced in an environmentally friendly manner and then people got rid of all the bracelets and tried to go back to the colors, but even the colors didn’t work now, because every color was affiliated with a tragedy and if you were wearing, say, lime green pants, but you didn’t know which bad thing was being mourned in lime green, then you might be called a poser and accused of trivializing other people’s suffering.

And still the bad things increased until there were several bad things every week, and new symbols had to be devised to express your horror: praying hands and beating hearts and hugging arms you could send electronically or made into magnetic bumpers stickers for cars or bicycles and you could also swap your electronic picture frame to one specially made to announce your devastation at the new bad thing, but sometimes another bad thing would happen on that same day and you would not know if you should keep the original picture frame to mourn the first bad thing or if you should update to mourn the most recent bad thing and those who updated would be called insensitive by the ones who had not yet finished mourning the first bad thing.

It got to the point where the bad things had to compete with the other bad things, and a thing that would have been pretty bad back in the days of the primary colors was now almost ignored. And people abandoned the picture frames but they didn’t know which symbol to use, now, which led them to create new symbols, like baking cakes in the shapes of tragedies that needed to be mourned and sometimes they traveled to the locations of the bad things just to feel the awfulness more acutely and they became jumpy like children in volatile households who are trying to read the signs and see the next bad thing approaching and so sometimes they would see regular things as bad things and jump at the sight of prayer hands or beating hearts or hugging arms until they became numb and the bad things kept happening but they were out of colors and out of ideas and so, eventually, they did nothing.

 

*Compressed Q&A with Jonathan Cardew and Nancy Stohlman (6 words max)*
Q’s: Jonathan Cardew
A’s: Nancy Stohlman

Q: Earliest memory?
A: Waiting for the Oz ruby slippers

Q: Some writers you love?
A: Saterstrom, Svalina, Hemingway, Garcia-Marquez, Atwood, Geisen,

Q: How to write flash?
A: Let go. Then let go more

Q: How NOT to write flash?
A: prose poem, vignette = flash fiction: no

Q: Favorite recent story read online?
A: I can’t keep up. In awe.

Q: The problem with politics?
A: Too much emotion; no strategy

Q: Finish this: “I woke under stars…”
A:  with pierced bellybutton, *Sturgis circa 1994*

Q: Finish this: “I write to…”
A: know myself/ stay out of therapy

Q: Pen your epitaph:
A: What the hell was that about?

Q: What’s sexy?
A: Mutual adoration.
(Two words says all.)

Q: What’s NOT sexy?
A: People who don’t read / can’t spell

Q: How you feel when you sing:
A: First naked, then clothed, then awesome

Q: Perfect dinner?
A: Adventurous and ethnic, outside seating cafe

Q: Now for something completely different?
A: Fried chicken and cheesecake. Avocados.

Q: Favorite six-word story ever?
A: I still make coffee for two

Q: Strangest experience?
A: Pick one: hitchhiking, Miss Nebraska, car-crash

Q: One song you love now:
A: “I’m Still Standing” stuck in head

Q: Something no one knows about you:
A: Renaissance Festival gypsy: 4 years

Q: The meaning of life?
A: Pick your avatar—now play!

Q: NOT the meaning of life?
A:  Is this the real life? just fantasy?

Q: City to lose yourself in?
A: Barcelona, Kyoto, Kathmandu, Berlin, (old) San Juan

Q: Country to lose yourself in?
A: Nepal, Spain, Puerto Rico, Spain, Germany, Spain

Q: Memory to lose yourself in?
A: Living in a van with a cat

Q: _ _ _ _ _ _?
A: Of course not, that’s f-ed up.

Q: Show us a picture with words:
A: I’m 7, blue eyeshadow, Wonder Woman

Q: Flip the Q&A:
A: Don’t tell me what to do.

Flash Books Online Course

FLASH FICTION BOOKS 

April 2-30

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 live online workshop format class with limited availability.

Other questions? Contact me below:

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