Short Story of the Day, Flash Fiction, She Took To Lighting Fires, by Marianne Worthington

“Your red dress,’ she said, and laughed.

But I looked at the dress on the floor and it was as if the fire had spread across the room. It was beautiful and it reminded me of something I must do. I will remember I thought. I will remember quite soon now.”
― Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea

Car fire just north of downtown, Dallas.

I remember growing up on the farm (I didn’t live there all the time,of course, but I did do some growing up there) we would haul trash out to the slough, in the cow pasture (a mess of land that wasn’t good enough for wheat) and burn it. There were decades of fire rusted tin cans there, slowly being swallowed up by the prairie. It seemed like some sort of sacred ground to me, although it had a funny smell.

She Took To Lighting Fires, by Marianne Worthington

from Cheap Pop

Still

Marianne Worthington Twitter

Short Story of the Day, Flash Fiction, Snail, by Nora Nadjarian

“It seemed far more reasonable to belong to a species that had evolved natural tooth replacement than to belong to one that had developed the dental profession.”

― Elisabeth Tova Bailey, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

Schwarmerei

Snail, by Nora Nadjarian

from MoonPark Review

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Short Story of the Day, Flash Fiction, A Non-Exhaustive List of Ways to Leave and Be Lost by Melissa Bowers

“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.

When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.

So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.”
― Herman Hesse, Bäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte

Summer and Winter
Summer and Winter

A Non-Exhaustive List of Ways to Leave and Be Lost by Melissa Bowers

from pidgeonholes

Melissa Bowers homepage

Melissa Bowers Twitter

Short Story of the Day, Flash Fiction, Colossal by Tara Laskowski

“A tilting sea and thundering winds

tossed the carved chest and filled Danaë

with terror; she cried

and placed her arm lovingly around

Perseus saying: ‘My child, I suffer

and yet your heart is calm; you sleep

profoundly in the blue dark of night

and shine in our gloomy bronze-ribbed boat.

Don’t think of the heaving saltwave

that seeps in through airholes and drenches

your hair, nor of the clamoring gale;

but lying in our seaviolet blanket

keep your lovely body close to mine.

If you knew the horror of our plight,

your gentle ears would hear my words.

But sleep, my son, and let

the ocean sleep and our great troubles end.

I ask you, father Zeus,

rescue us from our fate; and should

my words seem too severe, I beg you please

remember where we are, and forgive

my prayer.”

― Simonides

Dallas Zoo

Colossal by Tara Laskowski

from F(r)iction

Tara Laskowski Homepage

Tara Laskowski Twitter

Short Story of the Day, Flash Fiction, Blue Rabbits by Monique Quintana

“Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition.”

― James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room

H.O.P. Rabbits, by David Iles

Blue Rabbits by Monique Quintana

from Cheap Pop

Monique Quintanta Homepage

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Short Story of the Day, Flash Fiction, THE GREAT METEOR HOAX by Derek Spohn

“Not just beautiful, though–the stars are like the trees in the forest, alive and breathing. And they’re watching me.”

― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Mural Deep Ellum Dallas, Texas

THE GREAT METEOR HOAX by Derek Spohn

from Every Day Fiction

Short Story of the Day, Flash Fiction, Just What I Want by Warren Benedetto

“Things are sweeter when they’re lost. I know–because once I wanted something and got it. It was the only thing I ever wanted badly, Dot, and when I got it it turned to dust in my hand.”

― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned

The drone coming in for a landing. She would catch it as it landed.

As the Snowpocalyps died away I was excited because a package from Amazon was finally able to be delivered. It was something that I bought with my Birthday Gift Card – more expensive than I would have bought for myself. Something that had been sitting in my wish list for over a year. It was several days late, of course, but the shipping company emailed me a link where I could watch the delivery. A Google Map appeared on the screen with a pin on my house and a little truck icon moving around.

Watching the delivery truck move, knowing my precious package was there in the back, was addicting.

But it was nuts, the thing would come right up to my street and then flee. Sure, there was a warning at the bottom of the screen saying “Simply Because the Truck is Near, Doesn’t Mean Delivery is Imminent,” but really…. There is a large light industrial business area near where I live and I suppose it kept having to go back there for scheduled pickups.

I swear, at one point the little truck was only a hundred yards away – I know those local streets well because I ride my bike on them all the time – then I hit REFRESH and it bounded two miles away in a flash. This was more than I could take so I gave up and took a nap. As I was about to cross over into slumberland the dogs barked at the front door and Alexa started flashing white….

My package was here. All is right in this best of all possible worlds.

Just What I Want by Warren Benedetto

from 365 Tomorrows

Warren Benedetto homepage

Warren Benedetto Twitter

Short Story of the Day, Flash Fiction, The New Batch by Ruth Crossman

“Some people turn sad awfully young. No special reason, it seems, but they seem almost to be born that way. They bruise easier, tire faster, cry quicker, remember longer and, as I say, get sadder younger than anyone else in the world. I know, for I’m one of them.”
― Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine

Frog Fountain, Dallas Arboretum

I’m sorry, but I never really trust anything that I buy from Etsy.

The New Batch by Ruth Crossman

from Flash Fiction Magazine

Short Story of the Day, Flash Fiction, Winter Dance Party by Brett Biebel

“If you trust in yourself. . .and believe in your dreams. . .and follow your star. . . you’ll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy.”

― Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men

Dancers, Arts District, Dallas
Dancers, Arts District, Dallas

I wasn’t going to do a blog entry today – I couldn’t. It’s been historically cold here and our power went down at four this afternoon – no computer, no internet. It was our first outage during the event – up until now we’ve been lucky. Actually, the worst is that we did not have water (frozen pipes) until about three today – I hadn’t taken a shower in four days and smelt like it. I was stretched out on the couch when all of the spigots we had opened started to spew at the same time. It was a wonderful sound. Even better is that we don’t seem to have any burst pipes (knock on wood).

I am bothered by all the whining, blaming, and finger-pointing going on. This is the coldest stretch in over seventy years (it dropped to five below zero F here – an unheard of temperature) – and it covers the entire state (Texas is fairly large, BTW) – there is no way they could be properly prepared for anything like that. Deal with it. Afterward, see if there are any corrective actions that need to be done.

In this ridiculous, hyperbolic time – all I read about are accusations of racism (it is claimed the power outages have been less in the more affluent areas, which is not true) – blame set on conservatives (they are more interested in cheap power in Texas) – liberals (the wind turbines in West Texas are frozen). I even read that carbon emissions and climate change are to blame for the record cold.

So when the power went out we built warm niches (I dug out my camping sleeping bag from the garage), opened some taps (wish I would have thought of that a few days ago) and bundled in as the temperature inside slowly fell. It wasn’t too bad, really, and seven hours later (to the minute, so I know it was a planned, rotating power outage) the lights snapped back on.

I went around setting things right then realized I could upload a simple blog entry before midnight. So here you are, a flash fiction for the day – a good one.

Winter Dance Party by Brett Biebel

from Hobart

Brett Biebel Twitter

Podcast interview with Brett Biebel

Short Story of the Day, Flash Fiction, Mantis by Gina Chung

“The difference between sex and death is that with death you can do it alone and no one is going to make fun of you.”

― Woody Allen

(click to enlarge) Adam, by Emile-Antoine Bourdelle, plus admirer Cullen Sculpture Garden Houston, Texas

When I was a little kid – kindergarten… maybe first grade – I remember finding a praying mantis at recess. I don’t, never kill bugs (except sometimes spiders) and nobody else would have – even at that young and cruel age. But someone said that praying mantises (what is the plural of “mantis”? manti? mantis’s? – so I looked it up) are protected by law and if you kill one the police will find you and levy a hefty fine, at the least.

I’m not sure why that made such an impression… but to this day, more than a half century later, I remember it, remember the bright green mantis and the other child seriously warning the rest about the protected status of the Mantis.

I still get a thrill when I come across one – they must be very special and rare to have a law passed to protect them.

Mantis by Gina Chung

From wigleaf

Gina Chung Homepage

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