It has been some time (two years, I believe) since I’ve been able to publish any fiction. So I’m delighted to have a new short story in the wonderful JMWW journal. It’s flash fiction about love and memory, and it was rather tricky to write.
One of my goals with this story was to talk about the experience of children, and people who cared for children during the pandemic, how the hardest days of that time are still affecting them mentally and physically. Much of it felt too dark or despairing to include. But there was no way to avoid that. Young or old, whether we were alone or caring for others or being cared for during that time, it seems unreasonable to think we can ever leave behind our individual and collective experiences of it.
Luckily, while working on this story I had help from a new writing group I joined early in 2022. Their input really helped me find ways to give the story some rhythm and logic that I tried to carry through to the story’s end. I’m so grateful for these fellow writers’ close readings and support.
I’ve included the opening to the story below. (And if by chance you feel like reading one or two similar short pieces, I’ve included links below for those, too, just for fun.)
You hold your boy as he sobs. The bottom stair you’re sitting on is hardly big enough for the both of you. He can’t explain through tears why he’s so upset about the friends that let him down. His nearly 100-pound frame is pulling to run away. Whatever happened, it’s still too fresh to talk. He cries and chokes in frustration. But he still wants to be held, or he gives in only because he knows you won’t let him go hide under a blanket upstairs in his room with his tablet and videos. Not yet.
Link to the full story at JMWW journal.
Other flash fiction by Matt: