Monday, October 29, 2012

Teaching Flash and Trying to Stay Cool

Sandy is currently working her way along the East Coast, and she's angry. She's scaring people, shutting down public transit, sending some into survival mode. If I had stocks, I'd increase in shares in companies that manufacture toilet paper and canned soups.

I have family in Massachusetts and friends scattered all over the East Coast. I am thinking of you all right now. I am thinking about how, here in S. Texas, everything is quiet and a little cooler than usual, but drought conditions are the same. The balance of nature is not always obvious. I wish we could take some of that weather for you all; I wish you all well.

This week, my creative writing class began, and I was thrilled to begin with a lesson on flash fiction. I linked to some of my favorite flash fiction sites: Smokelong, Wigleaf, Booth, and other journals that feature stories that are 1,000 words or less. I asked students to read three flash pieces and post responses, what worked and what didn't. Though I read all of the journals I linked, albeit irregularly, I now have a new appreciation for them through the eyes of my students. Many seem inspired. And, like in previous classes, I've found that the flash-sized fiction form is ideal for showing the value of a quick opening, a clear conflict and a tight and/or clear resolution. In flash, the mathematics of storytelling are easy to pinpoint, and this makes the form incredibly gratifying to teach and study.

As always, my students inspire me to write. Ironic how, when I have less time to do so, motivation seems to compensate for me. I've heard other teachers say this as well. So, I've been writing some flash myself. I do plan to return to the novel. I do. It's there, just have to dust it off. Perhaps I'm waiting for a reason to... or some small note of inspiration.

That's it for this weekend. I wish you all a good week, and if you're in Sandy's path, my love and all the positive energy I have is with you. 


  1. You motivate students and they motivate you to write some posts. How beautiful is it?

  2. Thanks :) It is motivating. They say those that can't, teach; but I've always found the opposite. Teaching is about paying it forward, and oddly, it comes back around. Beautiful, yes.

  3. It's very sensitive to write for students. I write short stories for them and then all together organize a reading club.


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