Flash Feature…Stavroula Sanida

Stray verbal bullet

(response to the 25 word challenge)

Clarity in need.
‘He cheated on me. How is this possible?’.
‘I told you so!’.
Four words you should never say…

About the Author

Stavroula

I am a psychologist, certified cognitive behavioural therapist and functional analytic therapist working in private practice since 2006 in Athens, Greece. I like being creative in therapy and I use story writing as an evocative tool for my clients. I have presented Story Writing in Psychotherapy at conferences and led according workshops.

Holding a black belt in kick boxing and attending contemporary dance lessons for six years led me to be more resilient, to keep on fighting for my goals and gain more self knowledge.

Writing stories is a passion of mine and an inspirational refuge during stormy times.

Interacting with authentic people fuels my energy.

Professional website: http://www.mental-health.gr/

Blog: psypath.blogspot.com

 

(For me this perfectly illustrates those hurtful conversations that do more harm than we realise… in only 22 words! HJ)

Flash Feature…Alexandros Zochios

Missing

(response to the 50 word challenge)

I only had one pair of socks from you, a welcoming gift to our new house. After I’d put it in the washing machine, one of them disappeared. Have you ever wondered where lost socks go? I’ve kept that washing machine. Just in case it appears again, missing its half.

About the Author

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I work in Greece in the IT field. I’ve been published only back home and I would like to reach English speaking readers.

(With just 50 words, Alex articulates heartbreak, loss and the futile optimism of the spurned lover. HJ)

Flash Features…Matthew Beswick

Safety

(response to the 250 word challenge)

No one should be this happy in the club, with their mother. It wasn’t always this way. When he came out there were tears and harsh words. She told him she didn’t want him to go to hell. It hurt a lot when she said that. But they’ve grown in love. It has mended all their bonds. He’d confess now that he was an asshole as a teenager too. A lot of his friends, even those around him, don’t see their parents. Some Dads even tried to beat the faggot out of them. But they love his Mom. They accept her and dance with her all night.

They found their shared passions over time: Music, dancing, Hugh Jackman. She spent her youth in the music venues of the sixties. She hung out and listened to Nina and The Beatles. For a time she was a back-up singer with the band of the moment. As he grew up she sang to him all the great songs from that era.

Now they are dancing in the club to more modern tunes. She still loves music, even though she thinks the current singers and bands lack talent and creative autonomy. A beat is a beat and they dance to it freely. After all, they’re amongst friends. They’re with his LGBT brothers and sisters and she feels as safe as he does.

This illusion is shot through with bullets. She is amongst the first to die. She covers him; in love, protection and blood.

 

About the Author

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Dreams are often Matthew’s inspiration in life. That life is one of the aspiring penniless writer. A graduate of Goldsmith’s, University of London and Kingston University where he received his Masters with distinction in Creative Writing.

His favourite criticism from his Masters portfolio reads, ‘he strays into melodrama now and then, and the latent hysteria of his style comes through.’ He has no evidence, but believes this awesome opinion was formed when he came to class with one of his many alter-egos, Amy Wino, in his bag after a charity event.

Although he loves dreams, he neither prescribes to the psychoanalytic or New Age interpretations of dreams. More simplistically, he just revels in their stories and often crazed imagery and logic.

You can follow his work here.

(We write to understand ourselves; we write, often, to understand catastrophic and dreadful events – and here, Matthew has responded sensitively, beautifully to one of the worst mass killings in US history. HJ)

Flash Features… Ford Dagenham

Please Keep Me

(response to the 500 word challenge)

She travelled alone and she travelled light.  Anything she had left behind she didn’t need any more.  She had her memories and her scars.  And she had hope.  Her feet hurt her at every step but walking was the only way.

She stuck to the back lanes and footpaths, sometimes holding her life in her hands for a dash across a busy road.  She hadn’t eaten all day and hunger made her miserable.  She climbed a farmers stile and sat herself on the top rung.

Fields all around.  The hum of traffic.  Ahead were buildings visible between the branches and trees.  A new town.  She didn’t look back.

She jumped down from the stile.  She walked on, butterflies unfolding themselves startled by her passing.  At the boundary foliage she easily leapt the ditch and found herself by a weather beaten fence.  She walked along it, following her nose, hoping for a hole.

The sun was showing the first signs of falling.  Shadows stretched and  leaves and branches hid its glare.  The land and the air smelt different from where she had come from.  She felt, not fright, but maybe anxiety.  She hid it well.  Any stranger observing her could tell nothing of her mood.

She walked on.

At last a poorly repaired fence panel, rotting from damp.  She pushed through into a smell of ale and sweat.  These smells were not unfamiliar but they held no happy memories for her.  The low sun was exposed and its sideways glare blinding.  She heard male voices and smelt cigarette smoke on    the evening air.

She kept to the sparse hedge trying to be as invisible as possible.  She managed to keep hidden but to get free of the pub garden she would have to pass very close to a cluster of gesticulating men.

She dashed out and a startled man cried out in surprise and lashed out a foot in reaction.  She easily dodged it.  This was nothing new.  Her light feet made little sound crossing the gravel of the car park but she was suddenly on a busy street.  A street she had never seen before.  Without stopping she dashed on, across the road and dived behind a tidy privet hedge.

She was still hungry but she was drained and fearful of the strange smells and sensations.  She dug herself in under the hedge and cat-napped the dusk and most of the night away.

It was shortly after dawn when she was picking twigs and leaves from  the hedge off herself that she heard a child’s voice.  She looked over.  A  little girl in school uniform.

‘Mummy, mummy, a catty!  Can we keep her.  Can we?  Can we?’  She cried out.

She sat dead still as the child approached.  Wary but hopeful.  She sniffed the hand held out to her and liked it.  Milk and cereal.  If she’d had fingers she’d had crossed them, thinking please keep me.

About the author 

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Ford Dagenham likes movies to be 90mins long max. 

Posts a poem or pic a day in the blog Hatchbacks on Fire

Thinks he can speak French impeccably.

Feeds the cat.  Has own mass. Believes in alchemy.

Has chapbook A Canvey Island of the Mind by Blackheath Books.

Turns up in PUSH and Paper&Ink and Hand Job zines. 

Faced with dilemmas he often runs a bath. 

Today he will accidentally absorb news. 

Then run a bath.

(I love Ford’s style, his extraordinary-ordinary details that puncture our familiarity with the world, his words… ‘butterflies unfolding’!! HJ)

Thoughts please…

So, the flash fiction challenge has finished having had some amazing (and I don’t say that lightly) stories shared with us all.

My questions are – was it helpful sparking inspiration? Did you enjoy it? Did enjoy reading the pieces?

And the main one – Shall we do it again soon? Different prompts etc?

Look out for the final pieces from the flash fiction challenge over the next few days. I’ll be featuring a chosen story and author from each of the challenges. You won’t be disappointed!

Have a good’un x

Flash Fiction Challenge #5

You’ve made it to the end of our challenge… How are you doing? Nailed it? Let’s see…

25 words please. TWENTY FIVE words only.

Your prompt? Four words you should never say…

Points to remember –

Make every word count. Carefully chosen details can convey more than long descriptions. Make your title pull its weight!

Post your piece with title and your name/pen name in the comments section

If you would like to offer feedback to other writer’s – do so respectfully.

Make sure I can contact you at the end of the challenge if you’d like your work promoted here.

Deadline for posts is the 28th of June

Flash Fiction Challenge #4

Now we’re really cooking on gas…

50 words please. FIFTY words only.

Your prompt? I only had one pair of …

Points to remember –

Make every word count. Carefully chosen details can convey more than long descriptions. Make your title pull its weight!

Post your piece with title and your name/pen name in the comments section

If you would like to offer feedback to other writer’s – do so respectfully.

Make sure I can contact you at the end of the challenge if you’d like your work promoted here.

Deadline for posts is the 26th of JUNE

Flash Fiction Challenge #3

Getting good at this, huh? Come on then…

Let’s make this a real challenge… 100 words please. ONE HUNDRED words only.

Your prompt? He/She/They couldn’t remember the last thing said, but….

Points to remember –

Make every word count. Carefully chosen details can convey more than long descriptions. Make your title pull its weight!

Post your piece with title and your name/pen name in the comments section

If you would like to offer feedback to other writer’s – do so respectfully.

Make sure I can contact you at the end of the challenge if you’d like your work promoted here.

Deadline for posts is the 24th of JUNE

Flash Fiction Challenge #2

Shall we go again? Feeling warmed up, limber and ready for action?

OK, 250 words please. TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY words only.

Your prompt? No one should feel this happy…

Points to remember –

Make every word count. Carefully chosen details can convey more than long descriptions. Make your title pull its weight!

Post your piece with title and your name/pen name in the comments section

If you would like to offer feedback to other writer’s – do so respectfully.

Make sure I can contact you at the end of the challenge if you’d like your work promoted here.

Deadline for posts is the 21st of JUNE

Flash Fiction Challenge…

All right then! Just back from teaching a course in Flash Fiction and it was so productive and interesting as a tool in developing as a writer that I thought it might be fun (and helpful) to run a challenge..

Here’s how it works –

The challenge is open to all

I’ll post a prompt and a word limit every two days, participants can then post their stories (1 per person per prompt!) in the comments section

Feel free to comment on the stories and offer CONSTRUCTIVE and helpful feedback

At the end, I’ll choose 5 writers to publish their pieces here on my site (and will promote them like crazy!)

You in??