Archives for : Thea Swanson

My Diner

2015-06-21 11.52.57

I’m going to continue doing this–writing my slipstream flash, I mean. This week, two journals have accepted stories: “Enormous Women” was accepted by Fiction Southeast, and “Central Market Women” was accepted by Toad Suck Review.

This is food. I was starving, I think, in my vast and silent, novel-writing world, where I was the only one at the table except for the occasional passerby. Well, it’s no fun to eat alone for that long. So now, it’s gluttony. I’ll keep it short and fast. I’ll keep it going and coming. I like movement. I like company. It’s my own private diner–where everyone is welcome.

A Good Editor

2015-05-14 17.55.03

“Ferry Men” was accepted and will be coming out in Black Denim Lit. I am obsessed with my flash fiction, obsessed with the writing and the sending and the accepting. I write about one story a week while commuting on the bus and ferry. I’ve sent out three more pieces to little, sweet mags, mags that turn around decisions quickly, mags whose editors might take the time to give personal and encouraging words to writers. One such editor is Elena M. Stiehler of The Sonder Review. Her appreciation for “Buffalo Girls” planted my unsteady feet firmly on the flash-fiction road I had just decided to take again after four years of silent novel-writing. Editors like Elena help writers write.

Two flash-fiction stories were accepted by other journals after “Buffalo Girls,” both written in the same voice. Three other pieces are out at other journals. I have a theme that connects the pieces, and I can see this turning into a collection.  None of this was on my writing map until Elena not only accepted my piece but also took the time to express her appreciation for it. I had been testing the waters, and I found the waters to be warm and inviting.

All editors of literary journals should take Elena’s lead. After all, editors and authors are in this for the same thing: the joy and excitement of communicating literary art to our little world of readers–a world that is often solitary and silent. Why not whisper a little praise to one another. Why not shout it.





Flash is Fast


Um, it happened again–before today, even. It happened days ago: Another story was not only accepted but already published. This one is called “Pier Boys,” and it appears in Dark Matter Journal. I sent it out, and two days later it was accepted. This editor did what the other one did: He quickly put it in an issue he was getting ready to publish.

I’m doing something special–for me, special for me–with these stories. I’m not ready to talk about it yet. It’s all happening so fast. I have a feeling that two more pieces I wrote on the bus and the ferry are soon to be published as well. I don’t mean to sound arrogant. And no, I don’t know anything for sure by any means. Maybe years will go by before another piece gets attention. But I think I’m tapping into a few internal and external things that are coming together at the right time. That’s all. That’s all I’ll say about that for now.

The first story that was accepted, “Buffalo Girls,” will be out next week. Be ready for more weirdness.

Going Back to Flash


I’ve avoided writing flash fiction for years. I had a goal to publish long stories with story arcs and developed characters and plots. When I achieved that, my next goal was to write a novel. Now that I’ve done these things, I’m ready to revisit my old instincts, to write about the gist of the thing, to write a story in a few hundred words.

It’s satisfying to write a tight tale in a couple of hours. Flash fiction is everywhere.

Every day, I take a rural bus to a civilized ferry to a city bus. I am flooded with flash. Flooded with different personalities doing wonderful, stupid and sad things that novels are built on.

Or maybe just paragraphs.

Maybe I have the wherewithal, once again, to spin the shortest of tales from a simple gesture that came into my view. Maybe I can make that moment live a bit longer, in a different form, for a period of time. And maybe one of these busy editors who can only make time and space for a few hundred words will give me a nod and publish my snapshot of make-believe.

I sent out a piece this weekend. I wrote it on the ferry, on the bus, and then in the car while my husband ran in the store. The entire process took about three hours. It was fun and easy to write. This story is my test: going back to my instincts and going forward into the current readership, the busy people, the digital readers, of our new world.