Moments of Grace ~ from Dani Shapiro

by Kathy Fish, reprinted with permission from her blog.

still-writing-by-dani-shapiro1Here, in Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life, Dani Shapiro speaks of flawed, unpredictable, risk-taking, rule-breaking prose (my favorite kind):

“These instances of creative daring are moments of grace. They are moments when we get out of our own way. They break the rules, and break them beautifully. They arrive with no fanfare, but there is no mistaking them. They glide past our hesitation, our resistance, layers of reasons why we can’t, we mustn’t, we shouldn’t. They are accompanied by an almost childlike thrill. Why not, the whole universe seems to whisper: Why not now? Why not you? What’s the worse thing that can happen?”

I admit I’m reading and rereading this book like a bible. Somewhere along the line, I got in my own way, I think. I stopped taking the sort of thrilling chances that made writing such a blast for me. It started to matter too much what other people thought. Now, I’m writing things and not sending them out and not sharing them in an attempt to get back to that. I’m having fun again. I’m getting out of my own way.

***

So we asked Kathy, “What stories have you written that you consider riskier?”

Her answers: There’s “Snow” which appeared originally in print in New South. I published it on Fictionaut and it was showcased there by Susan Tepper. I took a risk in this one in that it was all one paragraph (on Fictionaut, I set one sentence off by its own). This story and a 500 word one-sentence story were actually both published by New South, so they must like weird forms there.  Here is the link: “Snow” by Kathy Fish — Fictionaut

Another one is “Petunias” which was originally published in print in Sleepingfish, but our own Randall Brown reprinted it on the FlashFiction.net site. And it’s just strange because there’s no hint of a plot, I was going more for rhythm and tone, I guess. Here is the link: “Petunias”  or if that link doesn’t work, it’s also on Fictionaut: “Petunias” by Kathy Fish — Fictionaut

“Rodney & Chelsea” is a segmented flash, with subtitles (a lot of people are doing this sort of thing now though) but I like it. It was originally published in Mississippi Review online, but then all that stuff got migrated to the New World Writing archives, so here’s the link: Blip Magazine Archive

“Movement” is just so weird. I really like it and Joseph Young used it when guest editing for Everyday Genius. And it’s just all language and surreality: Everyday Genius: Kathy Fish

“Still They Hear What They Want to Hear” in Corium: Corium Magazine » Kathy Fish

And lastly, for now, a more recent story, “The Blue of Milk” which felt really scary to publish for some reason, but I loved writing it. And it was nominated for Best of the Net. The problem with this link is that you have to scroll down to find my story, but it’s there: the blue collection 4: collaboration (Winter 2013/ 13.24)

_______________________________

Kathy Fish has joined the faculty of the Mile-High MFA at Regis University in Denver. She will be teaching flash fiction. Her stories have been published or is forthcoming in The Lineup: 25 Provocative Women Writers (Black Lawrence Press, 2014, Richard Thomas (ed.), Slice, Guernica, Indiana Review, Mississippi Review online, Denver Quarterly, New South, Quick Fiction, and various other journals and anthologies. She was the guest editor of Dzanc Books’ “Best of the Web 2010.” She is the author of three collections of short fiction: a chapbook of flash fiction in the chapbook collective, “A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness: Four Chapbooks of Short Short Fiction by Four Women” (Rose Metal Press, 2008), “Wild Life” (Matter Press, 2011) and “Together We Can Bury It” available now from The Lit Pub. She has been a fiction editor for Smokelong Quarterly and judged a number of flash fiction contests. She has taught flash fiction to high school students at American University’s Discover the World of Communication summer program.

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About Gay Degani

Gay Degani's suspense novel, What Came Before, was re-published in 2016, her full-length collection, Rattle of Want, in 2015, and a shorter collection, titled Pomegranate, features eight stories around the theme of mothers and daughters in 2010. A complete list of her published work can be found at http://www.gaydegani.com
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