Sarah Meltzer lives in Chicago, where she organizes the Wit Rabbit reading series. She is still looking for the notebook she left by the Logan Square book depository some time in 2008. Her first print publication was a thank-you letter that appeared on the record jacket of a Raffi album, circa 1986. Two decades later, she received her MFA in fiction from George Mason University and now writes stories about breathing through small fires and large deaths. She is still looking for the notebook she left by the Logan Square book depository some time in 2008, and has been known to leave on tables love letters to people she doesn’t know.
To consider when submitting for Sarah’s week: “In fiction, few things are absolute dealbreakers for me. I’m not a fan of moralizing or of incomplete narrative sandwiched into tidy opening and closing lines. In the short-form, I think the first-person progressive is really difficult to pull off without turning language into distraction. There are always exceptions, though. Most of the big no-no rules are things authors already know; when I see anyone breaking these rules, I usually presume an intentional rebellion (whether or not it’s successful).
What I’m looking for in an ideal submission: Tangibility, if I had to choose one word. I want the narrative to be immediate and impossible to forget. But I want to be grateful that I remember it – I don’t want it to simply be stuck in my head. One of the most perfect pieces of flash fiction I’ve read is Elissa Cahn’s On Behalf of the Class (which you may remember appearing in SmokeLong last year). There is kindness in the story without the author even trying; nothing is overwritten and yet, no angle of it feels incomplete. Maybe after typing the last few sentences, I might have to change my one word to sincerity but only if an author can pull that off without sounding as hackneyed as I just did. I think I’d like to see pieces from writers who can make my heart hurt without forcing the form.”