Friday, October 29, 2010

Short and sweet...not my style!

I've been playing around for some time with flash fiction but I'm not sure I 'get' it. I'm posting one I wrote some time ago that I like but would be interested in any feedback. Does it work? Can you see her? Do you feel for her? Is the last line a cop out? Will all you nice people let me know what you think?

I don't think I have ever quite grasped flash fiction's purpose - although I like it more than the literary short story. Perhaps it is a stepping stone from the short story to poetry? Maybe that's why I can't 'do' it. I love poetry but a lot of mine lacks...passion, I suppose. I don't think the short story has anything to do with longer fiction, and can't understand when people assume that all short story writers are on their way to a novel as a next logical step. I freely admit I read what are classed as 'literary' short stories and cannot understand what I've read half the time. But then I'm a bit thick. So here's 'In These Shoes' - you like?

In These Shoes -

by Evelyn Walsh

She had dressed herself for weather and instead of her usual circuit around the grounds she trundled her electric wheelchair through the gates and towards the village.

A woman helped her negotiate ticket purchase and to manoeuvre her chair onto the Luas. The sight of the cables reminded her of a tram trip she had once taken with a boy. A summer’s day, a promenade by the sea. Her eyes clouded, but neither his name nor his face came. She sighed. So many names, so many faces. She remembered the tram though, the sea-breeze; and laughter. A great day.

At St Stephen’s Green she felt alien, afraid. It was too many, not enough years since she had last been in this spot. All changed, changed utterly. She sat for a while, looking and listening. So many people. Good-looking, confident, busy people.

She moved into the shopping centre, quietly marvelling at everything but single-minded in her purpose. She located the shop on the centre’s floor-plan and muttered the directions over and over, programming her internal GPS.

She found the shop and almost cried aloud with sheer delight.A single suspended shoe was the window display.Deepest patent claret red, a bowed front and a killer spiked heel. She reached beneath the chair for her purse, fingers fumbling as she pulled out the much folded, once shiny advertisement.

Her eyes brimmed.
Once Jimmy Choo's shoes – soon to be Her shoes.

In these shoes she might once more dance the tarantella; or perhaps glide across a highly polished ballroom floor in the arms of an impeccably dressed young man, who held her with passion and tenderness.

She sighed.
Failing that they could bury her with the shoes on.

And we did.

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