In order to hone my fiction chops, I decided to join The Five Hundred, a site that presents a prompt every month with the outcome being some form of flash fiction between 400-600 words. Next week, I’ll have a ghazal (based on a “bonus” 100 word prompt) and flash fiction piece called, “In the Cup of the Beholder.” Once the pieces go live, the writers treat the site as a workshop. I may not be able to submit each month, but I think I’ll enjoy the challenge.
Jeff McLeod suggested The Five Hundred. Thanks, Jeff!
With a two-year-old and a week-old newborn in the house, my writing time and process changed a little over the past few weeks. One, I’ve been mostly writing on a computer rather than in the notebooks I’ve kept for twenty years. It feels faster and time is something I’m short on. I don’t know if the quantity improves the quality of the writing, but I always write a lot and throw a lot away. The process feels more streamlined now.
And two, I wrote with music. In the past, it was pure distraction from writing. Maybe it’s all the life changes, but composing with music felt right, but I could only listen to certain pieces. With that in mind, I thought I’d share those here.
The prompt for the fiction piece was “Tear it down and try again.” One of the things I like about writing is research. This can send me into a spiral that I have to get out of quickly or else I won’t write anything. Initially, the prompt pushed me into writing an essay about the self and zen and I eagerly pulled book after book from my shelves until I realized that the topic was interesting, but not something I was prepared to turn into fiction. I abandoned that and looked at the Book of Revelations instead, which made me think of this classic by Son House:
Even though I mostly listen to instrumental music, Clarence Ashley’s version of “Coo Coo Bird” was on repeat. Maybe the droning effect of old time banjo kept this track from being distracting:
Erik Satie’s Gymnopedies:
Frescobaldi’s Fantasies: Book 1:
Vandermark 5: “New Acrylic”
Secret Chiefs 3: “Balance of the 19”
Also SC3: “Tistrya”
These artists share no blame in what they inspired.