“The best of these fictional vignettes are like a splash of ice water in the face. Wake up, they shout, your life is unspooling. They create their emotional effects with a quick windup and a powerful release, often a final, lingering image.”
That’s how Lisa Mulleneaux’s review of Best Small Fictions 2016 concludes, and I think that’s a great description of what draws me to flash as a form of fiction. It’s concentrated, a bouillon cube on your tongue, almost too much salt and insistence but the flavor lingers.
She calls attention to some of my favorite stories in the collection, including”World’s Worst Clown,” by James Kennedy and “Going South” by Tina Barry. A few other stories I especially like — not necessarily mentioned in this review — are”Trifle” by Mary-Jane Holmes with its ability to bind worlds, and “Toad” by Grant Faulkner with its philosophical twist. “The Story, Victorious” by Etgar Keret is another pleasing puzzle, like one of those hardwood ones whose pieces feel so good in the hand.
I was really happy to see a specific shout-out for my story, “Carnivores,” in Mulleneaux’s review: “A Venus flytrap narrates a family’s miseries with the arrogance of the well-fed in Janey Skinner’s “Carnivores,” which plays with the notion of a mother devouring her children. Surely this story gets the prize for most unusual point of view.”
There’s something especially delicious about seeing my writing touch and please another person, someone who doesn’t know me personally and yet we connect through the fiction. The things that made me smile on the page bring a smile to others, an emotion, a vision. It doesn’t get better than that.