Julie C. Eger works full time at home as a massage therapist. She’s rarely around a lot of people at one time. Sometimes she craves the energy of other writers so she looks online for writing groups with whom she can connect. A writer in one group shared the Call for Submission for Anchala Studios’ Flash Fiction anthology. She’d previously written a story from a writing prompt “to write a story about a horse.” Her story, Reining in the Storm, came to her like a bolt of lightning when she remembered a time when her granddaughter was sitting under a horse and she was afraid the girl would get hurt. Her granddaughter’s answer that the horse told her he wouldn’t hurt her was the basis for this story. She’d never submitted a story to an anthology before, but thought, just maybe, the story would be a good fit. It turned out it was!
Her story centers on the pure innocence of children and how easy it is for them to believe anything is possible. We need more of that in our lives.
Julie’s greatest achievement is learning to use tools to help her become a better writer. She writes, “I’m dyslexic and sometimes I want to give up when the words just become too jumbled. I can type much better than I can write longhand, but I love the flow of cursive writing. Most of the time when I get done writing something longhand it looks more like a piece of art than writing. So being able to type gets the story onto the page. Memorizing where the keys were on a keyboard changed everything for me. Learning to transfer my drafts to my Kindle has been a big time saver, as I can edit while I travel – as long as someone else is driving!”
She’s written two full length novels. EENY MEENY CRIMINY CROW and Girl from Grorgamon. EENY was a tribute to a friend. Girl from Grorgamon was a story her grandchildren created and she put it into book form for them. She’s partial to poetry, loves writing drabbles.
Like several contributors, her greatest challenge is finding time to write. Because of her dyslexia, it takes her a long time to get things straight in her head.
“Interruptions are merciless when it comes to how my brain works. My mind flits from idea to idea so fast it’s like a flock of sparrows taking off. I capture as many of those ideas as quickly as I can before something interrupts me. I write on whatever is handy – envelopes, receipts, my hand, I’ve even written on the sole of my shoe to capture an idea and bring it home!”
If she could say one thing that sums up her life, she says it would be this, “Anything is possible for those who believe anything is possible.” And when things seem to be going wrong she’s say, “What good shall come of this?” Then watch for the good things to come. It’s amazing what shows up!
You can find the rest of her story here: bit.ly/READFLASH.
You can connect with Julie at Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01BK73VZC
Note: Julie uses the pen name of Copper Rose for her darker stories. She uses the pen name A.J. Lawdring for her most uplifting work.
The inspiration for stories comes from the heart and sometimes writing reveals deeper feelings than a writer first suspected. When Judy Burke completed her writing workshop assignment “to describe a place you love being in,” she chose the red chair in her kitchen, because “I had loved sitting there for so long.”
And then it happened, the revealing of truth when she realized she no longer liked “sitting there at all anymore” and went on to write her flash fiction, Finding Things. For Judy, what occurred in writing her story, “illustrates what I love about writing—if you do it well, you have to tell the truth, and usually the writing and the digging around leads you to a NEW truth, and it can be quite surprising.”
Her second flash fiction, The Balloon, was triggered by a cherished memory. Both pieces deal with loss, a challenge “for all of us as we age, certainly for me.”
Her introduction to flash fiction occurred while attending a North Carolina Writers Conference. She loved that flash was “…like fiction distilled somehow, more like prose poetry.”
Memory loss touches her own life as a caretaker for “her older sister Nancy who was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's 11 years ago…so it made such sense to take a chance and submit something. I'm so proud it turned out this well.”
Judy’s greatest achievement is also her greatest challenge. The act of writing invites her to share “emotional truth through words, so that somebody else can feel it.” She draws upon her background as an actor, “that's all about telling the truth, too.” Her love of books, and good writing, she says, “seems a holy thing, a good book and the way it can make you feel. It's daunting to try. And I need to be more disciplined about the doing of it. But it's such a glorious thing when you get close.”
Her current project is “an essay about my sister and our time together; and a piece about an experience I had when I was nine, that's turning into an essay on the nature of grace; and something I think might be a short story...I love how you find out what it wants to be as you go along. I've come to writing seriously late, but I aim to keep at it.”
Read more of Judy’s story here: bit.ly/READFLASH
Stay in touch with Judy and her writing on Facebook.
Caren Stuart is profoundly grateful that her parents never discouraged her desire to be a writer. Her mother had wanted to be a writer, but was successfully discouraged from that pursuit by her parents. Caren says, “My mother would have enjoyed this anthology before and during her Alzheimer’s and I feel like I’m honoring her memory by having a story in this collection.”
After her mother had lost the ability to read and communicate verbally due to Alzheimer’s, Caren says that during their visits, “I’d tell her about my day or week or about things that had happened a long time ago and when I’d run out of stories, I’d read poems to her and talk about what the poems made me think of. She’d smile or laugh, nod her head, pat my arm, enjoying the connection of the sharing of stories.”
Caren’s flash fiction, At the Crossroads, presents both a literal and figurative crossroads, describing an incident outside a diner at the crossroads of Loop Road and Old NC 29, and the direction strangers choose to take upon meeting.
Although she began writing the story from a photo prompt given to her during a workshop, she abandoned much of what she’d written except for the character—this man, she could not forget. Caren says, “that character magically percolated somewhere and with it, his story percolated too. Months later, I woke up with a vivid character in my head, telling me his story. I wrote down his story and polished it up just a bit.”
She believed he’d told her his entire story, but when encouraged to reconsider the ending of her story, she was “delighted to awaken the next morning with Umberto, now the main character, again in my head. I asked him if there was anything more to his story, and he shared that there was.” The story expanded based on this fictional character taking Caren into his confidence.
Caren finds her greatest challenge as a creator to be balance. She explains, “I’m a poet/wordsmith/artist/maker who’s been writing poetry and prose and making art and altered art since I was five years old! I’m constantly trying to not only balance my creating time between writing poetry, writing prose, making art, and making my jewelry and altered art ‘convoluted notions’ creations but also trying to balance my ‘creating’ time with my ‘tweaking’ time and my ‘sharing’ time.”
Her current energies are focused on putting together a poetry collection, a short story collection, and creating a portfolio of her artwork.
Caren is a woman who is passionate about the arts in all of its forms and the connections art allows us to make with ourselves and with each other. She’s currently hosting and serving as the Master of Ceremony for the monthly First Thursdays Take Five Poetry and Prose Open Mic events at Karma Boutique and Coffee Shop in Sanford, NC. Her literary citizenship also extends to compiling and distributing a free monthly newsletter, Items of Writerly Interest, which details upcoming poetry and prose-related events and opportunities of interest in the Central NC area.
To read more of Caren’s story, check out bit.ly/READFLASH
To stay up to date on Caren’s writing and artwork, visit her at https://www.etsy.com/shop/ConvolutedNotions
Stephen James Moore began exploring themes of memory and its loss in his writing and photography after he’d learned of his grandmother’s diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease. Her love of music inspired him to write a poem in her honor, after she confided that Bolero, composed by Maurice Ravel, was her favorite piece of music. At the time he submitted his photograph called Brighthelmston Eye, he was working on a performance during the Mental Health Awareness Week in October 2017 which culminated in a multimedia evening at Bristol Mental Hospital, Glenside Hospital Museum, a former mental health institute.
He says of his black and white photograph, Brighthelmston Eye, of a slow moving ferris wheel on the beach of Brighton, UK, that it “was the name originally used for Brighton, United Kingdom from the 14th to the 18th century. Brighton has had a turbulent history with regards mental health problems within its population. During the 1930’s it was nicknamed ‘Queen of Slaughtering Places’ due to homicides connected to the Trunk Murders.” His photograph was intended to capture an image of “the sacred within the profane."
His greatest challenge is working solo as both a photographer and a writer. Each profession is “a lone sport.” He’s been inspired by his work within “the mental health/learning difficulties care sector, and more specifically, draws upon the “mental health attitudes across the UK.”
Like other contributors, Stephen continues to keep “moving forward, not staying still,” and has been working on several projects.
This includes a poetry and prose collection entitled, “Carniville/Meat Town,” which concerns the use of people with chromosome abnormalities in the American entertainment industry. He hopes to highlight changes in attitude to physical and mental differences in the population.
To view more photographs within the anthology, check it out here: bit.ly/READFLASH.
Further works may be found at Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stephen_james_moore/
Anchala Studios, LLC is a micro press based in Chapel Hill, NC which selects projects appealing to broad audiences and which enrich the community. The Collection: Flash Fiction for Flash Memory is its first publication.