Flash Fiction with Babies

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My College Years in Sunglasses

Our first kiss was in Chinatown, red and yellow and boring. At the age of 41, he was ashamed about loss. It was an easy joke: a possible husband. We had a few summers, a cute story. Door signs to another future. As I rode the express train that took me away, I didn’t even pretend to feel sad.

***

One of the most amazing things about my life as a new mom is the Mamas Writers Group I belong to. These two women and their adorable boys have kept me motivated and inspired during the past few months, which in turn has made me a more fulfilled person and a better mother. Our biweekly meet-ups include hang out/play time with tea and chocolate and milk and rice puffs, commiserations about the difficulties of being a creative mom, some type of writing exercise that we take turns leading, and a round of goal-setting for the upcoming two weeks. The boys chase the cat, grab our pens, rip our papers, and generally have a blast. Somehow, we actually manage to get shit done. I look so forward to these Monday afternoons.

At a recent meet-up, I led an activity inspired by a workshop with Thomas E. Kennedy in which each person tears up other peoples’ writings then makes a list of words that pop out at them from these torn pieces of paper (we used the leftover copies from my latest ESL class, which included fiction, creative nonfiction, journalism, and grammar IMG_4344worksheets). The writers then use this list to write something (anything) in a set amount of time (our time limit was flexible as we were also trying to keep our babies alive). From my understanding of the original workshop, the idea is to push yourself outside of your typical boundaries as a writer, to engage with English in a new way, and to use a process you would normally never consider. It can be quite inspiring and also revealing; I think this type of exercise shows us parts of ourselves we may not encounter through our regular writing. As a novelist, it also felt really good to sit down for 20 minutes and come out with a product. I’m the first to confess that I don’t understand flash fiction, but I felt okay enough with the way mine turned out that thought I’d share (plus, I needed a good excuse to post these adorable photos).

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