Tuesday, 15 May 2012

National Flash Fiction Day (UK)

Yellow Protest

Clad in a yellow T-shirt, 
the child walked hand in hand with her parents to her first protest. 
The theme was free and fair elections. 
She could not vote but followed anyway. She wasn’t given a choice.

The sea of yellow trembled with excitement and anticipation, 
geared for a fun-filled Saturday afternoon with a statement to make, 
but armed 
with salt for tear gas and what not to say if detained.

Peaceful almost, till hell broke loose.
Lurkers clad in black sheep’s clothes broke the cordon. 
Water cannons and tear gas exploded as promised. 

The child wondered why the stinging eyes and painful skin, 
in spite of the red raincoat.
Mama, Papa shouldn’t you keep me safe?

We are Gen Y, motivators of change. We occupy squares. It is for you.

Flash Fiction and the like

Fiction of extreme brevity 
has flown under the banner of flash fiction, sudden fiction, microfiction, 
micro-story, short short, postcard fiction, short short story and nanofiction. 
There seems to be no consensus on actually word count, 
anything from 1000 words or less. 

Nanofiction is exactly 55 words long. 
Almost prose poetry.
Its not a new concept, Aesops fables being an early form. 
Chekhov, Hemingway, Kawabata, Vonnegut and Drabble have indulged. 

The Internet, with its new age readership and the love of short quick fixes, 
has brought on new life to flash fiction.
It is addictive!

First Loves Blogfest

My first book was most likely an Enid Blyton book, probably the Noddy series. Then came the Secret Seven and The Famous Five (and dog). George was the cool tomboy I always imagined myself to be. It was a time to read yourself to sleep and dream of adventure with a tight group of friends, exploring coves and solving mysteries. 
That comes from being a single child for 6 years before two brothers came into the picture.

First Song: There are songs and there are songs, but the one that made an indelible impression and the beginning of a phase in my life. "Where have all the flowers gone?" by Joan Baez . It was the 60's, flower power, hippy movement, folk songs and a time of protest. She was the mother of the tribe. Then there was Bob Dylan, Donovan and the Carpenters. I taught myself the guitar and sang in the local radio talentine ala Joan Baez, long hair and all.

First love movie has to be My Fair lady. We had the LP Vinyl sound track and I remember amusing myself by listening to it over and over again. I knew the lyrics by heart. Imagine the delight of a girl watching the film in 1964 at the Cathay Organisation cinemas in Kuala Lumpur. The words came to life and the beautiful Audrey Hepburn was perfection. 

Anthony Perkins was my first love. I obsessed over him as a teenager. On count back, I couldn't have seen the movie Psycho when it first came out in 1960. They must have had PG ratings even then. I know that I was fascinated by Alfred Hitchcock movies and always took pleasure in watching out for his cameo moment.   

Monday, 7 May 2012

A-Z Reflections

The  A-Z April Challenge 2012 was certainly a highlight 
for me personallysatisfying to the core. 
Now exhausted but happy, 
I look forward to the next steps of getting   
a book out in print or circulating in the great electronic library out there.

At the beginning of the Challenge, the possibilities were daunting. 
A plan did not emerge immediately. I played it by ear, with this and that. 

I turned to visual prompts and worked on two favourite places. 
Malacca in Malaysia, from a historical point of view kicked off with 
E for Mista Ee, based on an ancestor and his family.

A recent visit to Istanbul and Cappadocia inspired 
the stories around F for Feriha,  the hamam masseuse and her band. 
This journey came back full circle to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
with one of the characters, Q for Quraishah. 

Characters seemed to develop one story after the other, 
each taking on a life of their own. 
I was pleasantly surprised by the flow of ideas.
My play on the choice of names and their meanings was aimed 
at highlighting how tradition and culture still 
play an important role in individual lives 
in the parts of the world mentioned. 

Positive outcomes:
  • a well organised Challenge with great support;
  • developing self confidence in publishing a story;
  • exposure to other bloggers of similar genre.

  • categorising genres eg. flash fiction, cooking, gardening, spiritual etc would make it much easier to filter through 1900 blogs and perhaps weed out the advertisers and marketing sites.
  • categorising or indicating city and country of origin. This will identify the gaps and improve participation from more countries.