Brevity in fiction can have the power and intensity of the most elaborate prose (i.e. Nobakov’s Lolita). Succinct and simple language pervades Sandra Cisneros House on Mango Street. A clear narrative voice and distinct characters piloted David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary to popularity worldwide. In the spirit of compactness the Words, Pauses, Noises team were fortunate enough to share this beautiful, short yet expansive flash-fiction piece by Lauren Weymouth.
‘Statues & Love’
There was too much liquid love thrusting against my skin – pecking at the follicles, begging to escape. I wanted someone to drain it out of me like sucking cranberry juice through a straw until there is nothing but ice. No liquid lies between the crevices, just a cluster of cold, soulless solidity, like a statue. I wished I were a statue because statues don’t feel any pain. Hercules stands headless in Athens, Rhodes, Lefkada, Parga – he doesn’t feel a thing. Soldiers that died in a battle for our country stand in the British Museum without their manhood -the one body part that empowers them more than any other. Where is their hurt? They feel no shame, or embarrassment or ache. Do we have to fight a war to deserve such gratitude? What if this is the war of my life? What if this struggle, this kind of fight causes my death? The pride used to gush through my body, entwined in my liquid love, like my hair with yours on our pillow. If I were a statue – a statue for us – I’d want to be placed next to our lake. Everything was beautiful there, each leaf, stone, the protruding weed -showed some kind of existence. Everything was beautiful because I was in love. Love has that kind of ability; it makes us look at things as though we’ve never seen a more perfect version of that leaf, stone or weed. If I stood there now, statuesque with all my blood gone, I’d watch over the lake. I’d wait for you to come and take a picture beside me and hope that the leaves had fallen and the stones had been washed away, just so you could see how damaged beautiful things are without you. I’d place myself where we parked our bikes and loved one another beside the tree. I’d have shown you how much life there was against that tree at one point. How much blood seeped down my thighs leaving nothing but a tingle of desperation in my toes.
If you are struggling with Writer’s Block or need to expand or revamp a segment in your novel or short story try your hand at flash-fiction. Give stream-of-consciousness a go and free write. Playing with words may just lead you to your own creative genius and brighten your writing. Take a look at Miranda July’s wacky, innovative Oranges for a fresh take on form. And for some examples of experimental poetry, Emily Berry‘s Dear Boy is a gravitating first collection – a must read. Words, Pauses, Noises will return next week with another round of creative joy. Until next time!