Government Springs Park was once the pride of Enid, Oklahoma. During my childhood, government was considered a good thing, so we often used that full name in admiration. Today it’s usually called simply Springs Park. Every school child knew it had been a camp site on the old Chisholm Trail, the best known of the routes used to drive cattle from Texas to the Kansas railroads after the Civil War.
It was a perfect campground: hills overlooking the flat land where the cattle grazed and, most important, the drinking water from natural springs that fed the lake. These things also made a perfect park for children: the flat land – then punctuated with unsafe but exciting wooden swings, hand-operated merry-go-rounds, and seesaws – was great for running. We could drink from the springs, at that time corralled by a pipe. I’m sure the water was less than pure, but I never knew anyone to get sick from it. We could climb the gentle hills to the swimming pool, and, on special occasions, my father would spring for a quarter to rent a rowboat to take us on the lake.
It was a child’s paradise except that we could never climb the steeper hills on the south side of the lake. That was reserved for the “colored people,” as the other two-thirds of the park was reserved for whites. I was curious, as children are about anything forbidden, but never dared to go. I understood my parents didn’t agree with the law, but it was the law, and arguing was not permitted.
Flash fiction is not only a fun and quick read, but also a fun and not-always-so-quick write. The key is to create a succinct story – ranging from 250 to 1000 words – that preferably focuses on one specific character and ends with a twist or epiphany for the character in question. In my creative writing seminar, “A Way with Words – Away with Words,” Rebecca rose to the flash-fiction challenge and composed a three-piece collection entitled The French Connection – an homage to the artsy and quirky characters that populate the Parisian landscape. The first instalment, “Belle Époque,” recounts the musings of a somebody from a small town who always dreamed of making it big.
”Lose your mind and come to your senses.” Fritz Perls
In an age of never-ending parallel conversations, screens and second screens, and an even more interesting story just one swift move away from your fingertips, the most natural and humanly intuitive things suddenly don’t come easy anymore. It’s not easy to just go for a walk. To feel the earth give way under your feet. To listen to the wind whispering cold gibberish into your ears. To feel the sun on your skin, that warm yellow massage of light. To smell the green of the trees, to gratefully breathe in what they so lovingly breathe out.
Since our feet are already in ‘vignetty’ waters, let’s go for a dive!
After participating in an inspiring writing workshop with Jayne Anne Phillips as part of The 15th International Conference on the Short Story in English in Lisbon this past June, Jayne Anne kindly agreed to answer a few questions for the ASB. The resulting email interview gives our readers a glimpse into the many roles that Jayne Anne plays and her take on creative writing in a post-literate society.
Sabrina: Please use three adjectives to describe yourself.
Jayne Anne: Three words: these might change day to day, but today I’d say: Determined. Questioning. Hyper-sensory aware.
Since tomorrow is the National Day of Unplugging, we thought it only made sense to relaunch the “Thoughts of a Digital Alternative.” Here’s our advice: Use your phone today and “tell a friend.” If you still need assistance, download the unplugging kit: www.nationaldayofunplugging.com.
Believe it or not, I’ve never owned a cell phone. This sentence coming from a toddler might not be that astounding, but coming from a middle-aged woman who tremendously enjoys the company of friends, colleagues, and students, is rather surprising. Why wouldn’t anyone – with the exception of hermits and strict techno refuseniks – want to enjoy being and staying in touch all the time. Well, maybe it is exactly the “all the time” that I find disturbing. Of course, people tell me that you could just turn your phone off, that you don’t need to be online continuously, that it’s o.k. to be unavailable at times. And apparently, I’m not alone. Read more »
Perhaps you’ve toyed with the idea of becoming a professional writer, or you simply want to indulge in flights of fancy that you later commit to paper. Whether you turn your passion into your profession or rekindle the embers of that passion every now and then, there’s always something to learn from veteran writers. Since one of my passions is improv, I asked Anishnawbe writer Drew Hayden Taylor if he’d mind doing an improv interview with me. As someone who is used to scripting his characters’ responses, Drew was skeptical at first but warmed up to the interview in no time. During our Skype call, I sent him 10 rapid-fire questions one by one, which he, in turn, had to answer off the cuff. The result is a writer’s unadulterated lowdown on writing. Read more »