Flash Recommendations: Ecstatic Cahoots

Ecstatic cahoots

Photo Credit: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Ecstatic Cahoots by Stuart Dybek is a collection of 50 flash fiction stories that “target the friction between our need for ecstatic self-transcendence and our passionate longing for trust between lovers, friends, family, and even strangers.” ~ Publisher

I confess that one of my peak moments as an author was sitting in “the green room” for Chicago Story Week with Stuart Dybek and Roxane Gay. Pinch me! Sharing the stage with them while I toured for Flashes of War was an honor, not to mention the fact that these two writers are also just plain nice to chat with.

As I gather course materials to teach Into the Flash this spring (join me!), I asked Stuart Dybek about his thoughts on flash. Here’s what he had to say:

“Flash fiction is an umbrella term. One can argue about the date but I think most would agree the term is 90’s vintage. Was there such a thing as “flash” fiction before that? A one word answer might be “Duh.” A more comprehensive answer: Read Andreas Huyssen’s Miniature Metropolis. Writers working with miniature fictions before the advent of flash fiction as a homegrown American phenom are likely to have a different perception of it than younger writers whose models for flash fiction have been flash fiction. I had any number of early models: fables, Russel Edson prose poems, the prose poem in general, longer works that were written in fragments or vignettes. I of course value the speed that flash implies and even more the concision. It’s certainly not an either or, but what continues to fascinate me most is compression.”

If that isn’t a teaching in and of itself, I don’t know what is! If you’re inspired to read, write, or learn more, I hope you’ll join me as we take the leap and delight in this fun genre this spring. This is often described as a “game-changer” class and I don’t say that lightly. I give this every ounce of my heart, soul, skill, and imagination. Early Bird Registration is open through end of business day, March 18, 2019. Come join us!

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