Friday, January 15, 2010


The image below was the visual prompt for 'Silhouette', the twelfth Clarity of Night flash fiction contest held by Jason Evans (and supported by his awesome spouse, Aine.)

You can read my entry a little farther down, and if you don't care about my unique state of mental health, you should just skip to it.

I have to defend some earlier whining I did on Facebook.  I had problems with writing this entry, as I always have, because I'm such a perfectionist.  Every word must be right.  I had three ideas that seemed decent, but none of them wanted to be transcribed.  This resulted in a few "Woe is me" type Facebook status updates, one of which was taken as me saying that I can't write.

However, here's what I meant:

The thrust of being a writer is for other people to read what you've written.  Hence, what you've written must be disseminated somehow.  If you can't make a deadline by which what you've written shall be disseminated, then being a writer may not be the most appropriate vocation for you.

I didn't mean to say that I have no talent as a writer, but my perfectionism often results in procrastination and down-to-the-wire work.  I know this about myself, but I can still be surprised by the ways in which my fear-of-failure manifests.   And, while I do have some talent as a writer, I'm still learning the skill of showing-not-telling (take that, undergraduate creative writing professor who said I would never learn).


Are we all clear now?  Moving on.


Blonde upswept hair, black pinstriped pantsuit, lacy pale camisole. She’s like walking moonlight. Tim mistakes her for a reporter.

“I’m sorry, this is a restricted area. You can contact the front desk in the morning for an interview.”

“No, Dr. Dalton, I’m here to see you.” She advances on him with predatory stealth and berry-moist lips. He lets her push him back into his office, onto the immaculate camel-colored leather couch.

Tim flashes the smile that says “Here I am, brilliant and single, corporate success at the age of thirty-seven, perfect hair, and a rock-hard six-pack. Of course you’re here to see me.”

He almost doesn’t hear her ask about the bird.

“Excuse me?”

“BIRD - Bio-Imaging Regenerative Device. Nanotechnology that facilitates the connection between synapses, like a bird flying from branch to branch. Research conducted by Dalton Labs. Paid for by a private Alzheimer’s foundation.” Her crisp recitation efficiently snuffs his flame-bright smile.


“Secretly sold to the CIA to rewire the brains of suspected terrorists.”

Shit. He knew that contract would bite him in the ass.

“Look, if you want exclusive rights to the story, I’d be willing to work something out.”

“You underestimated your backers.” Her voice slices through his bluster. “Don’t worry. After I rewire those charming synapses of yours with your own technology, you won’t even remember to feel guilty.”

The full-pane windows display the skyline, drowning in the inky darkness of the Bay waters.


  1. She's quite something, this femme fatale of yours.

  2. This is awesome. You are awesome. I enjoyed this a lot.

  3. I didn't enter, though I meant to (time just keeps slipping by...). But now I'm kinda glad I didn't--there's no way I could have competed with your story. WOW! It was brilliant!

  4. And I have to learn Telling.
    I suck with narratives! :(

  5. Really enjoyed this, Aerin. It was about as perfect as it could be.

  6. Great story,Aerin, and truly original. I was in the office with your characters and could feel the tension.

    Thanks for commenting on my attempt, first for me. It did feel like a junkie thing once I eread it. I love the way people get different things from our writing, the feedback lets me see my own things differently.

  7. You said: "If you can't make a deadline by which what you've written shall be disseminated, then being a writer may not be the most appropriate vocation for you."

    I think you need to read Stephen's recent do-be-have or have-do-be or be-have-do or whatever the heck it was post. Go. Read now.

    Back? OK. BE the writer. DO the deadline. HAVE the adoration of the public.

    Yeah, yeah. I'm going to try to take my own advice too.



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