We received two flash nonfiction pieces this week from our first fiction author, Dawn Corrigan. As I suspect most folks are, I’m new to the idea of flash nonfiction as a subgenre. I emailed my overbearing and slightly tyrannical managing editor and asked if we accepted ultrashort nonfic and her response was a condescending version of “yes.”
Though I hadn’t considered flash fic/nonfic in this press format, the smaller word count – 750 to 1000 words, typically, fits well with the online journal/magazine in a way a 10,000 word essay simply doesn’t. Short pieces like these are easily read on the portable electronic device of choice – iPad, iPhone, Android, etc – and doesn’t require the time commitment four or five well-reasoned pages of a persuasive essay might. That said, the form lends itself well to capturing a moment, a thought, or a feeling in the same way a poem can – the “Abiding Image” that Cathy Smith Bowers tells us about in approaching her work.
Which begs the question, what is the difference between a short nonfiction piece well written and a prose poem?
—Carl Eugene Moore