My tendency is to write LONG. Most of my short stories are upwards of 5,000 words, and several have pushed the 10,000-word mark. (I also regularly overshoot my word limit in reviews for the Post. Fortunately, editors have proven indulgent to a point.) All of which is to explain how pleased I was to write a short story just under 1,000 words — and now to have it published by SmokeLong Quarterly, a fine online journal. While I’d hesitate to call it flash fiction, “Up, Up and Away” did come to me in a flash: the image of two young boys turning an old faux-leather recliner into a playground for the imagination — and then something terribly magical happens, changing that imaginative landscape forever.
Check out “Up, Up and Away” here — and a passel of other terrific stories in SmokeLong‘s big 30th issue. My own favorites include: “Eulogy to Maria Mamani, Fire Eater” by Ed Bull, “Yams” by Gary Fincke, “The Corn” by Kathleen Hale, “Buckaroo” by Ravi Mangla, “Conjugation” by Jen Michalski, and “Between Budapest and Dying” by Dean Marshall Tuck. — Art Taylor