Fictionaut has always offered the invaluable opportunity to share, learn, and connect with other writers. It is my belief that the fruit produced can only be spoiled by the assumption that any one person has more potential, more talent, or greater gifts than any other contributing member. What sums each of us up uniquely is our particular process of filtering input and forming output. We must gather our tools one by one, work with them until they are available to use and apply them with a grip that has formed to fit only our own hand.
Whichever platform of language we choose to communicate with must be mastered, thereby allowing the knowledge of just how far the rules can be bent, or when they should be broken. More so, we must always feed on new input and master the ability to interpret the sounds that resonate from the gut. The greatest story that any one writer can craft is one based on his or her own experience, perspective, and voice. To temper the tone of your voice in order to please the ears of your reader is a terrible mistake. With all of that, I tell you humbly that I am master of nothing other than the ability to be completely consumed by a well-wrought story, considered thus solely by my own opinion, for what it’s worth.
Whenever I begin reading a piece, I am aware of the fact that there are words arranged on a page. I am aware of my senses, which have nothing directly to do with what I am reading, but affect the purity of the attention being paid to the words. I am also thinking about the fact that I am thinking about the fact that I am reading, and truth be told, saying to myself, “I hope this doesn’t suck. Dear God, please let this be brilliant.” As a reader, I am either lazy or persnickety. Never fussy, but I gotta be grabbed in the first few lines. I want to have my heart broken, my face smashed in, my pulse changed. I want to be inspired, destroyed, or both.
The titles I selected were only a few that I enjoyed and with little time to read as much as I would have liked to. Mind your business. Live bravely. Fuck the rules. Write it down.
Here, the narrative finds you wherever you’re at, takes a seat on your shoulder, and tells you a story — rather, points out a story unfolding. The voice in this piece is simple and easy, which is key to making the story accessible so that the reader is taken directly into the middle of the scene, without the scant awareness that there are words being read. Quite simply, this is the mark of a great storyteller.
I like this piece because of its quirk. There is an odd slant, slight enough to be noticed, but not to the extent that I could not connect. I was drawn by curiosity to know these characters. That last paragraph caused me to consider myself in her situation. Nicely done.
Consider these two lines:
“These days I’m sore afflicted with gout and the weight. She had them put the bed on bricks to stop the frame from collapse.”
There is a poetry to Claffey’s style. This can be dangerous. With the application of rhythm, alliteration, triplets, and the like, the writer runs the risk of losing the reader by spinning them off into fantasy or fancy. When well applied, these mechanisms become tools by which a deeper connection is attained. In the excerpt, Claffey presents two simple observations written with creative word choices. Granted, I find a certain beauty in the tone and accent of his native Irish tongue, but the point remains that when I read this piece aloud in my own voice, it flows effortlessly. An unknown nerve is struck. The story sticks. Fewer words are needed when words are well chosen.
There is simply no fucking around with this wonderful little piece. I want to write like that four-year-old boy. I want to slap his parents. They are the majority.
Again, I am rewarded with a perfect measure of quirk and an accessible level of brilliance.
A unique approach to telling a common story. Capped and personalized with the last sentence. A fine read!
Michael Dickes is a writer, composer, and filmmaker. His stories have been published in Southpaw Journal, Thrice Fiction, Metazen, Kerouac’s Dog Magazine, Thunderclap Press, Apocrypha & Abstractions, Connotation Press, Thumbnail, THIS Literary Magazine, Blue Five Notebook, Riff Raff, Duality, The Istanbul Literary Review, and others. His songs have been featured in film, TV, and radio. He is founding editor of Awkword Paper Cut. More information about Michael can be found at www.michaeldickes.weebly.com
Editor’s Eye is curated by Michelle Elvy (Fictionaut profile here). She writes and edits every day at michelleelvy.com, and readers can also find her editing Blue Five Notebook (with Sam Rasnake) and Flash Frontier.