Top Ten Journals For Flash Memoir
Whether you call it micro-memoir or flash nonfiction, stories about real life told in the compressed form of flash fiction (or is it prose poetry?) are soaring in popularity for readers and writers. And if you’re anything like me, you might be wondering where to scatter your latest slivers of tiny truth, cold and dear like creek pebbles. Well, look no further pebble-seekers, here’s a handy list.
The following journals not only outright say they are interested in ‘flash nonfiction,’ most even have a Submittable category dedicated to the genre (which says so much more).
Edited by CNF (creative nonfiction) guru (generously unpretentious reader of the universe) Dinty Moore, Brevity has been a leader in reshaping the landscape of contemporary literary memoir. But don’t take my word for it. Check out a few scintillating lines from a recent flash published in Brevity by Daisey Hernandez called “Wings”:
One of my favorite pieces of flash memoir coming in at just over a thousand words and proving that arbitrary rules (like that defining cut-off line known as word count) are merely that–arbitrary–is “Glass Beads” by Sonya Huber
In the green fake-velvet jewelry box I got sometime in high school, I keep two smooth blobs of glass about the size of grapes. They rest heavily in my palm and make tiny tik-tik noises when their surfaces touch.
3. River Teeth (“Beautiful Things” Section)
Yemassee tends to publish a handful of nonfiction in every issue. Generally inclined towards flash, they regularly include at least one excellent nugget of flash memoir every couple of issues or so. Whatever their rate, Yemessee’s editors know their business: the selections have been purposeful. I am absolutely taken by the opening of Elizabeth Horneber’s “Tiger Claws”
A man named Tienan taught me how to survive in China—it was all in the mouth. He taught me the way of positioning the tongue in order to be understood, the way of sucking on bones, on crab cartilage. The way of loving was in the mouth.
In addition to the journal, the blog also secretes pearls of flash memoir from time to time. My favorite lately being this series of questions by Heather Steadham
A BRIEF CHRONOLOGY OF PRETTY, creative nonfiction by Heather Breed Steadham
Six months before conference: forty-year-old woman, mother of three, wife of middle school teacher, mostly unemployed in order to pursue degree in writing and rather broke as a result, registers to volunteer at conference so fees will be paid. Beseeches friend in area for bed in order to avoid hotel costs. Talks two colleagues into carpooling twelve hours across four states so gas can be split three ways. This conference is vital to her career.
If you like brisk, you’ll love the ending to Catherine Brereton’s
The green arrow signals me to go, and I go, easing the car onto the road that she’s galloping along. She’s running not on the sidewalk, but in the cycle lane—I’ve heard it’s easier on the shins—and I nudge the car out slightly as I pass to give her more room. Then, she’s behind me, and I see in my rear-view mirror her flushed, hot cheeks, determination etched on her face.
The current issue contains one incredible piece by Bryce Emley that the table of contents classifies as nonfiction but what looks on the page more like poetry…
An amazing reflection on the joys and woes of parenting awaits in “Blackbird” by Beth Bilderback. It ends in an ecstasy of tangled emotions. It is a symphonic, syntactical vortex of a vexed letting-go:
These days, time races by in a blur and Eli stays up long after I’ve gone to bed, into the dead of night, and both day and night he feels as if he’ll never take flight, his shoes too heavy, his aura too black, feels like he’ll never manage to connect, this old soul in a sixteen year old body already impatient with the world’s absurdities, he is only waiting, as I was only waiting for him to arrive in my lonely life, crows on the backyard gate, a glossy feather landing in a dead field, winter sun glinting off the power lines, Poe’s silhouetted beaks, into the light of the dark black night.
Although you must be a member to see the full contents published within the pages of Burningword, the editors of the website offer snippets of their creative nonfiction fare and the flash stands out. I’m almost sure this wonderful snippet is the opening of a flash based solely on the first few lines:
If I could give a trophy to my favorite piece of flash nonfiction, I would give a huge pewter flashlight to this one about anatomy class