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Mickey Laurence Cohen: Flash Fiction Is Only for the Moment

Guitar Study 1

photo: Frank Merenda via Flickr

I hate short stories. Hate to read them, not a big fan of writing them. I like novels, I like the feeling I’m entering an entirely new world, or creating one. The best novels can build their own vocabulary, even a new language altogether. Short stories are windows. Windows are nice, especially with curtains, and in my novels there’s always at least one character either staring out of a window or looking into one. Usually frustrated. Because looking through a window is not the same as being there.

The best novels can build their own vocabulary, even a new language altogether. Short stories are windows.

Of course, most novels read like extended short stories. And most short stories read pretty much like all the others. I’m bitter.

I’m not fair. A novel is to a short story what an electric guitar is to an acoustic. And don’t get me started on classical guitars.

They’re really quite different beasts, creating different types of music. Sure they look the same, and you can play some of the same things on them. But that overlooks the potential of each to achieve something unique, something impossible to produce through any other art form.

Which brings me to flash fiction. If novels are the world, if short stories are a window, flash fiction is that one sudden sharp thought that lets you know you understand the world, all of it, now, for this moment. If only for this moment. They’re not the guitar, they’re that one perfect note.

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About Mickey Laurence Cohen

Mickey Laurence Cohen is an American writer living in France, where he also performs as a musician under the stage name Mickey Zero. He is currently putting the finishing touches on a novel, The Long Night of the Last Thief.

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