Sunday, May 4, 2008

On "In Flight" by Michelle Richmond (494 words) *****

Back in 1999, when Michelle Richmond was a relatively new writer with only a few publications to her credit, a story of hers appeared in a journal called Cutbank, in which a story of mine was also featured. I too was a writer with only a few credits to my name. I'm still that writer, with only one story--and a pretty bad one at that--published since what has been to date my most successful publication and probably one of my most successfully written stories. Richmond, by contrast, has published widely, has gone on to some acclaim (I seem to recall an interview a few years later in Five Points), and has even had a few books published. There are probably some good reasons. Richmond has written some fine stuff. "Satellite," the story that appeared in that issue of Cutbank was probably the best story in that issue (not counting mine, of course--right?). And this short short featured back in 2006 in Vestal Review, one of the best journals for flash fiction, is another great example of good writing. Decent short shorts are fairly easy to come by; a really fine short short is another story. It's hard to take a person's breath away in five hundred words or less (the Vestal Review's limit). Here, Richmond conveys all the hope and angst there is when being a single person on a plane. At least, it conveys some of the desire I sometimes have--I doubt Richmond and I are the only ones that nurse such an imagination. Strangely, for all the times I've ridden alone on a plane, I've only managed to sit beside some really fine looking woman once--but we did strike up a conversation. She had a fiancé, of course. (And with my fairly obscure religious beliefs, I generally don't expect a random conversation with a complete stranger to ever turn into anything anyway--but it's nice to think about.) Read the story here.


Michelle said...

I just came across this while compiling stories for a collection. I was searching for stories of mine that I no longer have on my computer. What a delightful post this is--thanks so much for your kind words about the Vestal Review story. And it's also nice to be reminded of that old issue of CutBank! I'm impressed that you've kept this blog going this long and are consistently updating it with great content--but sad to see that My Day in Hair is defunct!

Short Story Reader said...

Thanks for the kind words about my blog(s). My Day in Hair may be defunct, but that has allowed me to concentrate on a few other ventures, so it's all for the best. I come across works of yours from time to time, but mostly offline these days.