Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Snowvigate/Kim Chinquee/Paula Bomer/Flash Fiction Review

Nominating Editor: Doug Martin

Snowvigate was started on Mother’s Day 2006 as an attempt to join the online community of writers. Now it has branched out into a press. Entitled Online Writing: The Best of the First Ten Years, our first printed book is due out in January 2009, and includes 112 writers from 55 online journals.

We are interested in publishing poetry, flash fiction and drama, non-fiction, short essays on critical theory, prosody, and poetics. We want to see genres coming together and huddling in a blizzard to keep warm. We want to see verbs slapping the hell out of lazy nouns. We want work that soothes the bones like calcium. We want to see God's syntax in snow.

“Down the Road,” by Kim Chinquee, which appeared in our first issue, Spring 2006, was perfect for Snowvigate. In the flash, Kim’s speaker is an odd bird of a person, dealing with the daily surrealism of someone on the edge. Also, I think this story is much different than most of Chinquee’s work. As with any of Kim's work, we were more than happy to snap it up and post in our debut issue.

Nominated Flash Fiction:Down the Road” - Kim Chinquee

Reviewed: by Paula Bomer

Language is an ever evolving tool, and like anything–a hammer, for instance–it can be used for many things. Chinquee’s use of dream-like imagery and surrealistic visions are grounded in a few ways: firstly, there are linear motions to her events; secondly, she often says things plainly and simply as in; “My dad got schizophrenic and my mom left him.” (In my mind, this is the most important sentence in this 500 word flash). But most refreshingly, she uses disturbing imagery–a cow in a trunk, vomit, humans so enormous one can’t see past them–to deepen the very strong emotional core to the story. This is no small feat, when often explorations in language seem to be used to obfuscate emotional centers, rather than strengthen them, in contemporary writing.

Chinquee’s first person narrator also contrasts nicely with the fantasy elements in that a first person account often feels “closer” to a reader. It is this constant juxtaposing of the various uses of language–to pull in or push away a reader–that are one of the pleasures of reading this story. And in such a short time, Chinquee covers quite a bit of ground and says so much. The sadness of this woman’s life–her schizophrenic dad, some shady men when she was younger, the loss of the farm, where she repeats “they sold everything” three times–stand out in relief against the bits of innocence and joy, as in, when talking of her sister; “ she and I would run in snow, then fall to make angels.” And it is to a similar image that she returns for a beautiful ending, an ending with hope, and one that shows the narrator has moved on as she brings her past with her.

Reviewer's Bio:

Paula Bomer grew up in South Bend, Indiana and now lives in New York. Impetus Press will publish her collection of stories, BABY, in 2009. Her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in The Mississippi Review, Fiction, Open City, Storyglossia, Word Riot, juked, Sub-Lit, The First City Review, X: The Erotic Treasury (Chronicle Books), Night Train and elsewhere. You can find links to her work or reach her at http://www.paulabomer.com.

Thanks for visiting Five Star Literary Stories and reading about this flash fiction.


bevjackson said...

Wonderful flash and review. Very enjoyable. Fresh and yes, different from much of her work I've read.

online creative writing jobs said...

the Snowvigate anthology should be released soon if i am not mistaken, correct?

I really look forward to it i have many friends who are being published! I look forward to being too.