In the Classroom

  • Train Dreams: A Novella
    Train Dreams: A Novella
    by Denis Johnson
  • Bluets
    by Maggie Nelson
  • We the Animals: A novel
    We the Animals: A novel
    by Justin Torres


The Impenetrable Tower

She had curly, red hair. You could say it was long. Every day, after struggling to get out of bed, she would pace the fourteen steps, the length of her tower room. When she was done with this she would sit down and stare at the cracks in the floor around the trap door, magically shut. After exactly five minutes of this she would get up and make herself tea. From then on till it became noon she would stare out of her window, passionless, watching the birds fly around outside. From noon till three she would get out her embroidery and fill in the round eyes on the human form she was growing on the blank background. From three to five she would read towards the sun's decline in the west. From five till seven she would consider when she should turn on the gas lamps. From seven till eight she would get ready to go to sleep. From eight till ten she would lie awake in bed, staring at the ceiling, closing her eyes tightly to force herself to sleep. From ten to eleven she would criticize herself for her lack of ability in falling asleep. At twelve, finally, there was sleep. One day her prince finally showed up, but he was so late that she just laughed at him and turned on her boom-box and began dancing around to the music. She heard a "fuck you" as the horse’s hooves hit the ground telling her that he was going back to his own tower in a distant land. That night she let herself down and went out to the small pond beneath it. From then on she stared at the moon.


Flash Fiction is about brevity. It's talking about the stuff you can say with the stuff you can't say. It's honing a hundred sentences into ten and in other words it's honing down what you really want to say to the essential and the bare bones. It's funny and it's sad like most other categories of literature, but mostly it just kind of does what it wants. But what it wants most of the time is to be brief and so will I.