An Octopus with a Narwhal Tusk by Tanya Cliff — NEW FLASH FICTION REVIEW

An Octopus with a Narwhal Tusk by Tanya Cliff — NEW FLASH FICTION REVIEW
— Read on newflashfiction.com/an-octopus-with-a-narwhal-tusk-by-tanya-cliff/

Hey WordPress friends, I’m thrilled to share that my story is live in Issue #26 of New Flash Fiction Review! It’s a flash fiction fast read.

“While Timmy’s puzzle concoctions drive me crazy, I can relate to him. My father abandoned me too. I was sixteen. He had terminal cancer. At least my dad didn’t have a choice.”

Hello

Hello WordPress Friends, 

It's been a long time since my last post. I hope this finds you all happy, healthy (especially given the past few years of global pandemic), and creating many new works. The world desperately needs your art, music, poetry, and stories.

This last fall I started my MFA in Creative Writing - Fiction through Emerson College in Boston, MA. Thanks to Zoom and some highly gifted professors and cohorts, I have been able to attend fulltime from my home in the beautiful Driftless Region of Southwest Wisconsin. The Writing Workshops have been challenging and productive, and I continue to grow and learn daily. I just found out that one of my flash fiction pieces, "An Octopus with a Narwhal Tusk," has been picked up for publication in New Flash Fiction Review. I will share that link as soon as the story goes live. 

Going forward on this blog, I plan to post some short fiction and poetry, share links to pieces picked up for publication, provide updates on my writing progress (because it motivates me and keeps me accountable), and share a few stories from inside my MFA journey and life in general. I look forward to reconnecting with you all. 

In case you were wondering, the new novel of literary fiction just hit 12k words. The first few chapters will be workshopped in two weeks. I am excited and a bit nervous and will probably share a bit about that post-workshop. 

Best Wishes,

Tanya (March 2022)

A Teaser…

US Major League Baseball season has been postponed due to the COVID-19, but tomorrow at the godoggocafe.com, we will step up to batting practice with our first drafts in hand. Join me in the Writer’s Workshop for some friendly encouragement, an editorial challenge, and few words from Stephen King. Even if you don’t have a prompt draft, feel free to hop in to the discussion. Participation is welcome at any time.

Stay healthy everyone!

Tanya

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Writer’s Workshop

Exciting News!
I am going to be hosting a weekly Writer’s Workshop over at the Go Dog Go Café on Saturdays, beginning March 7th. Please join me there for a fun, challenging opportunity to stretch your writing skills in the Café’s warm, friendly environment. I love the group at GDG! I’m thrilled to be joining them, especially in a format that explores the power of language in storytelling.

The Writer’s Workshop will stick with a single prompt response each month, limited to 150-300 words, and involve several editing challenges to the same response designed to sharpen prose. The schedule is as follows:

Week 1: The Fastball
This week, I will introduce some element of good prose and/or share encouraging words from favorite authors. Then, I will pitch the Fastball prompt. Participants can link their responses in the comments section, and I will share them the following week.

Week 2: Batting Practice
This week, I will continue the discussion and share the responses from Week 1’s Fastball.
The challenge to participants this week will be to cut at least 10% of words from their response in week 1, tighten their prose. The 10% cut comes from Stephen King’s On Writing, one of several writing books that you will hear me refer to on occasion. The cut might seem arbitrary, but it forces concision and encourages the use of powerful language.

Week 3: Curveball Challenge
And just when you think you mastered it…
This week, I will throw a curveball, a specific challenge designed to improve prose, some element to be added to the response from the Batting Practice in Week 2. We will use this challenge to explore some of the grammatical tools that can be used to create tension and drama on the sentence level in our writing.
I will also show how I handled the 10% cut from Week 2 (including my word counts) and provide links to the Week 2 responses of participants.

Week 4: Players at the Plate
I will sum up the month’s activities, show how I handled Week 3’s Curveball Challenge, and link to all the other participants’ rewrites. Writing is hard work. You can expect a lot of encouragement and praise from me along the way.

I hope you will pull up a chair in the Go Dog Go Café and join me for the Writer’s Workshop. Visit the Go Dog Go Café to learn more.

Tanya

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Did I Say?

Did I say that I want you?

Alice enters the room and stares at Jimmy, waiting. How can he not remember? He yelled her name three times a few minutes ago. Her knees need replacing, and the hallway—stacked with bins of her half-finished crafts and quilts—requires negotiating. He had sounded afraid, almost panicked. She responded as fast as she could hobble, but, now, he looks up at her, baffled.

Alice’s children had warned her about getting involved with a man that late in life. Her daughter had complained, “He just wants someone to take care of him.” Her son had been less tactful, “He is broke. He needs your money.” What money? Her mortgage had been paid off a few months before her husband died (eleven years ago, but it feels like yesterday), and she is the sole the beneficiary of the modest life insurance policy he left behind. It covers the property tax and puts food on the table, not much more than that. She had heeded their warnings for two years, but Jimmy’s persistent pursuit had proven charming. Or maybe she had just grown weary of driving herself around town and pulling the garbage to the curb once a week.

Jimmy takes the garbage out now, at least if she reminds him; and he is a good driver, provided she pays attention and tells him where to go. When the kids ask her about Jimmy’s driving, she ignores them. (She doesn’t tell them about the woman he nearly hit in the parking lot of the grocery store last month or how she had to grab the steering wheel last week when turned the wrong way down Highway 35.) She hides the car keys from him, so he can only drive when she is with him.

Did I say that I need you?

He had told her that he was going to rake the leaves out back and then watch the golf tournament on tv. His shoes sit on the mat by the back door, clean, empty. He looks at Alice, vacant, the television remote upside down in his hands. The tv is off, the leaves, not raked. Jimmy turns away and stares at the blank tv screen.

Alice wants to yell at him, no, to scream, but Alice loves Jimmy too much to raise her voice. She walks over to him without saying a word and presses the power button on the remote control. He grins as “Wheel of Fortune” lights up the screen. As he fist pumps a correctly guessed letter, he shreds her dreams in a dignified air of victory.

~

©2020 Tanya Cliff

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This is my response to Stephen’s Level Up Challenge that combines several prompts. Thanks to all these talented humans for the prompts:

https://godoggocafe.com/2020/02/11/level-up-writing-challenge-2-11-moves-to-the-cafe/

https://godoggocafe.com/2020/02/11/tuesday-writing-prompt-challenge-tuesday-february-11-2020/

https://lifeafter50forwomen.com/2020/02/10/what-do-you-see-16-february-10-2020/

https://amanpan.com/2020/02/10/eugis-weekly-challenge-love-february-10-2020/