trying out Flash Fiction with Story of Objects

I’m in the process of considering how The Story of Objects might manifest itself in the world and I continually return to the stories I am hearing and how delightful they are. It is a privilege to have them shared with me. And you. One of the issues is how to contain them and keep them manageable – for teller, writer and reader.

My first attempt to do so was to invite 30 second videos, which resulted in some wonderful stories being shared. Some fun ones, some sad ones, but mostly celebratory. The technology was a barrier for people – uploading to YouTube is not easy for those who don’t have a penchant for technology. I recently heard about Flash Fiction so did a bit of research and thought I’d try it with some of the stories. By doing this, it brings the story and the object to the fore, by using them as a starting point to create a relevant, but not necessarily true, narrative, that is focussed on the combination of the person and the thing.

For the purpose of this exercise, have a look at this one by Catherine Cartwright and this one by me.

And here are my first attempts at Flash Fiction, only 100 words each. Feedback welcomed.

Flash Fiction #001

glass bowl screen grab

She found it in the garage amongst debris and old tools, when she was nineteen years old. A small, blackened glass bowl with a lid. Inside were some rusty nails. It was charred in the fire at Clematis Cottage, before her parents restored it. Polish and soapy water revealed a silver lid and a delicate, multi-faceted storage vessel. Forty years later her daughter dips her fingers into the coconut oil it contains and asks about the pot’s history. Holly says she has always admired it. When she dies Holly will inherit it. Soon. Very soon. Somehow she must tell her. *

Flash Fiction #002

catherine cartwright screen grab

She shows me her brooch, made of South African seed beads, strung with fine threads. It is an international symbol for ‘end violence against women’, which invites conversations, like an open door. A sign of solidarity – white hand, red background – white for peace, and purity, red for anger and blood. We speak of the unspeakable in the holding space it creates, where hands can be grasped in empathy, not gripped in fear. The hand on the brooch is held out to perpetrators – it commands stop, don’t do that. No. When it speaks we must listen to her.

*Holly do not be alarmed – this is the fictional part! x





Published by carolyn black

I'm an artist and also commission contemporary art in unusual locations. As a producer, I fundraise, curate, project manage and deliver projects. I'm also a writer and film-maker.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: