Back in 2017 I scribbled out a piece called The Girl From Alberta which, after a suitable period of reflection/editing, I entered in Puritan Magazine’s annual Thomas A. Morton Memorial contest. It long-listed, but did not place. Only slightly impoverished by the submission fee, and emboldened by the spot on the long-list, I began to sub it out.
It has never placed as a complete piece.
Feverish, dejected, impatient, (and impious), I broke the piece up into segments (it lent itself to that, being written, in a way, in serial) and began to place it as flash fiction. More rejections came, for sure, but also, some acceptances.
Aquarium ran on Spelk’s website. A Shotgun and a Shovel on the Molotov Cocktail. Soon, Republicans, Catholics, and the Entire State of Texas will run on Sledgehammer Lit. All of these are drawn from The Girl From Alberta, which I have also pitched, unsuccessfully, as creative non-fiction, because it’s basically biography with just enough fabrication to avoid litigation.
Does this mean that TGFA failed because it’s basically stitched-together Flash in the first place? Or because it’s between fiction/non-fiction/goddamn prose-poetry it belongs nowhere? Nah, I don’t think so. I don’t think you can draw any hard conclusions from this save that writing is writing and that as long as you are working on it, working on something, it will prove useful.
Who knows, maybe some day TGFA will appear in the whole. Until then, you get it in serial, over a period of years, and not in the order it was written. And so it goes …