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About Merkin

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    Virginia USA
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    breathing in...breathing out

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  1. London Bridge is Down

    I confess that I am a bit spooked by this piece. Is this the actual procedure to be followed upon the death of the monarch? It seems to lack safeguard against false alarm. I''m particularly worried about the new hire, Anthony, kicking off the process. Also, it seems unfinished -- where is the story going? Kiran and Adam and John, barely introduced, would appear to be the key to the next part of the story. Are you planning to go on with this, William?
  2. Valentine's Day 2018

    I second that! I enjoyed every one of them. I love the special occasion stories we put together for Valentine's Day and Hallowe'en.
  3. Can you help me find this story?

    My high school drama teacher always said "What happens backstage, stays backstage -- unless I catch you at it!"
  4. Caravaggio Eyes

    So bittersweet, to have stumbled upon a real-life analog to an artistic vision--and so human, to fail to seize the moment. A wonderful poem for all of us who have spent hours musing over what we should have done.
  5. The em dash

    Poets have long used the em-dash, as one of a set that includes the comma, the semicolon, and the colon, as a rhythm determinator. Witness the citation given Emily Dickinson within the article vwl has linked for us--although sweet Emily was overly prone to using it for gasps and 'dear me' moments within her verse. These expressions of poetic rhythm and pace is key to the ability of non-rhyming free verse to seize upon a reader's imagination and understanding.
  6. You Belong To Me

    Can't decide whether this fine story is wonderfully uplifting or profoundly heart-breaking. So much lost time!
  7. Slang

    I suspect that Australians, just like Yanks, have generational slang, and the slang the old folks continue to use brings a wince to any younger Aussies who hear it. Likewise, I bet older Australians deplore what comes out of the mouths of their younger generations, and view it as yet more proof that their culture is crumbling.
  8. "Of course I won't laugh," said the nurse to the patient, "I'm a professional. In over twenty years I've never laughed at a patient." "Okay then," said Bob, and he proceeded to drop his trousers, revealing the smallest adult male organ the nurse had ever seen in her life.. In length and width it was almost identical to a AAA battery. Unable to control herself, the nurse tried to stop a giggle, but it just came out. And then she started laughing at the fact that she was laughing. Feeling very badly that she had laughed at the man's private part, she composed herself as well as she could. "I am so sorry," she said, "I don't know what came over me. On my honor as a nurse and a lady, I promise that it won't happen again. Now, tell me, what seems to be the problem?" "It's swollen," Bob replied. She ran out of the room. (Thanks to kiwi for this one. May he rest in peace.)
  9. AwesomeDude 2018

    That’s an awesome set of changes, Mike, and I applaud your willingness to keep fine-tuning the site. I think we will all benefit from these initiatives. I think the addition of Flash Fiction to our author pages is a fine idea. Will this be retroactive to include earlier entries, or could each of us be responsible for bringing up nominations from the past for this new listing? I am of the opinion that not all of my previous contributions to Flash Fiction are all that worth preserving, but there are a couple of titles I’d like to bring forward to be listed. I’m looking forward to April, when AD turns 14, and hope to learn that you have been able to restore that hair. Keep looking in the mirror. James
  10. Brass Balls

    The end of "Brass Balls"--or is it? A wonderful wrap-up, immensely thoughtful as is your style, Chris, plus just the wee hint that there might be more to come, one of these days. Thank you, Chris, for this lovely gift culminating now in the holiday season. And what better way to observe whatever holiday all of you follow, than to find and press Dude's Donate Button? Please do it, one and all. James
  11. Nicolosi

    Thanks for the nudge, bi_janus. Joseph Nicolosi was a founding member of NARTH, and the originator of “Reparative Therapy” 'through which he "helped" thousands of individuals with unwanted same sex attraction.' -- as stated on the website Catholic, which in itself is an oxymoron...
  12. Can we say this now? About Frickin time

    I think the old ‘house’ system might be of great benefit in large comprehensive schools. Call them ‘pods’ or ‘covens’ or by whatever educational jargon is currently fashionable, but a division of large school populations into subsets with staff trained and assigned to facilitate the civic well-being of these more manageable smaller communities might go far in detecting unrest and identifying bullying.
  13. Christmas is often a hard holiday for persons who are feeling lost, abandoned, or bereft. It is difficult to discover the hope that the season offers, even harder to reach out and grasp that possibility. Sometimes it becomes our responsibility, as writers, to examine that possibility and offer it up framed in such a way that, just perhaps, our version may touch the heart and mind of someone who is adrift. We may all have examples to cite of stories that work this magic. One of those stories, in my opinion, is Eliot Moore’s “A Fragile Light”:
  14. Sex in novels

    Writing gay fiction aimed toward a receptive audience has very nearly become an apples and oranges undertaking, with some readers committed to seeking out stories stuffed with sex scenes while other readers are mostly interested in savoring the romantic interactions and aspirations of the main characters. Any extended perusal of Nifty soon reveals that writers long ago ran out of new and inventive ways of describing how one person’s Part A can fit into someone else’s Part B. Even multiplying the number of people involved appears to have stretched the writing imagination as far as it can go, short of dismembering the participants. Romance, however, seems to spring eternal, and the possibilities may be inexhaustible. Writers interested in lengthy careers and building an expanding fan base might do well to consider the rewards of examining love over lust.