Happy New Year!
Over on Codex, where I’m a member, there are a number of flash-fiction writing contests each year where contestants are given prompts and have a short amount of time to write a new tale. This story started here, with the prompt being “Interview an older generation relative and write a story around something you learn from them.” Well, at first I thought that prompt was out for me, since all my older relatives are gone. My siblings and I are now the eldest of our tribe.
But then I remembered that my sister had, just two weeks before, sent me a clipping she’d found from an old newspaper. It turns out that our maternal grandfather, a fireman in Toledo, Ohio, had jumped into the river to save a potential suicide’s life. I’d never known this about him–none of us had. Grandpa had died when I was just three.
Now I really wished I could talk with him and find out why he’d done this. The clipping had plagued me, so I decided to write this story using that clipping as my “interview.”
I changed a whole lot, of course. My grandfather’s background was German, but his name was Arthur, not Otto. And as far as I know, no one in my family has committed suicide, thankfully, although there is a streak of depression running through us.
This story is also special because it marks my first “repeat performance,” and at a market I love. A definite Writer’s Career Bingo square, if not two.
So there you have it. A chance bumping together of a story prompt and an unexpected, yellowed newspaper clipping about my grandfather’s young days on the fire squad brings about my first repeat sale to a market.
Here’s hoping the year only goes up from here. Wishing you hope, health, and happiness in 2019.