Buffalo Loves Flash Fiction: Greg Gerke book launch @ Rust Belt
by Michael Kelleher
Flash fiction, as has been mentioned in these pages before, is fiction written with few words, usually fewer than 500 words.
Buffalonians seem to enjoy it quite a bit. For instance:
Forrest Roth ran a Flash Fiction series at Rust Belt Books for several years and edited the Flash Fiction column here in Artvoice.
Buffalo small press Starcherone Books published an anthology entitled PP/FF, which stands for Flash Fiction/Prose Poetry.
One of the writers originally featured in the Flash Fiction Series, Kim Chinquee, now teaches at Buffalo State.
Not to be outdone, Buffalo small press Blazevox books has gone and published a collection of witty, surreal flash fiction by Greg Gerke, a recent transplant from Brooklyn.
(I should also note that Greg will be henceforward editing the flash fiction here in Artvoice, as Forrest is heading south to get a Ph.D. in creative writing. Good luck, Forrest!)
Gerke’s flash fiction collection, There’s Something Wrong with Sven, contains work that is similar in form to the story printed here, “Family Ties,” in which a youngish man is forced into renewing a less-than-desired bond with his aging father at a diner in a small town called “Swisshome.”
This Friday, May 15, starting at 7pm, the book will launch with a reading at Rust Belt Books (202 Allen Street). The event will feature homemade food and drinks, plus readings by several local writers, including yours truly, Blazevox publisher Geoffrey Gatza, Kim Chinquee, Forrest Roth, and others.
There will be doorprizes.
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Shelby’s last meeting with his father was on his father’s ‘turf.’ His father insisted on this and Shelby traveled to Swisshome and they went out for lunch at a family diner. Shelby wasn’t in the best mood from traveling all the way to Swisshome, a small town most easily accessible by train, and when pressed he let his father know the one day journey had put him out some, while his father could have easily visited him as he even offered to pay for the plane ticket.
His father gritted his teeth. “Listen buddy. When you have a kid and get to be my age you can always request to meet on your turf. This is the right of the elders. Wise up.”
Shelby twisted his face and listened to his father continue to reminisce, addle and preach.
Years later Shelby spoke to his estranged daughter on the phone asking her to set aside their differences. “Well I thought we would meet on my turf.”
“Your turf? Dad what are you, head of a gang or a crew?”
“No, no, my turf, my home.”
“You can come here, there’s plenty of room.”
“That’s nice of you hon, but I believe I have the right to ask this. Being I am an elder and everything.”
“Dad did you join some cult? Honestly I’m afraid to hear your next sentence, that’s how weird you’re talking to me right now.”
“No hon really, this came down from grandpa. Really, the right of the elders. It’s a bloodright, it came down through the blood.”
“But grandpa’s been dead—Dad I’ll get Sam to write you a prescription, you need medication. You need help. Jesus it’s starting. Now I have to be in your life. The decline, the fall—it’s so awful. Oh God, why now? Next week I was going to start Pilates. Why is it starting now?”
Issue Navigation> Issue Index > v8n20 (week of Thursday, May 14, 2009) > Literary Buffalo > Buffalo Loves Flash Fiction: Greg Gerke book launch @ Rust Belt
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