Practicing the Craft

Flash Non-Fiction #1 – Waiting

ScreenHunter_24 Jul. 31 19.47I took on the Flash Non-Fiction Challenge #1 – writing about three things and how they may relate to one another.  I’m not exaggerating when I admit that I went through 30+ revisions, trying to find the perfect word, the perfect turn-of-phrase.

I was shocked at the ah-ha’s I experienced, but I’ll save that for another post. What I can tell you now, though, is that after I finished writing, I felt exhilarated and alive – truly alive.

As you complete your Flash Non-Fiction, send it over so I can post it; then, let’s talk about what we discovered about ourselves.


My desk is probably like yours; modem, router, speakers, and a phone, all joined by an oversized mug jammed with pens I never use and a blue-handled pair of scissors that I do. Crowding what little open space remains is a collection of fetishes picked up during my travels in the Southwest.

If you sat at my desk, I bet you’d reach for my turquoise bear. Crafted by an unknown Zuni artist, the fetish sat in a shop in Sedona, waiting for me to come along and rescue it. That was long before Sedona had its first traffic light or turquoise-arched McDonalds; back then, I could walk across 89A without dodging a mob of crystal-carrying tourists driving up Oak Creek Canyon. The Sedona of my heart is a place of evening walks across the mesa top and coyotes howling as the sun dips low in the west. In those days, the smell of juniper and piñon purified every breath I took. I keep the bear on my desk – along with several of his brethren – just to remind me of the novel that flows through my mind every time I revisit the abandoned pueblos of the high desert.Hoping that one day, it will emerge from the ruins with a form as solid as the bear’s.

On my desk,you’ll also find a single human figure, although what she’s doing amidst the bears and horses, stones and polished rocks I’m not sure. She’s a clay goddess, colored burnt rust and copper, hands pressed together in a blessing. Watching over the flock I suppose. Her wide face and rosy cheeks remind me a little of my own, except her smile never fades. Down low on her belly is a spiral, much like the labyrinth I used to walk. I remember one night when a group of us got together, drove out to the labyrinth, lit the path with small candles and walked past each other, ghostly figures moving in silence. My sister said she had a sense of all of us in hoods and robes, friars from an ancient past re-joined to perform a ritual we had once known so well.

Behind the goddess sits a tiny porcelain unicorn, a gift from my mother made many years ago. A strange gift, now that I think of it, as I’ve never been into unicorns in form or function. Standing only a little over an inch high, my unicorn prances on golden hooves, eyes twinkling. Tiny blue stars circle her neck as if reflecting the universe. I’ve broken her golden horn more than once, glued it back on, then considered throwing her away altogether. Somehow, though, I knew that would feel like throwing my mom away, and at age 91 her time ahead is short enough. I’ve always placed the little unicorn behind the goddess . . . I think something in me believes that as long as she is safe, so is my mother.

A bear, a goddess, a unicorn. All dance together at night while I sleep, telling tales of long-forgotten places, shamans who still walk the deep canyons,and the ancient ones who rain blessings upon us . . .. all dance, waiting for me to write the story.


  • thewriter

    Wow! Thanks Ali! I couldn’t believe how hard this turned out to be. It’s like learning to ride a bike again after 40 years!


  • thewriter

    Thank you! Isn’t it interesting that it took writing about these things for me to actually be aware of the deeper connection.

  • janecastellanos

    i really love that – Sedona is a place that holds a lot of mystery for me.. never been to USA.

  • Rene Rodriguez

    Very nice Nancy. Your non-fiction reads like fiction. I have a sense of “being taken away to a new place”. I like it very much.

  • Jayne Bodell

    Pretty cool Nancy. I didn’t realize there was flash non-fiction. I want to try flash fiction, but don’t know enough about it. I’m still in the “it intrigues me” phase. I even have the first line, but I don’t know where to go from there. ha ha.

  • Nancy

    Congrats on having the first line! Now, let’s make something happen 🙂


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