Okay, a writer’s got to eat. The Old Soldier is back from the supermarket. If you’re a busy writer you may want to invest in a crock pot if you don’t have one already.
I brought home a corn beef brisket, one carrot, two green peppers, two onions and two cloves of garlic.
The Old Soldier soaked the brisket in cold water for about half an hour to get rid of some of the salt. Corn beef is so salty. The brisket is now in the crock pot. The brisket is a good size piece of meat so I did not add any water. The meat will make its own broth. You can add water if you want more broth.
In about four hours I’ll cut up the vegetables and add them to the crock pot. If I put them in now they will overcook. I’ll add a little seasoning. Then in two more hours I’ll have a hearty meal that I can eat off of for several days.
A crock pot can be a real-time saver for a busy writer.
More On Billie Holiday And How To Write Flash Fiction
The Old Soldier will be returning his two books on Billie Holiday to the public library tomorrow. But this is what the art and life of Billie Holiday taught me about writing flash fiction.
Part of Lady Day’s greatness as a jazz singer came from the fact that she was an ensemble singer, not a virtuoso. She wanted her voice to fit in with the notes that the musicians played. Her art was organic. She did not want to dominate the music. Her art was to blend in and to enhance the music. This style of singing was unique in the 1930s and 1940s. Audiences would sit in shock when she performed.
Singers didn’t blend in. They showed off. They wanted to be noticed. Not Lady Day.
The best flash fiction is also organic. Description, dialogue, characterization, action, locale, the weather, everything must work together to move the reader efficiently to a satisfying resolution that is organic to the whole.
And you the writer should set the action in motion as soon as possible and then get the hell off the stage. Because the story is not about you. It’s about the characters.
When Lady Day was at her best her performances were never about Billie Holiday; they were about the song.
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