State of Flash — Flashes of Truth

A confession: what I write is always true. The concept of fiction has always escaped me—there are no characters here, no description of who they are or what they have done, nothing fantastical, no hammering of nails into dragon’s tails or anything along those lines, there is just me and a mysterious you, perhaps a she, perhaps a he, perhaps a child, perhaps a mother and a father, a grandmother and a grandfather.

Non-fiction is meant to be long—word counts higher than clouds on top of clouds, the books fat and ever thickening. There are stories to be told that are longer than lives—that start at beginnings and document everything: the hospital, the putting on of shoes, the first settlers.

Or is it?

I am constantly in medias res, as in the middle of the story. Nothing important is happening: there is no room for a denouement, there is no last days of summer, school starting back up, end of a war that will end things neatly. What is felt is still felt and will continue to be felt: what is not being said is just as important as what is being said.

Keeping it short in non-fiction is a way to keep it sloppy—there is no way I can possibly tell you everything that has happened: the dialogue between kisses, the smell of a waiting room. There is no way that I can tell you the lesson here because I do not know it yet—tests have yet to come back, the girl is still on the other line though it is quieter now, many more gaps in communication. The shortness here allows to make finite what can seem infinite, a gathering of uncertainties.

Perhaps the flash, the nano, is a way to express those gaps the best that we can: these isolated incidents dropped into a deep fryer until they harden and can be fished out with a slotted spoon, to contain something raw that is too intimidating to swallow whole. We are here to build the house, Sugar says, and this rings true—that maybe if we collect enough of our thoughts and wrap them up tightly, we will have something larger in the end: a sparkling mosaic, a roof full of stories so strong and tightly packed together there is no way that the water can come rushing in unless we let it.

Brian Oliu is originally from New Jersey and currently lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. His collection of Craigslist Missed Connections, So You Know It's Me, was released by Tiny Hardcore Press in 2011. His collection of lyric essays based off of videogame boss battles, Level End, was released by Origami Zoo Press in 2012.