Flash Fiction Contest: Thalia

Write a story about Thalia and Win the Drawing on the Right
The contest closed Monday November 28, 2010
The winner is Patrick Nelson

11"x14" oil and mixed media 
on masonite panel
Click on pictures to enlarge.

The story you write should be a "Flash Fiction" which is a complete story in one thousand or fewer words.  Please post the story in the comment section, you will have to provide your name and an email address in order to be qualified to win or you can e-mail me at with your info.  There is a problem with how many characters can post (only about 4,000) so if you cannot post it.  E-mail it to me at

Go to my website for more contests:

Winning flash fiction stories will be integrated in with an exhibit in San Francisco at ArtHaus Gallery (April 8th for the reception).

The show is called:
Renovated Reputations: Paintings and Fiction inspired by Vintage Portrait Photographs

The exhibit will include a series of 20-40 paintings and mixed media works ranging in size from 8”x10” to 18”x24” framed with thrift store and vintage frames.  In addition to the exhibited works ArtHaus is publishing catalogs signed by me and as many of the authors as possible.

Catalogs/books will consist of image of the painting with the text of the “flash story” surrounding the image.  If I can get the authors to come to a book signing/party, authors would sign their pages for some of the printed stuff.

We're going to have a photobooth for the show for participants
to play with and vintage costumes.

Of course I'll send the authors free copies of the catalogs. I will announce the winners the day after the closing deadline for the competition. I'm planning on doing one flash fiction competition a week every Monday from now until April. 

(If the conditions in the side bar are not to your liking, I'm totally flexible.  Send me a contract that you like and I will mail it back to you.  I just don't want to chase people for signatures when I publish the catalog!)

Go to my website for more contests:
This was sent by e-mail:


Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! That’s what he is, my pa. Thinks I’m just a child. ‘Honey child,’ he calls me, and his voice runnin like syrup runs. 

‘Honey Child, gonna fetch papa a beer from the fridge, there’s a sugar.’ 

And I curtsies and says, ‘Yessur,’ and he blows me a kiss and I pretends to catch it and puts it in my pocket.

‘And don’t be leavin the fridge door open, Baby Doll, or Sookie’ll steal milk, or cheese, or butter.’

That’s my mom callin me ‘Baby Doll’. And she’s something the same as my pa, thinkin I’m a baby cos she still dresses me like one. Pink as Sookie’s bubblegum-tongue the dress I’m wearin today, and thin as air almost so you can see through it. Bubblegum pants underneath, too, with frothy lace trim. 

‘Isn’t she a darlin?’ says my mom. And I knows she don’t mean me – she means Sookie, cos she has the cat limp in her arms, holdin her high like a cat can fly, and she’s touchin noses with the cat and speakin sugary like my pa does. ‘Isn’t she a darlin?’

I brings the beer, the cap pulled off. Now could I really do that if I was just six? My pa looks at me like he’s surprised. I smiles sweet as candy and he drinks from his beer, holds the bottle like he’s blowin a trumpet, and the beer slips down easy.

‘You did good, Honey Child,’ he says, wiping the back of his hand across his mouth, and belchin like a cow.

I did good! Like he thinks I’m six, he really does. Fourteen I am next birthday, though the way they cuts my hair I looks like Shirley Temple, and that’s the truth, and I bets they wishes sometimes that they’d thought to callin me Shirley. That would've been jes fine.

‘Isn’t she a darlin?’ And my mom is still talking ‘bout the cat.

I excuses myself, closing the door gentle behind me.

‘Missin you already, Honey Child,’ says my pa. And I thinks again that he’s stupid, thinks they’s both stupid. 

I goes up stairs and climbs out of the window of my room and onto the flat roof where I can’t be seen from the porch. I can hear my mom and my pa talkin, the small hum of their voices, like they was just insects and I could squish ‘em if I wants. The flat roof still catches some of the sun and I knows Bobby Speirs will be at his window waitin. Regular as clock time, he is. Thinks I don’t see him watchin me. Thinks I don’t know. I peels off the baby doll dress and underneath I’m wearin a pink bra of my mom’s. ‘Course it’s too stupid big, but that don’t matter none. It’s all just a show for Bobby Speirs. I lights up a cigarette I stole from my stupid pa’s jacket pocket and I makes a show of blowing smoke rings into the air, leanin back, my lips poutin like I’m kissin Bobby Speirs, showin him what a kiss could be.

He writes poetry, see. Bobby Speirs writes poems down in a book with a black leather cover, the finest poems I ever read, and he keeps that book under a loose floorboard in the corner of his room. Don’t ask me how I knows. I jes does. And all his poems is about lovin me, truly. I read ‘em, every one. I’m like his muse, that’s what I thinks. Every poet’s gotta have a muse, right, and I’m Bobby Speirs’ muse. 

I hears my stupid pa on the porch below, burpin again and laughin like he’s the one is six, and I hears my mom talkin stupid to Sookie the cat, like it’s the only friend that ever listens to what she has to say, and maybe it is. And I hates ‘em both for being stupid, hates'em, hates 'em, hates 'em. And I thinks one day I’m gonna kiss Bobby Speirs good, for real I am, and I’m gonna tell him I knows. I’m gonna say ‘I knows I is your muse, Bobby Speirs,’ and then, him and me, we’ll make out on that bed of his, and afterwards he could put that in his book if he likes and my stupid pa and my stupid mom won’t ever know.
This was sent in by Patrick Nelson in jpg form.  I think it's kind of interesting!


    by Stephen D. Rogers (sdr633 at hotmail dot com)

    Thalia tugged at the corners of her eyes. "And her eyes are like this."

    "Uh, uh." Thalia's mother tipped the mixing bowl and began whipping the cake batter.

    "Jimmy, he called her names trying to make her cry. And Miss Thompson told him to stop but he wouldn't stop so Miss Thompson sent him to the principal!" Thalia lowered her hands. "But she never did cry."

    "Uh, uh."

    "Why do her eyes look like that? Do you think she can't cry because of the shape?"

    "I don't know, dear."

    "Now that she's in America, are her eyes going to change so they look like mine?"

    Thalia's mother shifted position to keep the bowl from falling. "Did you pick up your clothes like I asked you?"

    "Mom, you're not listening to me." Thalie debated stamping her foot. Her mother hated that.

    "You're not listening to me, Thalia Jean. I told you three times to pick up those clothes." Her mother plopped the mixing bowl onto the kitchen counter, sending up a white puff of dry mix that had lain there. "You need to learn to focus."

    "Yes, Mom." Thalia examined the floor, trying hard to focus on the patterns she sometimes found.

    "Now go get me the cake pan."

    "Yes, Mom." And under her breath as she walked to the cabinet, Thalia added, "She never cried."

  2. Thalia
    by William Greene {wgreene(@)pratt(dot)edu}

    Thalia walks ahead and lags behind every day. She squats down to destroy mushrooms or fuss over busy insect life. She uses her fingers mostly for good. Wonders out loud about being a good friend to a good world.

    But the crickets want to come home and sleep with me.

    That so? Then they won't be here to cheer us on our walks.

    You're right. The ground her by the path. It's they're home for us.

    Thalia makes a move toward getting older and making sense and losing some of the light which shines the way for me these days. She will be dimmed by beautiful men with a faulty hearts or by some close friend's thoughtless betrayal. I will hope for her and be there to talk her down. Lift her up and over into some new light as she has done for me these days.

    Read this, I will say one day and hand over some collection of light. She will then crawl out of her troubles with living — them that come in time like mold and termites and rust — she'll look up to my hand and take the text which once ferried me across a similar run of bad luck.

    Her mind might open a little, letting more light in and out, as it does now, here, where she is still young and we are still making our way down the path which leads back to the beginning of the morning.

  3. Again I had a hard time choosing which story I thought was “best.” It’s kind of weird because as a professor I grade stuff all the time for classes and I really don’t have a hard time assigning grades to students. In this instance, I don’t feel like I’m really choosing a best story but rather which one might fit in best with the overall theme of the image, the book and the show I have planned to exhibit the work. For this reason I chose Patrick Nelson’s story.

    I think the biggest reason why I chose his story because it was a kind of collage of texts, fonts, and ideas. It was sort of a textual version of the image of Thalia. Second, it was kind of creepy and shocking, especially with the obituary at the end.

    I also struggled with the idea of a joint award. Stephen Rogers and William Greene’s stories both really seemed about the same little girl and had sense of humor and a touch of angst. I was compelled by the racial component of “Epicanthic Fold” I identified with how kids see stereotypes that kids and unwittingly believe in them. Not to be too maudlin, but Greene’s story was very close to my own experience of my relationships with parents and the world. I also loved that it read a little bit like one of Mark Helprin’s descriptions of characters in his novel “Winter’s Tale.” It was prose but read like poetry.

    As usual, I really dig Dee Turbon’s story! Sometimes he seems to live in a “My Name is Earl” crossed with “To Kill a Mockingbird” world. The idea of poetry of a sort of trailer park variety, early sensuality, drunken parents, was a bit creepy but also, I could really see it happening!

    Read them all here:

    For more competitions please visit my website: