the museum of americana is an online literary journal “dedicated to [work]…  that revives or repurposes the old, the dying, the forgotten, or the almost entirely unknown aspects of Americana.”


In their latest issue, they’ve published two heart-wrenching flash fiction pieces that you can read here.  My brief review below.


Here are two stories written by two authors — Peg Alford Pursell and Erin Armstrong — but are connected in feel and subject matter. Both have a sense of quiet longing or a sense of loss. The language and sentences work in harmony to create this lonely aura around each. Take for instance the first line in Pursell’s story: “The day after Christmas. Snowing. The countryside white. All the streets. Dark footprints led to the station.” Here, the snow has blanketed everything, creating a kind of quiet stillness that introduces the story. More, readers arrive at a “station” which brings us to a moment of significance — someone arriving or someone going away. In Armstrong’s piece, in which the narrator contemplates her past relationships, we get this heartbreaking line: “Three months he wrote and inquired as to her being.” The “three months” indicate a start and stop to their communication (in this case letter writing), and the lack of intimacy in “inquired” and the lack of specificity in “being” creates a kind of cool distance and aloofness. I mean, people “inquire” about a new vehicle, not a person with whom they are intimate.


What do you think of these two stories? Drop a line in the comments section if you’d like to be part of the conversation.


Life as a Shorty: a weekly blog dedicated to recognizing and celebrating short stories.