“Freshman” published at Discretionary Love

I’m happy to announce that my flash fiction story “Freshman” was published by Discretionary Love. Read it here.

I wrote this piece in the first semester of my MFA program, and it was several hundred words beyond the limit for flash. I vividly remember a classmate waiting for me after workshop, saying, “Women only write stories like this because they really happened.”

Yes, he was a white male. Shocker, I know. At the time I’m sure I gave a tense smile in reply, but I wish I had said, “Of COURSE something ‘like this’ happens to every woman!” I don’t think I knew it then. But reading stories lately, especially the amazing “Just a Girl” by Kait Leonard and “Boys” by Jody M. Keene, have helped me see this is true, and maybe I should cut him some slack for realizing it, even if he didn’t broach the subject in the best way. (For one, don’t approach with a cocky sneer.)

That version of the story had less consent and more harsh reality. But when I got back into writing last year, I thought it was strong enough to submit, with some minor edits for word count and clarity. It was longlisted and then shortlisted for a Fractured Lit contest, but didn’t place. I started submitting it elsewhere, and it still couldn’t find a home. I started to doubt the story, but every time I felt like I should retire it, I thought of the contest.

A writing partner offered to look it over, and her fresh eyes and unique point of view were exactly what I needed. She brought things to my attention that I hadn’t noticed on my own, after working on this story off and on for over ten years.

So I revised it and fell in love anew with the resulting story. I sent it to two places, and it was accepted by the first place I sent it. I can’t believe I was so close to letting this one go, and I’m very glad it found a home. I hope you read it!

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