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SmokeLong Quarterly

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Letter from the Editors (30)

December 22, 2010

Our former lead editor Randall Brown has talked a lot about how to critique flash fiction in a workshop setting—especially when there are so many different types of flash. But the one thing that he said that really stuck with us is that when it comes right down to it, the best question to ask might be: “Does this piece matter?”

We think that the 20 stories presented in this issue do matter—in a big way. These are the stories that lingered on in our minds long after the first time we read them. There are the miscommunications and sense of loss in stories like “Yams,” “Language Barrier,” “How We Handle Our Midnights,” “A Goblet Falls,” “Her New Friend Jesus,” “What Do You Do?,” and “Up, Up and Away.” The strong description of place and nostalgia in “Dairy Queen” and “Crash-o-Rama!” and the sense of whimsy and wonder in “Between Budapest and Dying,” “The Good Woman” “Three Jokes” and “Buckaroo.”

In “Eulogy for Maria Mamani, Fire-Eater” and “Inside,” the lyricism of the language shines through. In “About Things That Are Lost and the Places That Things Get Lost,” “Conjugation” and “Amelia” there is an energy that is infectious. And “The Corn” and “Life Lesson” are haunting stories with a gritty reality.

In addition to our regular issue, we also are celebrating our 30th issue (and eighth year of publishing) with five amazing 30-word stories. In just 30 days, we received more than 1400 submissions in our 30-word story contest, and guest judge Robert Swartwood helped us whittle those down to these five stories here. The five winners each received a copy of the anthology Hint Fiction, which Robert edited, and which is getting fabulous reviews all over the place. Congratulations to the winners!

As this year is wrapping to a close, we just want to thank all our readers, contributors and supporters for another great year. We also want to thank (and virtually hug) our wonderful staffers at SLQ—Gay Degani, Nancy Stebbins, Davin Malasarn, Brandon Wicks and our founder and publisher Dave Clapper—for all their hard work, good judgment and sense of humor throughout the year.

Happy New Year!

Tara Laskowski and Beth Thomas
Senior Editors, SmokeLong Quarterly

December 22, 2010

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