Favorite CNF, First Quarter

Well, I’m a little more behind with my First Quarter story picks than I’d like. Napowrimo took up quite a bit of my writing time and attention so I suppose that’s as good a reason as any. I hope y’all enjoy these stories as much as I did. It’s a short list but, oh so engrossing!

Balcony, 3am by Chelsea Clammer in Atticus Review. This story about verbal abuse is compelling and visceral. It’s very affecting in its honesty.

“At 3am, my husband steps out onto the balcony—steps into my office—and begins to make himself abundantly clear.

He makes himself abundantly clear for an hour.”


A Glacial Slowness by Tara Isabel Zambrano in Matchbook. This is a powerful story about a father’s illness and its effect on the family written with a lyrical touch that makes it all the more poignant. It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of Tara’s Flash Fiction and I love that she’s branched out into CNF.

“My mother is standing on the porch, wearing a lemon-yellow nightgown. She is rubbing her left eye. Something in it, she says. When I get close, I see her cheeks are wet and the edge of her forehead blurs into the crisp, golden air.”


You’re an Alien in your Body by Tolu Daniel in The Magunga. A wonderful, sensitive essay on memory, fear, and healing that will have you thinking about it for hours. Tolu is a talented essayist to watch.

“When we get wounded and our wounds heal over a period, it leaves scars. Some scars leave and some scars take residence in our body forever. And because the body is the landlord of the scar, it will always exert itself with every given image that reminds it of the wound.”


My Dad Says the Sun by Paul Crenshaw in Hobart. Oh, I loved this story so much! It’s so full of colloquial goodness and rich imagery, yet it has a sad undercurrent that’s unmistakable.

“He says he loves my daughters like a hot pig loves cold mud. Like a June bug loves a porch light. Like a tornado loves a trailer park, and when I make fun of him he says for me to shut my pie-hole, which makes me wonder why it’s so hard for men to talk to one another without hiding behind the illusions of anger and indifference, without the pretense of violence.”

Image via Pixabay

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