It's pub day for Flash Fiction America, the latest anthology of flash from W.W. Norton! Look for my little story "The Weatherman's Heart," originally published in Juked, alongside pieces by Aimee Bender, K-Ming Chang, Stuart Dybek, Kathy Fish, Gwen E. Kirby, Kimberly King Parsons, and many more. I'm especially excited to be included in this collection because of how much I enjoyed Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories From Around the World, published by W.W. Norton in 2015.
And don't forget to rate/review on GOODREADS!
Read on for some background on the creation of "The Weatherman's Heart"...
"The Weatherman's Heart": Story Behind the Story
In 2015, a meteorologist from my hometown received a heart transplant. He talked about it on-air, and it was a very exciting, inspiring local story that a lot of people followed. (As far as I know, he's still doing well!) I took out my little seed notebook where I chaotically list the ideas, or "seeds," for new work, and I wrote down the weatherman's heart. As usual, I didn't know what I wanted to do with it, but I was struck by the phrase's specificity and mystery. I thought it would make a great title, one that would pique my curiosity if I were flipping through a magazine's table of contents.
Most of my story seeds never sprout. But this one wouldn't let me go. After an interval of a couple of years, I came back to it. The "we"-voice of the collective narrator came naturally, as I'd already been experimenting with first person plural in other pieces. It was also pretty instinctual to have that collective narrator be a group of kids, whose interpretation of the sick weatherman would be skewed by the innocence and selfishness of children. As the story progressed, piling on images of a summer in the grip of a terrible drought and a crew of bored kids driven mad by the heat, what became obvious was that it wasn't really about the weatherman at all.
Check out "The Weatherman's Heart" in Flash Fiction International and let me know if you agree!