Welcome to today’s edition of the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette, the new lifestyle magazine of culture for adults only! I just discovered Yume Magazine, a high-end fashion magazine full of female nudes, erotic fiction, interviews, art and videos with more female nudes. Sound familiar? It’s out of Australia and its print edition only comes out twice a year. It’s a really good-looking glossy magazine and of course it has an Internet presence which is how I found it. In other words what Yume Magazine is doing is really no different than what I’m trying to do with The Gazette except that no one would mistake my little girlie magazine for a high-end fashion magazine. That’s okay. I’m not a high-end fashion sort of person.
But I digress…
Yesterday, I got in a nice walk through Schenley Plaza and around the campus of the University of Pittsburgh. It was a sunny day with a high around 73. Patrons waited on the steps of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, the public library. The doors opened which told me it was around noon (I don’t own a wrist watch) and the patrons began to file end. Children on the large grassy area of Schenley Plaza played with a huge plastic ball of different colors that was full of air.
It was one hour before the Steelers played the Dolphins in Miami. All the smart money said the Steelers were going to kick ass.
There were only a few people under the pavilion and at the tables on the walkway, but most of the tables outside of The Porch which is the lone sit-down restaurant in the plaza were full. Brown, red and yellow leaves were scattered about on the ground here and there.
For me writing blog posts of between 300 to 400 words long has always been a snap and that’s how long my average blog post use to be; but now that I’m committed to a blog post of 1,000 to 1,200 words long every Monday, Wednesday and Friday I’m learning how to blog all over again. I’ve turned to the fiction of F. Scott Fitzgerald for guidance. This is not as strange as it may seem.
Fitzgerald is considered a great American author. This was not always the case. During his writing career between 1920 to 1940 he was considered a successful popular writer because his fiction brought him a very good living in the 1920s and early 1930s; but he was considered a hack when his work started to bring in hardly enough for him to keep body and soul together in the late 1930s. But now his position as a great American author is secure.
I’ve always liked his work, especially his best short stories. Right now I’m re-reading Flappers And Philosophers by Fitzgerald, his first collection of short stories published in 1920 after the great financial success of his first novel This Side of Paradise brought him fame earlier in the same year. He was just 23 years old. I can’t get over the success people like Fitzgerald have when they are so young. Of course, he died when he was 44 years old. I’ve read all of his work several times over the years, but I’m re-reading Flappers And Philosophers again because these stores run anywhere from 4,000 to 6,000 words long. These stories are re-teaching me how to structure blog posts that run from 1,000 to 1,200 words or even longer.
Yesterday after I came back from my stroll I put on a crock pot of ham hocks and black eye peas and then I took up my favorite position flat on my back on the sofa with two pillows under my weary head as I munched on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and sipped tap water from a plastic bottle and listened to the Steelers and the Dolphins on the radio while I read my F. Scott Fitzgerald I had checked out recently from the public library. This is what life is like for me when I’m not hanging out in Little Italy…Of course, I do other things when I’m not hanging out in Little Italy like go through all my junk mail that I’ve put aside to read later. Important mail I read immediately.
When you’re a baby boomer like I am you get a constant stream of junk mail specifically aimed at the demographic you represent. Of course, I expected to get mail from AARP which is aimed at people who are retired or will soon be retired and Medicare which is medical insurance for low-income senior citizens and mail for life insurance. I can’t afford the luxury of life insurance. I’m happy I can pay for my dental insurance.
What I didn’t expect although I should have was the constant stream of letters from people trying to sale me funeral insurance…Which got me to thinking. Will the Veterans Administration bury me? Will my surviving siblings have to bury me? In the middle-ages my body would be thrown into an unmarked common grave for paupers. There is no way I can afford funeral insurance. What will happen? This is definitely a subject for further study…
In the meantime I plan to be back on my regular beat in Little Italy in exactly 14 days.
Hail to Pitt!
Miami 30, Pittsburgh 15
The Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette is a great place to watch Naked News videos. Naked News has its own category. Scan down the sidebar to Categories and then click on the first link and enjoy the program that has nothing to hide.
Checkout my book in the sidebar. In my opinion everyone who appreciates the craft of flash fiction should own his or her own copy and at the same time you will be supporting the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette. If it wasn’t for the stories in this book I would not have won a fellowship valued at around $60,000 that allowed me to finish my MFA at the University of Pittsburgh in 2006. And if it wasn’t for the stories in this book there would be no Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette. The book is the start of everything I’ve done with flash fiction.
If you are not already a regular reader of my little girlie magazine, now would be a great time to bookmark it or to sign up for a free email subscription today. Checkout the site. There are more than 2,200 posts on the site and new content is added on a constant basis. You’re sure to find something that will entertain, inform or inspire you. Today in Pittsburgh there will be a mix of clouds and sunshine with a high around 77 and a 60% chance of rain. I hope to get in another stroll to Schenley Plaza and around the Pitt campus later today. All photos used for this blog post were sampled from Egotastic All Stars.