Archive for January, 2013

Arnzstigation Days: “Longing”

Posted in Books, Writing with tags , , , , , on January 24, 2013 by Scott Emerson


In honor of Arnzstigation Days, I’d like to share a flash fiction story, as well as a little bit about the book and its author, Michael Arnzen, who inspired it.

(Speaking of Arnzen, have you contributed to the Fridge of the Damned Kickstarter? It’s a wicked sweet magnetic poetry set coming from Raw Dog Screaming Press. For more info and to donate go here: And may I mention that pledges at the “Audiovillain” level gets you, among other cool items, a CD recording of Arnzen reading at the Morgantown Poets/Raw Dog Screaming party from May 2012. It’s an awesome event; I know, I was there.)

What I wanted to share was a poem inspired by a piece of Arnzen’s digital art, but it appears the piece has been taken down from Arnzen’s site (and Twitter has since eaten the poem as well). So instead I’ll be offering my short-short “Longing.”

“Longing” wasn’t inspired by any one specific Instigation or Twisted Prompt; it’s part of the flash fiction flood unleashed in my brain after reading Arnzen’s excellent flash collection 100 JOLTS. I scribbled a TON of microfiction, much of it bad, after devouring the book. Yet the way Arnzen utilized clever wordplay, vivid and bizarre imagery, and pop culture deconstruction prodded my muse like few books have, and I continued to hone the shorts. Finally I got something I was happy with.

“Longing” was origially published in August 2004 in FLASHSHOT.

by Scott Emerson

I long to sever your vocal chords.
That way, I couldn’t hear you say, Stop. Don’t. I don’t like when we play this game. I hate seeing you bleed.
But I wouldn’t. Like you’ve said, it’s not my style.
The awl slid effortlessly into my eardrums.

In closing, let me add that Michael Arnzen has been more than an inspiration or favorite author. He’s been a valuable mentor and friend, one whose advice and wisdom has greatly benefitted my work in the near-decade I’ve been fortunate to know him. I would not be the writer I am today without his influence.

Whether or not that’s a good thing remains to be seen.