The Best of The January Project 2018 (and the Single Worst)

You may have noticed I spent January doing a different piece of Flash Fiction every day in January based on a randomly selected song from my (in my opinion) pretty sizable and varied (although admittedly mainstream) music library.

If you don't venture past The Feed, however, you may have missed it. With that in mind, I am bringing the best (in my admittedly biased opinion) of this year's The January Project to The Feed. And because I think it is interesting to look at failures too--and humbling and goodness knows I need to be knocked down SEVERAL pegs--I will also include what I think is the single worst offering of the month.

Please read all at once or snack on here and there. And, even more than usual, I'd love your feedback.


The Best (listed by day, not rank)

A world is broken by a "Boy in the Bubble" and experiments labeled miracles. The tone of it feel appropriately fragmented, confused, and pessimistic but the language still has a bit of beauty to it that I like.

My poetry is never good, it is important to accept that. But sometimes, despite their awkwardness, they tell a tale I like and so it is with "Hands Down." This takes the classic idea of a guy acting like one does in romantic songs or movies and getting rejected because that's weird in real life. The big reason it is here, though, is how it all ends up which I am (probably unreasonably) proud of.

"21 Questions" is a goofy relationship application that makes me smile especially at the questions grow increasingly specific and odd.

Probably the darkest offering of this year's Project, "You Are Free" sees a woman seizing a way out of her prison term for murder only to realize that where she is going will give her a far more gruesome fate.

"Daysleeper" goes to the future to a kind of dystopia where things aren't nearly as different as perhaps we'd like. I just really dig the tone of the narrator here and I'm happy I was able to introduce his sexual identity in a way that I think works. It doesn't deny it but it doesn't feel like Northstar screaming, "I'm gay," either. It feels, to my ears anyway, real.

If "You are Free" isn't this darkest offering, then "Once in a Lifetime" certainly is. A man wakes up in a life he doesn't recognize and decides it must be rectified with force? Is he right? Welllllll

I just like the creep factor of "I Will Possess Your Heart." It is so small, just one guy trying to resist an addiction of sorts, but it also conveys that if he fails, the stakes will be big.

A mom protects her late teens/adult son with a surprising amount of physical skill in "I Won't Back Down." It's fun to write action and it is fun to take the "older person actioner" genre out of the hands of men, even if it is briefly.

"H.W.C." was a really difficult one to do. If you don't know, the acronym means "Hot White (slang expression for semen)" and I admittedly get weird about writing about sex or sexuality when I know people will be reading it. I liked bringing it to life in text message though. I could be wrong, but it read like an authentic conversation between friends to me. I was happy I was able to tell a story where two people have very different feelings about certain sexual practices where it feels like neither is shaming the other.

As mentioned, poetry is not my strong suit. That said, I found "Blue" to be such a goofy delight to write and read and I'm betting you will too.

The Worst

A total misfire of an effort, "Cross My Mind" is about a woman in college admitting to her friend how she locked her father out of her life not because of his addiction past but because he once let her mom know that he caught her using. It's just...a mess. I like the idea but hate everything else about it.