Monday, July 04, 2011


At the end of March, I lost both my parents. Both passed away within a day and a half of each other. I'm still reeling from the shock and the psychological trauma. Due to these events, I'm pretty well devoid of thoughts nowadays. Also pretty well without energy or desire to do much . . . of anything. The out-of-context quotes below represent (maybe) my hope to one day be able to think again. Right now my "specks of ink" are few and far between and everything seems unusually . . . fragmental. So while I'm trying to find my way again, here are some quotes worth thinking about.

From Steve Almond's This Won't Take But a Minute, Honey (from his essay "This Is Just My Bullshit"):

"We are living in an era of screen addiction and capitalist pornography. As a species, we are squandering the exalted gifts of consciousness, losing our capacity to pay attention, to imagine the suffering of others. You are a part of all this. It involves you. This is the hard labor we're trying to perform: convincing strangers to translate our specks of ink into stories capable of generating rescue."

On the Fragment: from The Art of Brevity (Per Winther, Jakob Lothe, Hans H. Skei, eds.) from the essay "Aspects of the Fragment in Joyce's Dubliners and Kafka's The Trial" by Jakob Lothe:

As Valierie Shaw has noted, Kafka insisted that his short story "The Stoker" be subtitled "A Fragment" (241). One one level, there is an appealing modesty about this kind of insistence. But why? It is perhaps because we tend to think of the fragment as somehow subordinate or inferior in relation to the novel? The thrust of this essay has been to suggest that it is not. Rather, like the short story (which in one sense it metonymically represents), the fragment compresses literary meaning into a short segment of text, yet by doing so it also extends meaning by drawing attention to the incomplete and fragmentary nature of verbal representation. As a variant of the short story, the fragment is semantically "loaded" in a way the novel is not. Considered from this angle, the fragment is reminiscent of the genre of poetry, and it is by no means coincidental that the German Romantics wrote both poems and fragments. Better than most literary tests, the font fragments considered here illustrate how intertwined are the temporal and spatial aspects of narrative. As Novelis writes in his fragment 492, "A penetrated space is a time space. A penetrated time [is] a space time."

Screen addiction, hard labor, paying attention, loss . . . and so many fragments to deal with. Such is life, I guess.

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At 10:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am very sorry for your loss. My losses have not been the same as yours but I completely understand the effect that you have described. I wish you peace in your journey.

At 10:25 PM, Anonymous Michelle Stimpson said...

So sorry to hear about your parents. Take care.

At 6:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Pam,
I wasn't sure how to get a hold of you. I just sent in my meial to subscribe to the Flas fiction workshop but realized (after doing more reading) that it might be over my head. I am just a beginner and this workshop might not be the best place for me. Can you recommend a flash fiction course? I took a Haibun class with you back in 2006 (I believe) and it was awesome. Thank you for any suggestions you may have. Take care, Vicki (

At 9:03 AM, Blogger Pamelyn Casto said...

And I'm so sorry for your losses as well. These things are never easy, as we often find out. I wish you peace in your own journey. It's so nice of you to offer your comfort. Thank you.

At 9:06 AM, Blogger Pamelyn Casto said...

Thank you, Michelle. What a hard journey this is (for anyone enduring such heavy losses). I also just checked out your 'net site and it's very nice!

At 9:21 AM, Blogger Pamelyn Casto said...

Hi, Vicki. So nice to run into you again. And I'm especially happy to hear that you enjoyed our haibun course together. I also teach a four-week online course in flash fiction but unfortunately I'm without a teaching home right now. For the past few years I was teaching my courses through flashquake but they've recently changed owners so I decided to take a break from teaching the courses for a while. However, as soon as I find or set up a new teaching home, I'll sure let you know. And no, my free online Flash Fiction Workshop wouldn't be over your head. It's made up of beginners to highly accomplished writers so you'd fit in fine at whatever skill level you consider yourself. If you'd like to join, just let me know and I can add you in soon. There's often a waiting list but at the moment we have room. We've been going strong since 1998 and show no signs of slowing down, I'm pleased to report. You'll learn a lot from the fine writers there now. It's quite an active workshop, too. Plus, we also critique haibun but don't often get such pieces submitted there and not all of our writers are familiar with that type of writing. But a few of us are. So just let me know what you'd like to do, Vicki. And I'll certainly let you know when I get settled into a new teaching home. I so enjoy teaching the flash fiction course (about as much as I loved teaching the haibun course).

At 1:06 PM, Blogger John Hansen said...

So Sorry about your parents...
On the bright side, awesome blog.
I just started a flash fiction blog of my own, but hardly anyone has visited it. I think that you and your viewers would be very interested in it. It's entirely dedicated to flash fiction. I would also be thrilled to review one of your flash fiction stories on it for FREE.
Here it is:


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