#1 Nicole Rivas: Master Flash Fiction Author Everyone Should Read
“You do not want to explain a thing. You want to bewitch the reader by the preservation of mystery” -Gordon Lish
Nicole Rivas chapbook from 2018, “A Bright and Pleading Dagger” (Rose Metal Press) sold out so quickly that it took me years to obtain a copy here in the U.K. Since I have done so, I carry around with me everywhere. I have read it multiple times in multiple coffee shops, each time gawking and marvelling over this brilliant writers’ original sentences. Rivas’ accessible, chilling, seductive, sad and often, darkly-comedic writing is deeply original.
The following is an excerpt from “Death of an Ortolan” by Nicole Rivas, from A BRIGHT AND PLEADING DAGGER (Rose Metal Press, 2018).
On the second date, Penny and I went to an aquarium. She paid for both our tickets because I was only working part-time in a pizza shop and making minimum wage. Penny, on the other hand, was a gynecologist. More specifically, she was my gynecologist. When we were watching piranhas rip apart a human cadaver, I said, “Penny, I’ve been thinking, and I’ll feel terrible if this turns into something real. I don’t have anything to offer you. I’m not even in college.” I couldn’t believe it but as soon as I said that, Penny grabbed me by the shoulders and kissed me on the lips. Her tongue was like the inside of a tomato. When she pulled away she said, “It’s too late because this is already something real. I love you more than I love my own children.”
This author’s work is not for the faint-of-heart. Her writing is serious business, and lovers of the form should be paying attention. Every sentence, every paragraph of Rivas’ flash fiction is equally strange, beguiling, hilarious and disturbing. If you’re an advocate of finding your own voice, and how to tell a story your own way as I am—reading Nicole Rivas’ fiction can teach a writer all they need to know.
On her website are links to recent stories, as well as information about a forthcoming collection. Here is a link to her website.