If you choose to read Patricia Q. Bidar, this is where you must start. “Stain” (New FF Review) is as much breathless, as it is about the exquisite details (windows lidded with wooden and peeked-through blinds/ citrus-y aftershave/ Alice’s tapdancing, sewing, straight-A childhood). Notice how Patricia keeps Alice firmly stationed in the Firebird during the course of the narrative, while her past, present and future is deftly accounted for. I recommend this story next. Make your way though the great detailing again, to get to the jaw-dropping last paragraph: “Beyond the floating drape splays Lake Pontchartrain, that talismanic ten-mile bridge. It would appear my luck is gone. I’m unensnared…” in “Lucky Day”. The writing is endearingly about characters who’ve tried, who have lost, but who haven’t let that pull them down. In “Before the Election“, consider the opening, “Like Judy in the movie, you are a fallen woman” , how it stuns the reader with the reference it draws; notice the seamless injection of contemporary events and wonder about the old man “who has felt pride”. For a taste of something different, try this story in Flash Frog, notice the use of disjointed events masterfully to build a piece that spans so much, space and earth, home and outside, and especially this line: “As if his sputtering light, the sounds he made, died before reaching me”.
In her interview with Flash Monsters, she says a writer needs to be “a good noticer. A lifelong reader. Get out there and STFU. Listen. And discipline.”, which is as much sound advice as anyone can give you. Read Patricia, be inspired.
Patricia is a widely published writer of flash fiction, someone I look up to with admiration, and hope to learn from. Read more of her excellent work in SmokeLong Quarterly, hats off to the way she touches the beauty and complexity of family bonds in a hide-and-seek manner and how one can never really abandon those ties.
Little Patuxent Review, Wigleaf, and Pithead Chapel, also published her writing. Her work is also slated to appear in Flash Fiction America (W.W. Norton, February 2023.) Nominated for Best Small Fictions, Best of the Net, Best Microfiction, and Pushcart prizes, the writer currently serves as Submissions Editor at SmokeLong Quarterly and Contributing Editor at Barren Literary Magazine.