HS Amy teaching in classroom

Flash Fiction (or, Tales From the Plague)

by Amy Sedivy

Moving to remote learn­ing was a chal­lenge in so many ways. For my liter­a­ture classes, would we read Beowulf aloud over Zoom? Would we discuss Home­go­ing in small break-out groups or all together on the main screen? How would we deal with the random dog or cat that so easily disrupted any point I was trying to make? (We always stopped to admire the animal.)

My creative writing class and I tossed around ideas. Students had been spend­ing two or three weeks in class, writing stories. The idea of not seeing each other for that length of time made us all unhappy, but the idea of tuning in to Zoom and silently writing just sounded weird. So, I suggested a weekly flash fiction. On Fridays, I posted a prompt. They had time to work on it during the follow­ing week and our class Zoom-met on Thurs­day. Every­one posted their stories on Google Class­room. We chatted briefly about the chal­lenges of that week’s prompt and then we all stayed online and read each other’s stories, writing our comments at the end of each story. We commented aloud occa­sion­ally – Vivi, you managed not to kill anyone off this time!” and Peter, how did you get the idea to use the float­ing garbage patch?” 

The cama­raderie returned slowly over the weeks and it almost started to feel like our regular class meet­ings again. We were reluc­tant to sign off at the end of class and reluc­tant to end the semes­ter. Several of the students asked if we could keep going! So this summer, I will continue posting prompts and we will continue to meet once a week. 

We put together a book of all the flash fiction, calling it Tales from the Plague. A PDF is avail­able for you to read. Note that these are all drafts and not partic­u­larly edited for grammar or typos. But they are enjoy­able and wide-ranging! The book is arranged by prompt, allow­ing you to read all the diverse contri­bu­tions for each week’s prompt. From time travel, to talking to a famous monu­ment, to contem­plat­ing the end,’ the writers’ imag­i­na­tions take you all over the world and beyond. Email Jennifer@​thewaverlyschool.​org and she will forward the PDF!