So I entered my first flash fiction writing contest hosted by The Angry Hourglass. Rules are simple: write a story with a maximum of 600 words based on a simple prompt. I didn’t win, which is fine, and having never had my writing reviewed by another, received some great feedback, which is pasted below. Here is a link to the winner; here is the prompt…
…And here is what I wrote:
“The First Noble Truth”
Contrary to what his father thinks, I taught Little Jonny how to ride a bike; I taught Little Jonny life’s most valuable lesson: balance.
You wouldn’t know it by looking at me today, but I used to be bright red. Little Jonny named me “Fire Engine” and together we raced through town to wherever the day needed saving. You see, Little Jonny’s parents divorced when he was eight and he, living with his mom, moved out of state. Little Jonny’s father took him to buy a bike that first summer; Little Jonny picked me. That’s when I taught Little Jonny how to ride.
Little Jonny’s father only stayed a week and well past the training-wheel age, I put my best foot forward and took the initiative to show him the bright side of life. Little Jonny had a tough time making friends and his mom worked two jobs. But he had me and I led him places he would otherwise have just sped by. I took him to those places to show him things, and in showing him things, I taught him about life—the good and the bad. That’s how I taught him balance.
Little Jonny, of course, grew older and on his 16th birthday, his father bought him a car. All of a sudden Jonny made lots of friends—“friends” who used to pick on him and made him cry. He even landed a girlfriend. Needless to say, Jonny lost his “Little” and he didn’t need me anymore. Propped up against the side of the house, I’d see him pull into the driveway. Those first few weeks I was excited to see him, hoping I could take him out for a spin. But he ignored me. Rain battered, cooked in the sun, I waited and waited and waited. I rusted; my paint split and once, he gave his friend’s little brother one of my tires.
I taught Jonny balance. I was the one who led Little Jonny places. Now, with Jonny at the driver’s seat, his hands upon the wheel, he went to the places he wanted to go. And who needs balance when you have four wheels?
Here is the feedback:
The First Noble Truth by Joshua Bertetta
I couldn’t place the voice here, and that’s because Joshua Bertetta is a new writer to me. I will be seeking out more of his work post judging.
I loved the personification of that bike. “I taught Little Jonny life’s most valuable lesson: balance.”
Haven’t we all named our first ‘true’ bike and have it take us on adventures? My Dad kept mine for me – I think he thought I could pass it to my son. I nearly cried seeing it rotted and rusted at the back of the garage – so when I read the penultimate paragraph I felt a genuine lump in my throat.
Great description of the bike’s stoical demise.
That’s the sign of great writing for me – emotional connection.