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All About Choices

“If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”
~Neil Peart of the band Rush.

Neil Peart is considered to be the best percussionist of all time.

Here’s a link to one of Neil’s amazing percussion solos.

We discovered a few years ago—much to our chagrinthat our youngest child is a percussionist. One does not become a percussionist. One simply IS a percussionist. There are, as Terry Pratchett puts it in his fabulously funny book, Soul Music, natural drummers. And then there are the rest of us. Natural drummers thrive on constant noise. They MAKE constant noise, usually percussive. They tap with pencils, feet, hands, fingers, on anything and everything.

Still, choices had to be made. Do we allow her to pursue percussion? Do we put up with the constant noise, the nearly-inevitable hearing loss (ours AND hers), the need to find a space large enough for a drum set? Do we commit to buying a never-ending supply of sticks (because drumsticks ‘die,’ turning, quite literally, to sawdust at their core, making them sound dull when they come in contact with whatever surface they encounterand, believe me, drumsticks have encountered more surfaces that you can imagine in our housenot to mention that different sticks are needed for different purposes and on and on and on … )?

Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

She is happy as a percussionist. It fills her with joy and a sense of self that nothing else could have.

And, really, what is the very purpose of choice? Is it not an effort on the part of every individual to find that ever-elusive thing called happiness? We’re all on an epic quest for happiness. That’s what life is all about. We may define happiness differently. We may look for it by making choices that are destructive or don’t seem to make sense. But, at the core, that is why we make the choices we make. And that is why we face the consequences that come with those choicesbecause choices ALWAYS have consequences. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes a bit of both.

This month’s stories are all about choices and their consequences.

First, in “Touching Strangers” by C E Aylett, a woman and her husband choose to take a risk-filled journey to a new life.

Next, Frances Pauli’s hero faces some dire consequences for past choices at the hands of a dragon in her poignant tale, “Owning the Dragon.”

Then, from returning FFO author, Lora Gray, a hauntingly beautiful story about the struggle between choosing what is right over the very essence of self, “Water like Air.”

Last up, our reprint of the month, “Spring Thaw,” by G L Dearman. Originally published in the Iron Writer Challenge 2016, “Spring Thaw” tells the story of a man who finally chooses not to be broken.

Happy reading!

Suzanne Vincent

Suzanne Vincent is the editor-in-chief of Flash Fiction Online. That’s what people think anyway. Actually, she’s really a pretty ordinary middle-aged woman packing a few extra pounds and a few more gray hairs than she’s comfortable with. As a writer, she leans toward the fantasy spectrum, though much of what she writes is difficult to classify. Slipstream? Isn’t that where we stick stories when we just can’t figure out where else they go? Suzanne’s first professional publication was right here at FFO, published before she joined the staff: “I Speak the Master’s Will,” — a story she’s still very proud of. While she doesn’t actually have time to blog anymore, she once did. You can still read her ancient posts on writing at The Slushpile Avalanche. Suzanne keeps a house full of kids (3), a husband (1), and pets (too many to number) in Utah, USA. Yes, she’s a Mormon. No, there isn’t another wife. Mormons haven’t actually practiced polygamy since the 1890s. Too bad. She’d love to have another woman around to wash dishes and do laundry.


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