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The Circle Repeats

Welcome to July!

Here in the northern hemisphere, it’s the hottest month of the year, the coldest for our friends in the south. In six short months, those tables will be turned, time will march eternally forward, the circle of the seasons will repeat, over and over and over again.

Our mortal lives are a tiny fragment of that long sequence of years. But to us those years are everything.

At 52, I’ve lived more than half my life. I have a great many experiences behind me, and great many regrets, a great many memories–some that delight, some that haunt.

In Orson Scott Card’s Red Prophet books, Card describes life (for most of us, anyway) as a series of choices. Each choice we make is like being in a room full of doors, full of potential choices, potential successes and failures, opportunities and setbacks. Once we choose a door to pass through, all the other doors disappear, no longer available to us. But on the other side of that door is a new room, again filled with doors.

While I have no wish to be my younger, less-wise self, I sometimes wish I could turn back time, reset some of those moments in my life when a single choice shifted the course of my life in ways that I regret. I wish I could go back and try one of those other doors.

Isn’t that part of the nature of life? Choices, consequences, more choices. Hopefully, we learn something along the way, become better, kinder, wiser.

Choices are also at the heart of every story. Either a character makes a choice that sets him on the course of his story, or something happens to him that forces him to make choices, both scenarios spurring a series of actions (and more choices) that will bring the character’s world back into some kind of balance.

As you read this month’s stories, consider the choices the characters make, why they make them, how those choices shape their lives. Would you have made the same choices as they? Could you? That’s one of the powerful ways in which stories are important to the human experience. They can teach us how to make choices, to consider the potential results, to role-playing a myriad of what-would-I-do scenarios.

If you could, would you choose to restart your life? If you could, which single choice would you erase? Which would you do again?

The most important thing to consider, however, is whether you’re becoming that better, kinder, wiser person.

We hope you enjoy this month’s stories:

“Roommates” by returning FFO author, Shannon Peavey

“Crocodile Love Machine” by Mackenzie Suess

“The Order Taker” by B. Pladek

“Phoenix, Fallen” (reprint, originally published in April 2018 at Factor Four Magazine) by another FFO alum, Rebecca Birch

Thanks for 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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