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The New Normal

One thing I discovered as a young mother is that it takes about two weeks to adjust when life changes. Of course, that’s relatively small changes, like adjusting to a new job, or a new school schedule, or the time it takes to no longer feel like a Zombie when we switch to Daylight Savings Time.  We adjust to a new normal.

Sometimes, however, changes occur that are drastic enough to up-end our lives in fundamental ways. Those kinds of changes take longer to adjust to. Weeks, maybe months, even years.

Someone very close to me was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome ( a little more than a year ago. After an initial year of searching for answers as to why she didn’t feel quite right, and could no longer do many of the things she loved, her life has become one of learning about a little-understood disease, and making dozens of adjustments to the way she lives, how she eats, how she sleeps. She’s had to adjust how she plans for the near future, and how she thinks about longer-range goals and plans. Every time new research comes to light she may adjust something else–medications or tests or diet, again and again and again. The hope is that someday her disease will go into remission, or a cure will be found. Until then, life is all about change. Her new normal.

Our stories this month are about change, about new normals that take some extraordinary adjustment, or the effects of major life upheavals, or rediscovering normals that change the way we see ourselves. Two young girls who rediscover the power of old magic, a woman who must adjust to the death of her mother in a unique and unexpected way, a family adjusting to life with aliens next door, and a decommissioned biotech cubicle dweller who must find her way to a new normal.

We hope you enjoy!


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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