Friday Essays

writing cultureEach week I will be writing an extended post about something that feels urgent to me. I already have several ideas ranging from the way the English major has been justified by its profitability to the way writers talk to and about each other.

A friend of mine suggested that I also use this section to answer any writer-ly questions you - my reader - might have for me. Although I'm not sure how enlightened my answers will be, if you send a question to with the subject line "Friday Essay Question" I will do my best to answer it.

Michel de Montaigne - writer of the first personal essays

The Dancing Dragon

flash fiction dragon

Image via Flickr by johanferreira15

10 Minute Flash Fiction

Prompt: She was a dancer by day, dragon by night.

Illusandra Vo Besrucksha held her final posture as the music died. Sweat beaded her brow, ran down arms and legs, and even darkened her water wicking leotard. She gleamed in the bright stage lights like an oiled bronze statue of impossible grace and beauty. Then the crowd was on its feet clapping, whistling, and screaming its appreciation.

Illusandra smiled, bowed, and walked calmly off the stage. Already something was hardening in her chest. Tears pricked at her eyes and she struggled to maintain her smile as the stage manager gave her a plastic water bottle and burbled about how wonderful she was. Finally, when they reached her changing room, Illusandra spoke in a throaty soprano. “Thank you Tina. I’d like to get cleaned up now. And no, no autographs tonight. I have business to which I must attend.”

Tina bobbed her head and sighed. “Still won’t face the fans, Illy? You know they love you right?”

The knot in Illusandra’s chest twisted. They don’t know me, she wanted to say, but it wasn’t true. Illusandra’s dancing was so expressive that she believed her audience knew her inner self better than most. Still, there was one thing they didn’t know and, if they ever found out, it would ruin her.

“Not tonight.”

She opened her dressing room door.

“When -”

Illusandra shut the door in Tina’s face, Crossed to the window, and opened it. Cool air night air rushed over her face and she sighed. Stripping off her clothes, Illusandra climbed onto the window sill and leaped into the night. Her chest unknotted as she fell, her body transforming, growing larger, scalier, and sprouting two enormous, bat-like, wings.

Soaring high over her city, Illusandra Vo Besrucksha reveled in one of the two activities that made her feel truly alive.