Camera Lucida: A Micro-Flash for The Trifextra Challenge

Hello, all. This week I fortuitously stumbled on a new writing Web site called The Trifecta Writing Challenge. Basically, every week they have a different three-themed challenge, toggling between a 33-word microfiction challenge (called the Trifextra challenge) and one that sends writers to the dictionary for the third definition of a certain word (the Trifecta challenge). I first read about the challenge while cruising through the Polysyllabic Profundities blog; please do peruse Susan’s site for some creative inspiration and impassioned prose as well.

This week’s Trifextra is based upon the amaztastic art of Thomas Leuthard. He dubs it “street photography,” and it is stunningly masterful in black-and-white. For the purpose of this writing challenge, the particular photograph we must focus on, as used above, is “Studying in Starbucks,” which is viewable in Mr. Leuthard’s portfolio on his Web site or on flickr.

Finally, I enjoy, and have enjoyed, the obstacle that is flash fiction or microfiction, because it forces condensation. It begs succinct-ion. And as brevity is the soul of wit, I humbly submit my first short fiction (a.k.a., micro-flash or micro-micro flash?) for the Trifextra challenge and await the feedback therefrom. Check out the other writers on this challenge when you visit the Trifecta site; it’s well worth your time.


Camera Lucida: Time in Focus

Β©Leigh Ward-Smith, 2014

In the darkroom’s womb, Zabe first realized the contraption had worked.

Foreground: The student, her femaleness fogged.

Background: The flash rolling-pins time into a flatline, exposing links to his mother, had she survived.


23 thoughts on “Camera Lucida: A Micro-Flash for The Trifextra Challenge

      • You’re very welcome!

        You should check out the Speakeasy creative writing challenge as well. The prompts are a bit different, but the community is just as awesome (and I’m not just saying that because I’m the managing editor!).

  1. First of all, welcome aboard. It is great to have you share your creative talent with us. The Trifecta community of writers are all very encouraging which is, as you can imagine, a wonderful tonic for all of the self-doubts that plague us so as writers. As for your piece, I liked your phrasing very much. In particular, I liked how the flash “rolling-pins time”. Your piece had a cool sci-fi aspect to it and left as many questions as it did answers. All in all, a lovely debut. I look forward to reading more of your work in the weeks to come. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you so much for stopping by, Mr. MacInnes. Your kind words are very flattering–and tonic(al), indeed! The Trifecta was very fun, but, then again, we had a great springboard with the excellent photograph. There’s a white stream, if you will, leading from one woman to the other if one looks hard enough, so (excuse the pun) in a flash the plot came to me. On a side note, happy belated birthday. It was really neat seeing how one small business near you stepped outside the comfortable “whatever” zone; as you know, down here in the States, there’s been a big push for Small-Business Saturdays and so on, which I wholeheartedly support. In any case, as the saying goes, good on you and your wife for supporting a Mom-and-Pop establishment. Best regards to you, and looking forward to more of your posts and pictures! πŸ™‚

    • Thank you muchly, Draug; your feedback as an experienced Trifectan, not to mention Trifecta winner (I like to think of any writer/artist/musician who manages the effort/courage to exhibit or play their work for the public–feet in the fire!–as a victor, though) is extra-motivating. I really like your interpretation as a museum of ghosts as well; humbly put, my concept is close in that regard (as Zabe views his past and future mother). FWIW, logically, I think she’s holding a white-outsided highlighter in her left, but given both our stories, maybe it ought to be an anachronistically placed communicator! Anyway, cheers and keep in touch! πŸ™‚

  2. Ooo, a really intriguing little time-travel piece. Or time-viewing might be more accurate, I suppose. Or viewing of might-have-beens. In any case, I loved the entire concept! Not to mention, you’ve got some great alliteration and internal rhymes that make the words flow together very nicely. Fantastic job. And welcome to Trifecta! This is my happy place on the ‘net, for sure. πŸ™‚

  3. I’ve spent a lot of time reading and then re-reading this, trying to suss out what it is that I like so darn much. There’s only 33 words, so it really shouldn’t take this long. But I can’t decide if it’s the name Zabe. Or if it’s the womb line. Or just the fact that you chose to focus in on the line between the women or what. I don’t know. All I know is that I really, really liked it. Thanks for linking it up. And welcome aboard the Trifecta train. I do hope you become a regular.

  4. Congratulations on your second place Leigh and welcome to Trifecta.
    I enjoyed your take on the prompt with that mysterious hint of a time travel ‘contraption’ finally working.
    I look forward to reading more of your Trifecta submissions.

    • Thank you, Mike. Your comments as a “grizzled Trifecta veteran,” if I may call you that, are especially generous and cherished. I love how your 33-er seats the reader right in the action from the get-go, plus the sci-fi aspect is cool. Husband and I are a sci-fi/fantasy household, and I’ve been picking up random SF books in the collection lately (husband in process of cataloging them all) and simply reading the opening 1-3 grafs to see how the masters do it so well. FWIW, what you’ve written in “Subject In View,” navigates well into that “hook ’em with the lead” aspect of sci-fi writing … my 2 cents anyway. Congratulations, and hope to read more from you as well. (Here’s to retirement!)

  5. WOW, Leigh. I love this. Such strong verbs here, and not a word wasted. So glad you “stumbled” over the Trifecta this week. You nailed it. Look forward to reading more of your work.

      • Thank you, De. When I read all the laments (over the years I’ve been acquainted with poetry) about how poetry is dead . . . I just have to think of artists like you carrying on the craft. It’s awesome, and I love what you did with the photographic prompt–not only the diction but the line breaks. I might have misinterpreted, as I’m rusty in the mechanics of poetry, but I felt a waltz in there with how you broke the lines. In any case, congratulations to you–kudos!

  6. This was great – so creative and your word choices are superb. Congratulations on your 2nd place finish with this piece!

    • Thank you, Momo. You’re too kind. πŸ™‚ Micro-micro fiction such as the 33-word challenges are a fun puzzle to figure out. It sweeps me toward brevity, and I definitely need more of that. Plus, I get to imbibe all the creativity coming from others. Life doesn’t get much better than that!

    • You are too kind; thank you for your compliment (it means an extra-lot coming from another writer). I admire you for writing daily; that’s really key. Equally gorgeous–“Stitch the crevices with/Sunlight.” Love it! Anyway, happy writing and please visit again!

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