New fiction from Ryan Werner

Ryan Werner, speaking at the Dubuque Museum of Art in 2010. (Photo by Ron Tigges, courtesy of Digital Dubuque.)

Ryan Werner’s online fiction project, Our Band Could Be Your Lit, is back in action with a beautiful new piece of flash fiction, “Back and to the Left,” based on Pearl Jam’s “Brain of J.” And it is one of the best stories I’ve read in a while.

In his blog project, Ryan has vowed to write 100 stories, each fewer than 1,000 words, all based on songs suggested by readers. But Ryan is a rock star as well as a writer, and his musical commitments and a heavy workload interrupted work on the short-shorts, so the project has been on hiatus for a while. A few weeks ago, he wrote me and tipped me off that he planned to bring back the project in the New Year. (I’m calling it OBCBYL, Vol. 2, though that’s just my term.) Then just a few days ago I received a draft of this story, the first of the new batch, and had the privilege of a preview glance.

It is brilliant. This shining, diamond-hard little gem of a story is a perfect piece of flash fiction. I’d explain why I love it so much, but the story is so short, and so tightly packed, that to tell you anything, even the first sentence, would take the piss out of the whole story. You should just read it yourself. And tell me if that last line doesn’t echo in your head the rest of the day.

Seriously, go read “Back and to the Left.”

Then read the rest of OBCBYL.

If you want to see my own contribution as a guest writer on OBCBYL, check out my story “Buzz.”

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