Winter 2022 by Marie Fitzpatrick

          I’m convinced Micro & Flash are fiction’s future.


          Perhaps the future is already here because it’s the way people today like to read. More newspaper readers read the personal ads and the comics than read the editorials.



        Is it shortened attention spans? It might be a Pavlovian “conditioned response” after four generations of TV idiots.  It could be the effect of today’s mad dash to nowhere. Whatever, the crafts are here to stay.


          In four to eight thousand word short stories the writer has time to describe the living room curtains and what the protagonist’s Aunt Maud from Wexford had for breakfast, but not in Micro or Flash fiction. The writer can imply we’re in the house and that someone’s in the kitchen. What the living room or Aunt Maud looks like is up to the involvement of the reader’s imagination.



          In my opinion, that’s the key to the Micro & Flash crafts; “involvement”. With the writer’s skill at inference and implication the reader is invited to participate in the story — to become an onlooker inside the story who asks the characters questions.


         These are not television stories where you’re spoonfed plot, settings, characters and dialog.


Please participate and enter ...
Ramon Collins


The Linnet’s Wings Inaugural Print Summer 2007



         From this first editorial, Ray Collins introduced and built a fine portfolio of Micro Fiction for The Linnet’s Wings, and this quarter it’s with a tip of the hat that we  rerun some of that work  that is still as fresh today as the day it was made.



         Mark Zuckerberg founder’s letter on Facebook on the 28/10/21 came through on my FB feed as I was writing  here and as  he discussed his vison for his new META internet project he described it in a similar fashion. Mark knows the benefit of participation and involvement, his depends on the expertise of the programmer while ours encourages the expertise of the writer.



          “ embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it. We call this the metaverse, and it will touch every product we build.  The defining quality of the metaverse will be a feeling of presence -- like you are right there with another person or in another place. Feeling truly present with another person is the ultimate dream of social technology. That is why we are focused on building this.”


       The internet  and the magazine/book has to be about involvement or it would fail. It needs people energy in the same fashion that a supermarket needs product and shoppers; and a magazine needs readers, contributors and distributors.



         It was with the help of  Ramon,and a few other writing friends who got involved that our webzine/magazine got its start.



         I joined the Zoetrope Virtual Studio, in 2004, it was a time when the INTERNET was just  about text—long before the social networks. The previous year I had written half a novel and lost the copy. I didn’t mind too much, it had a word count rather than a story, but this first attempt gave me enough of a lift to want to carry on, and maybe even learn something more about the craft, so I went on-line to see if there was anyplace where I might have the opportunity to practice the art. I found a link for Zoe, joined and I uploaded a couple of flash fiction stories and Ray  reviewed them for me. We got chatting and made a connection. 



         Then a few years later when working  in Co. Longford I planned out our web zine  and  I decided to ask around my writing workshop site for writers  who might be interested in fulfilling an editorial role.   Ray was the first one I mailed,  I was so delighted when he agreed;  I already had my web man with Peter Gilkes. I knew Peter from a previous project and he had spent most of his career designing databases for the financial service industry, and had agreed to design our web presence. However Ray was the only one of the six team members I ended up with who had any hands-on-media, experience..



        I didn’t know any of this back in the day, I knew he had been a cartoonist, and I never inquired further because sometimes voice soars above all else as character comes through, particularly when its made from the indefinables like Sincerity, Honesty, Understanding, Loyalty,  Truthfulness,  Trustworthiness. Intelligence. Dependability: All  these are recognizable  in voice and they were very present in any conversation one had with Ray Collins.

         We all liked the way Ray carried himself, and it was to be another few years before I heard about his ALS.  Even now I don’t know who mentioned it, I think it popped up in a conversation thread over on the Zoetrope Virtual Studio website when he was comparing his condition to something else.



          Ray worked alongside us as an editor until 2012, he gave us a good 5 years on our print design and spent a couple of years before that working on our webzines. By 2012, we were going strong and during those years I watched him give a helping hand to a good few enterprising writers who benefited hugely from his experience as they began to establish a reputation in the market place.  And after he resigned he kept in touch,  I was a member of his writing office on Zoetrope for a few years and when he closed that I’d get the occasional email. A copy of one from 2015 when he was off form.



          ... tried to write this memo for 2 months and gave up in frustration for 2 months --i have good / bad news. good news; according to 3 or 4 doctors and 2 scans, i DID NOT have a stroke in june; it’s only ALS symptoms,

         bad news; it’s the DAMNED ALS. i’ve had it since 1978, so it’s a way of life -- lost  my right side, but everything is almost back, ‘cept the right hand. making due with the left.

         and this note took an hour . .



          By 2018 Peter’s health challenges were coming to a head, he had the  Steve Jobs’  disease and he had struggled for a good few years. He died in  the spring of 2019.




          Ramon  mailed me the summer after Peter’s death, to gee-me up, keep me going, he knew Peter’s shoes would be hard to fill, his web design and coding contributions were immense. we were down our best staff and he suggested that we might give some of the majors a run for their money if I could find a way to keep on track. “The Linnet’s Wings” produces beautiful print work,  poetry books and chapbooks, it’s work that injects a shot of feel-good into a day.



         When I received his mail I was in Portnashanagan, in Mullingar, in Ireland,  I was watching the hours count down, recuperating from surgery,  planning to take a year out and spent time in Dublin, doing what! I had no idea. I miss them both, they were positive voices within the web cawing cacophony that buries the best of us; they were reliable, decent men who gave their time and expertise to a  group of writers and artists who were following a dream.  Wherever they are, I hope they occasionally meet up for a jar.



                                                                      Hasta la vista chicos!


Marie Fitzpatrick  (MAN)  “The Linnet’s Wings,” 09/01/2022




“RAMON COLLINS Ramon “Ray” Collins lost his 42-year battle with ALS on March 28th, 2021. He died peacefully at home in his sleep. Born in Poplar Grove, Illinois on March 17th, 1931, Ray was a child of the Great Depression. When he was very young, his family travelled west to eastern Washington where his father found work with the WPA. They moved to Port Orchard WA with the outbreak of WWII as jobs opened up at the Bremerton Naval shipyard. Ray excelled in music and sports and had a passion for drawing from an early age.”



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The Linnet's Wings is an Irish Bases Literature and Art Magazine