Notes on the Micro Fiction Selections

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September 23, 2019 by The Citron Review

With wet palms, overwhelming nausea, we drive blind to kingdom come. Stragglers are left beneath the beating sun. At an impromptu funeral, the earth will open easy for our shovels. A cloud of dust will kick up. Our sneeze will ricochet off the ancient church stones. Another may kick us in the guts. Will the wind scatter our very breath to heaven?

Why are fathers and sons separated by thousands of miles? Why won’t Mama leave her rocking chair? Maybe we have an idea. We’ve certainly crossed that intersection with the red hand blinking.

We have reasons for our choices, but the consequences are discoveries.

The micro is poetic in spirit, so each little story knows the rules enough to shatter them. A choice is often the life-giving and life-taking heart of the micro. Perhaps this is why choices are what both hunt and haunt us, as writers, as readers. In the world of micros, we become empathic in an instant.

These tiny beasts let us live bluntly in confrontation or a hair’s breadth from it. They give concrete answers which prompt scores of new questions. The story is there and it isn’t. It could be before or after we arrived. Add a little time or subtract it and dig in. Micros challenge us to live in this moment and see that it is also eternity.

The Citron Review has been committed to the short form for a decade. That’s a lot of little bits masking and revealing a lot of deeper truths. An abundance of microscopic details to stagger us. An overwhelming silence of unsaid declarations. A myriad of complexities choking the roots of family trees. The life we seek in navigating death and the death which survives inside us.

The slipperiest of definitions are redefined in tiny details. Of which I’m one. A couple years back, I submitted a micro like a Cinderella pumpkin, and now I’m an freewheeling editor at the ball. But I’ve been an editor at Citron for exactly 10% of its existence. So, in complicated math terms, 90% of the Citron story (so far) happened before my arrival, and there’s a future which has yet to be sung. We’ll need a math genius to calculate that percentage.

So, as an editor, I wish to stay out of the way – other than to say that over this past year it’s been my honor to dive deep into this diverse ten-year archive. Selecting pieces for this anthology was a novel process of discovery for me, and I want to sing chansons about surprise and microcosms. It may be better if I don’t sing (in French or any language); my voice is an acquired (by few) taste, and you may find it endlessly more enjoyable to click around this Tenth Anniversary Anthology rather then endure my overreaching attempt to croon “The Neverending Story.”

On behalf of The Citron Review and to honor our luminous, daring, international writers of the past, present, and fearless future, I hope that we shall continue to push for formal experiments in this genre, in every melodious and exponentially expanding way. We chose you; thank you for choosing us.

Dear writers and readers, your submissions are always welcome, especially those tiny ones where we cannot avoid the mammoth feelings that get dug up, complete with roots and worms and potato bugs that are turned over with tears. Whatever we uncover, Mama will still be rocking in her chair. She might be humming to herself. It’s possible she’ll howl.


JR Walsh
Online Editor
Fiction Editor
The Citron Review


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Snow on brush in desert

IMAGE CREDIT: Jill Katherine Chmelko. Protest Road, Winter. 2019.

🍋Our Tenth Anniversary


    Cheers to ten years of celebrating the short form.


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