This story was really hard to write.
I mean, really hard. At times--and this is integral to the format--it felt like I was solving an equation for x, except without the payoff of a reasonable-looking number to say I pulled it off successfully at the end.
Sestinas typically have a sonorous feel to them. The tight repetition of words tend to give everything a somber and foreboding tone. Done right, they have the same dignity and sense of process as the tolling of a bell.
In prose format, I reasoned the phrase repetition would probably make for better humor, so I went cornball with this.
I'm fairly happy with it. It has some of the typical difficulties with flash fiction. You don't have a whole lot of time to develop characters and setting. It is always one step away from being a vignette instead of a fully realized piece.
My big takeaway is that I really don't want to have to type the phrase "sweating like a TV preacher in church" ever again. I could probably use the prose sestina as aversion therapy for phrases I overuse. I should write one consisting wholly of adverbs because I am a recovering adverb junkie.
The name's a reference to an Auden poem. I was too lazy to dig up an acute to place in the appropriate part of the title, so there you go.
Anyhow. Next up this week: either more flash fiction or another 10,000 words of Cameron. Or maybe more Bo. Or even a follow-up to Roxie Rides The Train. The future is wide open, I guess.