We’re very excited to kick off a new year of Flash 405 with new prompt “Routine and Ritual,” chosen by Guest Judge Mia Nakaji Monnier!
Mia was featured our “Wonder” issue with her beautiful creative nonfiction Kokoro Yasume; she was also a guest on A Very Special Episode of Transposition, in conversation with our co-EiC Mellinda Hensley and our August 2021 Flash 405 judge, Christopher Gonzalez.
Submissions will open on February 4, 2022, via Submittable. Before submitting, we encourage you to check out the full prompt below. You can also see further guidelines and see past contest winners by visiting our Flash 405 page.
– February 2022 Round –
The Judge: Mia Nakaji Monnier
Mia Nakaji Monnier is a writer in Los Angeles whose work has appeared in BuzzFeed, Shondaland, The Washington Post, Exposition Review, and the book This Long Thread: Women of Color on Craft, Community, and Connection by Jen Hewett. She is an Idyllwild Arts Writers Week Nonfiction Fellow and Tin House Workshop alum. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter at @miagabb.
The Theme: Routine and Ritual
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” —Annie Dillard, The Writing Life
Routine is the backdrop of our lives: sleep, wake up, shower, eat breakfast. Sometimes we do it on autopilot, barely remembering afterward that we’ve done it at all. Sometimes we’re too depleted to do more than hang onto our most essential tasks by our fingertips. Sometimes we’re able to relish the small moments: the cold water on our faces, the brushed cotton of our favorite sweats, the way coffee grounds and hot water come together in a froth. And then there’s ritual, like routine but heightened—holy or chosen or compulsive, sometimes all three: a series of claps at the shrine, a few minutes of deep breathing, a particular way of walking back to your bed in the dark to ward off bad spirits. Ritual can make us feel more connected—to our people, to the universe—or more alone.
I want to read about mundane, gentle days where not much happens, but the small, sensory moments mean everything. I want blank space where language has room to resonate. I also want to read about routines turned upside down; overstuffed routines that come to a breaking point; once-a-year rituals; once-a-day rituals; the habits people choose and the ones that choose them; ritualized ways of celebrating and grieving in community. How do we mark the small moments that make up our lives?
Ready to start writing? Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
– Submissions open from February 4–March 5, 2022 –
Photo Credit: jly un