My flash fiction for this week, “Ne Quid Nimis,” is dedicated to my good friend, Anne Sheldon.
It seems an appropriate time to introduce you to Anne — a poet, fiction writer, storyteller, and children’s librarian. Anne is particularly noted for her poems and stories that take an old tale, or a myth, or even history, and give it a new perspective. You can get some flavor of her poetry from “Snow White Turns 39,” which appeared in the wonderful anthology of poetry based on fairy tales, The Poets’ Grimm (alas, out of print, but seek out a used copy, if you can).
My favorite of her short stories is “The Duke of Bedford Prays for His Brother’s Soul,” which appeared in Issue 10 of Paradox, but is, alas, not available online. This story gives us Henry V and Joan of Arc, told from the point of view of Henry’s brother after the king’s death.
She combined her talents in the narrative poem, The Adventures of the Faithful Counselor, a tale of Inanna, the Queen of Heaven and Earth, told by her faithful counselor (and sometime bodyguard) Ninshubur. The poem is one of the books in the Conversation Pieces series from Aqueduct Press. Here is Ninshubur describing Inanna:
Have I let you think she was a whore?
A fickle prima donna?
Inanna was a heroine.
She was the reason
she was the Queen of Heaven and Earth.
And here is Ninshubur the warrior, letting loose her battle cry on the monsters of Grandfather Wisdom:
In that long and stormy afternoon
Grandfather Wisdom sent against us
the Ear-Splitting Kugalgal;
the Green Serpents of Enunun;
the Leopards-Who-Guard-the Doorways-of-Eridu;
and the Lidless Watchmen of Iturungal.
None were the equal of My Battle Cry.
She’s also published a collection of verse — Hero-Surfing — which includes several more narrative poems as well as a poem or two about baseball.
Check out her books and watch for her work in the science fiction and fantasy magazines. Her latest publication is a delightful and disturbing poem in the most recent issue of Talebones.