Pavlov’s dog, and other mistaken desserts.

I consider myself a high-brow culture sort of person.  Sure, I’m not completely suave, but I feel like my intellect more than compensates for some of my less socially acceptable faux pas.  I like knowing lexicon.  I like considering myself on the ‘inside’ of a situation.

For that reason, for some time, I’ve been a fan of a dessert called ‘Pavlova’.  I first encountered the dessert during my six week stay in Australia.  I was in high school at the time, but even then I considered myself intellectually ascendant.  When I returned to the States and no one had heard of this meringue crust with fruit and whipped cream, I consoled myself with my more worldly experiences.  Still, I would’ve liked to find at least one person who knew what I was talking about.

Of course, those who I introduced this dessert to assumed some association with Pavlov.  I supposed they could be right – such a dessert could be a ‘reward’ in his system.  I didn’t know enough to question that judgement.  Tonight, however, I found out it was wrong – it took a sci fi novel to tell me different.  According to Eric Flint and Virginia DeMarce (via Carl in 1634: The Ram Rebellion), Pavlova was a desert in memory of a ballerina.  It commemorated the tour of Anna Pavlova in both Australia and New Zealand.

Without science fiction, I would never have had confirmation of the existence of this dessert in the written record.  Without my prolific reading, I would never have rediscovered it.  I’m not saying that such a little factoid has made my life complete.  I’m merely showcasing the interactions of chance in each of our lives.  I do not pretend to know what far-reaching consequence that chance may have.


I have just begun a new writing endeavour – I am now entering the world of flash fiction.   What is this lovely new genre?  you may ask.  Well, I shall tell you.

Flash fiction is short fiction.  It’s almost always under 1,000 words, and sometimes under even 100.  but really the whole point is the ‘flash’.  It’s a twist story, one with a sudden ending or unexpected revelation or plot twist.  I like to think of it as the pun of short story writing.  Usually it leaves the reader with one line or sentence that turns everything preceding on its head.  And, growing up with my father, I have plenty of corny puns on hand.  They’ve been beaten into my psyche.

While I haven’t done much of it yet, it seems to go as quickly as writing this blog does.  Today I’ve managed to churn out three stories of the ‘speculative’ variety (sci-fi/fantasy), which would probably be the easiest for me to handle.  ben from my writer’s group was doing some in the spy genre, and Jeff has done some that’s much more literary, but if we’re talking quantity, I feel like speculative fiction gives the most freedom.  With all the imaginative (or fake) stuff that goes into it, it’s just easier to churn out.  At least in my opinion.  But then, I have read more of that type of fiction when looking for a fast read, so maybe I’m just accustomed to it.

I had been doing a bit of research about places that were looking for shorter stuff, and came up with the FFW which, in turn, led me to a few different sites.  I am going to send off the first batch tonight, and with the speed at which I can crank these out and a three day weekend ahead of me, I have high hopes for creating more and submitting more as well.  And maybe even doing a little novel editing, too.  Yay!