Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ron Slattery is the winner of the Liza Lott


Liza Lott by Ron Slattery

 "Sit down. It doesn't matter. I know what I'm doing. We don't need to change it." His hand were palms towards her shoulders. He leaned in, she sat back down. The wooden stool was cold and unyielding. It made her back straighten. She knew the photographer bought it for just that reason. His footsteps echoed as he walked back to the tripod. It sounded like hooves at a racetrack. The same one she was at a week ago in Miami. Warm, warm Miami. Two weeks of sun, beach and escape from cold dreary Chicago.

"Now lets try this again". He leaned and squinted into the camera. She sighed and looked into the distance. Her newly tanned skin melted into the tan background. The last thing she thought before she heard the click was "At least they'll notice my eyes". 
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Ron Slattery is the winner of the Liza Lott contests this round.  His story packed the most wallop into the shortest flash of fiction.  I really liked his ending and I was left with still grappling with who Liza was.  So I can still fantasize as to who this young woman was.


Ron’s “picture” had a lot in common with the majority of the stories.  The same overexposed Liza bears her countenance throughout these tales.  Sometimes she is a bit pathetic, sometimes a bit dangerous.  In almost all she is or was beautiful.  For example, Portrait from a Friend by Matt O'Malley surreal, sad, macabre portrait of beauty lost.  A kind of reverse “Dorian Gray” it seems very real.  Maybe Mr. O’Malley knew someone who suffered in the way that his Liza did?

Liza is a female to be reckoned with, a bit of a femme fatale.  “A Day in the Life of Liza Lott” by Jen Reich begins with alliteration, retro sci fi, retro pulp or pin up action with her performance of “Fever” and then a very satisfying “bait and switch” at the end!  Is she a heroin or a villain?

For a couple of the authors she has some of the qualities of Shirley Temple crossed with a character out of Capote’s “Music from Another Room” or “Cat on Hot Tin Roof.”  Charles Florey’s had the most southern exposure in his sun fried debutante.  The reference to the salamander is straight out of Aquinas’ biography.  Sort of southern belle crossed with the alchemical.

Rather than “Running with Scizzors” a couple of the characters were running from the Nazis.  “Catholic Girl” by Gigi DeVault designs Liza as a sort retro Anne Frank and the boys from Louis Malle biopic “Au Revoir Les Enfants” I even got a Tarantino like dash pulp fiction tales of young girls suffering at the hands of Nazis.  I like the little twist at the guilt of “passing” as a Catholic. 


“Liza Lott” by D. Bellenghi was a biographical story that was also had qualities a similar unlucky quality to Gigi DeVault’s and O’Malley’s portraits of an unlucky sort of anti-Maria from “Sound of Music.”  All are fictions created by the authors to mimic Liza’s ability to lie a lot.  However, in his story, unlike some of the others, Liza doesn’t need to lie anymore.


Going south, several of the stories imagined her to live in the American South.  “Liza is Lie” by Dee Turbon is a half reference to the femme fatale but she is also a slightly pathetic creature a sort of “candle in the wind” ala Elton John character.  Ron and David Florey took a similar tact with Liza except for she is definitely someone who is a bit more vain and possibly treacherous.   Both deal with the theme of vanity and too much pigmentation.  Both the Floreys took a florid approach to the story.  Does Liza get what she deserves?  I think maybe.  Both Sheila and David Florey’s stories had Hitchcock like endings but both were very different choices.  I think I especially liked them because they really reminded me of those pulp Hitchcock novels that I loved as a kid (actually still love.)  I suspect Liza got what she deserved even in Ron’s story, which was short, pithy, very much too the point, and really funny.


I’m not really sure if I completely understand “A PAINTING WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS” by William Knight.  His story had a bit of “Waiting for Godot” surrealism that alternated between a fantasy and exaggerated reality.   Slightly hard to follow I think that the story had an angry tone, was it possibly meant to be a bit of an oblique insult at this project?  I’m not sure whether to be flattered or weirded out by his use of my name throughout.   The paradox of the pretty girl against the reality that can make her not so attractive is really explored by a couple of the authors.


All in all I really had fun reading these stories and I want to thank you all!

Read all the stories here:

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