Sometimes life can be boiled down to the things we want and the things that wound us. In Nicole Monaghan’s new collection, Want, Wound, published by Burning River Press(http://burningriver.info/?page_id=1879), Monaghan uses the flash and micro flash form of storytelling to cut deep into the heart of the things people want in life and the things that can deeply wound a person’s soul.

In the section, Want, the first micro flash piece, “Blanc” sets the stage for the one thing we all wish we could have –a clean slate. However, Monaghan does not allow her character to be washed clean and unblemished. The last line ends with a comma and says, “scars like colors”(Monaghan 9). For a lot of artists, this idea of looking at the human body and regarding the scars as precious commodities is not new. However, in Monaghan’s hands, these scars become shades of colors instead of deep rooted lessons. It is like Monaghan is allowing her character to create a new canvas and start over with different paint, yet the character cannot gloss over or forget the scars that made the character who she is in the piece.

Also in Want, the story, “My Life as a Rose” introduces the reader to a rose as the story’s narrator. The rose looks at the age old Shakespearian questions, is it better to have loved and lost than never to have been loved at all? The rose sides with being loved for a small time instead of withering away in a garden. The rose, like all of us, wants to be loved and appreciated for what we are rather than being admired from a distance.

The shift in the book comes in with the section called, Wound. In this section, there is a lot of talk of miscarriages. In the story, “New Age” the mother looks at her pregnant 16 year old daughter’s face as the daughter gets up in the morning. One moment the mother sees the child her daughter was and in the next instant the daughter turns into “a woman with old wounds” (43). When the story unfolds, the reader finds out the old wound is her daughter losing her baby.

In the flash sequence, “Give Me License” Monaghan takes the reader through a whole relationship from start, miscarriage, fear, and lastly, break up. What is interesting about this sequence is the titles of the pieces are glamor license plates.

Another wonderful flash piece called, “I’m Writing My Own Eulogy” looks at the fall of a once honored chef. The brilliance of this piece comes in the lines, “those of you holding tissues on your black pants, here’s the thing-knock the act” (38). With so few words, Monaghan’s character punches all the mourners in the face for pretending to care now that the character is gone.

Nicole Monaghan’s (http://writenic.wordpress.com/) small book, “Want, Wound” is much like the story, “I’m Writing My Own Eulogy” because it is small but packs a powerful punch. It is a book readers will read and reread and each time something new and wonderful will be revealed.

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