Exploring the art of prose


Author: Christina Simon

Author’s Note

The choice of flash nonfiction felt right for an essay about my brief but busy trip to Miami in the winter of 2022. I have a degree in urban planning, which has deepened my interest in cities as settings—a persistent theme in my writing. I’m fascinated by a city’s façade and all the more so, what lies beneath the surface. A city’s sense of place can be both universal and individual, depending on who you are and where you live. I’ve lived most of my life in Los Angeles, a place where I rarely talk to strangers. In Miami, by contrast, my husband and I ended up in a deeply personal conversation with an Israeli family we’d just met. Eventually, I chose the essay’s list-like form, one long sentence separated by semicolons, because it could reflect the initial fast pace of our vacation and then offer a slower, more introspective rhythm near the end.

Jaquira Díaz, who grew up in the Miami area, has utilized a similar form, and I’m indebted to her work. Yet, as another point of contrast, Díaz’s Miami is one of poverty, public housing, violence, and racism, though supported by the bonds of incredible friendships and the love of family. While there, I wondered if I would experience Díaz’s Miami. Mostly, I did not—until the security guard asked me to show my key to get into the pool area of our hotel. I will always remember the beauty of Miami, with its art deco architecture and stunning beaches and the intoxicating pace telling me to keep up, keep up, keep up—albeit with a reminder that no matter where I go, I am a Black woman who can be stopped and asked to prove I belong.


CHRISTINA SIMON is the former nonfiction editor for Angels Flight • literary west. A 2023 Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, her most recent essay is forthcoming in J Journal. Her nonfiction work has been published in Salon, The Offing, Cleaver Magazine, Slag Glass City, Columbia Journal (winner of the 2020 Black History Month Contest for Nonfiction), Another Chicago Magazine, The Citron Review, [PANK] Magazine’s Health and Healing Folio, Cutbank Literary Journal’s Weekly Flash Prose and Prose Poetry, (mac)ro(mic), Santa Ana River Review, Barren Magazine, and The Palisades Review. Christina received her BA from University of California, Berkeley, and her MA in urban planning from University of California, Los Angeles. Christina lives with her husband in Los Angeles. She misses her son and daughter who are away at college.