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Smoking With Bob Arter

Art by Marty D. Ison
Art by Marty D. Ison
Well, Mr. Arter, how do you do it? From where do these voices come?
They're in my head! Transmissions from the Martian Communists! Hate to blow my cover, but actually, this story is largely autobiographical—I was the dumb yuck, the weekend hippie, back in the day.


Talk about the relationship of style and voice to the narrative. What carries what? What comes first for you? How'd you get this story to work so well? How'd you get to be so darn good?
I'm not sure what the difference is between narrative style and narrative voice. I guess this one's about voice—the hip-hop bounce of the telling was my first aim, and it became the style of the piece. I wanted energy and humor, so I just let go. The kid from the 'burbs is my hero. He walks away happy with food he can't eat and dope he can't smoke. We should all be so copasetic.

Someone ask, "What story you write?" And you say to someone "Chitlins." And this someone say, "Chitlins? What's that one about?" And you say...
Boy want to be a twenty-minute liberal, and it just ain't happening for him.

What are doing to survive the miserable California heat? And how's Gomez your desert tortoise making out?
I'm treating the heat stroke with strawberry popsicles. And Gomez sleeps the day away under a bed in the guest room. That's one smart critter, given his dim little brain.

How's your health? We were all mighty worried.
Well, I'm weak as a strung-out kitten, but every day, in every way, I grow progressively purpler. I guess that pretty much covers it.

Read Chitlins.
Issue Ten (September 15, 2005): Capsicum by Anne Marie Jackson «» Donat Bobet's Halloween by Bruce Holland Rogers «» The Arrival by Nathan Leslie «» The Law by Edgar Omar Avilés, translated by Toshiya A. Kamei «» Five Fat Men in a Hot Tub by Jeff Landon «» Hoover by Cally Taylor «» Are You Okay? by Joshua Hampel «» The Kindness of Strangers by Otis Brown «» Mrs. Krishnan by Kuzhali Manickavel «» Crossing the Orinoco by William Reese Hamilton «» The Elements of Summer by Laura Stallard Petza «» Closer to Paul by Patti Jazanoski «» Hawesville, Kentucky by Nance Knauer «» He Stayed for Breakfast by Astrid Schott «» Gardening by Antonios Maltezos «» Outer Space by Tom Saunders «» Blind Love by Robert Bradley «» Arks by Alan Girling «» Chitlins by Bob Arter «» Strange Fruit by Suzanne Lafetra «» Interviews: Anne Marie Jackson «» Bruce Holland Rogers «» Nathan Leslie «» Toshiya A. Kamei «» Jeff Landon «» Cally Taylor «» Joshua Hampel «» Otis Brown «» Kuzhali Manickavel «» William Reese Hamilton «» Laura Stallard Petza «» Patti Jazanoski «» Nance Knauer «» Astrid Schott «» Antonios Maltezos «» Tom Saunders «» Robert Bradley «» Alan Girling «» Bob Arter «» Suzanne Lafetra «» Joseph Young «» Cover Art "The Creation of Time and the Plagiarism of Bosch" by Marty D. Ison «» Letter From the Editor
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