SmokeLong Quarterly
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Smoking With Joshua Hampel

Art by Marty D. Ison
Art by Marty D. Ison
Truly extraordinary ending. Wow! Wow! Is this a typical Hampel ending?
I would say that the story itself—driven by the conversation and the characters who are normal people that anyone can relate to—is a typical story of mine, the ending is one thing I can never control when I'm writing. I may have an idea of where the story is going but that doesn't mean it'll end up there. I don't fight it, though, I let the story go where it wants to.

I think of that mom breaking down and that toilet he's staring at and I think, man, you really nailed that moment. Was it hard to capture that scene in which a son finds out about a parent's death?
It was after I heard that an old friend's brother had passed away in a car accident, and my girlfriend and I were in a Mexican restaurant, that I thought about how I have never had anyone close to me die before. I wondered what it was like to get the sudden news that a loved one had died and how I would react. No matter how much I thought about it, I just had no idea. I wrote what I felt it would be like, hearing the news and coming to grips with what it meant. It wasn't hard at all to write the scene, and capturing the moment in a way that anyone could relate to was just pure luck.

How do we do it? How do we get to a point when the "effects of these deaths are lost" and we become people "hungry for Mexican food"?
Time is the ultimate healer. With time comes acceptance and forgiveness; having never been through any major loss, though, I can only guess how we get to that point.

Hey, Josh. How about you?—are you okay, Babe?
Things could always be worse, huh?

What's up in Wichita, Kansas. Go Jayhawks?
I was told to say: "Yeah, go Jayhawks," as well as, "Hell no, go Shockers," but honestly I don't follow soccer so I really wouldn't know which one to cheer for.

Read Are You Okay?
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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