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Smoking With Roberta Allen

What inspired this gorgeously rendered flash?
My first trip to Lima many years ago. I walked through a market just like the one described. I began A Foreign Woman in 1987, found it recently and felt like finishing it.

Where do you find yourself feeling like a foreign woman?
When I was young, I felt foreign everywhere in the world except the Amazon! I think the feeling of "foreignness" is really a disconnect from one's self more than a disconnect from a place.

What are the challenges of writing short short collections?
The pieces in my first book THE TRAVELING WOMAN took me two years to write. It took me another year, however, to discover what the book was that I had written. There finally came a point, however, when the stories seemed to organize themselves. The sequencing was never a conscious decision. Finding the book which became, THE DAUGHTER, after all the pieces were written, was also a long process. CERTAIN PEOPLE has stories that I wrote over a 20 year period. When I tried to consciously write stories that "went together", I got into trouble and had to take out some of my best stories because they overlapped and they were so tightly woven that I couldn't change them.

What is the most important lesson in your writing guide FAST FICTION?
One of my first private students was a young guy who came to me with a novel he had worked on for 2 years. It was a long whine about his girlfriend leaving him. I didn't think he had much talent. I didn't understand then that the fact that he worked for 2 years on this novel was key. The guy really wanted to write "something." The energy was there but he didn't know how to connect with it. And what I learned was that the energy was more important than anything. When I said he would have to start from scratch and use my method, he agreed, and within 6 weeks he had found his real material (which was his mother) and that transformed the writing. He really taught me the power of energy.

Time for the first (and perhaps only) SLQ deserted island questionnaire. One CD. One novel. One flash piece. One movie. One very much alive famous person. One very much alive writer. One SLQ editor with the initials R.B.. Go!
No CD. I am a lover of silence.

The Lover, Marguerite Duras

Anything shortish by Anne Enright, an Irish author

The Grifters

the actor Clive Owen

Jamaica Kincaid (because she wrote my 2nd favorite book My Brother)

Read A Foreign Woman.
Issue Thirteen (June 15, 2006): A Foreign Woman by Roberta Allen «» Fetichismo by Christopher Battle «» How the Broken Lead the Blind Until They Both Become Something Else Entirely by Matt Bell «» See Odi Naked by Lisa K. Buchanan «» Memory of Sky by Jai Clare «» The Captain by Ron Currie, Jr. «» Bingham by Steve Cushman «» The Table by David Erlewine «» Daffodil by Kathy Fish «» Fishing by Mike Hagemann «» Real Estate by Jennifer A. Howard «» Emily Avenue by Jeff Landon «» Tough Act by Steven J. McDermott «» Cheering by Srdan Papic «» Something Blew by Ellen Parker «» Euclid's Elements by Mary Lynn Reed «» Miracle by Chad Simpson «» Her Lips by Claudia Smith «» Man and Dog by Girija Tropp «» Randomization by Joseph Young «» Interviews: Roberta Allen «» Matt Bell «» Lisa K. Buchanan «» Jai Clare «» Ron Currie, Jr. «» Steve Cushman «» Katrina Denza «» David Erlewine «» Kathy Fish «» Mike Hagemann «» Jennifer A. Howard «» Jeff Landon «» Steven J. McDermott «» Srdan Papic «» Ellen Parker «» Mary Lynn Reed «» Chad Simpson «» Claudia Smith «» Girija Tropp «» Joseph Young «» Cover Art "Despair" by Marty D. Ison «» Letter From the Editor
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