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Smoking With Ellen Parker

Skull of a Skeleton with Burning Cigarette
""Skull of a Skeleton with Burning Cigarette"
by Vincent Van Gogh
"Something Blew" blew me away. Discuss the process this piece went through from idea to its final brilliant form.
Would you stop! It's just a little ditty. I did it as a writing exercise. Some fiction writers and I were given five words to use in a story by the fiction writer Kathy Fish. Do you want to know what the five words are? One of them is “crown.”

"She would go mad with wanting it." I've now taped that to my computer. What's the role of such strong desire in your flash fiction?
Strong desire is interesting. We like to see people wanting things. People who are indifferent make us yawn.

What risks do writers need to be willing to take to get as good as Ms. Parker?
Get outta town! I'm not as good as Ms. Parker! Well, I am in the process of trying to be. But no one else should try to be. Other people should try to be as good as themselves. Be the most you as possible. Say the things only you can say, in only the way you would say them. You know that inner voice that says, “Oh, no, I shouldn’t say that!” Well, yeah, you really should. Do not altar your thoughts. I mean, alter.

How goes it at FRiGG? What makes all the hard work worth it?
It's not hard work. It's fun. Everyone on the staff there knows exactly what he or she is doing, so we do it pretty fast. We know what we want in an e-zine. We pick the writing we want and we create the artwork and we format the pages the way we want them and then we proofread it...and voila! FRiGGed. It's a Crackerjack operation, I’m tellin’ ya.

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!
The fiction writer Jeff Landon gave me this CD he made of an acoustic concert Jackson Browne did. I listen to it over and over, obsessively. Want to hear some of it? Evvvvvvvverybody I talk to is ready to leave...by the light of the morning. Before I left for the island, I would ask the fiction writer Daphne Buter if she would be inclined to write me a flash. (All the fiction writers I know, or know of, I call them “the fiction writer” before their names.) I'm pretty sure the fiction writer Daphne Buter would write me a flash for the trip. So I'd take that with me and I wouldn't correct the grammar. One novel? Have you read that one by the fiction writer Leo Tolstoy? Anna Karenina. I recently reread it. The guy can move a story along. Also, he is so smart about his characters. He understands them in every way, and he deeply emphasizes with them. As for a movie, I would take a movie I saw fairly recently that I would like to see again. The World’s Fastest Indian. The Indian in the movie is an old-fashioned motorcycle. Anthony Hopkins is this New Zealander who wants to race his Indian on the Bonneville Salt Flats just to how fast it will go with him mounted on it. My daughter (who’s 11) and I saw the movie, and at the end, we both went, That was good. Now, I wouldn’t want to be stuck on an island with some creepy alive famous person I don’t know. I think the person would be mugging all the time. So I would take the fiction writer Dave Clapper. Have you seen him? Have you seen his dentoid? Shit. I have a total crush on him.

P.S. All of the five words that were assigned as prompts for “Something Blew” appear in the interview above. Can you find them?

Read Something Blew.
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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