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Smoking With Lisa K. Buchanan

Skull of a Skeleton with Burning Cigarette
""Skull of a Skeleton with Burning Cigarette"
by Vincent Van Gogh
What was the inspiration behind the character of Odi?
I like to write about the social contradictions that make me queasy, including a certain kind of truth-teller whose crucial message is dismissed because of the way it's delivered. Odi hasn't the depth, precision or compassion of Eric Schlosser ("Fast Food Nation") or the winning self-sacrifice of Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me). He'd be tough company for a drive across town, much less a 400-page book or two-hour movie. And yet, we desparately need him with all his spitting and spewing.

What's the relationship between truth-glimpses and insanity?
My favorite literary portrayal of them together is Nikolai Gogol's Diary of a Madman. Fueled by a common obssession with social rank, a Russian-bureaucrat comes to believe he is the King of Spain. The story's engine is its eerie, inexorable climb from petty frustration to unmitigated delusion.

I see the pairing as well in the homeless guy on our corner who frights easily, stares hard and is sure he knows you from Vietnam. The truth-glimpse? We can guess where the agony was triggered or exacerbated. The insanity? How about the policymakers who deemed him "better off in the community"?

"Poison" has a number of meanings in this wonderful piece. Is there any escape from such poisons?
Sure. Fast-food companies could accompany "affordable" meals with an itemized tally of future medical expenses likely to yield from routine consumption. They could print it on the burger/fries receipt or, better yet, submit the lot to Congress as a factor of the Public Health budget.

Aside from that, I think we all find ways to escape poison. We pamper a lover, turn off the television, read a book, stare at a painting, open a door for someone, etc.

What drew your attention to the flash form?
Fluffy cats curling themselves into tight places, then expanding beyond the borders.

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!
One request. Instead of a deserted island, could it be a deserted library with assorted fruit trees growing in the atrium? Thay way, I'd have food, water, plumbing, and plenty of novels and movies at hand without having to make conversation with famous people. If there's only one very much alive writer, I'd hope it was me; otherwise, I couldn't enjoy the library as much. The one flash piece would be "How to be a Lonely Woman" by Amy Zipperer (no, I don't know her) and the one CD would be In Praise of Poets, twelve poems by Whitman, Rossetti and others set to music by my composer husband, Jerry Gerber (yes, I know him). And tell me, Randall Brown, does SLQ have an editor with intials R.B. who would e-mail me dark chocolate and links to back issues?

Read See Odi Naked.
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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