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Smoking With Jason Jackson

Halliville and Griceís Town. Are these actual cities? In what part of the world does this story take place?
As far as I know they're not real. I always get stuck for character names, place names, and the day I wrote the draft of this story I'd been teaching a class, and we'd been covering some linguistic theory. Halliday and Grice are linguists. The names were just in my head, and they seemed to work. I don't really have any firm idea of where this story happens. American frontier? I really have no idea. The draft of the story was written in a timed hour exercise; I wasn't really thinking about where it was set at the time.

A Bible burning trader... Pete is such an interesting character. Where did he come from? What spawned him?
Like I say, the story just came out in a rush, and I honestly have no idea where any of it came from. I don't know anyone who burns Bibles. Or who's cut out their own girlfriend's tongue. I like writing characters like this, people who are outside of the usual boundaries. Pete's just the kind of person you really, really wouldn't want to have to share a shack—or a bed —with.

"Peteís laugh, it worried me. Out there, itís best to keep quiet. Some animals, they donít like to hear a human laugh. It strikes them theyíre being mocked." Yikes! How would Pete respond to this thought? Is he in any way a religious man? What about your viewpoint character?
I think Pete is as far away from religious as you can get. He'd enjoy the idea of mocking dangerous animals, I think. Reading the story back, the narrator strikes me as the kind of man who isn't really religious, but he'll hedge his bets just in case.

Youíre relatively new to writing. What prompted you to start?
The real kick up the backside was when I went to a conference and saw Jim Crace speak. He's a novelist I really admire, and he was a very inspirational speaker, in a subtle, down-to-earth way. I wrote my first short story that night when I got home.

Since this is my first issue with SLQ, I thought itíd be appropriate to discuss firsts. Writing firsts. First time you called yourself a writer, first publication, first check. Those sorts of things. So, dish. What is your most memorable writing first?
Finishing that first story, I think. Just reading it back, thinking, 'yeah, that works ok,' was a good feeling. The first cheque—for sixty pounds—that was good, too!

Read From Halliville To Grice's Town.

Issue Eighteen (September 15, 2007): When the Toasts Stopped Being Funny by Steve Almond «» Nailed by Robert J. Bradley «» Raymond Carver by Dan Chaon «» The Sound of Success by Terry DeHart «» Ethnic Lego Girls Carry Spears by Heidi W. Durrow «» Mole Man by Stuart Dybek «» Party by Emily Fridlund «» From Halliville To Grice's Town by Jason Jackson «» Starfish by Jeff Landon «» Insomnia of an Elderly French Designer by Sean Lovelace «» Display by Davin Malasarn «» Little Bones by Kuzhali Manickavel «» Stigmata by Susan O'Neill «» Inroads by Dominic Preziosi «» Bachon by Teri Davis Rouvelas «» Voc Rehab Vignettes by Jessica Schantz «» Neighbors by Curtis Smith «» Caging the Thing by Beth Thomas «» Interviews: Steve Almond «» Robert J. Bradley «» Randall Brown «» Dan Chaon «» Terry DeHart «» Heidi W. Durrow «» Stuart Dybek «» Emily Fridlund «» Jason Jackson «» Jeff Landon «» Sean Lovelace «» Davin Malasarn «» Kuzhali Manickavel «» Mary Miller «» Susan O'Neill «» Dominic Preziosi «» Teri Davis Rouvelas «» Jessica Schantz «» Curtis Smith «» Beth Thomas «» Cover Art "Repression of an Open Mind" by Marty D. Ison «» Letter From the Editor
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