SmokeLong Quarterly
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Smoking With Katrina Denza

You guest edited issue 13, then joined the staff for issues 14-17. What do you, as an editor, look for in a story? What about your own story, "Soap," fits this criterion?
I like economy in a short piece. There's a lot of beauty and balance to be found in the white space of a story. And I really want to be emotionally connected to what I'm reading. It's difficult for me to judge my own work, however, when I write I also want to connect to the reader. I hope that as long as I write from a deep emotional place, the connection will follow. Which is a round-about way of saying, I really don't know. If I had received this piece as an editor I may have taken it or I may have passed on it. One thing I would have liked about "Soap" is that it has white space.

I like that you focus the ending on Jackson, patiently waiting for her son's hand. It's a great moment of hope and expectation.
Thanks, Kelly. After I wrote it I realized it speaks of the faith and courage we parents have in raising our children. Faith that things will work out and the courage to let go.

"Dandelions cover the lawn: a yellow rebellion." Wonderful line! I love the word "rebellion" in this context.
Thanks so much, Kelly. Personally, I like rebels.

What have you been up to since you left the SmokeLong staff last year?
A lot. My non-writing life has been very rich lately. As for writing, I'm working on my first novel, the first third of which has been rewritten four times. I'm finally confident I've found the way into the story I want to tell so that feels like a huge victory. I'm not writing as many stories, but I can't help but write one once in awhile. I love stories!

I've also had the pleasure and honor of guest-editing an issue for Storyglossia.

It's all good.

This issue marks SmokeLong's fifth anniversary, which has me thinking about longevity and growth. There's no denying the literary arena is a fickle one, with journals coming and going, writers shooting onto the scene then falling into a long hiatus, editors changing houses, agents merging, and the trends! Don't even get me started! How do you, as a writer, endure the ups and downs? Have you experienced any setbacks? What measures have you taken to grow?
Happy Anniversary!! SmokeLong is an amazing journal. I'm so glad it's in this world.

I endure them by keeping my blinders on. I have to keep telling myself I don't give a shit about the market or the trends or what the editors want even if I do. Because caring about all of that can be crippling. Setbacks? I'm not sure it's a setback but one thing that surprised me was how long writing this novel would take me. At first it bothered me but I'm done fighting it. It is what it is. As far as growth, I read and write as often as I can. I hope the growth will just happen.

Read Soap.

Issue Twenty-One (June 15, 2008): Paper Mouse by Bob Arter «» The Folk Singer Dreams of Time Machines by Matt Bell «» The Bone Orchard by Randall Brown «» Disease Relics by Blake Butler «» We Decided to Make Porn by Brian Allen Carr «» The Baby Drop-Off by Natascia Casey-Dean «» The Cougar by Dave Clapper «» Anointed by Myfanwy Collins «» Sister Earth by John Colvin «» Soap by Katrina Denza «» The Interpretation of Light by Murray Dunlap «» The Hole by Ashley Farmer «» Repair Man by Kathy Fish «» In the Kitchen She Wakes by Stefanie Freele «» American Gothic by Scott Garson «» Lobster Girl by Alicia Gifford «» Pen and Notebook by Natalie Goldberg «» Memento Mori by Rosanne Griffeth «» BiC by Steven Gullion «» Parting by Evelyn Hampton «» Tuesday by Lindsay Hunter «» Waiting on Lombard Street by W.P. Kinsella «» Johnny by Nance Knauer «» Like Swimming by Jeff Landon «» Feeling Sad by Darby Larson «» Alone With Cooper by Ellen Meister «» The Angel's Visitation by Corey Mesler «» South Dakota by Mary Miller «» California Fruit by Meg Pokrass «» Home Made by Bruce Holland Rogers «» Handful of Dirt by Jim Ruland «» Steam City Girl by Paul Silverman «» Sugar by Claudia Smith «» The 13th Toast by Amy Sparks «» Gathering by Kelly Spitzer «» Tiny Shadows by Maryanne Stahl «» Double-Exposure by Thomas White «» Epistemology by Joseph Young «» Why This Isn't a Good Story to Tell by Shellie Zacharia «» Liquid by Michelle Zellers «» Real Estate by Bonnie ZoBell «» Interviews: Bob Arter «» Matt Bell «» Randall Brown «» Blake Butler «» Brian Allen Carr «» Natascia Casey-Dean «» Dave Clapper «» Myfanwy Collins «» John Colvin «» Katrina Denza «» Murray Dunlap «» Ashley Farmer «» Kathy Fish «» Stefanie Freele «» Scott Garson «» Alicia Gifford «» Rosanne Griffeth «» Steven Gullion «» Evelyn Hampton «» Lindsay Hunter «» Nance Knauer «» Jeff Landon «» Darby Larson «» Ellen Meister «» Corey Mesler «» Mary Miller «» Meg Pokrass «» Bruce Holland Rogers «» Jim Ruland «» Paul Silverman «» Claudia Smith «» Amy Sparks «» Kelly Spitzer «» Maryanne Stahl «» Thomas White «» Joseph Young «» Shellie Zacharia «» Michelle Zellers «» Bonnie ZoBell «» Cover Art "Five Years of SmokeLong" compiled from art by Marty D. Ison, Robert Dornberg, Malina, and Rebecca Gullickson «» Letter From the Editor
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