SmokeLong Quarterly
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Smoking With Patricia Parkinson

Art by Marty D. Ison
Art by Marty D. Ison
How has writing changed your life?
This is a hard question. I donít know if writing has really changed my life that much. Iíve always written to some extent, journals and the like, Iím a big letter writer, which I think is a lost art, but this, writing fiction, well, itís very different. I would have to say that if there is one thing that has changed for me, is that the acceptance of my writing has made me feel validated as a person more than anything else Iíve done. Prior to doing this, I thought I was just some kind of weirdo walking around with these strange thoughts rolling around in my brain. When I started writing about these thoughts, people liked them. Now, I celebrate my uniqueness, rather than hide itÖand thatís a great thing.

Lives become busy and often eat away at our writing time. How do you protect yours?
I write at night, when everyone is asleep. Sometimes well into the next morning, itís my time and I cherish every minute of it. When Iím getting the kids ready for bed, I feel myself starting to get excited, because I know that soon, Iíll be able to spill my thoughts onto the screen. I write in bed, in the darkÖandÖI also write in the bathroom, which is kind of weird, but Iíve gotten used to it. I light candles and hang out on the potty, my Internet signal is stronger there and Iím too lays to haul my sorry butt down the stairs to the couch. Writing outside, in the dark, on a starry summer night... starry starry night. Great song, itís the best, but I strongly recommend wearing a good mosquito repellent.

Stories with an erotic slant can be intimidating for some writersóany advice?
Well, I donít know if what I write is so erotic. Life is erotic, if you want it to be, it depends on how you feel about things, how you look at things, eating an orange is erotic and reading about someone doing it, well, it can be more arousing than a graphic sex scene if itís done properly. The only advice I can give, and my experience is quite limited, donít write about something that makes you feel uncomfortable or embarrassed, because itíll show.

Flash as a form, can become addictive. Do you struggle to write longer pieces and do you thing short stories are easier to write?
I love writing flash. I love it! Itís soooo satisfying to write and to read. I think with the lifestyle that most people have today, flash will become more and more popular simply because people donít have the time to read, which is a shame. I have found that some of my pieces are becoming longer and I have to struggle to keep it brief, I think the story tells you how long it wants to be, you just have to listen. The worst thing I think that we, as writers do, is limit ourselves, stop ourselves, every story has a natural end, and you just have to write it, worry about the word count later. The ability to tell a story in say, 500 words or less, is an amazing thing, totally.

Authors sometimes act out what their characters are doing as they work on a piece. Have you found this helpful, and do you find yourself getting into character in odd places throughout the day?
So funny, and sooo true. God, I wander around talking to myself allll the time, mimicking speech patterns, dialogue, studying body movements. Itís hilarious but I do have to admit that sometimes I get too into it, like if my character is sad, Iím sadóI can just sit there at the keyboard and cry and think the character is me, this is happening to meÖitís very draining at times. If the story is light and happy, like Gilda, which Iím so proud to have in your publication, well, letís just say it works both ways. I must have been in a good zone that day. I sung that stupid song from the story a million timesóit still makes me smile to think about it.

Read Gilda.
Issue Five (August 15, 2004): Lovers by Karen Simpson Nikakis «» Shore by Susan Henderson «» Lovechild by Ellen Parker «» Lipstick by Claudia Smith «» Back Home by Bob Arter «» Gloves by Gary Cadwallader «» Gilda by Patricia Parkinson «» Attic by Kim Chinquee «» The Radioactive Chicken or the Egg? by Randall Brown «» Summer Swim by Pia Z. Ehrhardt «» Two Benches by Pasha Malla «» Fall by Richard Hulse «» Drop by Roy Kesey «» Galveston by Steven Gullion «» Every Pane of Weathered Glass by Ellen M. Rhudy «» I Can't Talk About Butter Because Margarine Is All I Know by C.R. Park «» Something of Value by Brian Reynolds «» The Therapist Told Her Not to Stop SmokingĖRight Now by Astrid Schott «» Maintenance by Miriam N. Kotzin «» Enough by Katrina Denza «» Interviews: Karen Simpson Nikakis «» Susan Henderson «» Ellen Parker «» Claudia Smith «» Bob Arter «» Gary Cadwallader «» Patricia Parkinson «» Kim Chinquee «» Randall Brown «» Pia Z. Ehrhardt «» Pasha Malla «» Richard Hulse «» Roy Kesey «» Steven Gullion «» Ellen M. Rhudy «» C.R. Park «» Brian Reynolds «» Astrid Schott «» Miriam N. Kotzin «» Katrina Denza «» Cover Art "A Character in Short Fiction" by Marty D. Ison «» Letter From the Editor
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