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Smoking With Roy Kesey

Art by Marty D. Ison
Art by Marty D. Ison
"Drop" is a gorgeous story. The final image is stunning. What gave you the idea for this story?
Thanks. I've never actually had an idea for a story, at least not in terms of plot or character or setting—well, okay, I have, but when I
start with an idea as such the result is always crap. On the other hand, if I nail the voice right at the beginning, the rest is just logistics, algebra, triangulation, only more fun, like shooting pool. "Drop" kicked off with what is now the first sentence of the second paragraph, and I knew I was in pretty good shape.

Has the experience of living as an ex-pat in Beijing changed your writing in any way?
Dunno. The process hasn't changed—stare at the wall, hope for something good. Moving here has certainly given me access to new raw materials, but any big move will do that for you. And I've been an ex-pat in one place or another for so long that that's just kind of a standard MO for me by now. Thus, to recapitulate, in conclusion:
dunno. Great food here, though.

You are so skilled at the short form. Do you have any plans for a novel?
Again, thanks. My first novel (by which I mean my third, but the first that's any good) is out dancing for editors as we speak—if anybody decides to slip a dollar into its g string, you'll be the first to know.

At what point in your life did you know, without a doubt, that you wanted to be a writer?
I was four or five when I first figured out how much fun it was to build little word-machines (my debut effort, "The Monster that Attacked the House," well, it's a little too complex to get into here, but there's this monster, see, that attacks this house...) but I was in my second year of college before I ever knew there was such a thing as magazines that actually published literary things written by actual people. And I thought (this is a direct quote): Neato.

You get to ask one writer one question. Who is the writer and what would you ask him/her?
I guess I'd choose one of my current heroes—George Saunders, Lydia Davis, Tony Earley, Peter Ho Davies—and my question would be, "Right, so, yes, well, what I was wondering is, do you— Okay, let me put that another way, what I'm trying to get at is that thing you do, that really good thing, and how exactly—Hold on, okay, so, I'm curious, what exactly is the means, or the manner, I guess, really, more the manner than the means... Never mind. Thank you, though. Thank you very much."

I get stage fright, see.

Read Drop.
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 Smoking–Right 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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