Smoking with Cami Park

Read the Story June 15, 2005

Knowing the names of things gives one a power, the myth goes, over the thing itself. Yet Lacan and others argue that we don’t ever know the true name of things, because the words we’ve attached to the objects of the world are arbitrary. So, Cami, for you, what’s in a name? Would a rose, by any other name, still smell as sweet?

I think a rose by any other name would still smell like itself, but I wonder how our perception of it—the rose, its smell—would change if it had no name at all?

What is it, that dark and bitter, necessary thing?

For lots of people it’s coffee; for me, chocolate.

That child—the little one, the small daughter, the girl, her only child, her little girl—finally gets a name: Sophie, a name that means “wisdom.” What else does it mean?

The name “Sophie” has a clean connotation to me, like soap. I’m not sure why I chose it for the purposes of the story—it was always just “Sophie.” I didn’t even know it means “wisdom” till now, but that works out nicely, doesn’t it?

What certainty of purpose is contained within [an object’s] letters that is not contained within itself?

I suspect the certainty of purpose is contained within ourselves rather than the object.

You, Cami, are an amazing flash fiction writer. Why do you write such pieces? What is the appeal, as a writer, of the short short?

I think lives are defined more by small epiphanies than grand narratives. I feel the density of emotion required by a short form is the best, and most challenging, vehicle with which to portray these moments.

About the Author:

Cami Park does most of her writing at a desk, some of it in bed, but none of it, ever, at the kitchen table. The results can be seen in past, current, and/or future publications of SmokeLong Quarterly, Forklift, Ohio, Prairiedog 13, No Tell Motel, and Outsider Ink.

About the Artist:

A native of Ohio, Marty D. Ison lives with his wife transplanted in the sands of the Gulf of Mexico. He studied fine arts at Saint Petersburg College. In addition to the visual arts, he writes poetry, short stories, and novels. See more of Ison's work here.