Smoking With Angela Readman

by Tara Laskowski Read the Story December 17, 2012

One of the things I really liked about this story is that we never really find out the trouble behind the reasons for all this activity with the dress. I’m curious, though, if you know what the trouble is/was, and if you’d be willing to share.

Thanks Tara. I’m really glad you liked the story. It’s lovely to be here.

I’m have an idea about the what trouble was behind what happened, I think, there’s little hints within the story here and there. I won’t tell though. It might ruin the fun for the reader if I told you exactly. That’s the beauty of flash fiction I think, what isn’t being said is often something the reader can take away and create for themselves and that’s part of the fun. There’s the chance someone will read the story and tell my their theory of what they thought the relationship problem was one day, and it will surprise me a little too, then I’ll look at the story again and try and see it another way. I kind of love that—it’s a real joy.

Do you like weddings? What’s your favorite part of attending a wedding, and least favorite part?

I’m painfully shy; I squirm at formal occasions—I got married in five minutes, got changed in a car park, then went for a beer. That whole thing of bride side, groom side at weddings, all those people on different sides of the room, is a bit weird to me. That being said, I often want to cry at weddings. I’m not a romantic in a traditional sense, but two people standing up and promising to love each other is pretty amazing really.

What jokes would the wedding dress tell?

Why do women wear white on their wedding day? So they’ll match the fridge and the stove when they get home.

(Apologies for the terrible joke! But this is one this guy would hear I think. He’d probably love it :)

The dress seems pretty persistent, so I think it might tell one of my favourite jokes too:

A rabbit hops up to the counter of a butcher’s with his shopping basket and says, “Got any lettuce?”

“No,” the butcher says, “I don’t sell lettuce.”

The next day the rabbit hops into the butchers again, “Got any lettuce?” he says.

“No. I’ve told you. I only sell meat. Fuck off.”

Next day, the rabbit hops up to the counter again. The butcher says, “Look, if you ask me for lettuce again I’m going to nail your ears to this fucking block.”

The rabbit stops, looks at the guy and says, “Got any nails?”

“No,” the butcher says, “I only do meat.”

“Got any lettuce?” the rabbits says.

You also write poetry. Do you find it hard to move from that to fiction?

Lately, I have story world and poetry world and keep the two as seperate as I can. There’s an argument that short stories share a lot in common with poetry and I wouldn’t disagree with that. I suppose they’re never entirely divorced—storylines crop up in poems and the odd poetic moment may pop up in a story. That’s OK, they can visit each other then go down their own path. When I’m writing stories I tend to immerse myself with nothing but stories; I won’t read poetry at all. I won’t think about poems (If I get caught short with a poem idea, I’ll scribble a note down and run as fast as I can.) Then, when I just can’t put off some idea for a poem a second longer, and I’ve tied up a story that was nagging me, I’ll surrender and write some poetry. Every short story book I want to read will have to wait, and I’ll switch what I’m reading to poetry only. It helps me switch from one to the other and stay there somehow.

What do you do when you aren’t writing?

I’m pretty low key, nothing’s glamorous. Last year we got a small plot to grow veg on, so I’m discovering the joys of digging. There’s something very useful about manual activities for me. I switch off, paint a wall, dig a bit and find my best ideas often come then when I’m trying not to think about them.

I have a habit of doing stuff I’m not great at, just giving it a go. We live in the North, but we try to grow chilli plants every year. I’m not great with crafts, but I’ll have a go at making little bits sometimes (currently, I want to make Twin Peaks characters out of felt.) I suppose I get satisfaction from trying to make something out of nothing. Just trying something out and having fun with it even if you’re not sure how it will turn out is good practise for a writer I think.

About the Author:

Angela Readman has won The National Flash Fiction Day Comeptition. Her little stories have appeared in Pank, Metazen, Burner and The Pygmy Giant.

About the Interviewer:

Tara Laskowski has been editor at SmokeLong Quarterly since 2010. Her short story collection Bystanders was hailed by Jennifer Egan as "a bold, riveting mash-up of Hitchcockian suspense and campfire-tale chills." She is also the author of Modern Manners For Your Inner Demons, tales of dark etiquette. Her fiction has been published in the Norton anthology Flash Fiction International, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Mid-American Review, and numerous other journals, magazines, and anthologies. Tara lives and works in a suburb of Washington, D.C.