Smoking with Ashley Kaufman

Read the Story September 15, 2008
story art

“Do you remember loving me?” A line that makes one’s heart ache! Can love ever last in this fallen, shaken world? If so, how?

I have to believe it does, though there are those moments when it feels like love can’t survive. Even what we might consider the most pure kinds of love, the love of a parent for a child, for instance, can sometimes feel shaky. But love is more than feeling loving, of course. Love is active, it is what we do, the choices we make, so in that sense, love can survive if we will it to.

“Like a Christmas card.” Great simile. What are your Christmas cards like? Do you have some favorite ones, either sent or received?

I’m awful at Christmas cards. I think of them as I do the holiday itself. There’s this huge buildup, expectations, effort, and then? So the Christmas card, for me, is sort of a beautiful promise. Not quite, real, perhaps, but we might wish it were.

“He was inscrutable even in the mundane.” That strikes me as being just wonderful and wow! The piece, in some way for me, builds itself around that line. What do you love about that line? What role does it play in this piece?

Thank you! I often think other people are the last frontier. How much do we really understand each other? When we speak, do we actually understand what we are saying? Does red mean to you what it means to me? So often, other people seem inscrutable. The interesting point, for me, is when the inscrutable is the one you depend upon. That is solitude. It can be loneliness. The human condition.

What might life be like inside that snow globe, firmly shaken?

I am an unabashed lover of snow. I grew up in South Carolina, and I remember standing at the back door, staring up into the porch light, straining my eyes to see if those teeny tiny specs drifting down were actual snow or just ash from our fireplace. I love rain, too, but snow is, to my history, so rare and beautiful. A storm of snow in a safe container feels wondrous to me.

Begin this answer with the words, “I write.” Complete the sentence. Then, write as many sentences as you’d like, each one beginning with that “I write….”

I write to understand. I write to explain. I write to reconnect with the solitary creature that I am. I write in the hope of connecting with others. I write to maintain some semblance of sanity. I write to expel pain. I write to celebrate absurdity. I write to create my own hermitage. I write to participate in community. I write to carry on a tradition, to honor all those who wrote before me, who gave me so much of what I value and understand. “I write” is a beautiful sentence, complete in and of itself.

About the Author:

Ashley Kaufman's short fiction has appeared or is upcoming in Rosebud, susurrus, Mad Hatters' Review, flashquake, and Pearl, among other venues.