Smoking With Cally Taylor

Read the Story September 15, 2005

I am afraid of Tom’s room, too. How did you visualize and bring to life such place?

Hoover was written in response to a flash prompt ‘Roadkill as Art’ set at Alex Keegan’s Bootcamp. The prompt immediately appealed and I started thinking about some of the different student art exhibitions I saw when I was at University. One of them included the ‘faeces in glass intestine’ sculpture. Another was the scrawled toilet roll piece. I thought about the artists, about the way they express themselves and how the people around them might react if they don’t understand that kind of artistic expression. Tom became the art student in my mind and the narrator became his mother.

Great title. Fill us in about the hoover as a figurative element in this fine fine flash.

The hoover is a metaphor for the mother desperately trying to remain part of her son’s life, even when she doesn’t really understand him any more. Hoovering is normality, hoovering she understands. It’s what she does. It’s what she’s always done. As her son moves away from her and becomes his own person, she clings to normality. She can’t understand him or be part of his new life or his artistic expression but she can still hoover his room.

Well, like most parents, I could use some parenting advice, Cally. Care to offer some?

I’d love to but as I’m not a parent myself I’m afraid I wouldn’t be much help!

A novel on the way? So, what can you tell us about it?

The novel is a coming of age story about a girl called Lucy who loses her mother (an OCD sufferer) to suicide and is sent to boarding school by her ‘Grandmonster’. It’s a story about love, loss, friendship, bullying, fantasy and grief. Ultimately, I hope, it’s uplifting.

Here in the States, we’re so sickened and pained by the recent London terrorism. What’s the mood in England?

I was in London on 7th July and felt shock, grief and fear in the aftermath of the bombings. Getting back on the Tube in the days after the attack was nerve-wracking but now there seems to be a sense of defiance and ‘life as normal’ in London. We’re not going to let the terrorists succeed in letting fear dominate our day-to-day lives.

About the Author:

Cally Taylor lives beside the seaside in Brighton, England. One of her short stories was featured in the first BBC Get Writing anthology and she is looking for homes for the rest. She is currently working on a novel.

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.