Smoking With Cheska Lynn

by Megan Giddings Read the Story December 15, 2014

There are so many things hidden (the specifics of Tessa’s illness, the narrator’s name, the parents) in this, I started to get really impressed how what’s not revealed made the things given space feel even more important. What was your process for writing this story? How did you choose what should and shouldn’t be revealed?

The process of writing this story was a departure for me because I started with the image of a particular landscape (the cornfield) and developed characters from there. I typically have a character in mind and create a world around that character (or characters). I had the idea to make the main character a little boy, but I knew, from inception, that this would be a flash piece. So I liked playing with the idea that the gender, name, really anything concrete not be revealed about the narrator. I went through several drafts after the first – of mostly taking information out and letting emotion tell the story. I wanted to leave the reader with a sense of loss that was unattached from a particular character or illness.

One of the details I really enjoyed was Tessa’s interest in numbers/numerology. It’s one of those small things that made her feel really alive. What are the tiny (or big!) interests that you think define you as a writer?

I’m really interested in psychology, particularly in schools of thought that focus on the self and the self’s place in society or family systems. Individuals who struggle to be understood because they communicate in offbeat ways are also of interest to me. And birds. I love learning about a region’s birds and incorporating them into stories in small ways.

Can you give me 10 words (they don’t have to be related) that you think could encapsulate how you feel about flash fiction?

Economy, vivid, evaluative, impactful, enchanting, genuine, daring, portrait, emotive, brief.

What are you working on right now?

I’m currently working on two projects. I’m deep into the editing process of a novel that I have been writing on and off for several years now. I’m also at work on a new novel that explores the impact of a published memoir on two sisters’ relationship. I’m intrigued by what a writer might think may be objected to being exposed versus the reality for those who are unknowingly part of the narrative.

About the Interviewer:

Megan Giddings was a former executive editor at SmokeLong Quarterly  and a winner of the Kathy Fish Fellowship. Her chapbooks, Arcade Seventeen (TAR) and The Most Dangerous Game (The Lettered Streets Press) will be released Fall 2016.  She has been anthologized in Best of the Net 2014 and in Best Small Fictions 2016.  Her stories are forthcoming or have been recently published in Arts & Letters, Passages North, The Offing, Pleiades, and Black Warrior Review. You can learn more about her at