Smoking With John Mantooth

Read the Story March 15, 2004

What inspired this piece?

Reading too much Ray Bradbury. I wanted to write something that captured that almost magical nostalgia found in so many of his short stories. And the language too. Each of his stories is like a poem. I definitely wrote “The Last Summer” with Bradbury on the brain.

What did you find challenging in writing this piece?

Flash fiction is always challenging for me. I tend to want to write more than less. I always have to resist the urge to turn everything I write into a novel.

What attracted you to write flash fiction as opposed to other forms of writing?

I write short stories and novels too, but there is something wonderful about finishing a story in one sitting. You never lose the voice that way. In a larger work, I find it difficult to maintain the original voice. In that sense, flash is more pure.

How much of you is in this piece?

Quite a bit, I suppose. I hope everyone can find themselves in this story. Who can’t relate to bittersweet end of summer, and the painful realization, finally, that all things must end?

What would your creative outlet be if you weren’t able to write?

Actually my first love was music, but the band broke up (all things must end, right?). So I guess if I weren’t able to write then I’d still be playing bass guitar. And trust me, that wouldn’t be a good thing.

About the Author:

John Mantooth teaches middle school English and Reading. When he's not grading papers, he writes. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in the following publications: Thirteen Stories, Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine, NFG, and Hauntings, an anthology of ghost stories published by CyberPulp. His novel, Faith Like Wolves, made the top ten in the Fred Bonnie First Novel contest sponsored by River City Publishing.