Smoking With Kama Falzoi Post

by Nancy Stebbins Read the Story June 25, 2012

You mention in your bio that this story started as a challenge from your husband. Can you say more about this?

Competition is a big motivator for me. I love being challenged, and always beg my husband to quiz me on things. Yes, I’m a huge nerd that way. So he set up a blog of writing prompts. This particular one focused on first sentences: what makes a good first sentence, what a first sentence should succeed in doing. He had me deconstruct the first sentence of some short stories, some novels. Then prompted me to write a 250-word first sentence to a novel. This was the result.

Your husband sounds like an inspiration. Do you have other writers you trade work with? A critique group?

Before we started dating I sent him a piece of mine that I was particularly proud of, and his feedback was absolutely brutal. Though I wanted to kick him in the throat, he was the first person, aside from a professor here or there, that really challenged me to drop my ego and look at my work not as a manifestation of myself, but as a craft that I could hone and improve with practice and guidance. Since I’ve been exposed to that level of critique, I tend to look for readers who can provide it, but have found they are few and far between. Unfortunately, I tend to shy away from groups of any kind, because I am a social idiot.

This piece is 250 words. Do you have a preferred length for flash?

I’ve written some pieces around 1,000 words. That’s a pretty comfortable length for me, though I like reading the really, really short stuff. Like Lydia Davis short. It’s impressive when a writer can craft a paragraph that stands you up and punches you in the gut. That kind of violence, one can aspire to.

What did you mean when you hinted at other forms of violence in the grandmother’s life? And was it related to the grandfather’s brooding and his scar?

I believe there is some level of violence in everyone’s life, though it doesn’t necessarily have to be of a brute, physical nature. Like, why did this woman end up in her granddaughter’s townhouse? It seems a long way from where she came. I imagined her living under the weight of this prediction, being shackled and stifled by it and thus perhaps not living life as she might have done otherwise. So there’s the juxtaposition of that kind of internal violence and the kind that leaves marks, like the grandfather’s scar.

How are you finding time to write with an infant?

This was the hardest question to answer, because the truth is, I’m not. But I intend to. Every day, I intend to.

About the Author:

Kama Falzoi Post has a handful of publications under her belt, including Pindledyboz, Inkwell, and Flashquake. She can be found in Upstate New York with an infant on her knee.

About the Interviewer:

Nancy Stebbins is a former editor at SmokeLong Quarterly.