Smoking With Kathy Fish

Read the Story September 28, 2009

This story could be located just about anywhere. Why Prague?

My daughter came back from backpacking all around Europe with the best stories. This story is not one of her stories, at all, but rather matches some of the emotional territory she encountered there. Prague ended up being something of a disappointment for her, so I thought a disappointing city, from the POV of a young woman, was a good place to set this one.

What is happening in this line: “I know what she needs, but the lie slides out.” What is it she needs? What is it the narrator needs?

I’m being somewhat obtuse there, I realize. The subtext, in my mind, is that the other girl needs an abortion, is somewhat desperate, and the narrator feels her desperation, and responds with a mix of compassion and repulsion. She’s not proud of this reaction, but can’t seem to respond otherwise. There’s not a pleasant emotion in any of this actually.

You are one of the four authors in the book entitled A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness: Four Chapbooks of Short Short Fiction by Four Women (Rose Metal Press). How has that experience been?

Really wonderful! There’s not an unpleasant emotion in any of this, actually! Seriously, I’m very proud of the work and of the whole book. The stories feel “old” to me now, which makes me eager to someday publish another collection.

What is next for Ms. Fish? What are you writing these days?

I’m working on two longer short stories. Have not written much flash lately, but it’s taking a lot of discipline on my part not to cut the stories off and declare them flash. I’m taking my time with these.

Your presence inspired the wonderful Kathy Fish Fellowship which has helped and supported many writers such as myself. It is a huge honor to receive the Kathy Fish Fellowship and the recipients are grateful. In terms of your own writing path, what are you grateful for?

It’s a huge honor to have my name attached to something so beneficial to writers. I am grateful for that! I’m also grateful and I know I’ve said it before, to all the writers who have helped me along the way, encouraged and taught me and believed in my stories. I’m lucky to have friends who are smarter and more talented than I am. I also owe a lot to coffee and all forms of caffeine.

About the Author:

Kathy Fish teaches for the Mile High MFA at Regis University in Denver, Colorado. She has published four collections of short fiction: a chapbook in the Rose Metal Press collective, A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness: Four Chapbooks of Short Short Fiction by Four Women (2008); Wild Life (Matter Press, 2011); Together We Can Bury It (The Lit Pub, 2012); and Rift, co-authored with Robert Vaughan (Unknown Press, 2015). Three of her stories have been Best Small Fictions winners, most recently “Collective Nouns for Humans in the Wild,” chosen by Aimee Bender. Additionally, two of Fish’s stories will be featured in the upcoming W.W. Norton anthology, New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction.