Smoking With Lennart Lundh

Read the Story December 15, 2003

What inspired this piece?

This, and a companion piece that is its evil twin by being somber and wearing not a stitch of dialogue, came from seeing a photograph of a cowboy and his horse by a campfire at sunset.

Do you have any pets? If so, do they talk to you? What are their names?

My wife and I are dog breeders (just trash the letters from PETA and the recipes from Indonesia, please), so we’re owned by quite a few animals. They “talk” to us through body language and expression. I know what we call them, but not what they call themselves.

We are always told to write about what you know. Do you?

A: Why would anybody tell you to write about what I know?

Yeah, yeah. I know Groucho’s dead. I can still tell you where I was when I heard the news. Take two.

A. Empirical knowledge? Often, but not always — in this life, at least, I’ve yet to be a sociopath or horse, in Paris or Phu Bai, female or gay, whatever. What I don’t know or haven’t witnessed, though, I can find out. That’s the other way to give “true” flesh to the imagination’s bones.

What books or authors most influence(d) you?

Jeez, I started paying attention to words in 1952. Okay, this isn’t an Academy Awards speech, so: McKillip and Brautigan, for their entire bodies of work; Bradbury, Sandburg, Haldeman; the old Dell SFF anthologies Judith Merrill edited. Seeing the written word as an offspring of both the troubador and cave-painting traditions, I’ve got to include Anderson, Mitchell, Newhart, etc.; Caillebotte, Hopper, Adams, unnamed photographers, etc., etc.; Kurosawa, Wilder, Huston, Brooks, three etcs. I won’t name the “do as I say, not as I do” influences.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers? Or would you like to promote your literary-based website? Or to tell us what gifts you would like for your birthday? Or to say “Hi Mom!”?

Be kind when you don’t want to or have to.

I’m not full enough of myself (or anything else) yet to have a Web site. Gift cards from Borders would be nice. My Mom, and my Dad for that matter, doesn’t have a computer for me to say “hi” through.

About the Author:

Lennart Lundh is a poet and internationally recognized military historian who turned to short fiction in his mid-fifties.

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.