Smoking With Liane LeMaster

Read the Story December 15, 2008
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What are some of your most memorable tabloid stories and/or headlines?

I hated when the rich girls called me “Pee-Ann.” That was about as memorable as my tabloid got. “Screaming Girl Does Not Help the Cubs” is also a tabloid that I regret, and not the screaming.

There aren’t many stories that can make readers laugh about the possibility of a uterus falling out. What are some of your all-time favorite parental warnings?

“Don’t run with a stick in your mouth” is a favorite although I’m troubled as to why they felt the need to repeatedly say this to me. My parents were pretty progressive folks and very encouraging, but I do remember my cousin telling me that her uterus was in danger of falling out. I was nine when I heard this, and I was truly torn up about the lack of logic. There’s no way a uterus can fall out unless the woman is naked or wearing a skirt and nothing else beneath. Despite the medical inconsistencies, it was the idea that your pants or panties had to stop your uterus that stuck with me. It was also the first time I’d heard the uterus referred to as something that needed to be kept in check.

It is the mother, of all people, who places the newspaper on the belt. Why? It’s such an interesting, complex thing for her to do.

I hope that readers will have their own varied responses to that. For me, it seems like the classic power struggles between mother and daughter that are often waged in supermarket aisles or other public places and go without comment from those who witness them and possibly by those who participate in them. See answer above.

What do you love about reading and writing (very) short fiction?

I love that it takes compression to the extreme and forces you as a reader and a writer to make the most out of every word. It is the participatory genius of literature made manifest in a small, palatable and utterly satisfying moment. I also love that it fits into my purse.

Word on the street is that you have some kind of past with Dave Clapper. What can you tell us about him that would surprise the pants off all of us? What is the most surprising thing about you?

Well, I hope you clear this with him first because I’m not sure that I’m at liberty to disclose, but Dave used to have a third arm growing out of his chest. It made him highly marketable as an administrative assistant back in the day because he could simultaneously type with two hands while drinking coffee. I can see from his posts to his MySpace page that he has outgrown that third arm or else had it surgically removed, but I always appreciated that he embraced his third arm as the extension of himself that it was, without hatred, embarrassment or bitterness. He is generous, kind and wickedly smart, but I bet you already knew that. And I’m happy that he chose to write and create a forum for writers instead of busying himself about that third arm. As for myself, I prefer to keep the mystery. Sorry, Dave.

About the Author:

Liane LeMaster's fiction has appeared in the Chattahoochee Review, the Mississippi Review, and Sub-Lit, and has won the Porter Fleming Literary Prize. She is finishing her MFA at Georgia State University where she was the recipient of the 2006 Paul Bowles Fellowship for Creative Writing. She lives in Atlanta and lets her daughters look at tabloids but only while standing in line at the supermarket where they are impossible to avoid.