Smoking With Mary Miller

Read the Story March 15, 2006
story art

Shwing! How do your main characters get themselves into such situations? Is there more to it than that they get the call and there’s all this time to kill?

Most of my characters seem to hate themselves. They’re often unmotivated, depressed, or just lazy, so they end up waiting for life to come to them, taking whatever comes along.

Pot, beer, antidepressants—what role do these play in this story, and your other flash piece? What are the consequences—both positive and negative—of using and not using?

The characters are struggling, basically. They want better lives but don’t know how to get them. Using helps them connect, for very short periods of time at least. Of course, it also makes their lives more difficult and gives them additional reasons to hate themselves.

Rain or shine. Which do you prefer?

I like both. Rain is great for sleeping and watering my flowers (okay, bushes). Shine is nice for everything else.

Love your titles. How does one discover the title within a piece? Does the title ever arrive to you before the piece itself?

Thank you. The title never arrives before the piece. Usually I just try to find the coolest line or word. I put it up there and cross my fingers.

Last time we talked, it was December and you were in post-Katrina recovery mode in Mississippi and looking toward 2006. How are things?

I haven’t been to the Mississippi coast, nor have I been to New Orleans. My relatives seem to be doing okay down there, but life is still a daily struggle. On a brighter note, things are great here in central Mississippi. There are no more trees on the sidewalks and my dog and I get around a lot better.

About the Author:

Mary Miller attends graduate school and works at a children's shelter in Mississippi. She writes a lot.