Smoking With Myfanwy Collins

Read the Story June 15, 2004

We love Polly’s desire to tame the tiny beast in this story, and are curious about “nature” as a theme in your work. Does it tend to play a big role for you, and if so, why?

Nature (and nurture) are recurring and significant themes in my work. Polly’s desire is not only about taming the squirrel without, but the squirrel within as well; she would like to tame herself, to care for herself—to be her own mother.

I am transfixed with the concept of motherhood and how it is one of the most powerful drives in the natural world. Motherhood is also symbolic of how we (human beings) treat nature—we either treat it with care and respect or we stomp on it, treat it with disregard and fuck it all up.

You captured a kind of longing and loneliness in this story that seems unique to childhood. Are you especially drawn to writing about the pain of childhood?

I’m not sure that once lodged the childhood longing/loneliness ever really goes away. I think we may choose to ignore it or tell ourselves that we are self-indulgent to have childish feelings but really I think it’s always there. It is for me anyway.

I don’t know if I’m drawn to writing about the pain of childhood, necessarily. I’m drawn to writing about characters and what is human (i.e. either fucked up or miraculous) about them.

Speaking of childhood, did you always know you wanted to be a writer? When did this realization come to you?

It was with me for sure at around age five or six when I wrote my first “book” about a girl and her dog. For some reason, they run away from home and end up living underneath the porch of their home.

So, I guess other than love, it is the one thing I have always wanted. I have always felt more comfortable in the written word. Whether it will ever really “happen” for me is still up in the air but I don’t believe my desire will ever leave.

How do you feel about flash fiction vs. other literary forms?

I adore flash and I fear it. Though some people feel there are strict rules to follow, to me it feels boundless and in that boundlessness I find the fear part of me—and that is the part that lets go to the fullest, which is what I adore about it. How’s that for a cryptic answer?

I feel that some writers are drawn to flash because they feel comfortable in brevity—as if its size makes it easier. I find it difficult to master because of that brevity and I believe that very few people do it really well. I know I have a long, long way to go before I’m even close to good (if ever).

(Editor’s note: We couldn’t disagree more!)

Do you like Pop Tarts?

I do like Pop Tarts, yes. I prefer the frosted kind, which are hazardous if left in the toaster too long. I burned the cabinets in my mother’s kitchen once when I put in pop tarts and left the room to go watch a Star Trek repeat (how much of a geek does that make me?).

About the Author:

Myfanwy Collins has work published or forthcoming in Kenyon Review, AGNI, Cream City Review, Potomac Review, Saranac Review, Quick Fiction, FRiGG, Mississippi Review, Monkeybicycle, and Jabberwock Review. Please visit her at: http://www.myfanwycollins.com.

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.