Smoking With Myfanwy Collins

Read the Story March 15, 2007
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Such lyricism! Might you be a poet and not realize it?

Thanks! I’m no poet. In fact, I write really shitty poetry whenever I try to write poetry. I have an older sister who used to write (and I hope she will again) the must crushing poetry. I was in high school and she was in college and would come home and show me her work. I would read it and be filled with such love and awe and envy that I wished that someday I could write like she does.

It ends with questions. When and why did you know that the flash needed to end as such?

The questions are from the mind of the protagonist—as she tries to understand what death (and this death in particular) means to her. I think most kids go through this phase during adolescence where they finally understand that death means gone forever and that is what the protagonist is coming to understand. Perhaps I’m overstepping by thinking most kids come to know this—I know it was true for me because my father died when I was awfully young and then after that there just seemed to be many years of death that followed—hence my obsession.

“The sound of moose teeth.” Have you ever heard such a sound? If so where and when and all the details you can provide?

Have seen moose but never heard them chew. I just imagine they sound like cows or any other animal which chews its cud. I have a particular sensitivity to hearing people eat (and breathe heavily through their nose and suck their teeth), but animals never seem to gross me out.

What is Myfanwy Collins up to these days?

I’m working on a new novel. Trying to make each chapter as self-contained as possible. It is quite challenging but I’m enjoying the challenge.

At the recent AWP conference, a number of writers talked about their old flames, books that have influenced them during a formative time in their lives—and ones they return to for lessons in writing and, of course, life. Discuss your old flame, both what it meant to you then and what it means to you now.

When I read this question I immediately thought of Annie Dillard. My first writing mentor gave me a collection of three books written by Annie Dillard after I finished up a project—Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, An American Childhood, and The Writing Life. Dillard’s style and subject matter completely enthralled me and continue to. I can read her books over and over again and always learn something new. What I learned from reading her—something I hadn’t really internalized before—was the importance of voice.

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.