Smoking With Myfanwy Collins

Read the Story September 28, 2009

Where did this story come from? How did you begin?

I was at an open house when as soon as I walked into the place I had a sense of loss. The place felt like an exhale which I couldn’t stop thinking about afterward—the file cabinet in the basement, the old man lingering out back by the screen porch, the smell of woodsmoke, burned oil.

There is an overwhelming feeling of Things Lost—from the opening mention of someone gone, to the final image of so wanting to recapture the moment—that feels very familiar. Do you think this feeling is related to nostalgia, something we all likely face? Or is it something more in this story? Deeper?

More than about things lost, it is about trying to recapture what is lost.

I wonder at the phrase, “though he hoped his dad wouldn’t notice everything about her.” What is he wanting to remain hidden?

I wanted there to be a sense of competition. A sense that this woman was really something special and that there were things (whether they be physical or mental) that he wanted to keep hidden from his father. He wanted to protect her (and himself) from his father.

Tell us about the way this story ends. Tell us about “Ask for this…”

Ask for this came from all of those self-helpy books (“The Secret,” etc.) where one learns that to have what they want in life, all they must do is ask for it. I’m not making fun of this practice—I think there is a place for it in that it keeps thinking positive instead of allowing the mind to fall into negativity and vicitimhood, rather I think what is most important in life are these sublime moments which can never be lived again.

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: