Smoking With Nadine Darling

Read the Story September 28, 2009

We’ve missed your writing so much, Nadine! It’s great to have you back in SLQ. An astute reader recognized the title from Radiohead. Is that connection deliberate? What makes this title the ONE for this piece? How, if it is related to Radiohead, does that song inform this piece?

I’m a Radiohead nerd to begin with, so it may have been playing while I wrote the story, but it is resonant in a lot of ways. The chorus is I’m not here/This isn’t happening, and the main character just sort of sunk into this movie world to get away from his pain. And it’s a really good title. I was probably taken by the title before I was taken by the song.

M*A*S*H. Tom Arnold. Springer. Blockbuster. I’m curious, decades and decades from now, when this story appears in another of its many anthologies, what the footnotes might say to explain these references to readers. Any idea?

That’s funny, I never think about those things, but I can’t imagine many people under twenty-five really knowing who Tom Arnold is. M*A*S*H is the only one that seems lasting, if only because it’s so awesomely self-important. I’m obsessed with it. Especially the later years when Alan Alda got full creative control and was somehow able to make it seem as though the war was happening exclusively to his character. Man, if M*A*S*H comes on and you see “Written by Alan Alda” followed by “Directed by Alan Alda,” you know you’re in for a damn good time.

“Jade, the girl with the scar, the thin inlet of satin pink.” In that moment, I fall for Jade. I can’t quite explain why. What do you think?—and at what moment did you fall for her?

She’s the everyperson in the story, I guess. The one who sees things the way that they are and feels sort of betrayed by any whimsy. I think when I was writing I felt more pissed-off than romantic, and anyone who feels that way just wants to be proven wrong. I liked her telling her boss that she didn’t speak English; it’s the kind of thing I’d have done at eighteen when I was kind of a jerk and everything seemed like a big scam.

The sash that reads Mayor is wonderful. If you had to wear a sash, what might it say?

“Kenneth Forever,” for my husband. I have two tattoos-one on my left bicep, one on the back of my neck- that say that, a “Kenny” over the zodiac sign of cancer on my left ankle, his birthday and the time of his birth on my left wrist, and a Peanuts-esque cartoon of him on the inside of my left arm. I’m all kinds of stalker-y for him.

What have you been up to? What have you been reading, listening to, watching? What projects are in the works?

Well, M*A*S*H. The game Plants Vs. Zombies has pretty much taken over our family, but we’re both writing books so we’re trying to stay away from as much TV as possible. Jockeys is good for diminutive human drama, though. And we’re trying to get through all those new flavors of Doritos. That should keep us busy until the end of the year.

About the Author:

Nadine Darling lives in Beverly, Massachusetts, with her husband, Kenneth, who she couldn't love more if his pockets were filled with candy. She is currently writing her first novel to avoid getting a real job.