Smoking With Natalie DeClerck

Read the Story June 25, 2009

What meanings do you see in the use of “brother” within this story?

Well at first “brother” was actually referencing one of my own family relationships. But I kept the word because I liked the idea of the narrator having a close yet ugly connection with the brother, whether he is a blood relative or not. I thought “brother” allowed for that.

How would you describe your writing style? How does this style reflect you?

Honestly, I haven’t found my writing style yet. The type of stuff I write changes a lot, and pretty quickly. I feel like even “Tapioca O’s,” which SmokeLong published a few issues ago, doesn’t sound like me. For this story though, I was focusing more on the flow and sound of the words and creating certain images. It ended up kind of dramatic and abstract because that’s the way I always saw the story in my mind. In terms of how my developing style reflects me, I hope it shows that I’m growing up, as a person and as a writer. Of course, I’m still just your average American teenager, but I’m not too angsty anymore. I like to think there’s a little more to me than sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.

How did this story come into being? Trace, if you would, its progress from idea to this final version.

I don’t regularly journal, but I do have a place where I write down spasms of autobiographical stuff when I feel like it. This story is the unexpected spawn of two separate entries that I wrote about a year ago. I wrote the last two paragraphs first, and really struggled with getting the “skys aside” sentences the way I wanted them. Almost all of the first three paragraphs changed from the first draft, and I ended up only keeping the basic idea and voice. Overall, I tried to edit the story to be less judgemental and more of a search for comfort and truth.

When did you know you were a writer? Do you think this is a good or bad fate?

Oh, I knew straight out of the womb. The whole time I was thinking, “What an experience! How will I ever describe the gruesome imagery to my readers?” As far as fates go, it’s about average. I still hope my fate is to be an unknown rockstar that tours Europe with The Cure for a year but then goes solo and records a lot of jazzy love songs. Writing is good too though. I’ll keep it up just in case.

What got you interested in flash fiction? What do you like about it?

I’ve always enjoyed reading shorter pieces, and I guess I eventually decided to try it out. I feel like I put a lot more energy into the writing when I have to condense my thoughts so much. The editing process is more fun, too. There’s a lot more eraser marks and scratching out and crinkled paper balls in the trash can.

About the Author:

Natalie DeClerck is a senior at Fremd High School in Palatine, Illinois. She plans to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign next year where she will major in English.