Smoking With Rebecca O’Brien

by Ashley Inguanta Read the Story June 25, 2012

What sparked this story?

I have always enjoyed magical realism and was interested in writing some of my own. I was keeping my eyes out for ideas, and at one point I was in the kitchen where there was a single orange in the fruit bowl. I am not entirely sure why, but I started thinking about mobile fruit and what it could represent. The story developed from there.

Tell me about Warren.

Warren is the spark that has illuminated a whole host of family strife. He is the turmoil of the exact moment when childhood and adulthood meet.

The ending here blew me away. It embodies this wonderful strangeness that’s not disorienting, but grounding. Tell me more about this moment.

The birdcage seemed the perfect absurd solution to an absurd problem. At the same time, the elegance of the birdcage image maintained the underlying seriousness of the issue, and it lent a strange beauty to Rachel’s quixotic attempt to keep the family together.

What is the best thing about a banana? The worst?

When ripe, the pleasantness of a banana’s smooth, yellow peel is unparalleled, but how easily they bruise!

If you could tell Rachel one thing, what would it be?

Stick to vegetables. (heh)

About the Author:

Originally from Missouri, Rebecca O'Brien currently lives in Colorado Springs, where she works as a rock climbing guide.

About the Interviewer:

Ashley Inguanta is a Florida-based writer and photographer whose work has appeared in Redivider, PANK, and The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review. She is also the Art Director of SmokeLong Quarterly. In 2010, Ashley’s story “The Heart of America” earned an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train for their Very Short Fiction Award. She is a former art director of SmokeLong Quarterly and author of three poetry collections: The Way Home (Dancing Girl Press, 2013), For the Woman Alone (Ampersand Books, 2014), and Bomb (Ampersand Books, 2016). In 2019 Ampersand Books will publish her newest collection, The Flower, about how death shapes us.