Smoking With Ron Carlson

by Brandon Wicks Read the Story June 24, 2013

Tell us how this story took shape.

Every day the news challenges our ability to believe what is happening. I want to put shoes on a notion and let it walk around; I’ve always done it with my short pieces going back to “Bigfoot Stole My Wife.” Let someone start talking and then follow closely.

The deadpan sincerity of the narrator is both hilarious and a bit endearing. How difficult is it to achieve that balanced tone? Is it a mode you find yourself naturally writing in, or does it require substantial revision?

You get it in the groove or you don’t. Sometimes it takes two or three sentences and you find yourself listening to find out who is speaking. You try to sit in every chair, consider every element of such a large transition as seceding.

How do you imagine the future will pan out for the Gundersons / Gundersonia?

As we all know, running a country is a lot of trouble.

What do you think is the best way to negotiate “border control” with neighbors?

Of course, you’re going to need treaties aplenty, and you’re going to be ceaselessly vigilant.

About the Author:

Ron Carlson's new novel (Summer '13) is Return to Oakpine. His book of poems is Room Service. He teaches writing at the University of California, Irvine.

About the Interviewer:

Brandon Wicks is the associate editor for special projects at SmokeLong Quarterly. He is a freelance writer and illustrator based in Philadelphia. His debut novel, American Fallout, will be published by Santa Fe Writers Project in 2016. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Pembroke Magazine, Potomac Review, Sou'wester, and other journals.