Smoking With Sarah Leavitt

Read the Story March 15, 2006
story art

This piece beats with the rhythm of running. How did you accomplish such a feat?

Well, I spend a lot of my spare time running, and I think there’s a particular rhythm that happens running in San Francisco—with the hills, there’s often a rise and fall feeling. I tried to think about that feeling, and mimic it, when working on this piece.

“I can handle small foci of pain.” What aspect of characterization does this line accomplish?

It tries to show that the narrator is at a place where only so much is possible—that there’s more going on than what is being said, that she can only deal with small things at a time, that at this moment in time, her world is kind of segmented and scary.

Your title arrives at the end of the second-to-last paragraph. Someone once told me that poetry titles are always found in the fifth-to-last line. Where can one find flash titles?

I don’t really know. I didn’t originally have a title for this. I think I chose “The Rest of Your Life” because it seemed like an ominous undercurrent that was kind of running through the piece.

The ending rocks. Perfect. When did you know that’s where the story had to go?

Thank you. I think that it had something to do with the rhythm of their conversation, which because of the subject matter, is limited, and they’ve reached a point where there isn’t more to be said aloud, though they’re both still thinking about it. Also, they’ve just come to a pause, physically.

What’s going on in San Francisco? How’s life under the reign of Arnold? I just heard that the city council proposed a resolution to impeach “W.” Are you on board?

Sure, I support it. I can’t stand either Arnold or Bush, so I’d support sending them both to live out their days on one of Saturn’s gassy rings if I thought it were possible. On the one hand, I’m glad San Francisco is making that statement. I think it does mean something. On the other hand though, the city itself has a lot of problems to deal with—homelessness and the cost of housing, increasing violent crime, education, etc. And since I don’t think that the city council is going to be able to do much to actually impeach him anytime soon, I’d rather they put their energies towards solving some of our pressing local problems.

About the Author:

Sarah Leavitt is a fiction writer living in San Francisco.