Smoking With Stacy Taylor

Read the Story June 15, 2004

You paint an entire lifetime in such a few lines in your story. What was your inspiration, and what do you like best about this piece?

The piece came from a flash prompt posted in my writing group. The word was “abducted” and the original version ended with the narrator being able to see the microsecond that his wife abducted his heart. It grew from there and after a few revisions, it is what it is. Really, though, I just started with the first line and that’s what inspired the direction the story assumed and the emotion behind it. I thought about being in love with the same person for nearly your whole life, watching them grow, suffer, change, and age. Then, I thought about how it might feel to watch that person die. In the end, I decided that if it was a pure, unselfish love that it would be a bittersweet moment. What I like best about it is a brief expression of several emotions, and the visual shape of the words, which I hope is mirrored in the mind of the reader. I really like structure. That kind of structure, anyway.

Tell us about where you live and how that affects your writing.

I live in Fairbanks, Alaska, but I’m from Georgia originally. This place affects my writing in many ways, although I’m not sure how easily I could put that into words. It’s a wonderful place full of free-spirited, liberal, tolerant people, and it’s rich in culture as well as beauty. I think the most significant way that Alaska affects my writing is that the external surroundings merge with the internal pressures, thus alleviating and/or complimenting one another. It’s also really cool to look out my window and “see” a story. All I can really say is that this place is big…geographically, spiritually, and culturally, and that affects all creativity with a feeling of freedom, no matter the medium. I think a person would have to experience it themselves to know what I mean, but I’m a little biased.

How do you find support for your writing, and do you know many other writers?

I don’t think I find support; it finds me. My family is extremely supportive, even the ones who live far away from me. My circle of friends and writers support me as though they were my backbone, a few of them especially so. I know many writers, but very few in the flesh. The people/writers I’ve met online have become my dearest friends as well as the greatest peer group a person could hope for. What began as a safe system of display while snuggling under the warm blanket of anonymity, has become deep friendships, honest opinion exchange, and truly delightful dialogue of all sorts. Support is everywhere that you look with your “best” eyes and I’ve learned that it is oftentimes so subtle that you might miss it.

What books could you not live without?

How long do you have? Well, that’s hard to answer. I don’t read as much offline as I once did, but here are a few books that I can, and do, read many times over: Booker T. Washington, Up From Slavery (autobiography), Roots by Alex Hailey, The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Hailey, The Gaea Trilogy (Titan, Wizard, Demon) by John Varley, The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny, Watership Down by Richard Adams, The Mars Trilogy (Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars) by Kim Stanley Robinson, The Lord of the Rings (and The Hobbit) by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway. Hmm, I should stop I suppose, but throw anything by Stephen King in there, too.

Where do you see your writing going in ten or twenty years from now?

Straight to the top of the bestseller list, of course. Seriously, I hope it grows, and by that I mean I hope that it reaches a higher degree of entertainment, depth, and insight, but I also hope that it expands to a larger format. I believe my first love will always be the short-short, but wow, the vain writer in me would really love to take the strengths that I have in writing short fiction and apply them to something novel-length. It is often draining to write well and emotionally at the same time; I believe I’ll have to quit my day job to produce anything longer than a few thousand words. Meanwhile, I’ll just keep trying to draw from my deepest well. But, I am serious about the bestseller list.

About the Author:

A displaced southern girl, now residing in the land of the midnight sun, Stacy Taylor is old beyond her years, yet young enough to be considered foolish. Her fiction has appeared at Deviant Minds and Events Quarterly magazines. Her non-fiction has been featured in Life in Alaska Publications. She wanders through life, working, eating, sleeping, writing

About the Artist:

A native of Ohio, Marty D. Ison lives with his wife transplanted in the sands of the Gulf of Mexico. He studied fine arts at Saint Petersburg College. In addition to the visual arts, he writes poetry, short stories, and novels. See more of Ison's work here.