Smoking With Vincent Pagé

by Ashley Inguanta Read the Story March 25, 2013

How did this piece begin?

This piece was originally a much shorter poem I had written a few years ago and put away somewhere because it was no good and had very little direction. A while ago, when I was making a can of cream of mushroom soup, the first line of this story just kind of read itself out to me in my head, and I felt there was a something more there. I then revisited the poem and began adding lines and ideas until I decided to include some fictional elements and gear it more towards a story.

There is so much longing, so much wish here. A wish to be “like,” a wish to experience, learning through limits. Tell me about the balance between exploration and limit here. Tell me how wish affects this balance.

I think the strongest sense of longing is in relation to the boy’s wish to be a man, particularly a man like his father, in order to be included in his world and accepted by him. But the boy is limited by his age, his sensitivities, and the fact that his father is unwilling (or unable) to teach him certain lessons. The boy tests his perceived notions of masculinity but seems to fall short most of the time, learning his own lessons while doing so.

Tell me about the father. The way he teaches.

Again, there’s a sense that the father understands his role as a father, but isn’t necessarily fulfilling it in a classical way. The lessons the narrator has taken from his dad come from the lack of teaching. He collects lessons by watching and listening.

If you could say one thing to the father, what would it be?

I’d like to preface by saying that I’m a boy in my mid-twenties (I still eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a glass of milk at least four times a week) and that I have no idea what it really takes to be a father. I’m sure that committing to raising another human being is one of the harder things to do in this life. I think it’s especially difficult for men that don’t love in traditional ways. Harder men, those who don’t necessarily play catch in the park with their sons or tell bedtime stories. Men who raise cowboys. I might say “as long as you did your best … ” or something like that, but more realistically I would just feign a knowing head nod and keep quiet.

The boy?

To not be too heartbroken when he finds out superheroes don’t exist.

About the Author:

Vincent Pagé is a young writer living in Victoria, British Columbia. He's stopped traveling in order to settle and write for a bit, but soon feels he'll pick up and leave. Perhaps to graduate school or Mongolia.

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.