SmokeLong Quarterly

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Smoke and Mirrors: An Interview with Melissa Goode

Interview by Mel Bosworth (Read the Story) September 18, 2017

Melissa Goode

Photograph by Alex Hockett

What inspired you to write this story?

I didn’t set out to write this story in particular. When I write, I try to write in a dream-like state and let the story emerge. Although, I have obsessions like everyone else. I write about love and death, because there is nothing more, as Emily Dickinson said. I like to write about the pain point, the tipping point, the points of connection and disconnection.

This story in particular focuses on the idea of disconnection and dissociation. The way a person can remove themselves from other people even while sitting in the same room, the same car.

I also like to include something of the context of the world in which we live—art, literature, historical events. This story uses sculptures, solid remnants of the past.

And it is almost impossible for me to resist writing something about children—my five-year-old daughter is a constant, and she usually gets in there somehow.

Where do you like to write?

At home, I have a room with a desk where I do my day job and also where I write. I scribble things down in my ordinary day and often those lines go whole, unaltered, into the work. I love the surprise of a line, a thought, that I didn’t know was there.

What are you reading now?

I am late to it, I know, but I am loving Maggie Nelson’s Bluets. I am reading it for a second time, back to back, because it is like one long line of dense, gorgeous, sweeping poetry. I cannot take it all in with one reading, and I know I won’t ever be able to.

What are you working on next?

More short stories, more flash fiction. There is a novel manuscript out there, too, which is under consideration and has always been an exercise in patience and love.

What’s for dinner?

Homemade fried rice. Yep, exotic cuisine here. It has real prawns though—fancy.

About the Author

Melissa Goode’s work has appeared in Best Australian Short Stories, New World Writing, Split Lip Magazine, Atticus Review, Cleaver Magazine, Pinball and Jellyfish Review, among others. One of her short stories has been made into a film by the production company, Jungle. Her novel manuscript “What we have become” was selected by Random House in 2016 for a fellowship with Varuna, the National Writers’ House in Australia. She lives in Australia. You can also find her at twitter.com/melgoodewriter

About the Interviewer

Mel Bosworth is the author of the novel Freight, the poetry chapbook Every Laundromat in the World, and co-author with Ryan Ridge of the forthcoming collection Second Acts. His work has appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Tin House, Per Contra, New World Writing, Santa Monica Review, Melville House, American Book Review, and elsewhere. A former series editor for the Wigleaf Top 50, he currently serves as an associate editor for The Best Small Fictions 2017 and is the creator & curator of the Small Press Book Review. Mel lives in Western Massachusetts.

About the Artist

Alex Hockett‘s work can be found at Unsplash.

This interview appeared in Issue Fifty-Seven of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Fifty-Seven

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Are you nervous about reading your work aloud, or worried that you’ll ‘flatline’ or sound monotone? Join writer and voice over artist Farhana Khalique for this workshop, which includes tips on how to deal with nerves, how to ‘mark-up’ your story so it’s easier to read and hear, how to inject more energy and emotion into your performance, and more. We’ll also do writing and reading exercises to put the above into practice.