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Smoke & Mirrors with Jan Stinchcomb

Interview by Jason Teal (Read the Story) June 21, 2021

Jan Stinchcomb

Jan Stinchcomb

Of all the kaiju, why Godzilla’s mother?

The only appropriate response is a certain lizard mama appearing and knocking your house over. But seriously, I was looking to give a voice to someone we rarely hear from. Mothers are so often blamed for their children’s actions and choices. I don’t see how a monster mother could possibly escape this curse.

Grendel’s mother and Godzilla’s mother are at least situationally aware of one another. How did they meet?

I don’t know if Grendel’s mother is in on this. She is dead and gone, a legend. I imagine she would be critical of anyone who doesn’t share her opinions. Godzilla’s mother values her privacy but would still stand her ground.

It doesn’t matter if they have met or not. These monster mothers are just like human mothers: The surrounding culture has placed them on rival teams. They have competition. They have enemies. When you’re a mom, it often feels like the outside world is your enemy.

Every mother has the task of keeping the baby alive. In biology class we learn the phrase “viable young,” those lucky offspring who can eventually survive on their own. Sometimes both mother and child are called upon to do extreme or even violent things to reach viability, and that’s when you realize that everyone is capable of monstrosity.

Can we speculate where/what is Godzilla’s father?

I always thought it was guilt. Human guilt over what we’ve done to the earth and to each other. Godzilla is the earth’s response to the corruption––the recklessness––of mankind, whether that manifests as pollution or radioactivity. We never run out of ways to hurt the earth.

I read once that the first Japanese audience to see the original Godzilla movie exited the theater in tears. I am sure this is the correct response to both monsters and art.

About the Author

Jan Stinchcomb is the author of The Kelping (Unnerving), The Blood Trail (Red Bird Chapbooks) and Find the Girl (Main Street Rag). Her stories have recently appeared in Atticus Review, Ligeia Magazine and Fractured Lit. A Pushcart nominee, she is featured in Best Microfiction 2020 and The Best Small Fictions 2018 & 2021. She lives in Southern California with her family. Find her on Twitter @janstinchcomb

About the Interviewer

Jason Teal is the author of We Were Called Specimens (KERNPUNKT Press, 2020), which was a finalist for Big Other’s Reader’s Choice and Best Fiction Book Awards. Writing appears in 3:AM MagazineQuarterly WestSmokeLong QuarterlyVol. 1 Brooklyn, and Hobart, among other publications. He edits Heavy Feather Review.

This interview appeared in Issue Seventy-Two of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Seventy-Two
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SmokeLong Fitness--The Community Workshop

Next Date to Join: January 1!

On September 1, SmokeLong launched a workshop environment/community christened SmokeLong Fitness. This asynchronous community workshop is happening right now on our dedicated workshop site. If you choose to join us, you will work in a small group of around 10-12 participants to give and receive feedback. Each Monday, you will receive a new writing task (one writing task each week) designed by the senior editor team of SmokeLong. The core workshop is asynchronous, so you can take part from anywhere at anytime. We are excited about creating a supportive, consistent and structured environment for flash writers to work on their craft in a community.