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Smoking With Andrew McIntosh

Interview by Davin Malasarn (Read the Story) December 21, 2009

Andrew McIntosh

mask of smoke by Julian Schwarze

First, what inspired you to select this particular setting for the story?

I visited Puerto Rico and had a number of adventures there. Some of my experiences inspired this story.

A major theme in this story is the idea of an outsider, an observer, looking in on a different world, trying to learn something about himself without fully engaging himself. Do you think this is a situation people often find themselves in? Do you think it’s problematic?

I think we in the western world are all outsiders and observers to some extent, especially if we rely on technology for news and information. I’m not sure what you mean by “problematic.” In terms of the story, my sense is that Miguel gets an “A” for effort even if his interactions are fairly ham-handed. You have to start somewhere.

“The damage looked bad, but Miguel’s driver told him that everyone was used to the hurricanes by now.” You have a wonderful way of evoking the bigger world in this piece by mentioning details, almost as an aside. Can you tell us why you decided to use this technique?

Thank you for the compliment. The writers I most admire are able to set the tone for their stories with just a few words, phrases, or images. It’s like magic. To the extent I can do that, I try.

Why did you include the short section on the Origin Of Species?

There were a few reasons I wanted to include that, but primarily I wanted to highlight Miguel’s disorientation. It seems shocking to an educated Internet audience, but—regardless of whether you think the theory is right or wrong—a great many people have never even heard of Charles Darwin, and a large portion of those who have heard about him don’t care (or think, as Carmelita does, that it’s just a joke, and that you’d have to be crazy to think people were descended from monkeys).

What other projects have you been working on?

I have a few short stories in various stages of draft. I look forward to sending them around to some of my favorite publications soon.

About the Author

Andrew McIntosh graduated from Wesleyan University with a degree in Film Studies and English. He is from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. This is his first fiction publication.

About the Interviewer

Davin Malasarn was born in 1978 and lives in Pasadena, California. He’s published stories in Rosebud, The Storyteller, and Insolent Rudder, among others. His story “A Boy In The Sky” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He’s currently working on a novel about a man who returns to Thailand for the cremation of his mysterious brother.

About the Artist

Julian Schwarze, born on May 12, 1989 in Frankfurt / Main, studied product design at the University of Art and Design Offenbach, graduated in 2015 and is currently a research associate and PhD student in project-mo.de with a focus on mobility design. His doctoral thesis deals with system transitions in mobility spaces and their user-centered design. During his studies he completed internships in design offices in the Netherlands and Hamburg. The main focus was on  brand- and user-centered design of industrial products, everyday products and packaging.

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

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