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Smoking With Beverly A. Jackson

(Read the Story) December 15, 2005

Beverly A. Jackson

Art by Marty D. Ison

A tiny spider clinging to a medical complex. Whitman wrote of a spider (was it the same one?) on a rock surrounded by ocean still spinning out filaments as if it were possible they could connect to something. What can you tell us about your spider and the meanings it spins out of itself?

The spider? For me, it was an image that hopefully answered the question of whether the doctor’s diagnosis was ‘benign’ or ‘malignant.’ The spider is that tiny, tireless creature we all seek out of the corner of our mind’s eye: Hope. To have it drop out of sight is just the nature of my always-cheery pieces, eh?

What a great title for this amazing piece! A diagnosis hints at definition and discovery. How does that apply here?—or maybe it doesn’t?

Well, it was meant to give the reader a clue as to what’s going on in the piece. I have provided more images than ‘story’ so the title is the event. I think the title is the only thing that clarifies what is going on in the flash. (at least I hope so!)

What does poetry have to do with flash fiction?—and flash fiction have to do with poetry?

I think, for me, some poetry and flash are fairly interchangeable. I’m never quite sure which I’m writing and so try not to think about it too much, unless the piece dictates its own natural line breaks. Both distill as much meaning out of as few words as possible and both rely heavily on image and music. Of course there are many poems that are simply poems, purely poetry. They say poetry is closer to screenwriting than any other form, but the same could be said of some flash as well. At least flash as I see the form. When I was laying out Ink Pot, I lumped a lot of short work under “flash,” but I do think ‘short’ short stories that follow all the conventions of prose are not really flash, whereas many prose poems naturally ‘flash.’ (Anything under 1,000 words without line breaks seems to qualify for flash fiction however, and every editor has a different opinion on the subject.)

We’ll very much miss your very fine journal Ink Pot. What do you miss most about Ink Pot?

Well, our final issue, just came out, so it’s not quite over yet! There will be free samples (from that issue) published on Ink Pot‘s website (www.inkpots.net) (two pieces per month) until March of 2006, showcasing some of the best of Ink Pot, Issue #7. But, yes, it is coming to a close and I’m already greatly missing the daily contact with my staff. An amazing group of editors who brought great talent to the journal and great pleasure to my life: Carol Peters, Myfanwy Collins, Danielle LaVaque-Manty, TJ Forrester, and Lalo Fox. And of course I miss the writers and their work, the readers and their incredible support. It was a joyful time of my life.

A new year approaches (yikes!). So, what’s the best that 2005 had to offer in literature, web sites, music, movies, television, DVD, and the like? Also, any predictions for 2006? And we’d love to hear your New Year’s resolution.

2005 seems to have flashed and disappeared! It’s a bit of a blur in retrospect because it went so fast. I’ll leave ‘the best of’ lists to those who have a devoted interest in staying current. A born shuffler (picture me in house slippers) I’m still trying to fit in last year’s resolutions–to read more and write more. I do have a novel-in-stories on the stove,”The Loose Fish Chronicles,” and I plan to make 2006 the year to either serve it up or burn it. At this point it could go either way.

About the Author

Beverly A. Jackson is a poet, writer, and painter living in the N.C. mountains with two poodles, a cat, and a yard full of birds. Her work can be seen on the web and in literary journals for the past 10 years. She is a major fan of Randall Brown. Find her on the web at www.beverlyajackson.com and www.artshackstudio.com.

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.

This interview appeared in Issue Eleven of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Eleven

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