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Smoking With Brandi Wells

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

Brandi Wells

mask of smoke by Julian Schwarze

The first image in this piece, of a woman with her own gravity, was very unique. What was the source of inspiration for it?

I have a grandmother who thinks she is a secret agent who works for the government. She was pretty awful to be around as a child and I remember being warned to stay away from her whenever she was at the house. She threw donuts at me once and another time she told me that both my parents were dying (they weren’t). I guess this story romanticizes my perception of her.

On a deeper level, I see this story as being about different views of the world. The narrator’s grandmother creates her own rules, her own physics. She does it so persuasively that her granddaughter can’t help but be caught up in it. Is this a metaphor for real life?


You have a chapbook coming out through Paper Hero Press. Can you tell us about that?

It’s a chapbook collective that also features Elizabeth Ellen, Andrea Kneeland, Suzanne Burns, and Lydia Copeland. I’m excited to be featured among such impressive writers. My section is actually just one long story that’s a bit fragmented.

And, what about your blog?

My blog’s just a place to keep up with things. Forthcoming publications and the like. I try to mention stories I like by other writers, but there’s so much wonderful stuff out there that I miss a lot. You should go look at my blog. I look every day to see how many people look at it. Because that sort of thing matters.

Regarding your blog, you recently, and temporarily posted a SmokeLong form rejection letter that actually got us editors discussing whether or not we should reevaluate our selection process. When I contacted you about it, you mentioned that it wasn’t your intention at all to criticize the process. Do you mind talking about that again? What were you trying to say when you posted that letter?

I didn’t post the letter to my regular blog. I posted it to the “Brandi Wells Review,” which is a blog where I publish 100% of what I receive. The email address I accept submissions at is my regular email account, so when I got the rejection email, I posted it at the Brandi Wells Review, as though it had been a submission. It was there for humor’s sake.

My assumption is that you didn’t understand that particular blog’s content and you thought that I had posted the form rejection letter to my regular blog. I get a ton of form rejections and honestly can’t fathom any reason someone would have a problem with one. I took the letter down because I felt bad that it might have made anyone feel bad. If there’s someone that has a problem with form rejections they should probably just quit. They can make me hamburgers though. I like hamburgers.

About the Author

Brandi Wells has a BA in Creative Writing and her fiction appears in or is forthcoming in Pear Noir, Monkeybicycle, decomP, and Vulcan. She has a chapbook forthcoming as part the chapbook collective Fox Force 5, which is being released by Paper Hero Press. She blogs at http://brandiwells.blogspot.com/.

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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