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Smoking With Brendan Gauthier

Interview by Faith Gardner (Read the Story) December 17, 2013

Brendan Gauthier

art by Jeff Turner

There are so many evocative images in this story. How did you come to choose the title “Freckles”?

Tina’s freckles were the only image that gets repeated in the story, so, in that way, it seemed like an appropriate title. Also, I found the title, “Freckles,” juxtaposed well with a relatively gritty opening paragraph.

Tina’s freckles, to me, symbolize her inexperience, which she is constantly, unsuccessfully trying to conceal. Having the image serve as the title, I think, highlights the irony of the narrator’s appreciation of this concealed attribute, which Tina finds so shameful.

I love that the main story is bookended by the shorter sections at the beginning and end—they add so much to the middle/”main” storyline about the date. How did you come to structure the story this way?

The first section served a utilitarian purpose in establishing the main character’s voice and disability. I think I unintentionally built something of a character sketch with the first three paragraphs.

I knew I wanted to bring the PTSD theme near-full circle to where the narrator has some circumstance through which he begins to understand the motivating psychological cause of Garrett’s suicide. The story didn’t seem complete without the last paragraph.

Why did you choose to keep this so short? Why write it as flash?

Most of my flash fiction stories begin with the intent of being full short stories. It depends on whether I feel I can sustain certain voices for more than 1,000 words or not. In this case, I thought the narrator’s frankness was more conducive to a succinct form.

What was the revision process like for this story?

I would say I edited as I went, but that would be a bit too generous. To the chagrin of my creative writing professors, I’m not much of a reviser. Admittedly, it’s one of my weak points as a writer.

In this story’s case, the initial draft was, if anything, longer than the finished product, but was similar in content and style.

This is such an impressive first publication. What are you working on now?

Thank you. At the moment, I’m a mere two weeks away from finals, so I don’t foresee any extracurricular writing in the near future.

About the Author

Brendan Gauthier is an undergraduate at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

About the Interviewer

Faith Gardner was born with a tail. Her stories have been published in places like the Paris Review and the walls of public restrooms. She is also a pathological liar. Maybe she has a website and maybe it is faithgardner.com.

This interview appeared in Issue Forty-Two of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Forty-Two

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