Why do you suppose the tycoon loves dogs so much?
He’s been isolated, geographically, by poverty and then wealth, abandoned by his father — dogs are so loyal and simple in comparison.
I admire how you capture a person’s whole life in just a few paragraphs. When you write flash, do you experiment with time often? Is this a typical Curtis Smith piece, or is it different from what you usually write?
Most of my flash pieces are a single moment. I had this story sitting around for a few years. One day I decided to cut it to its tightest form. So I deleted and condensed, shedding characters and plot items until I was left with a core that really spoke to me.
The tycoon collects cars and then hands them off to people. Do you collect anything? Are you a pack rat, or do you tend to also give stuff away when you tire of it or no longer use it?
I collect books and music. Not much else. Still, my basement is a mess. I’m not good at throwing things out.
Are you from Texas? What inspired you to write this piece?
I’m a life-long Pennsylvanian. But I do have family in Texas. In the mid-80’s, a buddy and I did a road trip from Houston to Dallas. It was winter — chilly and windy and gray, flat, lots of sky. That stuck with me.
Have you studied writing formally (i.e., MFA program) or is this just a passion you’ve nurtured and developed along the way on your own?
I started writing in the late 80’s. I didn’t have a writing background then, but after a few years, I did a low-res MFA at Vermont. It was a great experience for me.