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Smoking With Gary Cadwallader

(Read the Story) August 15, 2004

Gary Cadwallader

Art by Marty D. Ison

“Gloves” is so uniquely told. Did you start out with this in mind or did it just evolve from the writing?

I was writing about time again. I seem to be obsessed with time and the manipulation of time. It’s part of our culture. We say, Time is money. TiVo is the perfect example. We want to watch
something that’s supposed to broadcast at a specific time, well, if you have the money, you’re not constrained by time, so now we can also say, Money is time.

It wasn’t hard to go from that to imagining a character with the power to rewind his story or fast forward to something new. We all know that way of thinking. VCR thinking. It’s part of the culture now. It’s nothing new. Vonnegut had it down years ago.

How much do you draw on your own life in your storytelling?

Oops, you caught me. “Gloves” is my life. I live on a farm, B2 bombers fly overhead. I actually have an ancient barn that was filled, when I bought it, with old chicken coops. Loose wire, boards. Stuff like that. It took forever to get rid of it all. I’ve got a kid in the National Guard. I have horses. Yada yada yada.

The big deal for me is how we seem to live in multiple cultures. Even in what would appear to be homogenous societies, we still straddle boundaries that might not even be apparent, for instance the boundary between the past and future that exists on the farm. I ride my horse with the same basic saddle that Andrew Jackson used. I look up and there’s a billion dollar aircraft overhead.

I can communicate with other horse owners over the internet. That same day, I might go to the Amish furniture store to see what handmade goodies they’ve got. That evening, perhaps I hit Wal-Mart since they’re open 24 hours a day.

Every small farmer or rancher understands the superposition they find themselves in regarding time and culture. They all must work real jobs in the present to support their lives in the past. In that way, we understand the weirdness of being in two places at once, in two cultures at once.

Gary, you are particularly adept at flash fiction. What draws you to this form?

Sloth and envy. Sloth because I found myself wanting to write smaller and smaller. I always say out of laziness and envy because I’d found several writers who were writing flash fiction that I admired, notably, Bob Thurber. I was envious of Bob’s stories. They always seemed to touch people. That’s the hardest thing, you know? Finding the emotional high-point in a story and getting it across. In “Gloves” I didn’t try and people find that weird, I know, but I wanted the reader to feel what I felt. So, I simply recorded.

If you could be one of the characters from your fiction, which one would you choose and why?

You mean one of the characters other than me? LOL Oh, I’d probably be Mr. Cleanee Man because he’s always creating magic. If I was really smart, I’d be one of the women because my male characters are always trying to please them. A writer friend wrote me saying, Gary, not all stories are about men pleasing women. I felt like saying, “You don’t know my woman.”

So tell us about your horse!

I’ve been dying for someone to ask! My horse is an American Saddlebred. Her name is Tea. She’s chestnut with flaxen mane and tail.

About the Author

Pushcart nominee Gary Cadwallader lives on a small farm in Warrensburg, Missouri where he likes to write about relationships between men and women.

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 Five of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Five

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