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Smoking With Gary Moshimer

Interview by Meg Pokrass (Read the Story) December 21, 2009

Gary Moshimer

mask of smoke by Julian Schwarze

There is so much about longing and trying to recover lost love in your wonderful story, “My Friend”, Gary. It is a moving piece that holds the reader tight. How did you find this story?

This story came from actual events, which is why I think it works. I couldn’t hide from it. It held me down by the throat and said, “Get this right. It hurts.”

The way you end “My Friend”, right there in the moment, there is an immediacy that leaves the reader hanging – hoping for the best. Can you talk about taking risks in writing?

I think if you didn’t take any risk, it wouldn’t be interesting. I always leave readers “hanging.” It leaves an ache, something irresistible. You have to go back to it and read it again. People at work hate my stories. They say, “So what happens?” I love that.

“My Friend” could be spoken word-for-word as a monologue… there is a wonderful character voice. Do you read your work out loud in the process of writing and revising?

Yes, I speak into one of those little recording gadgets. I sound like the Penguin. Sometimes I get choked up, especially with this story. A choking penguin.

Your narrator asks questions of his lost, invisible friend throughout the piece. Questioning creates its own rhythm. Can you talk about finding the music/rhythm while writing prose?

The rhythm in this story came naturally, so it’s like a song, a lament. I don’t plan these things. Most of the time I don’t know what I’m doing until it’s done and someone says, “That’s good the way you…” and I’m kind of like, “Uh, yeah.”

What writers inspire you?

Roddy Doyle, Henry Green, Donald Barthelme, not Cormac McCarthy, Carolyn Chute, Jonathan Foer, Flannery O’Connor, Maeve Brennan, Tony Earley, Dylan Thomas, and all the staff of SLQ. And Crispin Best.

About the Author

Gary Moshimer has stories at [Pank], Word Riot, Necessary Fiction, FRiGG, Eclectica Magazine, and many other places.

About the Interviewer

Meg Pokrass lives in San Francisco with her husband and daughter. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in 971 Menu, The Rose and Thorn, Thieves Jargon, Eclectica, Chanterelle’s Notebook, 34th Parallel, Literary Mama, Blossombones, and Elimae. She has performed with theatre companies throughout the United States and considers writing a natural extension of sensory work developed as an actor.

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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