SmokeLong Quarterly

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Smoking With Julienne Grey

Interview by Roy Kesey (Read the Story) March 25, 2014

Julienne Grey

art by Ashley Inguanta

Please tell me that your own father’s idea of fun involves macaroni and smooth jazz.

While I could picture my dad grooving to some smooth jazz and eating macaroni, it’s more that he’s such an upbeat, easygoing guy. Daddy Marshwood purchased a machine to monitor someone else’s insides. That would be the opposite of my dad.

A scenario: say you and I are just talking one day, just shooting the breeze, and it turns out that I’ve never untied my bellybutton before. Could you give me a quick step-by-step on how to go about that?

I wouldn’t recommend it, but it would likely entail a two-fingered pinch and twist.

Most good things do.

However, for general bellybutton hygiene, I would instead recommend the occasional alcohol swab.

Duly noted. Now, if the couple in your story at last conceives, and if their child starts considering conception, what are the odds the now-potential-grandparents will insist on buying a Womb Viewer (or the then-contemporary equivalent) of their own?

Maybe for the puppet shows?

Of course. And one of the things I best love about this story is how it imagines a near-future technology-based miracle, and follows its thread into daily, non-miraculous life. Is that a trick you work often, or is the story a one-off in that respect?

This may be my most high-tech story. More often I’ll have characters use mundane things—technological and not—for strange purposes. Birth is unusual since it seems to open itself up to so many innovations in both reality and fiction. But for the Womb Viewer itself, in many ways I feel like it already exists.

Exactly, it basically already exists, and yet tragically no one is yet using it for home entertainment. Thank you for pointing the way forward.

About the Author

Julienne Grey was recently awarded the Slice Literary Writers’ Conference Scholarship and has done feature interviews for Slice Magazine. Her work has appeared in Joyland, Squawk Back, theNewerYork, The Ink and Code, and Quail Bell Magazine. She has stories forthcoming in Blue Fifth Review and Slice issue 16. You can find her website at juliennegrey.com and her tweets @JulienneGrey.

About the Interviewer

Roy Kesey is an American author. His books include Any Deadly ThingPacazo,[1] All Over,[2] Nothing in the World and an historical guide to the city of Nanjing, China.

His short fiction has been included in Best American Short Stories and such journals as SubtropicsThe Georgia Review and The Iowa Review. His story “Double Fish” won the 2009 Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize from The Missouri Review.[3]

About the Artist

Ashley Inguanta is a writer, art photographer, installation artist, and holistic educator. Her work has most recently appeared in Atticus Review, Santa Fe Literary Review, and the anthology The Familiar Wild: On Dogs & Poetry. Her newest chapbook of poems, The Island, The Mountain, & The Nightblooming Field honors a human connection with the natural world.

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

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