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SmokeLong Quarterly

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Smoking With Kim Chinquee

(Read the Story) December 15, 2007

Kim Chinquee

Art by Marty D. Ison

In one word, what is this story about?

Loneliness.

During deliberations, the editors at SmokeLong talked a lot about the details in this story—those admitted versus those excluded. From your perspective, what can you tell us about the process of illustrating this piece?

The story, as it appears in Smokelong, is basically how it was originally written. In revision and editing, I looked at each line, which I do with every piece I write, and omitted everything that didn’t seem poetic or rhythmic, or original to me in some way. And then I ended up with only one small paragraph. And then I realized that maybe this story wasn’t about any of those things. That maybe in its simplicity, it was meant to provide some meaning to the reader. So I put it back to the way it was.

What does the ex-husband’s apology at the end mean for this woman—this woman who was “hoping for a man”?

I guess I didn’t really see it as an apology.

Oh Baby! Great title for your forthcoming flash fiction collection, due out in March of 2008. Is this a linked collection? Will you be touring with it?

Thanks. It’s not linked, per se. Many themes are alike. And many of the pieces are similar in style. I don’t plan on touring, no. But will be reading wherever I can to promote the book.

SLQ completed issue 18 at the close of summer and launched this issue, 19, on the threshold of winter. During the three months in between, the crops were harvested, the leaves fell, the rain returned, temperatures dropped, darkness lengthened. Death in increments. How does the turning of the seasons affect your “muse,” your inspiration?

I write constantly, and don’t see the weather as affecting my inspiration. Though I have a really hard time in cold weather, and I live in Michigan. I take hot baths like three times a day and that probably takes away from the time I could be spending writing. When I lived in the South, seems like I wrote a whole lot more.

About the Author

Kim Chinquee grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, served in the medical field in the Air Force, and is often referred to as the “queen” of flash fiction. She’s published hundreds of pieces of fiction and nonfiction in journals and magazines including The Nation, Ploughshares, NOON, Storyquarterly, Denver Quarterly, Fiction, Story, Notre Dame Review, Conjunctions, and others. She is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes and a Henfield Prize. She is Senior Editor of New World Writing, co-director of Buffalo State’s Writing Major, and serves as the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Northeast Regional Council Chair. She can be reached at kimchinquee at gmail dot com.

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 Nineteen of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Nineteen
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A SmokeLong Summer 2023!

Booking starts January 2

From June 5 to August 27 2023, SmokeLong is going to host the superworkshop, A SmokeLong Summer for the second year. We want to spend the summer with you, the flash community. Our asynchronous workshops take place on a devoted website where you can create a profile, interact with the flash community, and take part in group discussions on craft, but A SmokeLong Summer is much more.