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Smoking With Megan Giddings

Interview by Tara Laskowski (Read the Story) June 25, 2013

Megan Giddings

art by Alexander C. Kafka

Tell me about the title of this story. A reference to Bill and Ted? And if so, why?

The title is a reference to Bill and Ted. One reason for that is I just love that movie. San Dimas High School Football does rule. It was also me being sneaky a little bit—the name of Bill and Ted’s band is Wyld Stallyns. The rodeo character quotes them by saying “Party on, dude.” But also, I wanted the story to have that built-in feeling where you start to have an idea of who the ex-boyfriend is because he’s the type of person who quotes Bill & Ted to his girlfriend when she’s afraid that he’s going to get trampled by a horse.

What has been your personal experience, if anything, with rodeo? Why did you choose this as a subject for this story?

I’ve never been to a rodeo in person. But I’m the kind of person who if someone coughs within like a one mile radius of me, I have bronchitis for the next six weeks. Anyway, there was this time where I was sick and just lying at home watching professional rodeo events. And it just blew my mind. I ended up taking a lot of notes about what the scene seemed like, the way the horses and bulls moved. And eventually those notes became a story from a horse’s perspective. Then I didn’t feel like I knew the horse enough or even the person who would ride a horse like that horse well enough, but I did know what it would be like to want to be or want to be with a person who does extreme things.

Can you talk a little about what you think happens ten minutes after this story ends? How about two months? Five years?

Ten minutes later, being realistic, the narrator goes home, wishing she had spoken to the ex-lover. Being cruel, she watches the ambulances load him up because he got thrown off the horse again. Whoops!

Two months? The main character is probably out with her friends, getting a little tipsy, talking about how she used to date a rodeo guy. Her friends are thinking, ugh, this again. The rodeo guy, he’s sleeping, he’s having these recurring dreams about getting stepped on, but then the hoof turns into banana peels and he has no idea what that means.

Five years later, she’s selling all those hats at a yard sale, haggling with some college kids about them. Five years later, he’s training some new young kid to be the rodeo star he once was. He looks and smells like Willie Nelson now. He sells the rights to his story to a movie producer, but nothing comes out of it.

Read more about Megan in her Fish Fellow interview.

About the Author

Megan Giddings will be attending Indiana University’s MFA in the fall. She has most recently been published in the Doctor TJ Eckleburg Review and Knee-Jerk.

About the Interviewer

Tara Laskowski

Tara Laskowski has been editor at SmokeLong Quarterly since 2010. Her short story collection Bystanders was hailed by Jennifer Egan as “a bold, riveting mash-up of Hitchcockian suspense and campfire-tale chills.” She is also the author of Modern Manners For Your Inner Demons, tales of dark etiquette. Her fiction has been published in the Norton anthology Flash Fiction International, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Mid-American Review, and numerous other journals, magazines, and anthologies. Tara lives and works in a suburb of Washington, D.C.

About the Artist

Alexander C. Kafka is a journalist, photographer, and composer in Bethesda, Maryland. He created the cover image for Lost Addresses: New and Selected Poems by Diann Blakely (Salmon Poetry, 2017). His work has also been published at All Things Fashion DC, BuzzFeed, Fast Company, Juked, Vice, The Washington Post, The Writing Disorder, and many other periodicals. He has been on the documentation team for the Washington Folk Festival at Glen Echo and is a contributing concert photographer for DMNDR. Kafka studied fine-art figure photography with Missy Loewe at the Washington School of Photography and portrait photography with Sora DeVore at Glen Echo Photoworks.

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