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Smoking With Megan Giddings

Interview by Ashley Inguanta (Read the Story) September 24, 2013

Megan Giddings

art by Alexander C. Kafka

I love the way this story creates an entirely new world. The Eleventh Floor Ghost has almost become part of the human world; she fits herself into it the best way she knows how. How did this idea originate? How did this story take shape as you wrote it?

The idea actually originated while I was looking at hotel reviews on YELP of the Congress Plaza Hotel in Chicago. I love reading hotel reviews on YELP not because I find the site especially helpful, but because the stories people choose to tell about their visits are so interesting to me. Anyway, some of the people rating the Congress Plaza were rating the hotel based on the fact that hotel seemed haunted and in a few, some complained that it didn’t seem haunted enough.

The story took on way more focus toward the Eleventh Floor Ghost through the SmokeLong workshop. What a lot of the editors pointed out to me was where the story could be most successful is in fleshing out her character and focusing directly on the Ghost and her desires.

Tell me more about the Eleventh Floor Ghosts’ desire to remember. What would she do with this knowledge if she had it?

I don’t think she even knows what she would do with the knowledge. I think of her as someone who’s so adrift (she’s died, she’s the only one in her culture who doesn’t know who or what she used to be) that the only thing she’s been clinging onto is that desire to remember. It’s her defining trait now, just that desire.

In its own way, The Eleventh Floor Ghost might be satisfied with the knowing, but it would also be a sad thing for her to completely know. She doesn’t like haunting. There’s not a ghost restaurant industry in this world (although that’s an idea. Ratatouille 2: GHOSTS). All she has is this quest and considerations.

If you could tell the ghost one thing, what would it be?

I would tell her to make some ghost friends. She should start making appointments to hang out with the Seventh Floor Ghost and watching nature programs. Take the thing she likes, television, and use it to feel more integrated into the ghost community in her own way. She’s isolated. And I feel, even though I know I made her up—and even if she was real— like I’m worried about her. I like the Eleventh Floor Ghost. I want her to live her undead life to the fullest.

And the angel? What would you tell the angel if you could?

If I saw the angel in real life, I would say, “No thanks, I’m not dead yet.” If it came to me and made it absolutely, super clear it was the character from the story, I would say, “You wasted your time with that ghost.”

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

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.

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-One of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Forty-One
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