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Smoking With Paula Cappa

Interview by Nancy Stebbins (Read the Story) March 27, 2012

Paula Cappa

art by Ashley Inguanta

I take Margaret’s response to the candy bar in the end to suggest that she’ll be fine, and perhaps that she has even foreseen his leaving?

Yes, that came up naturally for some reason. Renner creates a sweetness with people which links into his success despite his disability. Or maybe I should say, because of his disability he has developed a positive perspective. This is especially attractive to Margaret.

The way you work in the single eye, the moon, the camera lens, the contact, all lend such resonance to the piece. Was this intentional?

It wasn’t by design, no, but it evolved as I began writing. The images came to me from Margaret’s POV as if she were sending me snaps from her camera/eye. Perspective became the theme, and Margaret’s visuals kept haunting the story in a very artistic way.

The title of this piece fits it so perfectly. Was this the original title?

The first thing I got about this story was the name Renner. For weeks I had no idea who or even what gender Renner was. Then this line popped into my head (bird, white and running) exactly in that order. No idea where it came from. No idea how it related to Renner. But it was literally the first thing I wrote on page one. When I actually started writing text, I saw the white bird over Renner’s left eye and I realized that this man did not have normal vision (but he had something far greater). So, I just trusted the process and let that first line work as the title.

Two novels making the rounds! Do you think that your flash fiction affects how you write longer prose?

I love writing flash fiction because it makes me think tighter and then write tighter. This is excellent practice for writing scenes in my novels. Even though I have more time to communicate in novels, writing every scene as if it were a flash fiction piece is wonderful discipline to polish and tighten.

Renner says that love isn’t everything. What is his attraction for Chloe?

Because Chloe is sightless, Renner is drawn to her by their deep sharing of disabilities, but it is really more than that. A kind of harmony is there for them. Relationships that begin with sharing and harmony can be very fulfilling. Renner’s normal eye (although color-blind) really is his search light that he shares with everyone. He sees people in the purity of black and white and can truly illuminate the darkness. If only we all could do that!

About the Author

Paula Cappa has written for various community newspapers in New York and Connecticut. Her published fiction is with Every Day Fiction. Past fiction credits include Human Writes Literary Journal, The Record Review and Mystery Time Anthology. She has completed two novels that are making rounds at literary agents.

About the Interviewer

Nancy Stebbins is a psychiatrist, a Flash Factory groupie, and an MFA student at Pacific University. Her short stories have been published in The Summerset Review, Grey Sparrow Journal and other places. She shares a blog with three other Pacific students: http://pop-upprincesses.blogspot.com.

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 Thirty-Five of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Thirty-Five
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