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Smoking With Rebecca O’Brien

Interview by Ashley Inguanta (Read the Story) June 26, 2012

Rebecca O’Brien

art by Claire Callister

What sparked this story?

I have always enjoyed magical realism and was interested in writing some of my own. I was keeping my eyes out for ideas, and at one point I was in the kitchen where there was a single orange in the fruit bowl. I am not entirely sure why, but I started thinking about mobile fruit and what it could represent. The story developed from there.

Tell me about Warren.

Warren is the spark that has illuminated a whole host of family strife. He is the turmoil of the exact moment when childhood and adulthood meet.

The ending here blew me away. It embodies this wonderful strangeness that’s not disorienting, but grounding. Tell me more about this moment.

The birdcage seemed the perfect absurd solution to an absurd problem. At the same time, the elegance of the birdcage image maintained the underlying seriousness of the issue, and it lent a strange beauty to Rachel’s quixotic attempt to keep the family together.

What is the best thing about a banana? The worst?

When ripe, the pleasantness of a banana’s smooth, yellow peel is unparalleled, but how easily they bruise!

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

Stick to vegetables. (heh)

About the Author

Originally from Missouri, Rebecca O’Brien currently lives in Colorado Springs, where she works as a rock climbing guide.

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

Claire Callister is a native Californian who has been involved in art since the age of 10. Throughout her travels in the United States, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, she has honed her skills in illustration, primarily specializing in black and white pen-and-ink renderings. She graduated from Chapman University in Orange County, California, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.

This interview appeared in Issue Thirty-Six of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Thirty-Six
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