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Smoking With Rolli

Interview by Nik Perring (Read the Story) March 29, 2011


Smoke Stacks by Ed Luschei

Rolli, first off, I love your story, “The Man With The Ridiculously Huge Coupon” — where did it come from?

You know, I just can’t remember, Nik. I’m not forgetful. But it’s like dreaming. When you wake up, remembering the dream, and an hour passes, and — nothing. Ideas come from The Other Place, and the frustration of The Other Place is you’re driving, but you just don’t know the address. You have a memory of a lane, maybe, or a certain crooked tree, if anything. With no address and no one to ask for directions – it’s an obscure road, and no one takes it — all you can do is keep driving. And the frightening thing is, there’s no guarantee you’ll ever get there again.

For me, one of the most important aspects of Story is the voice, and that’s something that’s very strong in this story. Could you talk about that?

Nothing profound here. I stagger between three main voices in my fiction, for reasons that resist analysis: a street-smart New Yorker (as in the Huge Coupon); a frozen, punctilious butler; and a breathless old man/woman. All of the stories in my upcoming collection God’s Autobio fall into one of these categories. Except for the one about the frenzied electric chimp.

Which came first, voice or story? And how do you think each influences the other?

It all just comes out in one plop with me, Nik. No idea about influence. I try not to muss things up by thinking too much. There’s too much thinking going on these days. It’s really overrated. I just try to drink a whole lotta coffee, and keep up with myself.

What does the word “coupon” mean to you?


And if you had a ridiculously huge coupon, where would you keep it?

I’d give it to others, for safekeeping.

About the Author

Rolli is a writer, illustrator and cartoonist hailing from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. He’s the author of two short story collections (I Am Currently Working On a Novel and God’s Autobio), two books of poems (Mavor’s Bones and Plum Stuff), the middle grade story collection Dr. Franklin’s Staticy Cat and two forthcoming novels – Kabungo (Anansi/Groundwood, 2016) and The Sea-Wave (Guernica Editions, 2016). His cartoons appear regularly in Reader’s Digest, Harvard Business Review, Adbusters, The Chronicle of Higher Education and other popular outlets. Visit Rolli’s website  and follow him on Twitter @rolliwrites.

About the Interviewer

Nik Perring is a writer and workshop leader from northwest England. He is the author of the children’s book I Met a Roman Last Night, What Did You Do? as well as many published poems and short stories. He has a website: www.nperring.com and a blog: nikperring.blogspot.com.

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

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