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Smoking With Steven Gullion

(Read the Story) September 15, 2008

Steven Douglas Gullion

Steven Douglas Gullion

Explain, if you are able, how college, a mime, and a talking dog all ended up together.

I think someone posed a challenge to write a story about a mime. Dogs almost always appear in my stories, so that explains the confluence of dog and mime. Some character must speak in a story, usually; since the mime couldn’t or wouldn’t speak, that left the dog. The story is in a college setting because having a mime for a college roommate is a universal experience. It’s all so simple when you know the rules.

“That mime, he whack,” the dog would say. I imagine many readers love or will come to love this saying of the dog. What do you love about this dog and his saying(s)?

I love this dog because he’s smart enough to talk, but he’s not really very smart. His grammar is abysmal, and he can’t remember to be quiet while miming, which is one of the requirements. He’s like many of my college roommates that way.

As I’ve said before, “No one writes a dog story like SDG.” What is it about dogs and SDG that make for the perfect match?

I’m not sure why I gravitate to dogs as much as I do, but I always feel more comfortable with a story when the dog appears. When I was a child I was surrounded by dogs; my first short story about dogs (“Stray Dogs”) was based on those early memories.

The “you know” and the “you get the picture” add something to this piece, yes? What would you say they add?

A little bit of tone, a little bit of characterization. In a first-person story, I want the reader to hear the narrator’s voice, and I think writing in a style that is essentially dialogue (or monologue, to be accurate) makes that happen.

Begin this answer with the words, “I write.” Complete the sentence. Then, write as many sentences as you’d like, each one beginning with that “I write….”

I write infrequently. I write to amuse myself. I write longhand sometimes and find it satisfying, like building a piece of furniture. I write about dogs way too often.

About the Author

Steven Gullion’s other fiction has appeared in Night Train Magazine, The Barcelona Review, The Adirondack Review, and issues 5, 21 and 22 of SmokeLong Quarterly, among others. He is currently working on a novel about an armadillo.

This interview appeared in Issue Twenty-Two of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Twenty-Two
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SmokeLong Fitness--The Community Workshop

Next Date to Join: January 1!

On September 1, SmokeLong launched a workshop environment/community christened SmokeLong Fitness. This asynchronous community workshop is happening right now on our dedicated workshop site. If you choose to join us, you will work in a small group of around 10-12 participants to give and receive feedback. Each Monday, you will receive a new writing task (one writing task each week) designed by the senior editor team of SmokeLong. The core workshop is asynchronous, so you can take part from anywhere at anytime. We are excited about creating a supportive, consistent and structured environment for flash writers to work on their craft in a community.