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SmokeLong Quarterly

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Issue 67 — The Playlist

March 23, 2020

Compiled by Meghan Phillips

Looking for playlist for  Issue 67? We’ve got you covered. Our contributors have chosen the music and tell why below. Enjoy the issue!

Brett Biebel, “Midnight Shift” – “Confusion in the Marketplace” by The Hold Steady

I think this song, particularly it’s closing line, captures the attitude of the main characters in my piece. They don’t want to dick around. They just want to devastate. And the general thematic territory of the song is on point as well.

Siamak Vossoughi, “A Soldier” – “Rival” by Pearl Jam

I chose “Rival” by Pearl Jam because it’s also about a mass shooting.

Dakota Canon, “Buried Deep, Buried for Good” – “Buried Alive” by Avenge Sevenfold

Like my story, this song plays on the theme of “buried” in both the literal and figurative sense. Both the tone and lyrics of the song (“Hey, I can’t live in here another day / Darkness has kept the light concealed”) capture my story’s main character’s angst–her need to bury her pain and troubles–while the singer’s angst manifests in him feeling buried alive.

Robert Kaye, “Stories We Will Always Know” – “Happy to See Me” by Hop Along

The song in my head while writing “Stories We Will Always Know.” It could be from the story’s narrator years later, trying to process the past. The title of the story is derived from the closing refrain. Plus Frances Quinlan is among the best on this planet and everyone should hear her sing this.

L. Soviero, “Lucy Ignores Death” – “You’re Dead” by Norma Tenega

It’s really tonally different from my story, but lyrically it deals with similar themes. And both have dead girls. Plus, it’s a great song.

Andrew Stancek, “Fat Man” – “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor

Gloria Gaynor’s anthem to survival is a powerful affirmation. “…I grew strong…I learned how to get along…as long as I know how to love, I’ll stay alive.” Those words are the motto of the narrator of “Fat Man”.

Patricia Q. Bidar, “Over There” – “Airplane Ticket Bus Ride, Can I Borrow Your Car?” by David Porter

This song make me think about our responsibility to each other, and the pain and ambivalence our choices bring up. I love the verve of the speaker in the David Porter song.

Rachel Reeher, “Lobster” – “Paul” by Big Thief

This song is airy and weighted at once and I love the way it swells. Atmosphere is everything–in fiction, in music, and otherwise.

Emma Stough, “We Expect You To Take This Seriously” – “The Love Club” by Lorde

Lorde’s album Pure Heroine is the perfect soundtrack to a teenage apocalypse—and “The Love Club” voices the complicated sticky mess of identity one feels growing up and trying to “belong” to different groups/communities. This song works with themes that I wanted “We Expect You to Take This Seriously” to interrogate: A teen knowing that belonging to “the club” might make everything glow for them, but also might make them sacrifice their own identity along the way.

Hailee Nielsen, “What Drips Out of the Cheesecloth” – “opal ocean, pt 2.” by slenderbodies

From the first time I heard their music, it felt composed of contradiction: ever familiar and lucid, while distinctly otherworldly and experimental. To write something as fluid and immersive as slenderbodies is a lifelong goal for my writing, and I hope to draw on their art for inspiration for years to come.

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A SmokeLong Summer

May 30-Aug 28!


From May 30 to August 28 2022, SmokeLong is going to host a superworkshop. We want to spend the summer with you, the flash community. Our workshops take place on a devoted website where you can create a profile, interact with the flash community, and take part in group discussions on craft, but A SmokeLong Summer will be much more.