SmokeLong Quarterly

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Kim Kardashian Considers Her Insomnia

Story by Steve Almond (Read author interview) June 25, 2013

art by Leslie June

Some nights, mostly when she was alone, but also when she was with a boy, if he was asleep, or if he was just somewhere else, lost in a television show or in some part of her body that no longer interested her, the feeling would come. It wasn’t boredom, but a kind of a stirring, as if her mind were forced to wander in many directions at once.

She thought about her sisters, their dull husbands. She thought about how it was when they were young, pigging out on Doritos Cool Ranch and gossip. She thought about Newet, the Sky Goddess, who lay across the top of the universe and suckled a million stars. Sometimes, in paintings, Newet was a giant sow. This made her think of her mother, and her mother’s hands, the papery skin and the horrible tiny blue veins that would never be gotten rid of because where would they go?

She thought about her businesses, because she was a businesswoman: the boutique, the tanner, the new shoe design. Those were important things. They mattered to people. But her mind wouldn’t stay on them. Her mind kept going. She thought about taking a pill, but she didn’t want to get constipated, because that was gross. Sometimes she looked at her poops and tried to imagine them coming out. To think such things—to be unable to not think them—made her fear there was something terribly wrong with her.

It always amazed her how little time went by. She could have a hundred thoughts and the minute wouldn’t change. Time was so strange. What was it, exactly? Was it money, like her dad said? You could hold money, though, and spend it. Time seemed to be floating somewhere out of reach, watching her. She could go on-line to check her email, or watch a video. But lately she had worried that the screen was staring back, making judgments about how her makeup and how she dressed, which was crazy. When she reached this point, as she always did, she rose from her bed and went to the mirror. She wanted to turn on the light, but one time she’d watched a show about sleep disorders and the doctor on there said turning on the light totally messed up your internal wiring. So she kept to the dark and stared at the outlines of herself, her face and her body, and the sensation that came upon her in these moments was odd and thrilling: it was as if she were floating in space. And then she became space, a vast black nothingness that everything within it precious. She didn’t feel beautiful in these moments, but she knew she was.

About the Author

Steve Almond is the author of the story collections My Life in Heavy Metal and The Evil B.B. Chow, the novel Which Brings Me to You (with Julianna Baggott), and the non-fiction books Candyfreak and (Not That You Asked). His most recent book, Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life, came out in spring 2010. He is also, crazily, self-publishing books. This Wont Take But a Minute, Honey is composed of 30 very brief stories, and 30 very brief essays on the psychology and practice of writing. Letters from People Who Hate Me is just plumb crazy. Both are available at readings. In 2011, Lookout Press will publish his story collection God Bless America.

About the Artist

Leslie June is a digital media professional and underwater photographer. She currently builds websites and takes photos in Asheville, NC.

This story appeared in Issue Forty of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Forty

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"The Shape of Things: Movement, Momentum, and Dimension in Flash CNF" with Steve Edwards

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From sentence-level craft concerns to questions of overall approach, this 90-minute webinar will explore strategies for adding shape, intensity, and depth to your flash creative nonfiction.

Steve Edwards is author of the memoir BREAKING INTO THE BACKCOUNTRY, the story of his seven months as caretaker of a 95-acre backcountry homestead along federally protected Wild and Scenic Rogue River in Oregon. His work has appeared in Orion MagazineThe Sun MagazineLiterary HubElectric LiteratureThe Rumpus, and elsewhere. He lives outside Boston with his wife and son.