SmokeLong Quarterly

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“All About the Body”—A Letter from the Editor

Story by Tara Laskowski March 19, 2018

We recently returned from the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference in Tampa, Florida, where we had the pleasure of meeting some of our past contributors and guest editors in person for the first time. It’s always a treat to connect faces with the stories we publish and to be around writers and editors who are all working to make the world a more beautiful and expressive place. It’s always cool to see the living, breathing human person behind the electronic submission file we get sent to us on our computer screens.

Which has me thinking about how many stories in Issue 59 are about the body. In this digital age, where we spend so much time “talking” to one another via email, text, instant message, or through video screens, it is refreshing to read so much flash fiction that is about the physical bodies we are trapped inside, and what it means to be in them. In Sumita Mukherji’s “Lifeline,” a mother desperately tries to read her future by literally digging in to her lifeline to find answers. “Body Snatcher” plays with the idea of invasion and what it means to step into someone else’s skin. Other stories investigate particular body parts and what symbolic nature they’ve taken on in our lives, such as “Umbilical,” “The Price of Eyes,” and “Parasomnia.” Our 2018 Kathy Fish Fellow, Tochukwu Okafor, also explores the body and the idea of watching in his poignant piece about a boy watching his mother grieve. And finally, in “History,” Maia Jenkins gives a sobering and sad look at the way we can reduce other human beings to mere bodies, to be manipulated and played with as we wish.

I hope you’ll enjoy the physical nature of all these stories in Issue 59 and read the author interviews to get a better idea of the persons behind the words.

In other SmokeLong news, we are right in the middle of our first-ever contest issue submission period to celebrate our 15th anniversary. There is still plenty of time—until May 20, as a matter of fact—to get your stories to us to be considered for the issue and the grand prize of $1500. Anyone published in our June contest issue gets paid for their story, and one of those folks will be chosen for the grand prize. So please send us your best so we can celebrate 15 years in grand style!

I hope spring is coming quickly and treating you well.

Until next time,

Tara Laskowski
SmokeLong Quarterly

About the Author

Tara Laskowski

Tara Laskowski has been editor at SmokeLong Quarterly since 2010. Her short story collection Bystanders was hailed by Jennifer Egan as “a bold, riveting mash-up of Hitchcockian suspense and campfire-tale chills.” She is also the author of Modern Manners For Your Inner Demons, tales of dark etiquette. Her fiction has been published in the Norton anthology Flash Fiction International, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Mid-American Review, and numerous other journals, magazines, and anthologies. Tara lives and works in a suburb of Washington, D.C.


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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.