Tuesday May 21

BergCarly Carly Berg gets her three hots and a cot near Houston. Her stories appear in PANK, Word Riot, Bartleby Snopes, JMWW, and elsewhere. She welcomes visitors here.

Carly Berg interview with Meg Tuite

Thanks! Here are some quotes from the four exceptional stories, “Love, Post-Naturally and Other Trivia,” “Languages of Love,” “Now and Then,” and “Illinois: Missouri’s Dirty Little Secret: A True and Factual Essay,” published in this issue of Connotation Press.

“Months went by, myths wore thin. Marl caught her bug-handed, adorning herself with colorful ladybugs from her hidden buggery. Dollar store stickers lined the bottoms of her altar idols. Just another domestic goddess. He packed his saddlebags.”

“By bedtime, only Casey’s feet were visible, emerging above the wall of items piled around her, including: a quilt and pillows, chips and snack cakes, three Coach bags, origami supplies, a computer, a ceramic hair straightener, a Kitchenaid mixer, a bottle of Smirnoff, a nylon pup tent, two leather jackets, a mountain bike, a Waterford vase, the Zumba exercise DVD set, and a Dyson vacuum cleaner.”

“Lynne soon married a Shoney’s manager and moved to Topeka. I married a car salesman named Phil. Now they call it statutory rape but then they called it so what he married her, didn’t he?”

“I rushed forward to my past.”

“After the waitress brought my Coke, I realized the ice cubes were made of Illinois water. I couldn’t wait to get back to the United States to quench my terrible, terrible thirst.”

These stories are brilliant, hilarious and say so much about relationships and what propels us forward. Do you have any stories behind the stories to give us on these four beauties, Carly?

…Trying to protect the innocent (and guilty) here, ha ha. But seriously, I’m sure they all have bits and pieces from my real life and that of others I’ve known, especially “Now and Then” and “Illinois.”

My teenage friends and I did spend a lot of time tanning, and waiting for our “real lives” to start as kids will do. And people’s perceptions really have changed so much through the years in certain ways.

And, um, we did look down on Illinois. When crossing over the Mississippi River from Missouri into Illinois, the area we entered was not the ritziest back then. I was shocked to learn at school that Illinois was a much more influential state than Missouri.

These all are definitely a period piece with the Tab, cigarettes, and tanning. Are you working on a collection? I hope so.

Why yes I do have a collection, thanks for asking! My book of short stories is currently out looking for a home. It’s (tentatively) titled Coffee House Lies.

I am sure it will find a home very soon! Did you grow up in the Midwest?

Yes. I lived in Missouri then Illinois, so both sides of the Mississippi.

How do you like living in Houston?

I love it. Even more so in the winter time! But after twenty-plus years, I still get homesick once in a while.

Who are your inspirations, whether authors, music, cartoon characters or hubcaps?

Right now I’m on a Dorothy Parker kick. I follow other flash fiction writers too, and am often floored by how great their stories are. But it’s more appreciation than inspiration, because I don’t think I could write (or be) like anyone else.

Do you have any bowling stories? If not, would you write a micro-flash set in a bowling alley, right here, right now?

The Three Little Kids

I said to my new husband, "I did not say your 'pigs,' honey, I said your 'kids.' Really now."

I said, "No, honey, you get your kids' bowling shoes and balls. I'll get the feed. By myself."

The first little kiddy knocked his soda over, then snuffled.

The second little kiddy wiped her small pink eyes. She squealed, "His roast beef sandwich is bigger than mine!"

The third little kiddy snatched the ball with his cloven hooves and threw it down the alley. It smashed into that clear guard thing, which shattered.

We we we were asked to leave.
"No, honey," I said. "You drive your kids back to the house. I'm going to stop at the market. Then I’ll run all the way home."

Hahahha! LOVE THIS!
What are you reading now?

I have a pile of flash fiction anthologies on my bedside table. I usually just grab whichever one’s closest for my usual bedtime read.

Give us a quote that speaks to you.

Uh-oh, I’m not good at questions like this. Okay, how about “Many people are stupid. Once you realize this, the world begins to make sense.” I saw it under someone’s signature on a message board and it cracked me up.

Can you add a link to some music you love that we might not have heard of?

I like “Pontchartrain” by Michael Elwood.

Love this! I love acoustic guitar and the lyrics are amazing. Thanks for sharing that.
What projects are you working on at this time?

Besides flash fiction (it’s so fun!), I’m working on a non-fiction book called The 100 Credits Club. It’s from something I started on a few writer’s forums, where we all give each other tips, and such, to get our first hundred publishing credits. I just got mine last month, yay! A couple of the chapters have been published in writers’ magazines so far.

Congratulations on your first hundred! NICE! I can’t wait for your collection! I LOVE your work and look forward to anything you write. Thank you so much, Carly, for being our featured fiction writer at Connotation Press for February!

Thank you for having me. I’m honored!



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