Five Minutes with Emma Rose Smith

emma1 Did you have something specific you wanted to communicate with this piece?

I had read a surreal short story by Julio Cortázar in which citizens summoned to a huge government house disappear. We skip around in perspectives, between many characters, but what's never described is beyond the door of the interview room. This is a kinder interpretation of what might have awaited the citizens in that story.

Is there a style/genre/or writer who has significantly influenced your work?

Dense and florid writing. Anything magical that surprises and convinces me. The sharp honesty of Helen Garner and Joan Didion. Toni Morrison, Annie Proulx, Marianne Moore, and Roberto Bolaño. Also the artwork by Remedios Varo.

Who do you show your writing to first?

To nobody. Then I work up the gall to show it to a notebook.

If you could be an animal, what would you be?

A turtle. To swim and also walk. And to stick my head in when I want to just sing to myself and hear the shell echo.

What is the strangest object you own?

A jar of human hair.

What do you read as a guilty pleasure? What about just for normal pleasure?

Always and forever, Catch-22. Also the news. And feminist theory, starting with Valerie Solanas. Ha!

What do you do when you aren't writing?

I bash out cocktails at a bar in Glebe, transcribe kids' poems at The Red Room Company, rewrite fiction drafts, get anxious, make zines, host literary events, and try to firm my buttocks.

Send us your favourite picture of an animal?

This is my ex-turtle Gina, who was indifferent to my morning singing. She now lives with a friend. I haven't gotten a birthday card.