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  • "In Jim Carroll I found a gateway drug." Kara Vernor riffs on Jim Carroll at SmokeLong Quarterly and we swoon accordingly.

    There is a lot of swoon and a lot of Jim Carroll and we are quite thrilled to share Vernor's riff, "Why Flash Fiction? Because Jim Carroll," with you here, now. Excerpt? Totally.

    "Not all of us drop from the womb writers. In 1991, when I was seventeen, none of the books I read—Vonnegut, Kerouac, Nin—made me feel as connected to the world as the music I listened to, as Courtney Love in a slip dress screaming: “Is she pretty from the inside/Is she pretty from the back.” That was all I needed, really, that emotional quick fix, those urgent jabs on the electric guitar. Plus, unlike reading and writing, which I did alone in my room, music brought me into contact with Real Live People—in gushing talk of mutual fandom, through traded mix tapes, at live shows in boiling pits of longhaired boys. So it was with modest expectations that I went with my overage boyfriend one winter night to see some old musician named Jim Carroll perform “spoken word.” Not written? Not sung?"