Contributor Spotlight: Alex Blum

“Talkeetna Fog,” a short story by Alex Blum, appeared in Issue 22 and can be read here.

We’d love to hear more about this story.

Writing “Talkeetna Fog” made me realize how much I love similes. They felt necessary for describing the substance destroying the world, and they encouraged me to slow down and imagine scenes more vividly. Naming what something reminds me of and why is such a satisfying exercise. It’s like solving a puzzle—same tiny epiphany.

What was the most difficult part of writing this story?

Figuring out how Amy would tell Laura about the fog, and how Laura would react. Breaking bad news is delicate, and Amy’s hesitation reflected my own. I also wanted Laura’s response and following actions to make sense to the reader, which took filling in some of her backstory. 

Recommend a book for us which was published within the last decade.

Him, Me, Muhammad Ali by Randa Jarrar is a wonderful short story collection. In the opener, “The Lunatics’ Eclipse,” a girl tries to capture the moon to win her neighbor’s love. Other stories have more realistic premises—two childhood friends reunite as adults, a young woman interns for a high-profile feminist—but regardless of subject, Jarrar’s ear for the absurd makes her writing consistently funny, thought-provoking, and inventive.

If you could have a drink with any living author, who would it be? Why?

Kristin Arnett. She’s a wildly entertaining writer—see her debut novel Mostly Dead Things, her column on librarianship, and her Twitter, if you haven’t already—and she seems like she knows how to have a good time. Here she is on outdated technology: “I miss overhead projectors. If you’ve got one in your library, send it my way. I wanna use it to play Pictionary with my dogs.”

What are you working on now? What’s next?

A short story about the circus. After that, I’m not sure. Maybe a story about bowling.

Our thanks to Alex for taking the time to answer a few questions and share his work. Read Alex’s story, “Talkeetna Fog,” here:


Alex Blum is a fundraiser living in Berkeley, CA. His writing appears or is forthcoming in the Texas Review, Santa Clara Review, Hobart, Litro, and Necessary Fiction. You can find him on Twitter at @a_blum.