Leonard Nash received a Florida Book Award Silver Medal for his debut collection, You Can’t Get There from Here and Other Stories. Nash earned his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Florida International University in 1996. He received a Bachelor of Arts in English from FIU in 1987. His short story “Condo People,” appeared in the January 2014 issue of Fort Lauderdale Magazine. His story “Not Without Feathers” will be included in the forthcoming anthology 15 Views of Miami, to be published by Burrow Press in November 2014. Nash’s work has also appeared in the South Dakota Review, The Seattle Review, and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. He has taught creative writing at Florida International University and the Florida Center for the Literary Arts at Miami Dade College.
Gulf Stream Editor-in-Chief, Veronica Suarez, interviewed Nash regarding his award-wining short stories. Nash spoke about the craft and elements of the short story, themes in his work, the romantic relationships of his characters, and his revision process for his short stories.
Suarez called Nash from the Radiate FM station at Florida International University where the interview was conducted. Special thanks to production director, Hector Mojena. Photograph shot by Jonathan L. Lyons.
You Can’t Get There from Here (excerpt)
After I closed out the cash registers, locked the safe, set the alarm, said goodbye to my cashiers, the stock boys, and the new journeyman butcher we hired to work the evening shift, I walked home, changed out of my work clothes, and made a Salisbury steak dinner in the microwave, something we had to remove from the freezer case because it was a few days expired. Food is food as far as I’m concerned, so long as it doesn’t leave me feeling hungry or nauseated. While I ate, I channel surfed between Martha Stewart baking sugar cookies on the Home and Garden Network, some mafia movie on pay-per-view, and a Marlins/Dodgers game on ESPN. They were into extra innings when I turned off my TV to see if I could try and sleep awhile. But before long my dreams started again.
I was in the attic of a huge house, and in the dream, I awoke to the sound of footsteps, so I stayed real quiet, but these rigid footsteps got closer and closer, like high-heeled shoes tapping across a parquet dance floor. So I said hello, and get this—as I opened my eyes, a gorgeous young woman sat down beside me on the bed. She had long auburn hair, and OK, maybe she needed to lose a few pounds, but she smelled sweet, like a freshly-baked peach cobbler or a summer nectarine. Maybe it was only that new herbal shampoo we started carrying. So when she said hello back to me, I opened my eyes for real this time, but all I could make out was the old bureau I found in the alley last summer, my clock radio, and my work pants slung over the recliner, at which point I was back in my third floor efficiency at the Coral Terrace Hotel. And before long, I was out of the bed and dressed for another night out at the Coral Gate Diner. It’s a place where I can get some brewed coffee and a reasonably fresh meal. It’s a place where the demons can’t get me.