In this episode I talk with essayist Kelly Fig Smith. Kelly is an award-winning essayist and a Pushcart nominee. She has an MFA in nonfiction from Lesley University. Her essay “Do No Harm” was awarded the $1000 Best Essay Prize and appeared in Creative Nonfiction’s Issue #55, The Memoir Issue, Spring 2015. Her essay, “Paper Moon” was shortlisted for The Pinch’s 2017 Literary Award. Kelly enjoys the quiet life of rural Ohio. When she’s not chasing children around the house, she can usually be found corn field watching from beneath an apple tree in her backyard. Kelly is currently seeking representation for her first book a collection of essays.


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In the episode we talk about:

  • Grief journals and turning them into essays
  • Needing a place to figure out what an experience means
  • Giving readers the benefit of the doubt, and essays that are a slow burn
  • The short form of flash and “micro” writing
  • Loss and learning to love things without consuming or owning them
  • Using care in the things we create vs. self-imposed deadlines or goals
  • Kelly’s piece “Winter Soliloquy” in Hippocampus
  • Connect with Kelly on Twitter @WhaleLetters

Visit us online at and visit Under the Gum Tree at Follow Under the Gum Tree Twitter and Instagram @undergumtree. Follow me on Twitter @justjanna and @jannamarlies on Instagram.

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