Everyone has the opportunity to document their lives in their own ways. On the eve of the release of her latest collection of work, I spoke with Columbus-based poet Maggie Smith. We discussed how she writes, how the publishing industry works, the inspirations for her work, and why she chooses to stay in Columbus.
- Maggie Smith
- Good Bones (book)
- “Good Bones” (poem)
- Simon and Schuster
- Tupelo Press
- Red Hen Press
- Old 97s
- Nada Surf
- Ohio Art League
- Greater Columbus Arts Council
- Columbus Crew
- Metro Parks
This Confluence Cast episode is sponsored by Art Makes Columbus, Columbus Makes Art, featuring stories about our city’s incredible artists — stories full of inspiration, challenge, passion, and success. For videos, articles, an up-to-the-minute calendar of events, and an artist directory visit ColumbusMakesArt.com, the resource for all things arts and culture in the capital city.
Tim Fulton 0:11
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the confluence cast presented by Columbus underground. We are a weekly Columbus centric podcast focusing on the civics, lifestyle, entertainment, and people of our city. I’m your host Tim Fulton. This week on the eve of the release of her latest collection of work, I spoke with Columbus based poet Maggie Smith. We discussed how she writes how the publishing industry works, the inspiration for her work, why she chooses to stay in Columbus, and how everyone has the opportunity to document their lives in their own ways. You can get more information on what we discussed today in the show notes for this episode at the confluence cast comm also the confluence cast is on Patreon. Find out how to support this podcast on our website the confluence cast calm [email protected] slash Confluence. The Confluence cast is sponsored this week by art makes Columbus Columbus makes art featuring stories about our city’s incredible artists. Stories full of inspiration, challenge, passion, and success. For videos, articles, an up to the minute calendar of events and an artist directory visit Columbus makes art.com the resource for all things arts and culture in the capital city. Enjoy the interview. Sitting down here virtually with poet Maggie Smith Mikey, how are you? Hi,
Maggie Smith 1:46
I’m good. Thanks for having me.
Tim Fulton 1:47
Absolutely. We’re speaking on the eve the week before your next book of poetry comes out golden rod wanted to start off by for those that aren’t aware of you. What’s your background? And where do you come from? Yeah, so
Maggie Smith 2:04
I live in Bexley, Ohio now but I was born in Columbus and raised in Westerville. So I basically lived within you know, 15 or 20 minute drive of my childhood home for my entire life so I I sort of like issue most labels like Oh, she’s a woman poet, or she’s a this poet or she’s a mom, poet, but I will claim Ohio poet. I feel like that is like sort of me through and through. And frankly, place comes up a lot in my work. So I’m, yeah, merrily a poet. I have one book of prose that came out last year, but for the past, I don’t know. 15 years, I’ve been mostly publishing books of poems.
Tim Fulton 2:55
Well, and there is work in Golden rod that is Ohio specific. You even pull from some other Ohio based poets? Correct?
Maggie Smith 3:04
Yeah, there’s a series of poems in this book that all have the same title, not out of laziness. When I tell you about what the poems are, you’ll be like, actually, she is lazy. So the title of each of these poems is Ohio, sento, and acento. Or if you’re being sort of fussy in Italian, and the chuck dough, okay. If you were the kind of person who ordered a croissant at a bakery, you might say cetto, but I’m not. So I say Santo got it. It’s a form of poetry where you actually don’t do any original writing, hence, the laziness. Okay, um, you assemble the poem from lines from other people’s poems. So it’s, it’s collage, it’s like literal, okay, collage. So, that series of poems I did not write I assembled. So I would pull a line from one Ohio poet. And then I think, okay, that line ends on a preposition, what line from another Ohio poet could follow it. So that’s what these poems all have in common. They’re all assembled from other Ohio poets words.
Tim Fulton 4:15
That’s great. And that’s the title of the type of construction it is right. The center.
Maggie Smith 4:21
Yeah. acento is, is that form. So I think it’s, it’s actually a great form for if you have some writer’s block, or if you’re not feeling particularly inspired at the time you just go to your bookshelf, pull off some books that you like, and start seeing what you can build from the lines that other people have already written.
Tim Fulton 4:41
So talk to me about your process in writing a book bit from First of all, like how, how do you prefer to write Do you need to block out time do you how do you come to it with an intent of I’m going to write this many pieces this day this week.
Maggie Smith 4:59
Oh, No, I don’t write every day, I was just reassuring. A recent MFA grad of this, like, I know, there are some people who are like, you need to write X number of words every day, or you need to write for this number of minutes or hours every day. And I, I don’t do that. And part of me thinks like, well, maybe it’s because I’m a single parent and trying to find time, in the midst of every everything else. It just doesn’t allow for that kind of headspace that I need to be in to write a poem. But if I’m honest, I was never a write everyday kind of person, even before I had the excuse of children. So I think, you know, I, I sit down to write when I have an idea. And often, I always write longhand first. And that is mostly because I don’t know how to type, okay, which I realize is kind of stupid for a professional writer. I never learned how to type. So I typed with my two index fingers, okay, fairly quickly. Given that, that’s all that I use. But it what it means is that I can think a lot faster than I can type. And so I write in a notebook or on a legal pad. Just a little idea here and there whenever I have it. And sometimes that kind of picks up speed and momentum. And one idea leads to the next, which leads to the next and I may draft something and then afternoon fairly quickly, okay. Or I might write down one line and not know what to do with it for 10 years, and then stumble upon it in a notebook and be like, Oh, I never did anything with that guy from 2004. Maybe, actually, that kind of gives me another idea. Now based on every experience I’ve had, since I wrote that down, maybe I should try to build something from that. So it’s it’s Yeah, process of accruing things. And it doesn’t happen in any sort of sensible way.
Tim Fulton 7:01
Is there any sort of like documentation of that, like, you know, that that happened back in, you know, 2004, that you wrote that one line down? Or like, keep maybe keeping like a series of notebooks? I’m just super curious about the thing about Warhol a little bit how he had his time kept, yeah, that you could trace back to the all that and some of it was garbage. Let’s, let’s be clear, all of
Maggie Smith 7:30
I mean, we all make a lot. There’s like, maybe 10% of what we end up actually doing is worth saving, but you have to write the bag ID to get to the good 10.
Tim Fulton 7:41
Right. And then are you able, as the writer of it to sort of objectively look at it, I guess?
Maggie Smith 7:50
Well, I mean, to answer your first question, it’s funny, I was looking for something this morning in my office, which is a disaster area. Don’t be fooled by the like, neat corner you can see behind me right now. Yeah. And in looking for this thing I was looking for I found a tiny notebook, that is obviously one of the ones that I would carry, like in my purse, and flipping through it, I found dated in like 2017. Because when I write in a notebook, I write the date. Okay. And that way, when I go back, I always know where the genesis of the thing came from, at least like the initial idea. Yeah, so I found the first ideas for one of the poems and golden rod in this little notebook, from 2017. And I know where I was sitting in a car, like I was on a road trip. And I remember sitting in the passenger seat of the car, scribbling this stuff down in this tiny little, you know, pack of, you know, basically this a notebook the size of a deck of cards. And so over five or six pages, I scrawled out some basic ideas that then grew into one of the poems in the book. So oftentimes, I can kind of find something and be like, Oh, this is where that poem started. Okay, it started there, because eventually it ends up in a Word document. Okay, and I might lose the sort of Genesis moment that happened in my messy handwriting. But if I date my notebooks, I can find it. Now my problem is, I don’t actually keep like a notebook, fill it front to back and then move on to another notebook and catalog them. I pick up a notebook that I find lying around, I flipped until I find a blank page. And then I use that blank page, but I dated so I have lots of notebooks with lots of different dates, sometimes spanning years, because there just happened to be a blank page in the middle and it happened to be the one within arm’s reach. So God help the person who ever tries to organize my papers after I die because they’re gonna be like, Oh, actually, this makes a lot of sense, like,
Tim Fulton 9:55
right. She was kind of an odd bird and was not very often Well, how would they want to present it? Right? Would they want to present it in a in a chronological way? Or? I hope not.
Maggie Smith 10:09
They could be, they could just let it be organic, and people could see how it how the sausage was actually made. Right? Which is not as neat. And to answer your second question, How do I know when? How do I know what’s good? Or when it’s done?
Tim Fulton 10:24
Or? Like, how do you know? Yeah, maybe this is one of the 90 that isn’t good. And yeah, what, what you should carry forward?
Maggie Smith 10:34
I mean, I feel like when I start writing something, I always am excited about whatever that idea was, or I wouldn’t have written it down in the first place. It’s just a matter of like, will my excitement remain? Or will I sort of like, will it lose its shine? Like, is it a novelty, excitement, or is there like real staying power to that idea, and so really, the only the only thing I can do is give it time. So I try not to write something quickly, and then send it out to a magazine, for example, because I might be in the honeymoon phase with that piece of writing. And it’s like, you know, going home with someone from the bar, like the first guy meet them, like maybe not a great idea. Like maybe you should wait and have a coffee date and the light of day the week following and see if they’re still as interesting as when it’s not dark. And there isn’t like this great song playing on the jukebox.
Tim Fulton 11:26
That’s a fantastic analogy for so and so then. So in the composition of a book as a whole. How do you get to I noticed that a lot of the work in Golden rod was published prior in would you call them literary journals? I don’t know, journals. Okay. How do you come to a point where you say, I’ve got enough at this point? That the and it makes up a? Let’s call it a cohesive composition? in total? How do you guide that process?
Maggie Smith 12:04
Yeah, I mean, it’s funny because writing a book of poems is different from writing, I think any other kind of book. And it’s called a collection of poems for a reason, right? Like, it’s a collected body of work over, usually a period of time. And so I, I haven’t really ever sat down to write a book of poems, I just write a poem at a time. And then I get to a certain point where maybe it’s been a couple years, or I realize in my folder of stuff on my computer that I’ve got, you know, over 100 poems that haven’t appeared in book form. And so then I have the process of basically printing everything out that I’ve written, since my last collection of poems, okay, it was published, this is just the process like, so for golden rod, I printed out everything that I had written, since good bones, my last book of poems was published. And it was like 120 poems, okay. Which is way more than a book. So I just packed them in a suitcase and took them with me on a writing residency to Tucson, Arizona and opened up the suitcase and just started going through the poems on my bed, just sorting them into like, no, maybe, yes, actually, I’m a little wishy washy on this one. But it seems to want to travel with this other guy that I really likes. Okay, I’m going to give that one a pass. Yeah. Because it wants to be in conversation. And so, at the end of that kind of calling, process, I think I had maybe 60 poems. But then I had I actually wrote the book for two more years after that. Okay, so I added more and then took some out to make room for the new because there are some poems in this book, for example, that I wrote during the pandemic. So fairly late in 2020, you know, like, right before I turned it in to my editor, so it the earliest poems, I finished and, you know, say 2015, but the, a lot of the work is, is quite new. Gotcha.
Tim Fulton 14:15
And can you talk about, just for those that don’t know, I’m pretty interested in just process of like, how does this industry function, that process that you talked about where most of these are published ahead of time in journals and then put together that’s pretty standard, right? Yeah. Okay. Yeah.
Maggie Smith 14:32
Because you’re writing a I mean, I’m writing poem, a poem at a time and I have no idea when they’re going to land in a book or how many years that might take right. And so it’s pretty standard to be the same with short stories or essays in an essay collection. It’s pretty standard. To write something, get a few send them off to a journal or a magazine or a newspaper and place them individually, little by little,
Tim Fulton 14:56
and then how does that placement process work?
Maggie Smith 14:59
It means submitting to journals. Yeah, you know, it’s, it can happen cold, like, I don’t know anybody at this journal, but I’d really like them to feature my work because I’m a subscriber or you know, whatever the case may be. So I go to their website, and I see what their submission guidelines are. And I pick four or five poems say that I think, travel well together. Yeah, they seem to like have some variety. But also they feel cohesive enough that maybe if I’m lucky, if they want one, maybe they take more than one because they do really seem to group well, and then I write a little cover letter that says, hey, I’m so and so I’d love for you to consider these poems for your journal. And you know, back in the day, this used to all happen via postal mail, right, and you would, you would fold up a little self addressed stamped envelope, and put it in with your poems, okay. And then, if it was a rejection, you’d know, because your self addressed stamped envelope would come back to you in the mail, and you could hold it up to the light and see a single slip of paper inside because they would form like a basic form rejection from one of these journals, they would print like 15, on like an eight and a half by 11 size, and then just slice them into basically like fortune ranky sized fortune site, and it
Tim Fulton 16:21
was lips. Thank you for your submission.
Maggie Smith 16:24
Thank you for your submission, this does not meet our current needs. Yeah, the editors, you know, like nothing personal, you are lucky if you’ve got a rejection that was on a whole sheet of paper and maybe had like a real ink signature from a human being. And you were super lucky if your SAIC came back, and it was kind of thick, because then you’d think, oh, there’s a contract in here. But sometimes they just sent you your poems back. So you would feel the thickness, and you would get your hopes up, and you would open it up and it’d be like a slip of paper sandwiched in with your own
Tim Fulton 16:55
poems. Well, nice of them to return. No.
Maggie Smith 16:59
So these days, most of this happens online. Yeah, it was, you know, websites like submittable. So you just upload your stuff, and then you just get like an email saying Yay, or nay. And that’s, that’s how it works.
Tim Fulton 17:12
And you are compensated for that.
Maggie Smith 17:15
I’m not usually I mean, oh, okay, if you’re a poet, you’re very lucky, if you get an honorarium of 50, or 100, or 200, or, you know, up to $700, or something for, for publishing poems in journals. It is not unusual for your payment to be two copies of said print journal ship. Okay, dress. So, this is why, you know, people don’t really make living, become living as poets, because it’s not particularly lucrative to do so.
Tim Fulton 17:51
And so that’s why then you still basically own the poem that you can then publish it in a book. Yeah, you
Maggie Smith 18:00
usually negotiate for them first, cereal rights, like for first North American cereal rights, and so they have the right to publish it first. And then the agreement is that you give them credit, when you publish it later in some other shape, or form, like in an anthology or in a book. And so the acknowledgments page in the back or the credits page in the back of golden rod lists all the journals where the poems first appeared as a thank you, because those are the editors who took a chance on to who took a chance on the poems and gave them their first homes. Yeah. Oh, that’s, that’s really, I’m always so grateful for people who are who are willing to do that.
Tim Fulton 18:44
So when you went to Tucson, did you know that basically, you had the ability to do a book? Or did you have to sell it to your publisher at that point?
Maggie Smith 18:55
Yeah, I would have I mean, I didn’t. I was just trying to see if I had a manuscript that I could take out, you know, that point. And I didn’t yet I mean, technically, I had enough poems, but it didn’t feel done. Like I knew when I left, I had technically enough poems to make a book of poems, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t what I wanted yet. And hence, the two more years of writing. Okay, get to a place where I felt like, oh, okay, yeah, this is the thing. This is it.
Tim Fulton 19:24
And so there’s no agreement at this point, even after those two years that like, yes, this book is gonna get published. Nope, there’s no guarantee. Yeah. Then it goes to your editor. Then it goes to my editor, and you just hope that they say yes. Okay. And so it’s the editor. So it’s not like, yes, it’s being quote, unquote, edited. But really what they’re doing is making a decision about like, yes, this is gonna move forward.
Maggie Smith 19:49
Yeah, I mean, I think it depends on the editor. And it depends on the press. You know, I think, you know, some editors are more hands on and would get into a book and be like, I don’t know about These sections are I don’t know if this poem belongs, or I don’t think this is the right order, or maybe we need to make this slimmer, or maybe we need to add to it. So I’ve had different experiences with different editors over the course of my career. In the case of golden rod, the only thing we had to work on was the title. And other than that it is in the same order and to everything that I sent it in as,
Tim Fulton 20:29
and then what is the timeline for? Can you just talk about because you’re now with Simon and Schuster, is that right? Yeah, yeah. And sort of what the difference is from a very large publisher to an indie press.
Maggie Smith 20:46
Yeah, I mean, I, my first three books of poems were all with small, independent presses, I, my first book was with Red Hat. And in my firt, my second two books, were with Tupelo. And so usually the lead time for a book, I mean, it’s a year or two typically. So if they take a manuscript in, you know, I think, I think good bones, I turned in to my editor there in 2015. Before the poem itself went viral, and it was published in 2017. So it takes, it takes time. Yeah, because they have, they have things slated, right. So you have to like, you have to wait your turn, they’ve already rolled these other 10 authors that their books are coming out. So you don’t get to ditch, you know, you wait until it’s your turn. And this the really the same thing, you know, my experience at a larger publisher has been the same, which is that they are really strategic about their lists and what they have room for and what they can promote. And there are more resources, obviously, at a larger publisher, but it’s still, you can only do so many books a year. Yeah, that’s the way that it goes. And so I feel really lucky that golden rod was able to come out this summer, because we call it a crash. There was there’s not there wasn’t a lot of time between submission of the book and publication of the book. Okay, like, you know, seven months, which is the fastest I’ve ever I’ve ever done. I’ve ever done it, but but the book was done when it was done. So, so I feel okay about that. But But planning, you know, often they plan lists to three years out.
Tim Fulton 22:43
Gotcha. And now you are embarking I think next week because the book comes out on a virtual speaking tour. Yeah. What does that look like? Is it the the publisher putting that together for you? And you’re just sort of saying, yep, I’m available for that. And you’re giving them your availability,
Maggie Smith 23:02
kind of I mean, they. So the publisher two works on the book, Joanna is terrific. And so she basically finds the bookstores, lines up the dates asks me if the dates okay. I say yes. And then she says, Who do you want to be with? Okay, and I have opinions about that. So I feel really lucky. I was able to, for all of the events say I want to talk to so and so I want to be partnered with so and so I want to reach out to the lead singer of this band I really admire and see if he’ll let me pick his brain about songwriting and play a couple songs while I talk about poems and so, so I was really hands on as far as what the events would be because of who I’m partnered with for them. But they are the sort of liaison with the bookstore to line up sort of where exactly who’d be hosting?
Tim Fulton 23:57
Yeah. And so you I imagine, given this tie in, that we’re able to do things virtually, and it’s sort of accepted. Like, that’s just how we do it now. At least at this time. You’re able to even be a little bit pickier about here’s who I want to be in conversation with.
Maggie Smith 24:14
Yeah, I mean, it’s it’s so funny. I got to pre record an event a couple weeks ago with Rhett Miller of the old 97, who’s one of my favorite favorites. And actually, my son is named after him. So, yeah, no, no big deal. Not like a super fan or anything. It’s
Tim Fulton 24:32
Yeah, no, I
Maggie Smith 24:33
under so he’s, you know, in Yeah, he’s in New York. I’m in Ohio. The bookstore is in Houston, Texas, which of course is like, you know, they’re, they’re a Texas band. The old 90 sevens are a Texas band. So I was like, Oh, I wonder if I could pre record something with Rhett for this because he’s not available the night of the event. Because I asked him and he was, so I’m like, well How about we pre record it and, you know, Matthew cause of the band nada, surf again, one of my favorites, we have done some events together in the past. And I was like, I’d love to pick your brain about writing, but he’s in Cambridge, England, right, I’m in Ohio, and the bookstore that we want to partner with is in San Francisco. So we’re on three completely different time. I mean, it’s, it’s bonkers, like how this works, so we’re just gonna pre record it and and then they’ll play it the night of the event. So having a virtual tour is, you know, it’s a pain in is kind of disappointing for some, for some reasons that I think are obvious. Like, I really like the community aspect of being in a bookstore, and looking at people in the face and feeling the energy in a room or you can see that a poem is like landing with someone and getting to like, give a hug and sign a book and, and have that shared experience is something that I think we’re all craving at this point, not with screens, right. But it’s more accessible, frankly, and people can look at my tour schedule, and depending on the time zone, and the day of the week, they could come to one, or I’ve had some people say I’m coming to more than one because I know all of these conversations are going to be one offs,
Tim Fulton 26:17
because they’re unique.
Maggie Smith 26:19
They’re unique. They’ll be led and sort of driven by whoever, whoever’s asking me the questions, and some of them are going to play songs, and some of them aren’t. And I will certainly not be singing. But I think so there are some there are some perks to being able to do it this way too. And my kids, frankly, just get to go read a book or do Legos, right? Or, you know, listen to Spotify on headphones, and draw or whatever, for an hour while I log on, do the talk, read some poems, answer some questions, and then shut my laptop, and then I get to be right back within three minutes, I can call all clear. And we’re all back together again in the living room. Whereas if I were on a book tour, doing 14 events, I’d be on planes and in hotel rooms, and I’d need childcare, and I wouldn’t be seeing them and we’d be facetiming. And, and so you know, particularly from that from the, hey, I’m a single mom, this is a lot. It’s logistically a lot easier for me.
Tim Fulton 27:21
Absolutely. Just to pivot a little bit. Can you talk about what inspires you to write? What are sort of the things that you keep going back to there’s been a lot of discussion about, you’re very honest about your personal life, in your writing, you’re inspired by that? How do you get there? Yeah,
Maggie Smith 27:39
I mean, I think I went through a period of time where I thought there was sort of like writing, and writing material. And then there was life, like daily life. And I thought, like, those two things had to be separate. Because who really wants to hear about you, like emptying your dishwasher, overhearing your kids talking about something in the next room. And I, it made me feel, frankly, really stuck. Because if you have to go outside of your experience, to find material, you’re not going to write very often. Because you’re, you’re you’re living your life, you know, that’s the air you’re breathing, that’s the water you’re swimming in. And so it’s been really freeing to kind of just be like, you know, what, no, forget that. Like, this is the material like this, it’s my life. Therefore, it’s my material. And I’m just going to write as honestly, from my experience as I can, and it’s, it’s kind of surprising, but but also, in some ways not. I think that’s part of what draws people to the work is that they’re like, they can see pieces of their own lives in that too. And to think that your sort of regular life could be the stuff of you know, quote, unquote, literature, I think that’s powerful. So I don’t know, I mean, I, I get inspiration from things, I see out the windows of my office from things I think about or hear or see, when I’m taking a walk in my neighborhood from questions my kids asked me from, from really, you know, being in my head and being in the world, often at the same time. And I think of in some ways, like my body of work is kind of like a continued conversation I’m having with readers and kind of the continued internal conversation I’m having with myself. So while my first book, you know, the poems I wrote when I was 23, and 24, and 25 are, you know, in some ways different from the poems I was writing at 42 and 43 and 44. They have a lot of things in common because I’m me, like, you don’t really outgrow you yourself, you change, but you’re still the same person. And so, you know, I’m still thinking a lot about like, Who am I? And how do I know what I know? And what is this life? And how am I supposed to help these people figure stuff out when I still have so many questions myself? And how do we have so much room? in our minds for more stuff? Like, how does memory work? How are how am I holding all of this? in myself, when I don’t have the ability to like, upload it to a cloud? I’m just carrying it all. I mean, this is sort of my interior thought process. So I’m really just writing from that, like, questions, I would say, that’s my main inspiration, or like, the questions I have about myself and my life and the world, and how things work and how things don’t work at all. And what happened and what could have happened. I’m just like, an endlessly curious person who’s probably made me a difficult child to raise. But it’s probably also why I became a writer.
Tim Fulton 31:11
Absolutely. Well, because you’re documenting it right? And you’re right.
Maggie Smith 31:14
I mean, I’m not a great picture taker. Like, I don’t take that many pictures of my kids. I don’t often remember to do that. But I think I keep telling them, I’m documenting your childhood in words, like that’s how I’m documenting it. They may not have a ton of photos of themselves past the baby toddler years when I could kind of like, catch them. But they have like snippets of their dialogue and things that they were thinking and saying, because that’s the stuff I’m really interested in and holding on to.
Tim Fulton 31:48
Yeah. Obviously, there’s probably a family factor. But can you talk about why you decided to stay in Central Ohio?
Maggie Smith 31:57
That’s it. That’s it. Okay. Hi. Yeah, I mean, I, I was telling you earlier, I was born at Riverside hospital, my mom was born at Riverside hospital, my two kids were born at Riverside hospital. My parents still live in the house I grew up in and I have Sunday dinner there pretty much every Sunday with my sisters and their husbands and their kids. And if I have them, my kids were just really rooted. And so it, I can’t quite imagine what it would feel like to be away from them. You know, it’s been a really difficult few years for me for all of us. And I don’t know what I would have done. Honestly, if I had been living thanks to like an academic job or something else. I’d been living far from my family because even with a pandemic, I was able to drive to Westerville. And even if we couldn’t be in the house together, yeah, the pandemic, I could stand outside at a distance and talk to my parents, and I could take my kids out there. So they didn’t miss their grandkids. And they could watch them play in the backyard Creek where I played when I was that age. And I don’t, I realized that sounds super Mayberry. I do realize I don’t think so. But you get it. Yeah. I mean, it’s funny when I tell people that I still live basically in my hometown, and I see my aunts and uncles. I mean, I had coffee with my aunt this morning, I saw most of my extended family over the weekend at a cookout. Like if I tell people that their reaction is usually one of two things. It’s oh my gosh, that’s amazing. I am so jealous that I would love to be closer to my family. You’re so lucky. And the other reaction is, oh my god, I can’t imagine having being so close to so many people and and, you know, living in the same place for so long and running into friends from high school or your you know, your elementary school library and at the grocery store or whatever. These things happen. I mean, yeah, particularly now because now I live in Bexley. That’s, you know, a really small community. And if you live in a place this small for 1011 years, you know, they know your coffee order. Yeah. When you walk in the door and pee in your, you know, it’s just, I like it. Like, I like that. I like that sense of familiarity, and it makes me feel safe and comfortable. And I like to travel but I just I’m always so happy to come home.
Tim Fulton 34:42
Yeah, well, I think that, you know, you talk about those two responses because there’s two types of people. There’s people who like that, that familiarity and there’s people that like that anonymity. Yeah, and there’s nothing wrong with either of them, but it’s just different.
Maggie Smith 34:57
Yeah, and I think it’s, it also comes down to like the real lationship you have with your family, and some people just don’t aren’t that close with their family and they like the to twice a year visit. And that is enough. And I, you know, I like to see them every week. And I like to talk to them several times a day, and I love our ridiculous family group texts where my dad sends, you know, like weird bitmojis of like hot dogs doing things. And I’m like, right? I don’t even know if he knows how this functions, but I love it.
Tim Fulton 35:29
Was this a mistake?
Maggie Smith 35:30
Is this Did you mean to send the talking hot dog bitmoji for like a congratulations. Like, I don’t even know what this is. I love it, though. I love it. I
Tim Fulton 35:39
normally wrap this up by asking sort of what is Columbus doing? Well, and what is Columbus maybe not doing so well. You can put that in the context of your work, you can just put that in the context of your life that you’re living here in the context of your kids. So yeah, what is Columbus doing? Well,
Maggie Smith 36:02
I mean, I feel like I should stay in Columbus, his good graces and maybe not say the things that I don’t think.
Tim Fulton 36:10
I think we make Columbus a better place by identifying the improvements that it can make.
Maggie Smith 36:16
Yeah, I mean, I think we should be funding the arts more. So I’m here to say that I mean, I think we’re doing it, but we could be doing it more. Like we could, maybe we could take some of that money that we’re sending to the CPD. And instead, we could divert it to like the O AC, or the GC AC.
Tim Fulton 36:39
Um, and all of these acronyms will be linked in the show notes. Oh, I don’t want to get myself in trouble. But you’re not safe and baxley. Okay. Yeah, I’m
Maggie Smith 36:51
in the bubble. You know, I think, obviously, I think Columbus is doing more things well than then not because I’m still here. And if my family had chosen to live in a place I hated, I probably wouldn’t have stayed. So I really do love. I really do love the city. I think people are always surprised when they’ve never been here and they visit and they’re like, Oh my gosh, there’s so much to do. And oh my gosh, there’s so many great restaurants, there’s so much green space. And you know, Oh, wow. Like all these different sort of cool diverse neighborhoods. I mean, there are there are so many things I love about this place, not just that my family’s here, although, of course, that’s number one. But I hope, you know, I don’t know if my kids will always live here. I don’t know if they’ll be like me, and, and they’ll drive the hospital curve with their kids and say kids, that’s where I was born and where you were born to add your mother and your grandmother. Right, um, the way that I do but, um, but i think I think that they will grow up with an appreciation of this place. They like it too. I mean, they’re excited to go to accrue game at the new stadium next month. Because I i ponied up for tickets, and they’re always excited to like, go explore the metro parks and, and they have, you know, certain bakeries that they love and certain, you know, restaurants that they’re always begging to be taken to so I don’t think they only love this place because their families here too. I think they genuinely like it for what it is so so we’re doing something right here.
Tim Fulton 38:30
I think so too. Yeah, Maggie. Thank you so much for your time.
Maggie Smith 38:34
No, this was such a pleasure. Thank you.
Tim Fulton 38:50
Thank you for listening to Confluence Cast presented by Columbus underground. Again, you can get more information on what we discussed today in the show notes for this episode at the confluence cast calm. Please Rate, Subscribe, share this episode of the confluence cast with your friends, family, contacts, enemies, your favorite poet. If you’re interested in sponsoring the confluence cast get in touch with us. We can be reached by email at info at the confluence cast calm. Our theme music was composed by Benji Robinson. Our producer is Philip Cogley. I’m your host, Tim Fulton. Have a great week.