Booked Abroad

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Just remember, in Amsterdam, we collect books in kilometres. Courtesy of the Rijksmuseum library. I’m not expecting anything measured by odometer, but I’ll tuck in to some good reading this near-Halloween weekend. Count Bram Stoker (Post by ChristinePSS) and Edgar Allan Poe at the top of the list.

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Poem promotion update: Over three-quarters sold! Only 22 left! Get your twenty-five-cent custom poem here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/165156186/custom-poem-for-25-cents-free-shipping?ref=shop_home_feat.

Writing between a Rock and a Hard Place, or a Garbage Can and a Vent

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Sometimes when things aren’t going my writing way, I need more of something not going my way. Because sometimes, something that shouldn’t work, does. I shouldn’t be inspired by the smell of rotting banana peels or the awkward huffing of a ventilation fan, and shouldn’t shouldn’t be the most important word in a sentence.

Poem promo update: I just finished putting flyers in the doors of all my neighbors. I can’t yet promise any poems fully in Dutch, so we’ll see if I get any takers. As always, to take your free poem, click here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/165156186/custom-poem-for-25-cents-free-shipping?ref=shop_home_feat.

It’s a Poem, not a Flu Shot.

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I’d never been to the opera before. This weekend, I saw Armide in downtown Amsterdam. The singing was French and the subtitles, displayed on an overhead digital board, Dutch. In two-and-a-half hours, I managed bonjour and vrouw, the Dutch word for woman.

When three knights in plastic armor swung in circles fighting flower petals falling from the sky, I was mesmerized. When goblins with melting faces appeared writhing next to women in blond wigs and pink skirt suits, less so. There was a lake and a desert and a horse and a witch. Did I understand what was going on? Rarely. Was I enjoying trying to figure it out? Absolutely.

So that’s my challenge to everyone: give it a try. Buy a poem. They’re twenty-five cents. If you can’t afford one, or can’t seem to get the online shop working, email me: christinepsstocke@hotmail.com.  I’ll try not to be intimidating. I’ll try not to be overly-complicated, but if the poem is, if I am, worst case scenario, recycle it. Otherwise, for the twenty seconds it’ll take you to read it, have fun. Take whatever you want from it, and leave everything else behind. Like the first line and hate the rest. I’ll never hold it against you.

For those of you who’ve already purchased poems, it’s understatement to say that you’ve made me feel better about life and literature. Your passion for the topics you’ve chosen has made me want to write and write and write. And for an author, there’s no better feeling.

(https://www.etsy.com/listing/165156186/custom-poem-for-25-cents-free-shipping?ref=shop_home_feat)

Frame Story

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Not too long ago, I purchased this 3’x4′ frame at our local consignment store, which happens to be across town. On this sunny day, I walked and I stopped. I walked and I stopped. Last summer we carried a couch from that same store. While the couch was better for breaks, the frame was better for photos. Both were great for thumbs up from some strangers and awkward stares from others. But what the frame was best at was forming stories in my mind about the impromptu paintings I was creating.

Poem promotion countdown: 36 purchased! Only 41 remain. Get yours here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/165156186/custom-poem-for-25-cents-free-shipping?ref=shop_home_feat.

Three Rules of an Artsy Polish Hotel Room

Castle Inn, Warsaw

Castle Inn, Warsaw

1. No trumpeting.

2. No bananas.

3. And for goodness sake everyone, no books in the toilet. Something to live by. Thank you, Castle Inn.

For those keeping track, that’s 33 poems sold, only 44 left!

Productive Spaces: A Canalside Park

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I came across this poem while on a recent walk, and if there’s one thing I like more than walks, it might be surprise poetry in the countryside. It also came as a surprise that my Dutch is progressing well enough for me to read it. Thank you to Hans Ridden, and thank you to the person who took her walk with a piece of laminated paper, a metal stick and a sledgehammer.

Then I sat on these chairs and watched a man fish.

Only 5 days down in the poetry promotion, and 28 poems already sold. Get your own surprise poem while they last: https://www.etsy.com/listing/165156186/custom-poem-for-25-cents-free-shipping?ref=shop_home_feat.

Verse Wisconsin publishes Continuing Education

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Read my short story, Continuing Education, published in Verse Wisconsin 112, right here: http://www.versewisconsin.org/Issue112/poems/stroikStocke.html.

I’m busy writing away for my 77 Free Poems until Christmas promotion, but you can still purchase signed pieces at the store as well. And now Continuing Education is one of them!

The Bright Side of your Common Cold

Graffiti in Warsaw

Graffiti in Warsaw

I used to think that getting a cold was a drag, and, don’t get me wrong, my throat’s sore and my head is bumping to my heartbeat. But, it’s raining this wonderful pitter patter, and I’m sitting in bed writing. Bundled up to my chin with my arms out the sides of my comforter poncho. (No, I will not be including a photo.) And I’m not feeling guilty that the dishes aren’t done or that dinner won’t be made. It’s not bothering me in the slightest that the dryer just beeped, and I’m not going to fold anything for days. The common cold: a great excuse to do nothing but write.

Only Seventy-Seven Free Poems until Christmas!

Madison, Wisconsin Farmers' Market 2012

Madison, Wisconsin Farmers’ Market 2012

A cold spring morning one year ago, I sat on a wooden folding chair in downtown Madison, Wisconsin with my heart racing. I’d handwritten a sign that read like a curious circus announcement: Words for Curds. Step right up! Poems, Paragraphs, Puns. You think it. I write it…while you wait!

I sat sweating in the near-freezing temperatures until a young girl named Ollie (and her mother) wandered up and asked for a few lines. Ollie had a pair of mischievous cats she thought worthy of an equally clawing poem, and my heart settled in one beat.

Now I’ve moved across The Atlantic. But here it is, an online farmers’ market booth, and I’m so excited to get this going that I’ve decided to write my own advent calendar, 77 poems until Christmas. Etsy won’t let me list for free, so every poem is twenty-five cents. You heard me, a quarter.

You won’t find a cheaper Christmas present or a better way to spend twenty-five pennies on the internet. So, send me your story, or send me nothing at all. Send me the name of your parakeet or your pet rock or your grandmother. Write twenty-five pages about what you want said in one. Something happy. Something sad. Anything you want said. Anything.

Spend your twenty-five cents very wisely right here!

(https://www.etsy.com/listing/165156186/custom-poem-for-25-cents-free-shipping?ref=shop_home_feat)

Two New Stories for the holidays

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Check out the latest at my Etsy store, where you can purchase signed copies of two new pieces of fiction! And just in time for that stocking stuffer. Kids don’t want chestnuts and oranges; they want poetry!

The first was originally published in issue ten of Structo, a lovely UK-based publication with a couple of spunky editors. Purchase the full issue here. An author-signed print of my included short story, In a Foreign Town, can be purchased here. (Above: photos of The Society ClubLondon; issue ten launch party complete with cake and fancy shoes.)

The second piece of fiction was originally published online as the Fall Flash Fiction Contest Winner for Tethered by Letters, a young and enthusiastic community of writers and editors. Read The Year-Ago You in its entirety here. Purchase a signed print right here. (Below: photos that inspired the story; vacationing in Panama.)

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Productive Spaces: an Amsterdam Houseboat

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Two photos of the boat’s living room, which has been partially plastered in book wallpaper, assuring no pages fall off their shelves when the barges go by in the morning. The only binding to carry a title is The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady, by Edith Holden, published posthumously in 1977. Even reading Edith’s Wiki page (found here) is enough to make one want to write. And so I did.

The Year-Ago You

My latest piece is up online in the Fall issue of Tethered by Letters where it won first place in their flash fiction contest! It’s a quick read, which is what I’m always looking for on a Monday.

Photo taken near Groningen, NL on a recent wadlopen trip.

Photo taken near Groningen, NL on a recent wadlopen trip.

Writing Abroad

A couple recent trips made me realize the value of experience. More from Poland & the Amsterdam houseboat to come…

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