In a Not-So-Foreign Town

BlogI’m home on summer holiday in The States—in Florida, in Texas, in Wisconsin, in towns all not-so-foreign to me. And then, one day before my thirty-first birthday marked by takeout Chinese food, a favorite piece of fiction gets reprinted online at flashfiction.net. Originally published in 2013 by Structo Magazine (at which I am now—humbly—an editor), In a Foreign Town sets a tone, a rhythm, and a spirit I aim to achieve in all my writing. Read it again herehttp://www.flashfiction.net.

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I Like Birds

Red Winged Blackbird- Flickr CC

I don’t mean to do it. It just happens. I spot birds; they spot me. They sit strangely close to me on the bench in my front yard.

And so, some new fiction. It’s short. It’s sweet. It contains a lot of birds. (Which reminds me, doesn’t another favorite magazine of mine foreground a beautiful bird?) Anyway, read it here, or listen to me read it, at Hermeneutic Chaos.

 

*Also a song by The Eels well worth a listen.

 

Photo by Tyler Ingram, cc.

Tethered by Letters Summer Journal

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The Tethered by Letters Summer 2014 edition is now out in print. Purchase a copy to read my short fiction feature, “Accidental Deaths Don’t Count.”

 

 

My Girl Canon

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A friend of a friend has a new worthwhile website up and running. Check it out today to read a list of the ten books that have most moved me. Read below for a more detailed description. Or follow them here: http://girlcanon.tumblr.com/.

Girl Canon- About Us

“The power of a personal canon, secret or not, lies in the authority one needs to create it. Women need to trust that they know what’s good, what’s bad, and what serves them intellectually in order to reject or reclaim the books in their lives. […] What “No Regrets” argues for most powerfully is the right of women to reject that line of thinking and to believe that they are qualified to decide what literature should be. It argues for the public claiming of formerly secret canons: the right to create your own vision of what is best in the culture and to have that vision influence what books other people read and value.” – Sady Doyle, “The Perils of Reading While Female,” In These Times, 2014.

We are GIRL CANON, and we want to know what you read.

grrrlcanon [AT] gmail.com

Issue 10 now online

In a Foreign Town also inside! Read it online.

Structo magazine blog

An early Christmas present: the online version of Structo issue 10!

Click on the preview above, or head on over to Issuu, to read the issue for free and in its entirety. It features 10 short stories, 10 poems, two interviews (author Evie Wyld and poet/translator/author/editor David Constantine) and an essay about hereditary book addiction. It’s a great issue, even if we say it ourselves.

There are also a few print copies around if you would like to read it on paper.

Happy Christmas on behalf of the entire Structo team.

— Euan

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Finishing Someone Else’s Sentences

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I’m working today on finishing fiction that’s not mine. It’s a contest to complete a Shirley Jackson short story–if you think you’re up to task, try your own hand here. What strikes me is that it’s a story about stealing, and though Shirley died in 1965 and her family is sponsoring the contest, something sits strangely. Sitting and reading and knowing someone thought that every word, every comma, every space on this page spoke just right. And she had a plan or she didn’t. And the reader in you might like it or she might not, but the writer in you yields, for a moment, to another.

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)

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!

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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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.

There’s a body at the bottom of the lake. Probably many.

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“The opening line of Christine Stocke’s ‘Plan for Paradise’ drew me right in…And so did the second one, and the next as I was drawn along by a disjointed narrative that is quirky, wavering, and yet so very personal, as if the narrator is talking directly to you.”Robert Vaughan

“Plan for Paradise” was originally published in the magazine Wisconsin People and Ideas, and in case you missed it in stores, the Winter 2013 issue is now for sale online. Buy your copy of the magazine HERE. Or purchase an author-signed copy of the story HERE.

p.s. The photo above was shot onsite at the lake that inspired the story.

Etsy Store Now Live!

Store Live Initial Shot

For those of you in The States, think Labor Day gifts. Or, buy one for my mom’s birthday (September 4). For those of you in The Netherlands, do we really have to wait until All Saints Day in November? I think not. Free reign. Buy away: http://www.etsy.com/shop/christinePSstocke?ref=si_shop.

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