Museum of Four in the Morning

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I don’t usually post links to other people’s things. There’s enough of that going around. This is a beautiful exception: http://www.ted.com/talks/rives_a_museum_of_4_o_clock_in_the_morning.

Maybe it’s because I have a fondness for poets. Maybe this particular one ranks high on charisma and humor. Or maybe it’s because it hit me the way you wish everything in life would, always.

It’s a fourteen-minute TED Talk by Rives about collections, about searching, repetition, pattern, social media. It’s about coincidence. But for me, as a writer, it’s all, every second, about writing. It’s about having a weird dream of the lady you met at the super market that afternoon. Taking that dream and making it a story, and then taking that story with you back to the super market and trying to find the lady.

I promise not to bombard you with future links to other people’s things. A lot falls into my internet B bucket, but A–it just doesn’t happen often.

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Post-Halloween Poem Fix

Leuven, Belgium

Leuven, Belgium

You know what’s scary? That after all the goblins and ghosts and Justin Biebers floating around town–okay, not as many Justin Biebers in The Netherlands, though plenty dressed as Pussy Riot– (Anyone who thinks I’m being lewd and lascivious, please reference this Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pussy_Riot.) What’s scary is that there are only 13 poems left! Yep, that’s it. Thirteen, and this gig’s over. Well, sold, anyway. The writing goes on. So, for thirteen lucky viewers–or fewer if someone purchases more than one–you get one custom poem for pocket change, twenty-five cents. Topic of your choosing. Poem requests so far include a fluffy dog named Ralphie, a beautiful new baby, the WI Badgers v. Iowa Haweyes rivalry, the importance of math, travel, eternity, bass fishing, and many more. You name it, I’ll write it.

So be one of the next thirteen to click this link and get your poem: https://www.etsy.com/listing/165156186/custom-poem-for-25-cents-free-shipping?ref=shop_home_feat. I promise poems less candy-corny than this post.

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.

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)

On Fridays I Steal Things

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On Fridays, my brain is nearly finished with me. And so, on Fridays, I steal things. I write only what shows up in front of me. Words the three Turkish children yell as they run up the sidewalk. Songs the construction workers sing between beats  of hammers as they make patio doors for our New Zealand neighbors. Sometimes I write the ambulance sirens. Sometimes the church bells. The meows of the impatient cat who likes to sit on the hood of a matte black BMW outside my office window. This Friday, I stole words already eaten. The dictionary page I had opened to yesterday, still wide-eyed on the dining room table, gobbled by a small still-green Asparagus Fern.

Page 571: Something that Looks like Asparagus Fern but Isn’t

Verb: To beget.

Born upon the surface,

especially the upper,

as fungi on leaves that no one can reach.

Noun: A poet from the earth,

growing closer to the ground.

Relating to the epiglottis,

Something always upon the tongue,

the upper mandible,

as a parrot, a gull,

a piece of something that

hangs from the page.

Custom Writing now Available

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I just finished a wonderful custom poem for a well-deserving client. Do you need a congratulatory prose poem for graduation? A short story surprise for someone’s birthday? Something special for your valentine? Just visit my Etsy store and ask!

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