These Quick Bright Things

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It’s spring, so seek them out.

Find them in your backyard.

Sketch them. Photograph them. Touch them with your fingertips. Squat down and stare.

Think about what they’re doing: what their wind feels like, how their sun shines.

They’re not friends. They won’t advance plot.

They’re details. Micro-environments. Codes.

Beautiful, awkward, leafy, and out of focus. Seemingly unimportant. Let them stand somewhere in your story.

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Monday Metaphor

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First, you buy flowers. You love them so much you can’t seem to part. They sit in your living room, on your dining room table, on that hard-to-reach-but-totally-worth-it shelf in your upstairs bathroom where no one sees them but you and only when you’re in the tub. They sit so long that now a soft cough in the same room strips them of their petals. A politely closed door anywhere in the house. Now is time to carry them outside. And they fall apart, each pink petal adding to the story.

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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.

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!

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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