“The Orangery”–Beneath Ceaseless Skies (plus some photos of trees)

Today my very first novelette publication released online for free reading! “The Orangery” is available at Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

This one comes from my fascination and repulsion with women-turning-into-trees narratives. I say fascination because I have always loved trees. For years I have taken photos of beautiful trees when I travel. In college I used to find patterns in bare branches: women’s faces, mostly, and when I felt a darkness creeping in each winter, I looked to these patterns for comfort. (When I told my mom about the women I saw in trees, she said, “You see them too?” I have inherited her strange world.)

The women in mythology who turn into trees often do so to escape unwanted sexual advance or assault. That is where the repulsion comes from. Although I have always loved trees, I never felt like these mythological women were being gifted this new form. Instead, I felt like they were being punished. As if they were being told, you can either accept every advance that comes your way or opt out of a human life altogether.

In “The Orangery,” I made a place for these women-turned-trees, the Orangery of the novelette’s title, a walled-in grove watched over by a Guardian who tend to the trees’ wishes and lives out her life within the woods. But when Apollo breaks through the wall to find and reclaim Daphne, the Guardian must fight him–and make sacrifices in the process.

Read it here.

Some Photos of Trees

to both prove my point and because maybe you love trees too, I don’t know

ceskykrumlov (11).jpgI took a trip to the Czech Republic and mostly came home with photos of trees; this one is in the village Český Krumlov

Zoo (3).JPGIt may look like I was photographing this tiger, but I was probably most excited by the juxtaposition of tiger and tree

100_1565Tree with arm-like branches in Oklahoma

100_0209Crumbled tree on Wood Island on Lake Texoma

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Publishers Weekly + Audio Reprint!

Two pieces of awesome news this week. First, my surrealist story “Scars” has been performed for the audio podcast Manawaker Studio. Listen to it for free here.

And a first for me: my story “He Came From a Place of Openness and Truth” got a mention in Publishers Weekly‘s review of Wilde Stories 2016. Check out the review here, and read the story here.

“Sisters” in Grendelsong

I’ve always been interested in the little-explored pieces of the original Little Mermaid story: the lives of the sisters, the weird concept of souls, the sea witch’s back story. I wrote a story about all these things. Today it’s been reprinted online in Grendelsong: https://grendel-song.com/2016/05/07/sisters-bonnie-jo-stufflebeam/

“Sisters” originally appeared in SCHEHEREZADE BEQUEST.

“The Split” in Masters Review

In 2011 I moved to Eugene, Oregon, where I was alternately and sometimes simultaneously very happy and very sad. In Oregon I learned independence and grew into myself as a writer and as a person, but I missed my family in Texas terribly.

In 2012 I wrote a story and used my experiences. “The Split” is about a woman who, upon moving to Oregon with her girlfriend, discovers that she has literally split in half, leaving part of herself at her childhood home.

Today that story appears in one of my favorite magazines, The Masters Review. It took four years to find the perfect home; I think there’s a lesson in there about persistence and the subjectivity of editorial taste, maybe something about creativity as emotional outlet. But also, there’s just a story: https://mastersreview.com/new-voices/the-split-by-bonnie-jo-stufflebeam/

“The Centaur’s Daughter”

“The Centaur’s Daughter” (published in A Capella Zoo, 2015) was reviewed at New Pages:

Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam’s “The Centaur’s Daughter” achieves a more nuanced approach to a queer text. First and foremost a coming of age narrative, Ruby’s queerness is one part of her character. Ruby is half centaur and queer, and Stufflebeam uses language reminiscent of a mixed-race family to discuss Ruby’s parentage. When Ruby narrates, “I’m a combination of my parents, and so they will never understand me,” she speaks from a place of real cultural confusion. Her teenage life is not like the “Centaursploitation movies” Stufflebeam references, and while Ruby loves her centaur father, she is also frightened of him and embarrassed by him. Stufflebeam’s piece makes queerness familiar because Ruby is a queer character, but she is so much more in ways that are both relatable and strange.

The story is available in print and free online.