“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

2nd Prize in the Selected Shorts Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize

One of my favorite writers, T.C. Boyle, chose my as-of-yet-unpublished short story “Barking Dog Nocturnal” as 2nd prize in Selected Shorts/Electric Lit’s 2016  Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize. Link to the announcement–and to read the 1st place 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/