Regular readers will remember Chelsea Stickle from her story (“Postcard Town”) published by Cease, Cows in 2020. Chelsea is back with a new chapbook collection, Everything’s Changing, available from Thirty West Publishing.
Purchase your copy here.
Chuck Augello: What should readers expect from your new chapbook, Everything’s Changing?
Chelsea Stickle: Stories of strangeness! This is the chapbook where everything goes a bit odd. Sometimes surreal, sometimes absurd, always weird. May your strangeness save you.
CA: “Postcard Town” was originally published by Cease, Cows and included in the Best Microfiction anthology series. What was its inspiration?
CS: I live in a tourist town. It’s beautiful, old, and full of history. It also attracts a lot of people taking pictures, and I kept thinking about how photos freeze an image in time. What if that went sideways and bled out into the world?
CA: What draws you to writing microfiction?
CS: I love how get in, get out it is. One of the beauties of flash fiction is how you can have such a strong impact in a small space. With micro, the same possibilities exist with an added limitation. The limitation is such a gift because it allows me to go fully strange. I used to write only short stories, and I’d have these wild ideas that wouldn’t work in longer form. When I found microfiction, I found a place where I could write my wildest ideas with a big impact!
CA: The former pop icon Jesse McCartney makes an appearance in one story. What inspired you to write about him?
CS: Unfortunately, it looks like that story is going to get cut. The story was inspired by his song “Beautiful Soul,” which was on the radio a ton when I was young. I always thought the lyrics were creepy: “I want you and your beautiful soul.” What do you want with my soul, Jesse?! So I took it literally. Part of me wanted it to be a horror story, but I just couldn’t write it that way. I loved the idea of these women coming together to not give a fuck. That this thing that was supposed to be a trap actually frees them instead.
CA: What were some of the challenges in creating the collection? Were you working toward a particular theme?
CS: I always intended my second chapbook to be full of strange stories where the rules of reality don’t apply. There are writers who can do a mixture of both in a collection (the fabulous Francine Witte comes to mind), but looking at my work, it felt wrong for me. I do my best work unconsciously, so I began assembling the strange stories. I wanted transformations, folklore retellings, modern myths. Once the title popped into my head, I knew “everything’s changing” was what I was working toward. Sometimes, in order to survive, things must get strange. And that’s what you can expect from Everything’s Changing.
Chuck Augello (Contributing Editor) is the author of The Revolving Heart, a Best Books of 2020 selection by Kirkus Reviews. His work has appeared in One Story, SmokeLong Quarterly, Literary Hub, The Coachella Review, and other fine journals. He publishes The Daily Vonnegut, a website exploring the life and art of Kurt Vonnegut. His novel, A Better Heart, was released in November 2021.
Chelsea Stickle is the author of the flash fiction chapbook Breaking Points (Black Lawrence Press, 2021). Her stories appear in CHEAP POP, CRAFT, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and others. Her micros have been selected for Best Microfiction 2021 and the Wigleaf Top 50 in 2022. Her second flash fiction chapbook, Everything’s Changing, was released from Thirty West Publishing in January 2023. She lives in Annapolis, MD with her black rabbit George and a forest of houseplants. Read more at chelseastickle.com and find her on Twitter @Chelsea_Stickle.