I know some crazy talented people. And I had the sudden urge to call everyone I know on a rotary telephone, one by one, with a fervent, "CHECK THIS OUT!" But it's, like, the middle of 2013. And I have a blog. So I'll do this the efficient way and introduce you to, in no particular order, some terrifically creative folks you should go virtually visit. Or personally visit. But call first, or it might get a little restraining-orderish and weird.
Today, meet Christine Stocke. (I imagine all of you doing the AA thing right now... "Hiiii, Christine.") I knew her as Christine Stroik in high school. We come from the same Wisconsin town of 30,000 but managed to mostly avoid each other, for no spun reason, really.
Fast forward to 2012. I got an email from her saying she was moving to Den Bosch, an hour and a half away from my front door. In the past year, after a wildly successful first date, we've found that we're unsettlingly alike. Wonderfully quirky and thoroughly genuine, she loves improper humor and good food, making her a supreme being in my universe. We should have had ourselves a platonic pal commitment ceremony of sorts a long time ago, but I guess we can't blame our fifteen-year old selves, who didn't know anything about anything.
But I'm not here to tell you how great Christine's personality is. This lass can write. Her poems and fiction have been picked up by a number of notable publications, including the 2012 Best New Poets anthology, which is a pretty huge honor. Visit her young blog to get in touch (and see photos of a massive, old dictionary that came loaded with random peculiarities stuck between the pages), or her Etsy shop for signed pieces, or to request a custom poem or short story.
I asked her for a seventeen-word bio, and this was her nearly-immediate response. I told you she's super.
Me, I observe. I take notes. I ask inappropriate questions. I’m in charge of the time capsule.
I'll leave you with one of Ms. Stocke's poems, my favorite kind of poem - the kind accessible by anyone, the kind that feels at once familiar and unexpected. Happy word-chewing, people. Slow down a little this week, when you can; read something that makes you feel like this inside.
by Christine Stocke
There is a language that holds us; and
If you sit long enough to let the man outside your window light his cigarette
You will see it in the red orange or
You are not among us.
It is not the guts of death or the slow motions of love.
There is a man mopping the lobby's floor.
A woman toting coffee in the elevator.
It is, though neither feels the sensation,
What presses her cheek to his as
The door dings shut and neither has mumbled