Friday, February 3, 2023

Q&A with Chelsea Stickle




Chelsea Stickle is the author of the new flash fiction collection Everything's Changing. She also has written the collection Breaking Points, and her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including Cheap Pop and Chestnut Review. She lives in Annapolis, Maryland.


Q: Over how long a period did you write the stories in your new flash fiction collection?


A: I wrote the first story in this collection in 2018 and the last one in 2022.


Q: In an interview with the Southern Review of Books, you said of the title, “Everything’s Changing, as a title, came to me when I was trying to explain to myself what it was about. It’s about transformation. It’s about everything changing and how that can be a good thing. How it might be what saves us.” Can you say more about that?


A: You know how the meat industry is responsible for nearly 60 percent of carbon emissions? I listen to a lot of scientific nonfiction and some of it has argued that the answer is eating insects. Crickets are very common, but good luck convincing Americans to give up cheeseburgers for crickets. Hell, I don’t think I could do it.


I think about that a lot. How the answers to problems may be weird for us. How change can come at a price. But maybe the price is worth it.


Q: The writer Cathy Ulrich said of the collection, “In this collection of stories, Chelsea Stickle creates worlds of beautiful oddities. And never for a moment does she let the reader disbelieve in the magic she has created. With a deft hand, she guides us into these unknown places that still feel, somehow, like home.” What do you think of that description?

A: It’s a lovely blurb from the always thoughtful and wonderful Cathy Ulrich. She’s the busiest woman in flash, so I’m honored that she took the time to read and blurb my chap.


The last line, in particular, means a lot. The places look unknown but feel like home. I don’t believe in writing weird fiction for the sake of writing weird fiction. That wouldn’t mean much. Weird fiction is an opportunity to get at something complicated through a lens that might not set off people’s ordinary defenses. It can allow us to see the world differently. It’s a craft choice as important as point of view.


Q: What appeals to you about writing flash fiction?


A: I love the necessity of get in, get out. Flash as a form is really suited to hyperfocus. In one hyperfocus session, I can leave with a full flash draft that carries weight.


I love the immediacy of the form. How you start in the middle by grabbing someone’s lapels and end with reverberation that haunts readers. There’s magic in the form. It can transform your mood in a hundred words or less. There are endless possibilities.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I’m working on finishing my Screaming Meemies series and getting it ready for submission. I’m really excited for people to experience the full breadth of Lizzy’s story.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: My first chapbook, Breaking Points, came out in 2021 from Black Lawrence Press and it feels linked to Everything’s Changing. Breaking Points asks a lot of questions. Everything’s Changing answers in riddles.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

No comments:

Post a Comment