So, regularly scheduled programming is sort of in the air, right now, as we are really focused on our Kickstarter Campaign! We asked some of our favorite authors to join us. Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam is one of those authors that doesn’t have a short story collection, but (in our opinion) really should! I just want to point that her publication credits are tremendous. She has something like 44 stories published to date – that’s Forty-Four, and not just a typo of me accidentally putting 4 twice. Her work has been read by LeVar Burton! It has been nominated for awards! It has been reprinted a lot – like, a LOT!
Someday, the world will have a complete collection of Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam’s stories, and until then we have to make do with the knowledge that there will be more.
My favorite story of hers is “The Stink of Horses: Excerpt from the Marina Golovina Controversy by the Ballet Book Series” which first appeared in Hobart Magazine. It’s such a simple conceit, and shouldn’t work. Dancers are not horses, and vice versa. But it works extremely well in its surrealist fashion because of the way Bonnie writes the story, the careful repetition, like dancers going through their formal steps, and the choice to leave so much to the imagination that the gap works better than any text to fill in a kind of truth.
She was nominated for the Nebula Award for her novelette, “The Orangery.” The conceit of the story hinges on a protected garden, which noblemen across Europe and the Middle East used to house citrus trees and other sub-tropicals in climates that would otherwise be too cold for them. The trees could be kept inside, in buildings that – though it is more complex than this explanation – open in summer and close in winter. In the story, these trees are all the women from myth that had been turned into a plant. They are kept and protected inside the Orangery. Their stories are reshaped into a new truth for a new time. Bonnie expertly prunes her difficult and painful narratives of abuse and power into something beautiful.
Her prose is sticky-sweet with goodness, but never cloying. Her work is breathtaking in its scope and seems to be effortless in the way only the most carefully constructed prose feels effortless. She hosts, annually, an art show where original stories are turned into the visual arts by talented artists at her mother’s art gallery, and I’ve never been able to attend from my great distance away from Denton, TX, but I’ve heard it is a fabulous evening, and recommend it highly to others.
I can’t wait to see what future she creates for us, and what darkness resides there. Back WAY OF THE LASER: FUTURE CRIME STORIES today, so we can find out, together!