Frankie Rollins has new work coming out. Her novella, Doctor Porchiat’s Dream, will come out in Running Wild Press Novella Anthology 3 in December 2019. A chapbook, The Grief Manuscript, will be published with Finishing Line Press May 2020. Frankie previously published a collection of short fiction, The Sin Eater & Other Stories (Queen’s Ferry Press, 2013). Of this book, Publisher’s Weekly wrote, “Unsettling imagery and hauntingly beautiful language characterize these stories, as ephemeral and indefinable as dreams.” Frankie has published work in Feminist Wire, Fairy Tale Review, Sonora Review, Conjunctions, The New England Review, and Bellevue Literary Review, among others.
Here is the opening of the chapter titles “Fluidity” from Frankie’s draft, “Writing from the Fifth Brain: A Theory of Imagination.”
“Every writer I’ve ever known has said at some point, I just want time to write.
This is what I know about making time in the writing life: you must be dogged and you must be fluid. What is fluidity for writers? It is the possibility of making the impossibility-of-no-time into writing time. If you are a writer feeling like you’re not a writer because you have no time, because you have no money, because your faith is lapsing, because your good work isn’t recognized, remember this: the river of writing is always inside of you. It belongs to you. It is ever present. Sometimes it’s murky green and filled with bloated dead cows. Sometimes it sparkles and slaps with fat leaping fish. Other times, it is only a watery thread in black muck. Regardless of its incarnation, it is always there. It belongs to you and only you, and you are responsible for it.”
Damage suffuses The Sin Eater and Other Stories. From within Elizabeth Frankie Rollins’ construct of the blighted home an adulterous husband calls on the services of a stranger to expunge his guilt, a young couple is diagnosed with the bubonic plague, and a bored woman finds herself growing a tail. Yet these others don’t dwell; instead, they frame themselves in a way that is sound in structure and sentiment and plunges them from metaphor into modern-day marvel. In the evocative stories of this debut collection, even the tightest crevices dazzle with restorative possibility.
This free-wheeling anthology offers a variety of characters, settings, and genres.
At first glance, the novellas in Book 2 of this third installment of a series seem disparate enough to be deemed eclectic. The six range in length and tone. The collection—edited by Lockwood (Frontal Matter, 2019, etc.) and Kastner (Running Wild Novella Anthology: Volume 3, Book 1, 2019, etc.)—opens with Circuits End by Rasmenia Massoud. The story focuses on a tough-talking painter working a dead-end job at a Colorado circuit factory, trying to make her way in life after breaking up with her longtime boyfriend. Then, readers take a sharp turn into the fantastical with an eerie fairy tale called Doctor Porchiat’s Dream by Frankie Rollins that follows the adventures of a quirky physician in a superstitious town as he chases scientific proof of the soul. That spell is quickly broken by the cutting-edge modernity of Kastner’s Newly Minted Wings: Craig’s List Nikky, which follows a PR maven called Nicole (nicknamed Nikky) who resurrects the careers of desperate Craigslist posters with extravagant stunts. She must reassess her life once her wealthy parents cut her off and she gets the chance to work with one of her idols. Nicole’s privileged world is quickly replaced by the tender contemplation of Kenneth Holt’s The Cups That Hold, about the unlikely connection forged between a black groundskeeper and his white teenage charge during a summer job in 1977. After that, readers must contend with Patrick Breheny’s Like a Human, a futuristic trip featuring a robot called Howie. He believes he can ingratiate himself with humans enough to enjoy a hedonistic lifestyle and one day conquer the world. The energetic collection closes with Ace Boggess’ Somewhat Misunderstood, a satirical, biting thought exercise that considers how readers would respond to the seeming reemergence of Jesus. Taken together, what connects these mostly engaging stories are a sympathy and humor for life’s outcasts—from a down-on-his-luck kid in the ’70s to an overly ambitious robot in the near future. While some of the tales, like Doctor Porchiat’s Dream, make full use of the novella form by deftly exploring the perspectives of various characters, others, such as Newly Minted Wings, feel half formed. Wings ends on a cliffhanger after six chapters of minor character development. Still, the anthology is always entertaining and lives up to its title.
A collection that delivers a strange and ultimately satisfying ride.
Coming December 2019
Running Wild Novella Anthology
Volume 3, Book 2
Frankie has taught creative writing to populations of all ages since 2001. She traveled New Jersey as a teaching artist, teaching workshops in the schools. During the same period, Frankie taught her own creative writing workshop series to adults for nine years in various locations including an imports store, a florist, and multiple living rooms. Frankie taught in community colleges in New Jersey and Philadelphia before moving to Tucson, AZ and becoming full-time English faculty at Pima Community College, where she teaches honors and creative writing, and is the faculty advisor for Pima’s art and literary magazine, Sandscript.
In Fall 2018, Frankie was on a sabbatical writing “Writing from the Fifth Brain.” During this glorious time, she wrote while camping and investigating lakes and canyons in Arizona. Then she went to Cyprus and lived in a flat by the Mediterranean sea, where she woke, drank coffee, wrote, swam in the salty sea, and befriended donkeys and stray cats.
Frankie has run the popular community discussion event, The Curiosity Symposium in various locations and continuing now at Pima Community College.
Frankie will participate in the Spring of 2020 in San Antonio, TX at the Associated Writers Press Conference on a panel titled: Beyond Research: Creative Writing Practices in the Composition Classroom.