Short Stories Set Up North (or “Op North”) in Wisconsin
A sense of place unifies this series of twelve short stories, each set in a different month of the calendar. A small town in Northern Wisconsin provides the setting, and some of the main characters in one story reappear as minor ones in others, much the way you would pass an acquaintance on the street. Beyond the commonality of setting, each story deals with a particular kind of loss.
Join my writing journey and travel through experiments with fantasy, magical realism, and even rising to the challenge of using the same plot in two quite different stories.
Wakonta Calendar ($5.99 kindle) was originally written as my Master’s Thesis and won the Geoffrey Bocca Memorial Award for Graduate Writing at the University of Central Oklahoma. Several of the stories also appeared in the university’s literary magazine New Plains Review.
Wakonta’s calendar year begins in June and ends in May, the time “snow birds” or summer residents begin to arrive Up North. The book opens with “The Lake” and introduces Ellen Stanley, who is trying to come to terms with the loss of a child. The final story, “Hero,” brings Ellen and the calendar year full circle.
“Wah’kon-tah” is an Osage word that refers more to a state of mind than to an actual place. Below is a quote from a book entitled Wah’kon-tah by John Joseph Matthews.
“That which the children of the earth do not comprehend as they travel the roads of the earth and which becomes clear to them only when they have passed on to the Great Mysteries is Wah’Kon-Tah.”
The place and the people are fictional, but in northern Wisconsin, June is the truest time of the year. It is the time when commerce begins again and the summer people return to complete the fabric of the community. It is the time of mystery.