IF MY BOOK: Everything’s Changing, Chelsea Stickle

Welcome to another installment of If My Book, the Monkeybicycle feature in which authors compare their recently released books to weird things. This week Chelsea Stickle writes about Everything’s Changing, her new fiction chapbook out from Thirty West.

If Everything’s Changing were a tree, it would bloom and fruit. When you bit into the fruit, you remembered something inconsequential and odd that you’d forgotten. 

If Everything’s Changing were food, it would be that weird mushroom you saw on your walk that you longed to eat but knew you shouldn’t. You pluck it anyway and carry it with you in a handkerchief. You plan to watch it wither but when you check the handkerchief, it’s become a stone. 

If Everything’s Changing were a sculpture, it would be Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne. At first you see a woman and as you walk around it, she transforms into a laurel tree, her hands branching out before you. 

If Everything’s Changing were a plant pot, it would be round with the same woman’s face poking out from eight different places. You can’t escape her eyes. 

If Everything’s Changing were a shoe, it would be a pink burgundy suede loafer. In different lighting it looks princess pink or like fresh blood. It doesn’t like getting wet. 

If Everything’s Changing were a quilt, it would be a family heirloom that every time you look at it, the geometric pattern shifts and reveals a new image. 

If Everything’s Changing were an orchid, it would be a lady slipper growing in the shade of the woods, waiting to be discovered. 

If Everything’s Changing were a haunted house, it would have a very polite ghost who reminds you where you left your car keys and joins you for binge watches. 

If Everything’s Changing were a candle, it would smell like decaying leaves, crisp air, dogwood blossoms and fox fur. 

If Everything’s Changing were an animal, it would be a black rabbit that disappears in a blink and reappears when you need a companion. You may not be allowed to touch him, but he’ll lay down nearby so you’re not alone. He won’t leave until you feel better.

If Everything’s Changing were a sweater, it would be an oversized cardigan with marbled yarn that’s one third alpaca and so many shades of blue—from baby to midnight—that it boggles the brain. When you wear it, a layer over reality slips and everything seems as strange as it really is. There’s warmth and comfort twisted into the yarn, holding you. 

Chelsea Stickle is the author of two flash fiction chapbooks, Everything’s Changing (Thirty West Publishing, 2023) and Breaking Points (Black Lawrence Press, 2021). Her stories have appeared in CHEAP POPChestnut Review, CRAFT, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and others. Her micros have been selected for Best Microfiction 2021 and the Wigleaf Top 50 in 2022. She lives in Annapolis, MD with her black rabbit George and a forest of houseplants. In her spare time, she plays bass and embroiders. Read more at chelseastickle.com  and follow her on Twitter at @Chelsea_Stickle.

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