Welcome to another installment of TNBBC's Where Writers Write!
Where Writers Write is a series in which authors showcase their writing spaces using short form essay, photos, and/or video. As a lover of books and all of the hard work that goes into creating them, I thought it would be fun to see where the authors roll up their sleeves and make the magic happen.
|photo by Emma Whitman|
This is Jill Stukenberg.
Jill's first novel, NEWS OF THE AIR, is the 2021 winner of
the Big Moose Prize from Black Lawrence Press and publishes in
September 2022. Her short stories have
appeared in Midwestern Gothic, The Collagist (now The
Rupture), Wisconsin People
and Ideas magazine, and other
literary magazines. She is a graduate of the MFA program at New Mexico State
University and has received writing grants from the University of Wisconsin
Colleges and has been awarded writing residencies at Shake Rag Alley and Write
On, Door County. Jill is an Associate Professor of English at University of
Wisconsin Stevens Point at Wausau. She grew up in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, and
previously taught in New Mexico and in the Pacific Northwest. She lives in
Wausau with the poet Travis Brown and their eight-year-old.
Where Jill Stukenerg Writes
Don’t tell, but sometimes in the deep Wisconsin winter,
after having hiked the two blocks from my house in facemask, snowpants,
snowboots, and mittens, and climbed the stairs to the quiet of my on-campus
office (imagine it is January, or a Sunday morning), I strip down to my socks
and long underwear to write. I’m lucky to have this space, my own office on a
university branch campus from which I also teach and grade papers, edit and
advise student editors, and work with community writers to organize book
festivals and poetry walks. In the ebb and flow of the year, with its semesters
and breaks, I am grateful for the hours when the work is my work—when I am
alone with my thermos and novel plot—and for those when my work is to give to
others—my students, other writers.
This desk isn’t a sacred place; unless the
places owned by the taxpaying public hallow their own ground. This office isn’t
a she-shed, with cute curtains I sewed from a Pinterest model. But this is the
place where, in losing myself, in giving myself over on cold mornings (or hot
ones, in flip-flops) I most open to the blank page and what will come through
it. And on the back of the closed door, though my students don’t recognize her,
I keep a poster of Janis Joplin.