Because the Sky is a Thousand Soft Hurts Blog Tour & Giveaway

Monday, November 01, 2021
Because the Sky is a Thousand Soft Hurts
We are excited to announce the launch of author Elizabeth Kirschner's story collection Because the Sky is a Thousand Soft Hurts. Join us we celebrate the launch of this profound hybrid collection of short stories, prose, and memoirs, interview the author, and give away a copy of this book to one lucky reader.

It is the perfect read for those who wish to engage with what’s most profoundly human in each of us, as it reveals the whole spectrum from the tawdry to the sublime.

But first, let us tell you a bit more about this book:

Because the Sky is a Thousand Soft Hurts is a raw, intense collection of intricately layered short stories that touch on the recurring themes of sexual violence, domestic abuse, mental illness, and addiction.

The characters are often cruel and inhumane with parents speaking in riddles to their abused children. The narrators are all women, usually unnamed, who have a lost, dissociated quality to them, as the details of their lives seem to fray.

As the stories develop, some of these narrators find love and normalcy, though not always happily. Violence pulses steadily throughout the collection, but it is the author's hope that the stories not only reveal the breadth and power of her poetics, but also give voice to the disturbed, the dispossessed and the lowly in an elegant, lyrical form.

Purchase your copy now on Amazon.comBarnes and Noble, and Bookshop.org. Also make sure you add this to your GoodReads reading list.

About the Author, Elizabeth Kirschner

Elizabeth Kirschner
Elizabeth Kirschner is the author of Because the Sky is a Thousand Soft Hurts. It was published by Atmosphere Press in June, 2021.

Kirschner has published five volumes of poetry, most recently, My Life as a Doll, Autumn House Press, 2008, and Surrender to Light, Cherry Grove Editions, 2009. The former was nominated for the Lenore Marshall Prize, the Patterson Book Prize and named Kirschner as the Literary Arts Fellow in the state of Maine, 2010.

Her memoir, Walking the Bones was published by The Piscataqua Press, February, 2015. It was the winner of the North Street Book Prize for best work of nonfiction by an Independent author.

Kirschner has been writing and teaching multi-genres across four decades. She served as faculty in Fairfield University’s low-residence MFA in Creative Writing Program and has also taught at Boston College and Carnegie-Mellon University.

She has collaborated with many classical composers and this work is featured on numerous CD’s, including The Dichterliebe in Four Seasons, Schumann/Kirschner.

She currently serves as a writing mentor and manuscript consultant and teaches various workshops in and around her community in Kittery Point, ME.

Stay in touch with Elizabeth by visiting her website https://elizabethkirschner.com/ or by following her on GoodReads.

--- Interview by Nicole Pyles

WOW: First off, congratulations on your book, The Sky Is a Thousand Soft Hurts. Tell us about what inspired this hybrid collection. 

Elizabeth: As you know, my formal training is as a poet, but even at the beginning of my writing life, I was beguiled by the short story. I found it more expansive than the poem, yet it’s a form that accommodates my circular thinking. Like poetry, it demands brevity and compression, yet it carries a distinctly mortal smell. It allows me to backbend into a narrative, pack in real characters with unruly lives. Every story loves the whole human catastrophe, as do I. 

WOW: As a short story writer, I totally agree! And I love your title. How did you come up with it? 

Elizabeth: I didn’t. The working title was Why is the Color or the Snow. A couple of years before the collection was complete, I fell in love with a piece of art by Cynthia Winnings. Called “Wonder,” it’s a large charcoal study of three children looking up at an ominous sky. I bought the piece because I knew I wanted to use it as a book cover. 

Fortunately, everyone at Atmosphere Press agreed, but it was Nick Courtright and my editor, Kyle McCord, who thought the title, Because the Sky is a Thousand Soft Hurts, would better suit the book. As it’s the title of one of the stories in the collection, I agreed. 


"[Because the Sky is a Thousand Soft Hurts] is for readers who wish to journey, via meticulously crafted language, into the deepest crevasses of the human psyche, for those who relish dynamic storytelling about women, trauma, resilience." 


WOW: Well, it's such a beautiful title, and the artwork that goes with it. The last time you did a blog tour with us was for your poetry collection, My Life as a Doll. How did your approach change from putting together your newest book to how you put together your previous collection? 

Elizabeth: It’s important to note that there was a book in between My Life as a Doll and Because the Sky is a Thousand Soft Hurts. At that time in my life, I was in turmoil. My long marriage had ended and I had just moved back to Maine. 

In an effort to comprehend all that I was confronted with, I elected to write a memoir. I had no idea what I was doing, but at some point, it was suggested I let go of the desire to create a narrative arc. From that point on, I simply, or not so simply, wrote vignettes, which then went into a white binder.

This went on for years. 

When I felt I had exhausted my story, I pulled out all the vignettes, along with a stack of index cards. I ordered them by title, the time in my life during which every separate story took place, etc.

During a blizzard, I scattered all the index cards on the floor and played a very complex game of Pick Up Sticks. 

This was how, in the final hour, I structured the memoir, Waking the Bones. It’s also when I started veering away from my sense of self as a poet and started undertaking the short story with great seriousness and purpose. 

WOW: How incredible! I love the hands-on approach you took with your writing. What inspires you as you write? 

Elizabeth: I read constantly, even when I’m writing. I often read poetry while I work, as it often stimulates my nearly obscene love of language. Language somehow helps me engage in situation, in story, in the engine and characters that make it go.

I also listen to music. Years ago, I collaborated with many classical composers, writing poetry for their pieces. I also studied ballet, which gave me a love for precision, a muscular musicality. 

These days, I’m a Master Gardener. I need rigorous physical work to balance the intensity that writing creates. The garden is where I contemplate the work while considering composition, shape, pattern.

I also walk, which is rhythmic. I live on the water, so the grandiosity of the sea is a redemptive presence. I live an extremely solitary life, one that is designed to protect and feed my sensibility. 

WOW: I agree with your sentiment. I love anything physical to balance out my writing activities. Who is your book perfect for and why? 

Elizabeth: The book has teeth, meat. It’s the perfect read for those who wish to engage with what’s most profoundly human in each of us, as it reveals the whole spectrum from the tawdry to the sublime.

It’s for readers who wish to journey, via meticulously crafted language, into the deepest crevasses of the human psyche, for those who relish dynamic storytelling about women, trauma, resilience.

The collection dances on a keen edge—not only between fiction and poetry, but hallucination and holiness. Definitely for the reader who wishes to take it slowly. Who loves to savor each and every word, each and every page. 

WOW: How profound! I love the imagery you use in your writing. What helps you evoke the strong emotions and sensory details in your writing? 

Elizabeth: When I was a student, the use of sensory detail was deeply instilled in me as being absolutely essential if one has even the faintest desire to write well.

A poem is the perfect construct on which to structure one image after another. The story is an equally fine structure upon which to nail sensory images.

The work of simile and metaphor is designed to carry and signify emotion. I was taught that if you put an oak tree in a poem, then it must be described in such a manner that the reader never sees an oak tree the same way again.

Last night, I read a description in a novel in which the character’s facial expression could be determined from the back, that is, from the way the man stood with heels slightly raised. That’s what the writer is after, precisely. 

WOW: Absolutely! What do you hope people take away after reading your book?

Elizabeth: An enlarged sense of perspective, an enhanced sense of humanity, compassion for those who people my book, which is, of course, ourselves. 



"I’m beholden to the sentence. Each provides a kind of scaffolding. If the story isn’t built firmly, from the ground up, it will collapse."



WOW: What is your revision process like? 

Elizabeth: Extremely arduous. 

Was it Dorothy Parker who said that she can’t write three words without revising five? I’m beholden to the sentence. Each provides a kind of scaffolding. If the story isn’t built firmly, from the ground up, it will collapse.

For me, each and every word must do double or triple work. I tend to overwrite, so revision, which I find exquisite, is often about stripping away excess.

Now that I’m writing stories, I’m working more aggressively to create a strong, regal narrative, a landscape in which the characters can stand, a place where my poetic tendencies are necessarily curbed. 

WOW: I'm the same way with the revision process. What was your publication process like? 

Elizabeth: I tried to place as many stories as possible in literary magazines. Then my agent, Peter Riva, took me on, which was an extraordinary honor. Nick Courtright at Atmosphere Press expressed interest in the collection a number of times, and after long consideration, I signed on with him. 

My experience at Atmosphere Press has been really wonderful. They’re an expedient, highly skilled team and together we produced Because the Sky is a Thousand Soft Hurts. From editing to cover design to promotion, I think their work was extraordinary. 

WOW: That's awesome! How did COVID impact your writing and path to publication, if at all? 

Elizabeth: As noted, I live an extremely solitary life. COVID just made it more extreme, tipping things into isolation. It didn’t affect my work as I’m at my desk every single day anyway. 

I’ve always been rigorous in my writing practice. It’s harder for me to be disciplined in other areas of my life. COVID was restrictive for all of us, no travel, no entertainment, in essence, it made for an inward turning year. 

WOW: I can completely understand that. What advice do you have for writers who struggle with finding their voice in their writing? 

Elizabeth: My advice is to not struggle. Voice arises from the work itself. It’s as indelible as a fingerprint. When teaching, it didn’t take long for me to determine who the writer was of any given piece because I could “hear” them. That’s voice, that distinct notation on the page. 

WOW: I love that! What are you working on now that you can tell us about? 

Elizabeth: I’m working on a second collection of stories. The working title is Learning to Hit My Mother. I just had the manuscript read by Adam Prince through Black Lawrence Press. His comments, which were provided in great detail, are helping me build, I hope, a better book.

It’s crucial to have a really fine reader, one who can provide that essential POV no writer can deduce. His take on the stories and the book as whole are absolutely inspiring, and well, exciting.

This exchange feels like a dialogue, or an intimate conversation. It’s a kind of collaborative effort. The book, is of course, mine, but no book evolves fully without undergoing the rigor outside readers provide.

WOW: Thank you for your time and congratulations again on your book! 



--- Blog Tour Calendar

November 1st @ The Muffin
Join as we celebrate the launch of Elizabeth Kirschner's story collection Because the Sky is a Thousand Soft Hurts. Read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy for yourself.

November 3rd @ Create Write Now
Visit Mari's blog today and read a guest post by Elizabeth Kirschner about the importance of writerly habits.

November 5th @ Bring on Lemons
Stop by Crystal's blog today and read her insights into Elizabeth Kirschner's book Because the Sky is a Thousand Soft Hurts.

November 9th @ Mindy McGinnis' Blog
Join Mindy as she shares author Elizabeth Kirschner's guest post about how one’s thematic concerns or obsessions are presented, not stated.

November 10th @ Madeline Sharples' Blog
Join Madeline as she features author Elizabeth Kirschner's guest post about the invention and supremacy of character.

November 11th @ The Frugalista Mom
Join Rozelyn as she reviews Elizabeth Kirschner's book Because the Sky is a Thousand Soft Hurts. You can also enter to win a copy of the book for yourself.

November 12th @ Wounds to Scars
Visit Joanna's blog today and read her review of Elizabeth Kirschner's book Because the Sky is a Thousand Soft Hurts.
https://woundstoscars.com/

November 15th @ Memoir Writer's Journey
Kathy Pooler shares author Elizabeth Kirschner's guest post about how the short story evolves.

November 19th @ CK Sorens' Blog
Join Carrie as she shares Elizabeth Kirschner's guest post about the mind behind the story, it's circular as opposed to linear nature.

November 21st @ Word Magic
Join Fiona as she features a guest post by Elizabeth Kirschner about her obsession with language.

November 25th @ The Good Book Nook
Visit Polly's Instagram page where she reviews Elizabeth Kirschner's book Because the Sky is a Thousand Soft Hurts.

November 27th @ Lisa Haselton's Book Reviews and Interviews
Jon Lisa as she interviews author Elizabeth Kirschner, author of the book Because the Sky is a Thousand Soft Hurts.

November 30th @ Author Anthony Avina's Blog
Join Anthony as he reviews author Elizbeth Kirschner's book Because the Sky is a Thousand Soft Hurts.

December 1st @ McFly Book Bliss
Join Marisa as she features author Elizabeth Kirschner and an excerpt from her book Because the Sky is a Thousand Soft Hurts.


***** BOOK GIVEAWAY *****

Enter to win a copy of Because the Sky is a Thousand Soft Hurts by Elizabeth Kirschner by filling out the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway ends November 14th at 11:59pm CT. We will announce the winner the next day in the Rafflecopter widget and follow up via email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

4 comments:

Elizabeth Kirschner said...

I'm delighted to start this wonderful adventure with WOW! Very excited to introduce more readers to BECAUSE THE SKY IS A THOUSAND SOFT HURTS! Will stand by to answer questions.

The last time I did a blog tour with WOW, it was to introduce my last collection of poetry, MY LIFE AS A DOLL.
I know I can't replicate that experience, but I'm thrilled to be back!

Elizabeth

Margo Dill said...

Elizabeth: What a brave writer you are to put together a book like this. I hope you are able to reach your readers who need healing. Best of luck to you!

Angela said...

What a fantastic interview! :)

I love hybrid writing, and your craft tips in this interview are right on. Each word should do double work. I'm also an over-writer in the first draft, and I've been really appreciating revision lately.

Congratulations on your collection! I'm also excited to hear you have another one in the works. Your titles also do some heavy lifting, and are quite memorable. :) Good luck on your tour! It looks like a great one.

Elizabeth Kirschner said...

Thank you Margo and Angela,

Wonderful to hear from both of you! Maybe we should coin a name for a new genre? The stories
I write sometimes feel like a haibun without the tanka. Clearly, they take a journey. It's the journey
that I love, the more precarious, the better, as the destination is, at best, uncertain.

I often feel that some peril, or danger, or menace is necessary, that is, someone or something needs to be put
at risk. This creates the wonderful dynamic called tension without which it all falls flat. Language, for me,
is what lends both a muscular and musical quality to the work.

Looking forward to the next stop,
Elizabeth

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