Ten Seconds In-Between

First Place Winner for Collection of Short Stories in the 2021 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards.

Short Story Collection Finalist for 2022 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

Ten Seconds In-Between

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Ten Seconds In-Between

 

A delightful literary collection of 24 stories in a mix of short and flash fiction.

111 pages.

$20.00

Ten Seconds In-Between is a collection about connection. There’s something elusive yet immediate about the characters in these tales; as a line in “Performance Art” goes, “You remember reading somewhere that psychologists say when people meet, they decide within 7 and 17 seconds whether or not they will like each other. You wonder about the 10 seconds in between.” The pieces herein range from flash to extended, mirroring ephemeral transactions and relationships; as with life, the hope is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

— Doug Hoekstra 2021

 

“Doug Hoekstra is either the Hank Williams of the printed page, or the Raymond Carver of the recording studio. Like Leonard Cohen he moves smoothly between writing songs and writing poetry. He works so gracefully because he knows language is the set of wings required and with those wings he can soar or glide. Read him and you will recognize that here is art that’s been waiting for you. It will feel that personal.”

—Corey Mesler, author of Camel’s Bastard Son and Madstones

 

 

“Doug Hoekstra’s stories, like his songs, are infinitely and irresistibly relatable, leaving us not with answers so much as a sense that someone else understands the struggle. Hoekstra has a knack for finding small moments that test us or reveal us and dramatizing them with candor and just a touch of lyricism when the moment is right. I don’t just enjoy his work—I trust it.”

—Justin Hamm, author of American Ephemeral and Lessons in Ruin

 

 

Ten Seconds In-Between is a collection of relationship stories, full of interactions where something significant happens and maybe only one of those involved realizes or understands. You’ll travel to Liverpool and Alcatraz, meet poets and blind street vendors. There’s sex and music, dirty laundry cleaned, and a light but sure touch when it comes to politics. Hoekstra’s talent as a writer shines a light on how these relationships are often simply taken for granted, only to be reimagined on the page and in our collective memory.”

—Steve Roberts, author and composer of The Life of Books Project

Doug Hoekstra is a Chicago-bred, Nashville-based writer and musician, educated at DePaul University in the Windy City (B.A.) and Belmont University in the Music City (M.Ed.), whose prose, poetry, and non-fiction have appeared in numerous print and online literary journals. His first set of stories, Bothering the Coffee Drinkers, was published in April 2006 and earned an Independent Publisher Award (IPPY) for Best Short Fiction (Bronze Medal). Ten Seconds In-Between is his fourth book.

 

Hoekstra has also worked extensively a singer-songwriter with eight albums of original material on labels released on both sides of the pond, propelling touring throughout the U.S. and Europe, at bookstores, coffeehouses, clubs, libraries, pubs, festivals, radio stations, and castles; solo and with combos in tow. Musical highlights have included Nashville Music Award and Independent Music Award nominations, as well as many groovy happenings. 2021 also brings a new album of music, The Day Deserved.

 

Hoekstra currently lives in a ranch house in the Music City, with his beloved son Jude and their pal, Roger the Cat.

 

His website is www.doughoekstra.net.

Ten Seconds In-Between is a collection about connection. There’s something elusive yet immediate about the characters in these tales; as a line in “Performance Art” goes, “You remember reading somewhere that psychologists say when people meet, they decide within 7 and 17 seconds whether or not they will like each other. You wonder about the 10 seconds in between.” The pieces herein range from flash to extended, mirroring ephemeral transactions and relationships; as with life, the hope is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
— Doug Hoekstra 2021

flash fiction from Ten Seconds In-Between

The Laundromat

This is a funny story. My girlfriend and I used to go to the laundromat every Sunday afternoon. We had been living in that apartment nine months before I noticed a huge wooden sign out front, boasting of many things, including laundry on the premises. So one night I slipped into the courtyard behind our building, broken glass cracking under my feet as I passed under a series of shattered light bulbs. I found a rickety door half-torn from rusty hinges. I pushed it and it fell open and I saw a pair of war-torn washers, two dilapidated dryers, and two stray cats that apparently lived there full-time. It was a dirty place to clean our clothes, but it still beat schlepping them all the way down the street.

Just the thought of the laundromat filled me with the same sad feeling I always got on Sunday nights, after making love with my girlfriend, when we’d lie on the couch and watch an old movie on TV, trying to stay awake as long as possible, because we knew that when we’d fall asleep, we’d wake up to find ourselves at work, our perfect moment lost in the mundane duties of the day. And day after day I sat at my cubicle, tapping away while the light over my head flickered weakly, drawing rivers of red across the whites of my eyes. It was the same lighting they used at the laundromat, row upon row of long narrow tubing glued to the ceiling like circus straws.

I’ll never forget the old woman that used to come into the laundromat every Sunday afternoon. She had white whiskers on her chin and always wore a knit Chicago Bears hat on her head, its bright blue tassel wobbling back and forth as she weaved behind a shopping cart filled with clothes. Like a stock theatrical bag person, she muttered to herself. A small child held her hand and guided her from washer to washer, dryer to dryer. My girlfriend and I, we’d talk about this later; at the time we were too busy to speak. I’d fold her clothes and I’d fold my clothes and she’d fold her clothes and she’d fold my clothes. I’m color-blind, so she’d help me match my socks, and I’d think about the loneliness that travels in pairs. And the movie that we’d share. As soon as we got out of there. Living unaware. The laundromat.

Read “Essence”, from the collection, here. (Chapter 16)

Listen to the author read “Silently”, from the collection, here.

Interviews with Doug about his new album and also about Ten Seconds In-Between:

The Brighton Magazine

Writer's Voices

Midwest Book Review

Nashville Scene

Cover to Cover

Read about Doug's new music release, The Day Deserved, here.