Sunday, March 3, 2024

Wake to Words and Brew Some Coffee (March 3, 2024)

  • Sweethearts by C.L. O'Dell (from Poetry, March 2024 issue)
  • Stunt Double by Tomรกs Q. Morรญn (from Poetry, March 2024 issue)

๐Ÿ Š Catch the live show Sunday mornings at some time-ish: 

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Wake to Words and Brew Some Coffee (2/25/24)



๐Ÿ Š Catch the live show Sunday mornings at some time-ish: 

Monday, February 19, 2024

Unexpected Weather Events featured in Spokane's Northwest Passages Event

This Thursday, February 22nd, please attend the Northwest Passages event. I'll be in conversation with Spokesman-Review writer Lindsey Treffry about my newest book, the story collection Unexpected Weather Events. I hope you can attend; if not, send someone in your stead.

What to know


Sunday, February 18, 2024

Spokesman-Review: Unexpected Weather Events in your newspaper

This coming Thursday (February 22, 2024), my newest book Unexpected Weather Events will be the focus of the Northwest Passages audience at the Spokesman-Review building. The event will include a conversation led by Spokesman writer Lindsey Treffry, questions from the audience, and a reading from the book by yours truly. Today, Treffry's article about Unexpected Weather Events ran in the paper. She discusses the book itself and spun in a few words I'd spoken during a recent phone conversation we had.

“Grief is this – trying to carry tragedy at the same time you’re trying to buy Oreos,” Pringle said. “I think losing, in itself, is this trying to balance the mundane livingness of life with what feels like life-changing tragedy and not letting either one of them take over to the point that you’re neglecting the other.”

Northwest Passages is a book-focused, author-centered discussion with regional writers or books on regional subjects. Copies of Unexpected Weather Events will be available to purchase at the event, thanks to Auntie's Bookstore.

Read the full article here 

More information about Northwest Passages with Erin Pringle in conversation with Lindsey Treffry
  • Thursday, February 22nd at 7 PM
  • Tickets are $7 each and available for purchase here
  • Address: 999 W. Riverside Ave., Spokesman-Review building, 7th floor Chronicle Pavilion
  • To purchase books in advance, you can find them locally at Auntie's Bookstore, Wishing Tree Books, and Giant Nerd Books
I hope to see you and your best book-reading friend there!


Wake to Words and Brew Some Coffee (February 18, 2024)

 Thanks for checking in to see whether a new installment of poems is ready. It is! Hope you've found good poems by other people during the past few Sundays that we missed.

  • Ubi sunt? by Laura Kasischke (from her book Where Now - New and Selected Poems)
  • Address to the Angels by Maxine Kumin (from her Selected Poems 1960-1990)
  • Sitting in a Small Screenhouse on a Summer Morning by James Wright (from his Collected Poems-1990)

๐Ÿ Š Catch the live show Sunday mornings at some time-ish: 

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

The Story Valentine's Day on Valentine's Day, A Reading


    Please enjoy this reading of my story "Valentine's Day," recorded on Valentine's Day. The story first appeared in Willow Springs, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and now lives in my new collection of stories Unexpected Weather Events.


Thursday, February 8, 2024

Erin Pringle shares the backstories at Whispering Stories

I'm happy to announce that I did an interview over at Whispering Stories, and it's now available to read. I talk about my newest book, Unexpected Weather Events, as well as my writing process.  

Would love for you to give it a read and/or share it with the most avid reader in your life. 



Monday, January 22, 2024

You should definitely read Dark Tales by Shirley Jackson

After reading Shirley Jackson’s novel We Have Always Lived in the Castle, I looked for more of her work at my favorite bookstore Giant Nerd Books in Spokane. They didn't have any, so when I returned the next week, I was delighted to find four books of her books waiting. What a wonderful bookstore! So, I figured I ought to start fulfilling my part of the request and purchase Dark Tales—which I quickly devoured. In fact, at times, I would be reading and think how I ought to slow down. Or that it would be so nice to be finished with the book so that I could reread it with the second eye that brings so much more out. Suddenly, my first reading became a preliminary run. 

In my book, that's a sign of an excellent book.

Dark Tales by Shirley Jackson is a selection of stories from her previous collections and several unpublished works. The book is fantastic, every story a careful and ingenious work of art. If I’d realized upon purchase that the book wasn’t one of her original collections, I likely would have paused to read her collection The Lottery, which is already in my queue. Regardless, I will enjoy encountering these stories again, whether by rereading this collection or stumbling upon them in the collections she gathered during her lifetime. I will not keep you in suspense: this is definitely a book to read, no matter your preferred genre or style.

Every. Single. Story. Is. Fantastic.

The stories range from first-person to third-person, but the majority of them are told in third. The ordering of the stories is well done—each story complementing the one before it, whether in tone, subject matter, speed, or length.

All of the stories turn in the end, usually in an unexpected but earned way—much like the episodes in Twilight Zone. She very much could have written for the program, and one can easily imagine Shirley Jackson and Rod Sterling sitting by a fireplace trading cigarettes and stories.

In these “dark” tales, dark stands in for strange, unexpected, slanted. None are gory or gross, none are horror or require nail-biting in suspense. No, these are almost like illusions—where one expects ground, it turns out to be the reflection of ground—where one reaches into a hat for a rabbit and pulls out a smile. 

Because the stories absolutely function on the way they twist, I’ll simply note a few favorites and leave the rest to come alive to haunt you.

My absolute favorite is “Louisa, Please Come Home,” the story told by a young woman about how she ran away, how very well she planned it, and how all worked out swimmingly—from taking the bus instead of walking, to purchasing a plain raincoat that looked like anyone’s raincoat, to wandering the bus station late at night with other college-aged girls. Her trick, she believes, is to imagine herself as others like her and then to think like them. She finds a room in a house to rent and follows the news of her disappearance, which varies from kidnapping to murder. In one poignant moment, she and her landlady are having breakfast and the girl’s picture is in the newspaper. The girl remarks that she looks a lot like the picture, and her landlady waves her off and says not to be so self-absorbed. Ha! But it is not simply the telling of a well-executed plan but an exploration into the anonymity we all experience without trying:

“It’s funny how no one pays any attention to you at all. There were hundreds of people who saw me that day, and even a sailor who tried to pick me up in the movie, and yet no one really saw me.” 

This not-seeing—this fact of our being like so many others—becomes a terrifying reality toward the story’s end.

In another story, “The Story We Used to Tell,” two friends find themselves transported from a house into an old picture of the house. When the first friend disappears, she is searched for but the case of her whereabouts soon abandoned. Her friend insists that a few more days be given before giving up and that night she sleeps in her friend’s bedroom:

“The full moon had turned into a lopsided creature, but there was still moonlight enough to fill the room with a haunted light when I lay down in Y’s bed, looking into the empty windows in the picture of a house. I fell asleep thinking miserably of Y’s cheerful conviction that the old man was loose in the picture, plotting improvements.” 

When the friend also becomes consumed by the picture, she and her friend encounter a strange dancing couple who harass them and dance with them. This story is one of the darker visions in the book and is threaded with vivid, nightmarish imagery with a turn at the end that invites, if not requires, the reader to begin again.

Many times, I felt myself hearkening back to Patricia Highsmith's Collected Stories because of the variety in this collection and its particular focus on the house as an intimate space, such as the story of Highsmith's in which a young woman is tidying her house for her sister's visit, or in another in which a person continually buys parakeets and gives them to all the people who post "lost parakeet" signs in the city. All seems fine but nothing is actually fine.

In Dark Tales, Jackson walks Jack the Ripper into a bar, playing the role of a man worried about a girl slumped drunk in an alley; in another story, a wife imprisoned in her bedroom by a jealous husband has accepted her fate; in a short but memorable story about a college girl stealing small objects from her roommates, the ironic importance secrets play in creating community becomes laid bare. 

All told, these are stories to be told again. They are all quite readable, the style consistently beautiful but clear, the insights sudden and thought-stopping, and the variety of tales makes for a well-rounded trip through the halls of Jackson’s stories. I recommend Dark Tales this in every way and would hope the book or any one of its tales be included in literature classes. None of Jackson’s work appeared in any undergraduate or graduate literature course I took, though clearly should have—this is simply, and unquestionably, writing of the highest caliber. 


Sunday, January 21, 2024

Wake to Words and Brew Some Coffee (January 21, 2024)

Three poems for today's reading. Enjoy!


  • Make Me No Lazy Love by Norma Farber (from Poetry, January 1958)
  • Our City is Guarded by Automatic Rockets by William Stafford (from Poetry, January 1958)
  • Little Owl Who Lives in the Orchard by Mary Oliver (from her book House of Light)

๐Ÿ Š Catch the live show Sunday mornings at some time-ish: 

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Yes, Go Read Shirley Jackson's novel We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Until reading Shirley Jackson’s novel We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962), I’d somehow made it from high school to now only reading her widely anthologized short story “The Lottery.” That haunting story of a town’s annual ritual of stoning a randomly chosen citizen, despite no one remembering why.

I picked up a vintage paperback of We Have Always Lived in the Castle somewhere in life and finally read it over holiday break. It is one of the most beautiful and perfectly told stories I have ever read. It was so strange and right that I'd feel excited by the reading experience itself. Joyous. As one feels when falling in love, just being near the person. From the narrator’s way of thinking to the descriptions of the small town to the minds of the characters--Jackson's telling is rich and finely crafted in its minimalist approach. 

The narrator is the younger of two daughters in the Blackwood family, a once wealthy and powerful family in the town but after five family members were all poisoned to death at the same dinner, the family has become alienated, feared, and ridiculed by the town. The house remains like a haunted house on the outskirts of town, and Merricat is the only one of the three to leave the house for town, for weekly grocery shopping, which she does not enjoy.

“The rows of stores along Main Street was unchangingly grey. The people who owned the stores lived above them, in a row of second-story apartments, and the curtains in the regular line of second-story windows were pale and without life; whatever planned to be colorful lost its heart quickly in the village. The blight on the village never came from the Blackwoods; the villagers belonged here and the village was the only proper place for them.

I always thought about rot when I came toward the row of stores; I thought about burning black painful rot that ate away from inside, hurting dreadfully. I wished it on the village.”

Merricat and her older sister Constance live in the house with their wheelchair-bound uncle whose mind wanders in time, and he sometimes begins narrating parts of the night of the poisoning either as though he’s there again or as a more present-self who has been rethinking that night from every angle in order to figure out how it happened.

The older sister Constance had stood trial for the deaths and the trauma of that, not to mention and the loss itself has kept her homebound. It is a quaint but isolated life—one that the narrator loves. She loves her sister Constance, and her love reminds me of how I once felt about my older sister when I was very young--a kind of idolization as much as adoration. Merricat spends much of her time alone, busy in her mind creating games that help her determine varying routes through town or arbitrary rules that guide her daily play in the surrounding woods. Some of these rules call back to her life when her parents were still alive--there is the sort of faint outline of that life still showing through in this one.

She has learned about botany and cooking and much from Constance. Constance cares for both the uncle and Merricat, allowing them both to live as much in their imaginations as in reality. Which perhaps allows her to do so too; one of the magical aspects of the novel is only understanding Constance through her interactions with other characters. What sort of life had she imagined for herself before that night? Before that trial? How does she imagine herself now that she has become caretaker for a disabled uncle and wandering sister?  

However imagined, the way of life that Merricat, Constance, and Uncle Julian have measured out their days becomes threatened when a far-flung cousin comes to visit and ingratiates himself into the family. He begins courting Constance, which involves his frequent and vocal disagreement with the way she allows Merricat to behave or allowing Uncle Julian to live there instead of in an institution of some sort. The cousin comes to seem like the physical incarnation of the town and patriarchy—constricting, narrow, self-serving and with a lust for money. His presence makes the house feel under threat, and the narrator tries multiple clever ways to make him go away. Each attempt beautiful in its enactment.

But the way everything turns out, which I’ll leave to you to discover, leads to a kind of ideal life for the sisters--or at least for Merricat who has Constance all to herself. But their lives, fully autonomous now, exist only by sacrificing all interaction with the outside world in order to live it, safely. Where the town had tried to demolish them in rage and jealousy, now the town keeps them alive out of guilt and pity.

Surely there is a clear wisdom here that Shirley Jackson is pointing at, regarding the total sacrifice that women must make in order to live autonomous, creative lives—or perhaps it shows the extent that love, or nurturing, when used to protect another, can lead to self-destruction and the suffocation of one’s own possibilities. Multiple times while reading it I thought the novel must be a queer classic and taught in many a queer literature class due to its way of rendering identity, relationships, love, and the conflict between the individual and the community that leads, inevitably, either to the total annihilation of self or town. They cannot both live and retain their points of view because of the chasm in perspectives.

In conclusion, Jackson writing is superb. The style, the perspective, the way that the story and mystery of the family’s murders unravels via town folk chants, the wandering mind of the uncle, the overheard dialogue of an archaic afternoon tea. It’s gothic and observant and creative. Shirley Jackson has definitely become one of my favorite writers, shoulder to shoulder with Carson McCullers and Flannery O’Connor. She sees inside things and writes in the strange angles that reveal the world in useful light. And this book's light seems to glow like ghosts thrown on the wall by a modernist’s stained glass lamp.