Ten Seconds In-Between – Doug Hoekstra
(winner of the Royal Dragonfly Award for Best Collection of Short Stories, 2021)
Ten Seconds In-Between is Doug Hoekstra’s fourth book, a collection of short stories divided into four key sections – Out of Time, Pieces of Time, Time Found, and Time Lost. But, ultimately, Ten Seconds In-Between is a collection about connection. There’s something elusive yet immediate about the characters in the tales, or as a line in “Performance Arts” 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 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
“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 Library Project)
Ten Seconds In-between is dedicated to everyone living in and for those ten seconds, the journey we share. Special thanks also go to Vera Ignatowitsch and Lindsay Wang at Better than Starbucks for editorial assistance, to Chad Johnson for artwork/design, to Justin Hamm, Corey Mesler, and Steve Roberts (fine artists all) for cover blurbs and to my son, Jude, with love, for the photo and all he does to make everything matter. (DH)
Silently is about two cousins, walking through San Francisco, drawing contrasts in expectations, with Buster Keaton, Tippi Hedren and the Bay Area Mindfulness Center all making guest appearances.
“For the backing, the intent was to keep it really straight, but it grew into something that stands between a song and a spoken word piece. It started with Japanese drums, looped and slowed down. Then I did a few recitations, careful to shoot for the spaces. After that, I built the music around those two elements, adding bass, guitars, keyboards, and a sung chorus. It was recorded at home, in Nashville.” (DH)
Essence is a flash fiction about a bus journey, but as with many journeys, the protagonist doesn’t really go from A to B. Often, life is non-linear, layers, gaining by subtracting.
“For the backing , I used found sound, in the same way the character is having “found” experiences. I’d also been thinking about John Cage a lot and the idea that all sound is music. So, I recited the piece to a loop (which was mostly edited out later) and then added non-musical elements – a stopwatch, a pocket alarm clock, my parents old mantelpiece clock, the insides of a video cassette recorder. I recorded them all the way through, not trying to place anything, letting them ring, click and buzz unhindered. The randomness worked and all I had to do was mute bits here and there to create more dynamics.” (DH)
More Kind Words
“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 and 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)
“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 The Inheritence, and American Ephemeral)
“Ten Seconds In-Between” By Doug Hoekstra is a memorable, thought provoking and original collection about connection….deftly written and a thoroughly absorbing read, this contemporary short story collection is especially and unreservedly recommended.” (Midwest Book Review, July 2021)
“….Hoekstra writes evocatively of real characters often knocked off centre from their comfort zone, and ‘Ten Seconds In-Between’ reveals a multi-layered, versatile writer of haunting talent.” (John Clarkson, Pennyblack Music, July 2021)
Hoekstra’s “writings, spoken performances of the writings, and songs — are pieces of his very vulnerable glimpses behind the curtain of life, different loci on the same perspective on the elusive bittersweetness of all life’s passing ephemeral moments.” (Melissa Clarke, Americana Highways, November 2021)
“Doug Hoekstra released an album earlier this year entitled The Day Deserved, which is easily one of the best releases of 2021. He also authored a book entitled Ten Seconds In-Between, which is a cool collection of short stories. Hoekstra is a man with focus and creativity galore. I would recommend anything that springs forth from this brilliant man’s mind.” (Baby Sue, November 2021)
“Nashville songwriter and prose writer Doug Hoekstra used the last few years
productively – releasing his first album in a decade (the truly great The Day
Deserved) and this, his fourth book…from 8 sentences on Alcatraz to longer looks at a friendship started in an art museum, Hoekstra has a way of examining life that few can put down on a page. You can read the book in a hour…and you will, several times, drawing something new each time. (James Mann, the Big Takeover, November 2021)
“I’ve always been into classic movies and love Saul Bass’ title sequences for Hitchcock, Preminger, and many others. (He also made one really interesting sci-fi film on his own called Phase IV).
The stories in Ten Seconds In-Between aren’t suspense tales, per se, but there is something about trying to capture that fleeting ten seconds in which relationships are built. And I started to think that the clean yet kinetic lines in Bass’ work could be a starting point. That said, it was just that, a starting point – because my friend Chad Johnson, a talented graphics guru in his own write, took it to a different place, perfectly capturing the essence of the book That said, we did have a couple outtakes and here’s one on the right, just for fun.”
(Doug Hoekstra, 2021)