Walking Leonard and Other Stories explores themes of responsibility and violation between parent and child, nature as a protective force, and the shucking of various selves in the process of a lifetime.
Walking Leonard | A college ready girl escapes her parent’s agenda in a coyote and indigent populated scrubland.
Rabbit Trails | A child’s day in the wilds of her family and Kootenay B.C.
Murdy | Architecture and a baby vie for control of a woman.
Archimedes | A senior citizen struggles to control the fate or her Alzheimer’s afflicted husband.
Intersection | A car crash modifies the trajectory of two people’s reproductive choices.
Mrs. Mobach | A new mother navigates the loss of her career while searching for a missing woman in her neighborhood.
Shelterbelt | A teenager’s exploration of conformity.
I shouldn’t walk here. My parents worry about crackheads and transients off the highway, biker guys from the trailer park, and coyotes. Supposedly they’ve eaten a few peek-a-poos.
There is a story of a trailer park dog that took himself for a walk in January. A winter-famished coyote, tired of filling up on freeze-dried rose hips stalked him through the scrub. The dog high tailed it for home, the coyote behind him all the way, heading for the chain link fence beside the trailer park road.
The dog just reached the gate when the driver of the number forty saw him. The bus slowed down, the driver opened the door, and the dog jumped in. He rode away laughing leaving the coyote behind on the frozen road in a cloud of diesel exhaust.
This is the sort of thing that can happen up here in the wasteland. This is the place where I met the man I call “Jesus.”
From a technical standpoint and from the point of pure enjoyment, this collection of stories is moving and incredibly powerful. The writing is beautiful and the stories carry you along effortlessly, giving you intimate and touching glimpses into the tender and scoured lives of everyday people.”
- Hollay Ghadery
Sophie Stocking is a writer with a keen eye fixed to her world which she expertly bridges to ours. Her stories are told with language that evokes the intensity of being a small daughter, a junior high student, a young mother— all fighting expectations that those roles and relationships bring. Stocking illuminates these identities and struggles through landscape. The flora of each story’s terrain pairs with a character to scent identity, adding layers of colour to germinate legacies.
The characters in each of the stories in Walking Leonard have survived decades of Calgary’s seasons thus giving readers something to learn from or identify with. Ultimately, her stories dare us to close our books and walk outside, to find the stories, the colours, and the scents of the plants that grow around us. This collection challenges us to pay attention to our own stories.”
- Lisa Murphy Lamb
On the writing process
This collection largely took shape in English 496 Short Fiction, at the University of Calgary. Thank you to my fellow classmates for their insightful critiques and comradery, and to Aritha van Herk for her exceptional teaching and mentorship.