My dear friend Carol has just published a collection of short stories that range in setting from rural Texas to a small village in Kenya with themes that tackle the dangers of biotech’s effort to promise eternal youth, the callousness of modern medicine, the double standard women are forced to bear, and the insanity brought on by decades of global betrayal and mistrust. Some are comically wrought while others read like a vision of a deeply dystopian world. Only, that world is here and now.
Carol grew up on the eclectic Gulf Coast of Texas, in a swampy mix of oil refineries and chemical plants which attracted cat-fishing and duck-hunting aficionados. When not sampling raw oysters and fried frogs’ legs, she trained hunting dogs with her close-knit family and travelled inland to ranch country to help her aunts churn butter while their husbands drank whiskey and branded steers.
A marriage gone wrong motivated young Carol, armed with a Zoology degree and experience researching bat echolocation, to venture to the even wilder west of Berkeley, California. There she learned to lock her doors, defend herself on mass transit and, moved on to investigating signal processing in seals and sea lions. When she tired of living on the beans and rice diet a researcher’s salary provides, she found work in the booming biotech industry. Finally, she was able to fulfill another passion: travel and immersion into foreign cultures. The stories in I Once Walked Barefoot are a combination of childhood memories, her biotech experiences and life as a fish-out-of-water far from Texas.
Carol’s non-fiction publishing spans newspapers, humor zines, and tech journals. One of her adventure articles was reprinted in Trekking The West, a guide to horse treks in Western Australia. Creative credits include a Pushcart nomination for the short story Kozel, about a Russian psychiatrist from New York whose patient-centered practice tangles with the California “me” culture.
“These stories operate on a kind of dystopian fairytale/mythic logic and center around the female body/the male gaze; the environment; animals; and health. That they range from Texas to California to Africa adds welcome texture.”
Dawn Raffel, author of The Strange Case of Dr. Couney
“Sometimes whimsical, sometimes cosmic, Carol Teltschick’s stories are little gems: flashes of brilliance that momentarily illuminate the everyday and the extraordinary. I Once Walked Barefoot is an invitation to wonder and delight.”
Luke Whisnant, author of Down in the Flood