You’ve Made It Home

After devouring fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Eve trod barefoot and bug-bitten through Eden, wanting nothing so much as she wanted a pair of snakeskin boots. Thus was fashion born.
– Jen Companik

Check Engine and Other Stories (115 pages)

A debut collection of short stories driven by sad suburban moms, good and bad men, assorted strippers, a compelling zipper-pull, an old man in need of a Superdawg®, and one angel of death. (You can read my interview about the book in TriQuarterly.)

The Baby Monitor” (14 pages) This horror story about a young widow earned a warning label from the publisher for “emotionally disturbing content”. You’ve been warned. (The London Reader, Existential Dread in the Digital Void issue, Autumn 2019.)

Death Comes to the Office for Daniel Downer” (6 pages) A darkly comedic tale in which Death makes an appointment with an attorney. (The Bryant Literary Review, pages 49-54, Volume 19, May 2018.)

The Evil Vortex of Doom” (24 pages) A woman revisits good and bad moments of her relationship with her difficult father. (The Acentos Review, May 2015)

The Pet Store” (5 pages) A woman suffering a private sorrow passes time at a pet store with her young son. (Queen Mob’s Teahouse, February 2015)

Five Questions Everyone Asks a Stripper” (10 pages) Essay told in the form of a Q & A with a topless dancer. (Border Crossing, Volume 6, Fall 2016.)

Dreaming of the Netherlands” (2 pages) A woman living a traditional heterosexual married life finds herself captivated by a female flight attendant. (Rowan Glassworks, Flash Glass 2019; and Fresh Ink Magazine, March 5, 2020.)

Assertiveness Training” (1 page) True story. Just read it. It’s one measly page. (The Bookends Review, February 26, 2020)

An Ancient Perspective” (Photograph) Featured in Wanderlust: A Literary Travel Journal‘s “Perspectives” photo essay section.

Champaign, A Wedding Feast” (Photograph) Appears in a journal that specializes in life-affirming content. Wouldn’t you like to have your life affirmed? (Local Honey Midwest, January 29, 2021)

Dispatch from a Pandemic: San Antonio, Texas” (3 pages) Essay about social experience of attending a writers’ conference in the era of Covid-19. Events took place two weeks before government stay at home orders were given. (Another Chicago Magazine, March 20, 2020.)

I Would Like to See My Doctor: Social Distancing and Telemedicine” (6 pages) Essay about a Cheetos epiphany. (PopMatters, April 17, 2020.)

About Jen Companik

Jen Companik is an author, translator, and photographer based in the exurbs of Chicago. She is a fiction editor at TriQuarterly and holds an M.A. from Northwestern University. Some of her professional accomplishments include: first prize, The Ledge’s 2014 Fiction Awards; a Pushcart Prize nomination for nonfiction from Border Crossing; and work appearing in: The Evansville Review; The London Reader; The Northern Virginia Review; Fresh Ink Magazine; The Bookends Review; Another Chicago Magazine; Defunkt Magazine; Local Honey Midwest; and Glassworks. Her short story collection, Check Engine and Other Stories was included on the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses’ Reading List for National Hispanic Heritage Month 2021. You can order it from Thirty West Publishing House, Bookshop, and  Barnes & Noble. She also does literary and legal translations. She feels fortunate to be pursuing her life’s passions.

Jen is the U.S. born daughter of South American immigrants–a fact which has, at times, made her homesick for places she’s never lived. Effective treatments for this homesickness typically involve eating empanadas and dancing with her relatives. Her personal accomplishments include: learning the language of wherever she’s going instead of Google Translating everything; navigating without GPS; not being swept up in the de-cluttering craze; and, once, stopping a baby from screaming on an airplane using only her wits and a red carabiner.

She reads her work at live lit events such as Story Club Chicago whenever she can–and will read anything she loves to pretty much anyone, sometimes with no prompting whatsoever.

She also writes poems. 

She’s honored you stopped to read this bio, and thrilled if you check out any of her work.

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