writer of myths, fairy tales, & other true stories
THE GRIEF MANUSCRIPT
Frankie published The Grief Manuscript in May 2020 during the pandemic when a book tour was impossible. Instead, Frankie opted to celebrate the release of the book by inviting various accomplished artists, videographers, and musicians to create art in response to the imagistic text. The resulting video is a rich tapestry of vivid compositions. This unconventional video was directed and produced by multi-media artist and composer, Samantha Bounkeua (Arts Foundation of Tucson & Southern AZ grant recipient & Rogue Violin Studios LLC founder), and digital artist, Cyane Tornatzky (recipient of SUPERNOVA’s Director’s Choice selection in Denver, September 2020 for the animation “Where I Am When I’m Not with You”).
She’s a writer. She’s many other things and always a writer. She’s a reader, too. She cares about books. All the books. All the books that need to get written. She cares about writers. All the writers. She cares about art and music. All the artists and musicians. She doesn’t believe in hierarchies or gatekeepers, which she sees as inventions of civilizations to diminish some in favor of others. For over twenty years she has been reaching out to her communities to find creative people and empower them. She knows that creative people must access their personalities, knowledge banks, memories, lostness-and-foundness. They must know the dreads, druthers, and dreams within them to make their art and she has developed ways to help them move authentically, confidently, and joyously into their own work. Frankie speaks about creativity through the vessel of writing, because that is her expertise.
Writers seeking guidance often find formulaic how-to lists, but no formula fits every writer, nor does it apply to every stage of a writer’s life. What people have to say will change, how they will write their texts will change, and it is from this loose footing that any person writes. To get the writing done, the method must be flexible and singular to each person. Frankie wrote Do You Feel Like Writing? (Pub date early 2023) to encourage that flexibility and give writers permission to examine the ingredients of their own experiences.
In Do You Feel Like Writing?, Frankie writes, “One of the reasons we don’t inherently know whether to trash or treasure our ideas is because movies and books often portray an artistic person accessing a muse from outside of their body. This implies that the most amazing gifts for a writer come from the outside, rather than the inside. The idea of an outside muse implies that we have no control over our writing, can’t access it when we want to, or that we could even lose it. This isn’t so. Every writer has a part of their brain working for them during conscious and unconscious hours, gathering, sifting, and sorting. I call this meaning-maker the fifth brain. Your fifth brain belongs to you. It translates the juices of your observations, churns the connections, isolates the truth of what you want to say. It’s working inside of you right now. You are the muse you seek.”
After working with over a thousand writers in informal and formal classes from 4th grade to octogenarians, Frankie is still nourished by helping other writers. She’s thought deeply about the psychology of people who write, and she’s found ways to guide them into their own processes. Her writing community is the culmination of this work, a burgeoning movement based on the Fifth Brain concepts that will teach creative people how to understand and value their own imaginations and harness the wonders particular to each thinker.
writing coaching with frankie.
Frankie loves working with writers on their projects. As a first step in building the Fifth Brain Collective community, she’s taking on writing coaching clients to help them envision, develop, and discern the texts they want to write. Currently, Frankie has a few spots left for folx looking for people working on book projects. If you’re interested, email for a free consultation. The Collective is in its early stages but will be coming to you soon with Book Study workshops, The Curiosity Symposium, online interactives, and other inventive shenanigans to keep your creative brain humming.
THE GRIEF MANUSCRIPT
Finishing Line Press, 2020
Here are remnants carried over from the surreal specificity of living in the threshold of loss. Rollins’ power lies not in getting over but in her attention while being in the midst. In fact, this is her invitation, her demand, and her gift. Open this book knowing you’ll be greeted by pain so pure as to border on the ecstatic. Expect, too, to be seared by immaculate images, ransacked by dexterous tonal range, and shorn to the bone by the wry sweep of grief written into, which is not to say explained. Each time I read The Grief Manuscript, I am wildly undone, genuinely grateful, and profoundly impressed.
DOCTOR PORCHIAT'S DREAM
Running Wild Press, 2019
“Then, readers take a sharp turn into the fantastical with an eerie fairy tale called Doctor Porchiat’s Dream by Frankie Rollins that follows the adventures of a quirky physician in a superstitious town as he chases scientific proof of the soul… [and makes] full use of the novella form by deftly exploring the perspectives of various characters.”
THE SIN EATER AND OTHER STORIES
Queen's Ferry Press, 2013
Damage suffuses The Sin Eater and Other Stories. From within Elizabeth Frankie Rollins’ construct of the blighted home an adulterous husband calls on the services of a stranger to expunge his guilt, a young couple is diagnosed with the bubonic plague, and a bored woman finds herself growing a tail. Yet these others don’t dwell; instead, they frame themselves in a way that is sound in structure and sentiment and plunges them from metaphor into modern-day marvel. In the evocative stories of this debut collection, even the tightest crevices dazzle with restorative possibility.
manuscripts in the works
fifth brain collective presents:
DO YOU FEEL LIKE WRITING?
publication date: early 2023
A guidebook into personal imagination with metacognitive prompts that teach each writer how to know their own material, habits, rituals, dreams, and writing communities. This book offers the Fifth Brain as a way to empower writers at all levels of experience.
THE EMPTY HOUSE FAIRYTALES
In this book, disappointed women find ways to morph into other creatures or other situations to save themselves. Weaving fairy tale tropes into modern problems, this book explores failed love, pandemics, loss, empowerment, and acceptance. In “The Empty House,” a woman facing a hysterectomy grows increasingly invested in the stray cats outside of her house until a moonlit night offers her another option. In “Humpty Dumpty,” a furious woman flies apart in her office and must wait for her coworkers to find her, pick up her limbs, and show her the way back to herself. “The Witch Begins” traces the way that an unhappy girl finds her way into alchemy and power. A young woman seeking an authentic life finds herself facing aliens in “Sweetpea Believed.” In “The Monster Waits,” a monster suffering the entrapment of an iced cave must face the loves and losses in her life.
This is the story of a mythical island in the 1720s and its first settlers, a mix of cosmopolitan city dwellers fleeing political violence and their guides, hardscrabble fishermen fleeing the lowest caste of a religious cult. Personalities and cultures clash as these strangers settle the uninhabited island without formal law or religion. The narrative traces this troubled growth for over a decade, as well as the mystical experiences of the island’s firstborn child, Sillith Wharsh. The book opens with the arrival of a printer and his pregnant wife, Paelen and Leena Wharsh. The reality of primitive island life is a shock for the well-bred city-dwellers, and some immediately suspect the experiment is a mistake. The lowlander families with “unclean blood” lead the settlement in matters of fishing and building, but arguments about trust and responsibility break out early. Wharsh mediates the city cartographer’s hunger for power with their illiterate and suspicious fellow settlers. Unimagined sacrifices are suffered in the first year. A midwife dies. A woman is haunted by the political murder of her family. A lowlander fisherman abandons the settlement, causing his wife to descend into madness. The Wharshes’ daughter, Sillith, grows up a scientific loner, magically beckoned by the sea. One of the settlement sons stirs unrest among the frustrated adolescent boys, and the settlers are astonished when their rejection of laws renders them helpless against an invading tribe and their own boys’ growing violence. Tensions explode in a horrific night of arson, murder, and rape. After this night, the ocean takes Sillith, who floats, circling the island, for a ten-month submergence, growing a child in a silent, underwater grief. When Sillith emerges and births the child, she finds the settlement almost broken, and she must decide whether to save or abandon the experiment that has already cost her everything. The book explores a crucible of humanity in its most beautiful and violent forms.