Posts Tagged ‘Casket Girls’

A new month and tonight a new Bloomington Writers Guild “First Wednesday Spoken Word Series” (cf. August 7, et al.), co-sponsored by local Bear’s Place tavern, was heavy on poetry.  The featured guests, in fact, were four members of Bloomington’s “Five Women Poets” writing group, Antonia Matthews (who we’ve met before, including with last month’s “Home Front” audio drama, cf. August 10) with an “assisted” (i.e. a portion of the “plus one”?) dialog poem on “Flip Flops at the White House,” but with more serious work as well; Anya Peterson Royce with poems on dancers, anthropology, Ireland, and other topics; Leah Helen May with memories of childhood and toads, locusts, seasons, and old age; and Margaret Fisher Squires on dragons, remodeling, psychology, and Biblical ruminations.  This was followed by a not quite feature, not quite walk-on (the rest of “plus one”?) on a sort of Writers Guild inside joke with Chairperson Joan Hawkins reading names of colors of black with commentary by Antonia Matthews.  So — okay — you had to be there.

Musical interludes were by Travis Puntarelli.  Then at real “Open Mic” time there were only three takers this outing, with me first with another “casket girls” tale, “A Surfeit of Poe,” about poetess Yvonne’s having met Baudelaire and bringing back a copy of his first volume of translations of Edgar Allen Poe.  But the question was, did Poe ever write any tales about vampires?

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Speaking of Aimée et les filles à les caissettes, the contract arrived today from WEIRDBOOK for the blood-appreciative New Orleanian’s most recent adventure, “Death and the Vampire” (cf. June 16).  This will be the fifth, I believe, of the “Casket Girl” stories to be published, including two in DAILY SCIENCE FICTION as noted below, so Aimée and her friendMusidora_6_16_19s have been getting around.  Not to mention some of these have been reprinted as well, plus that the entire casket girl canon, published and non-published, is currently being presented at the Writers Guild “First Wednesday Spoken Word Series” in form of successive open mike readings.

“Death and the Vampire” runs at about 1000 words and concerns a late night meeting on Rampart Street, in front of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, between Aimée and a tall, gaunt gentleman claiming to be Death.  But if, as the saying goes, Death cannot be delayed, the issue he’s to be a guest star in apparently can.  According to Editor Douglas Draa, due to a last-minute special issue, material planned for WEIRDBOOK #44 in mid 2020, including this story, will now appear in #45 later that year.

Came the 7th, the first Wednesday in August, and with it the Bloomington Writers Guild “First Wednesday Spoken Word Series” (cf. July 3, et al.), co-sponsored by local Bear’s Place tavern, with music provided by “experimental/mod classical” group ORTET.  The featured guests were Michael Dauro with excerpts from his speculative epic-in-progress spaghetti western inspired SIERRA AMNEZIA (hero:  “The Woman With No Name”); Rachel Ronquillo Gray who, “evoking her muse,” read poems on the theme of girls, girlhood, what it means to be a good girl, and what happens when good girls stop being good; and Indiana University’s Dr. Jen Maher with a wonderfully funny essay on the connections between infertility and recreational shoplifting.  Then at “Open Mic” time I came seventh of a perhaps record thirteen readers with part two of my “casket girls” story “A Moment in Time,” of the vampiress Lo and, as we found out, who the “nice sailor man” Mel really was who she’d met in New Bedford Massachusetts in late 1840.

On 4th of July Eve, the Writers Guild “First Wednesday Spoken Word Series” (cf. June 5, et al.) was heavy on poets at local tavern Bears Place.  The musical guests were Hoosier Darling (a.k.a. WFHB GoZpul GurlZ), while the featured readers were Shana Ritter with an excerpt from her novel IN TIME OF LEAVING plus poems from her chapbook STAIRS OF SEPARATION, John James with poetry from his book THE MILK HOURS and elsewhere, and local poet Ross Gay with, as a change of pace, a selection of essays from his collection THE BOOK OF DELIGHTS.  Then when it was “Open Mic” time, my series of “casket girls” tales came in fifth place out of eight with the only one long enough to need to be divided into two parts, “A Moment in Time” (Part 1), in which we met New Orleanian vampiress Charlotte, a.k.a. Lo, and a half-remembered conversation with a “nice sailor man” in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1840.  But to find out more, we must wait until next “first Wednesday” on August 7.

A girl walks home alone at night.  But this time Aimée was stopped by Death on the bad side of Rampart Street in the shadow of St. Louis Cemetery Number 1.

So starts the story, the first sentence a blatant steal from Ana Lily Amanpour’s debut full length film of the same name (cf. January 11, also January 15 2015).  The story’s title, “Death and the Vampire,” another in the series of tales of les filles à les caissettes or, as they say in New Orleans, the “Casket Girls” (see June 12 2019, et al.).  Then hark us back to October 31 2018 and the call from WEIRDBOOK:  No HARDCORE sex!  No Sexual violence!  No UNDERAGED SEX!!  I’m looking for original (no reprints) well-written (duuh, I guess that that’s fairly obvious) weird stories.  My tastes are broad and I’m looking for any of the following:  fantasy, dark fantasy, sword and sorcery, ghost, horror, heroic fantasy, science fantasy or just plain odd.

Well, Aimée might raise an eyebrow at the “No violence” part, it being a part of the trade of a vampire, but maybe a little bit might be okay, so she took a chance and off she went last Halloween night, just meeting an October 31 deadline.  And that was that.  Her undeath continued.  But then today an answer arrived from WEIRDBOOK Editor Douglas Draa:  Dear James, my apologies for the awful delay.  I like this quite bit.  May I have it for WB# 44.  This will be a mid 2020 issue.

And that is that.  An email went back this afternoon to say Aimée is honored by the acceptance, for which look for more here as it becomes known.

Ah, June!  And with Wednesday evening it was time again for the Bloomington Writers Guild “First Wednesday Spoken Word Series” at Bears Place (cf. May 2, et al.).  The musical guests were the VLF (drummer John Valdez, bass Park Law, and guitarist and sometime voice Jason Fickel) Trio, sharing the stage with poetry by Tim Heerdink, author of RED FLAG AND OTHER POEMS plus another collection, THE HUMAN REMAINS, and first novel LAST LIGHTS OF A DYING SUN due in the near future; creative nonfiction (and sometimes mixed with a little fiction too) from Juliana Crespo with work in or forthcoming in a number of literary journals; and more poetry from local Bears Place server Brian Boucher, with a novella, “Wahoo,” serialized in THE RYDER Magazine plus poetry book ARROGANT ENLIGHTENMENT AND A CRY FOR PURPOSE on Instagram.  Then we, the walk-ons came with, in fifth place out of seven, new fille à la caissette Yvonne making her debut in a brief, 1830s-set New Orleanian tale of blood and absinthe, “The Darkness, Forgotten.”

So after a busy, busy May 1, last night also featured the third “First Wednesday Spoken Word Series” at its new time and venue, at local tavern Bears Place (cf. April 4, March 6).  And it was a stormy night as well, but dinner and poetry helped keep as many as 17 participants dry, including musical interludes by the Kyle Quass Quartet (their final performance accompanied by one of the poets as well).

The featured readers — all poets this time — were multi-published Hiromi Yoshida, a semi-finalist for the 2018 Wilder Series Poetry Book Prize and a winner of Indiana University Writers Conference Awards as well as an active member of the Beat Generation and Daily Haiku Facebook Groups; Indianapolis poet Jason Ammerman with three collections, ALL GROWN UP, MICROPHONE OR BUST, and BATTLE SCARRED, a spoken word album REVIVAL, and more of each in the works; and David L. O’Nan with two poetry and short story books, THE FAMOUS POETRY OUTLAWS ARE PAINTING WALLS AND WHISPERS and ALL OUR FEARS AND TUNNELS, as well as a new poetry and art book project, THE FAVORS OF THE MIND POETRY & ART DIGEST, in the works for later this spring.  These were followed by four walk-on “Open Mic” readers of which I led off with the third in my New Orleans “Casket Girl” series* in which we meet Marie, who has qualms about becoming a vampire, until she is calmed by hearing the tale of an adventure original vampiress Aimée had once had when visiting Rome.

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*For those interested, the original “Casket Girls” first appeared in DAILY SCIENCE FICTION on April 10 2014. A reprinted version (with better renditioning of accented vowels) from ARIEL CHART, February 2 2018, may be read by pressing here.

And so the the second Bloomington Writers Guild “Spoken Word Series at Bears” occurred last night on its new first Wednesday schedule at local (located, in fact, on Third Street) tavern Bear’s Place.  The featured readings started with parts of a 1968 Chicago-set novel in progress by local author and WFHB radio star Mike Glab; followed by a radio theater dramatization of part of a Robert Heinlein novel, THE SAIL BEYOND SUNSET, by also WFHB community radio host Richard Fish; and Indiana poet Steve Henn (most recent collection:  INDIANA NOBLE SAD MAN OF THE YEAR from Wolfson Press) with a group of personal poems including his 2018 RATTLE Poetry Prize finalist entry “Soccer Dad”; interspersed with poetry-with-music sets by SHAKESPEARE’S MONKEY, who we’ve met before (see September 1 2018, March 10 2017, et al.).  For the “Open Mic” part, I led off a series of five readers noting first that last month’s “Casket Girls” (cf. March 6) was just one of about a dozen flash stories concerning these New Orleanian vampires, so why not continue with their adventures for at least the rest of the year, then segueing into this month’s story, “A St. Valentine’s Day Tale,” about a fatal practical joke played by one of les filles on a loving, but sometimes abusive husband.

Second Thursdays now traded for First Wednesdays and housed in its new Bears Place location (see March 3, February 22), the “Writers Guild Spoken Word Series” featured an (almost) all-poetry program, plus music by North Carolina singer Calib Lail.  The main speakers were Charles Culp with a modified improv poetry program (audience members suggest broad subject areas, he finds an already written poem appropriate to it), Writers guild founding member and past chair Patsy Rahn with poems mostly from her just published THE GRAINY WET SOUL, and Paul Smedberg with often wryly humorous poems from his EVENT HORIZON collection and elsewhere.  This was followed by five open mike readers, the first two also with poetry, with me fourth with my New Orleans urban legend-based flash story “Casket Girls” — with a nod to Mardi Gras the day before — of the coming of vampires to the New World (cf. May 2, April 3 2018; March 6 2016; April 28 2015, et al.).

And now for something completely different.  Or, well, different at least, a recasting of an interview of . . . *moi* . . . by Rushelle Dillon (cf. October 22 2017) in a video format, or part of it anyway.  The title is “Video Refresh:  James Dorr Interview” by Stuart Conover and it’s on HORRORTREE.COM.  Or, to let the poster speak for himself:  A Sample of our interview with James Dorr by Ruschelle Dillon.  In the interview, he has a lot of fun details on his take on the writing process.  If you delve into the full interview there are a lot of playful details on his life on top of that!  . . .  This is a new format that we’re playing around with for articles, interviews, and potentially Trembling With Fear.  Please let us know if this is something that you’d like to see more of!

For more, press here (yes, it is kind of fun)!  And there’s also a link if you wish to read the whole interview as it had been originally posted.

Then a quick word on the two Kickstarters we followed earlier this month.  The ITTY BITTY WRITING SPACE one (see February 3, January 29) will be over this Thursday, February 21, so there’s not much time left if you’re tempted to participate.  The other for Gehenna and Hinnom Books (see February 1), with as of now a few extra rewards added, will end just past the close of the month, on Saturday March 2.  Links to both can be found in their posts on the dates just noted.




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