Posts Tagged ‘Romance’

On a pleasant near-summer’s night, the Bloomington Writers Guild co-sponsored “Second Thursday Players Pub Spoken Word Series” (cf. May 12, et al.) started off comparatively noisily with a trumpet performance by local musician Kyle Quass, followed by two poets and one fiction writer.  The fiction was by Tom Bitters with a quiet romantic tale of himself, his wife, and a local benefit performance by John Mellencamp; with Nashville Indiana full-time poet Andrew Hubbard next with four or five self-described “cross[es] between character studies and short-short stories”; and, after a musical interlude by Kyle Quass again, a group of more conventional poems by local writer Antonia Matthew.  These were followed by seven open mike readers of which I was fourth — square in the middle — with a fairy tale variant originally published in RAPUNZEL’S DAUGHTERS (Pink Narcissus Press, 2011) called “The Glass Shoe,” or, translated to modern political terms, alternative facts meet Cinderella.

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Already crummy weather plus a report of an even worse thunderstorm in the offing depressed attendance at April’s “Last Sunday Poetry Reading & Open Mic,” co-sponsored by the Bloomington Writers Guild and the Monroe County Convention Center (cf. February 26 — all right, so I had to miss the March one — et al.).  The eight of us who showed up, however, enjoyed some very good out of the ordinary work by local writers Samuel T. Franklin, whose first poetry book, THE GOD OF HAPPINESS, came out last November from Main Street Rag Publishing, and retired astronomy professor Richard H. Durison with publications in SPACE AND TIME, ILLUMEN, DISTURBED DIGEST, FROSTFIRE WORLDS, and others.  After the break, though, with only MC Patsy Rahn and me with poems to offer, plus (remember?) the threat of storms coming, we decided to skip the open readings for this time in favor of a little more conversation (a small enough group to not have to break off into segments) and snacking, then early adjournment.

Afterward, home and dry, I completed and sent in my own weekend project, a third TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH-related guest post for Heidi Angell, who we may remember from her January 9 interview of me (see January 10), or my two previous guest-essays on “What Is a Novel-In-Stories?” and “It Began With a Map” (for links to both of these as well as the interview, cf. March 30).  This weekend’s article, probably to be published (assuming it’s accepted) this side of mid-May, is titled “The Ghoul-Poet” and notes, among other things, the “Five Act Dramatic Structure” and its relation to TOMBS (or, Why Does the Book’s Contents Page Look Like a Playbill?).

Quoting the Indiana University Cinema blurb for February 24:  Set in a dystopian Texas of the future, THE BAD BATCH is a “post-apocalyptic cannibal love story,” as writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour describes it, “ROAD WARRIOR meets PRETTY IN PINK with a dope soundtrack.”  This genre-breaking thrill ride won the Special Jury Prize at the 2016 Venice Film Festival and features a dream-ensemble cast of Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa, Keanu Reeves, Giovanni Ribisi, Jim Carrey, and Diego Luna.  The film opens later in 2017.  Director Ana Lily Amirpour is scheduled to be present.  Asked herself afterward about PRETTY IN PINK, Ms. Amirpour allowed that was something she’d said in one interview and she’d never do it again, but she smiled when she said that.  As for ROAD WARRIOR, there is a Mad Maxish ambience to THE BAD BATCH with scavenger societies, makeshift cities (one making use of an aircraft graveyard), and never-mind-where-the-gasoline-comes-from automobiles, though in this case more the speed of Vespas and golf carts.

Then another question:  What was the significance of the bunny?  Let us go back in time for a moment to Amirpour’s earlier movie A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT* and Masuka the cat (cf. January 19, 11 2015).  Masuka acts there as a sort of marking figure, passed in ownership between people who become important; in this a bunny (unnamed in the credits unless I missed it) becomes the pet of a little

“Do you want to hang out or something?”

girl who in turn becomes the bond between principle characters Arlen and Miami Man.  But beyond that, well, animals in some way may represent innocence and purity, Amirpour allowed, but (harking to another question too) this might not be a film to put too much stock in one-on-one symbolism.

What it is, though, she said is a “personal story of a girl who feels cut down, ripped apart by life,” as well as, as she was writing it originally, her “love letter to America.”  She hastened to add, this was before current times with a President Trump.  Yet a pervading image is that of a Texas desert divided by a wall, behind which are thrust the “bad batch,” the non-productive, the terminally ill, illegal immigrants (Miami Man was, originally, “a Cubano”), the homeless. . . .   They then are further divided into two “cities,” The Bridge (so named from homeless who, in US cities, often take shelter under expressway bridges and the like), a machismo culture and also . . . cannibalistic, and Find Comfort, a more benign hippie-like civilization whose diet tends more toward pasta.**  Needless to say, they hate each other.

So what is a girl to do — who’s already lost an arm and a leg (literally) to the dinner table?  Or a doting father who’s lost his daughter, but wouldn’t turn his nose up at a human filet.

Might there be a third way?

But also beware, there’s a quality of dream, of fairytale about the thing too, of don’t always take too literally what you see.  Be content instead to see beautiful images, though often enough combined with the grotesque — this is not a film for the faint of stomach!  Enjoy the soundtrack, and worry not too much about details like where gas or electricity come from in the desert (or pasta, for that matter, or how many humanburgers it takes to sustain a weight-lifter physique).  Or if the ending is, as we say in the romance biz, “happily ever after” or even, realistically, “happily for now.”  Sneak previews aside (Friday’s screening was presumably the first outside the film festival circuit), THE BAD BATCH is set for a June 23 release by NEON according to IMDb and, when the time comes, just sit back and enjoy it!

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*The night before, in fact, we got to see seven short films by Amirpour including the original A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT, on which the feature-length version was based (although, in the short, without any cats).

**And, surely this is just my personal eccentricity, I couldn’t help seeing a parallel to this, and especially the ending, in the 1974 Sean Connery film ZARDOZ (see October 15, 2016).  Or maybe I am nuts.

And why not, a little freebie for Valentine’s Day, in this case a portrait of Gloria Holden as DRACULA’S DAUGHTER, combined with a brief poem describing a scene that’s not in the movie.  Or in any vampire movie I’ve seen, come to think of it.

draculasdaughter

THE VAMPIRESS’S EMBARRASSMENT

she loved blood
but she hated the clots, when she laughed
and they came out her nose

As Editor Kathie Giorgio puts it (from the “Introduction”),  Think of all the words we have for time, phrases that many of us use and hear every day:

Time to go.  Time’s running out.  All the time in the world.  Time and tide waits for no man.  It’s singularirreghigh time.  A question of time, a race against time.  All in good time.  Ahead of your time.  The right place at the right time.  Better luck next time.  

Time dominates us and directs us.  We are ourselves timepieces, our hearts are our pendulums, beating out the seconds we have on this earth.

What time is it for you today?

Well, you get the idea:  IT’S ABOUT TIME.  Yes, that’s the anthology’s name, and yesterday, Friday, it made its appearance in ye olde mailbox to kick off the Veterans Day Holiday Weekend (yes, technically a postal holiday, but packages get special treatment).  And as might be inferred, quite the eclectic collection it is, with scads and scads of mostly short stories and poems of all aspects of time, so that even my story, a science fiction/romance including time travel, seems mundane and routine.  A reprint titled “Curious Eyes” (cf. September 20, et al.), it has been around, though, with four prior appearances starting with THE FICTION PRIMER way back in December 1988.

But to see more for yourself, press here.

Then speaking of re-appearances, today’s email also brought a confirmation from Marge Simon, editor of the “Blood & Spades” poetry column in the Horror Writers Association’s monthly NEWSLETTER.  We had been talking about reprint rights for my “It Begins With the Sound” essay (currently in the Autumn ILLUMEN, see November 5), and it is now officially set for the January 2017 issue.

Speaking of fast work, Tuesday, while skipping some of the slow, slow reports of election results, I was finishing up questions for a new interview by Carrie Ann Golden.  No ducks walking into bars or early crushes in this one (cf. October 24), but good writerly questions still, seven in all, including a few on my upcoming novel-in-stories, TOMBS:  A 13921093_549470955240395_4107293061612582985_nCHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.  And even a comment on THE TEARS OF ISIS.  But here’s the thing:  We were looking toward a publication date prior to Thanksgiving, just a couple of weeks down the pike, but when I sent my copy in Wednesday early afternoon, Carrie was back to me by that evening.  “These [the answers] are wonderful . . . am planning to post your interview on Monday, November 14.”

But wait.  That’s this Monday, the one coming up.  Four days from today, today being Thursday.  Talk about quick work!  So anyway, just around the (as it were) calendar corner, I’ll be there on Carrie Golden’s A WRITER & HER ADOLESCENT MUSE blog, more on which, with link, we will see here on the 14th.

We are screening 3 films at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater: Arsenic and Old Lace, The Exorcist and The Wailing.  Frank Capra’s Halloween comedy Arsenic and Old Lace stars Cary Grant as a man learns that his eccentric but sweet aunts have been seeking out lonely, elderly men, poisoning them, and burying them in the basement.  Controversial from the day it opened in 1973, The Exorcist is now recognized as a defining classic of the genre.  Our third film, The Wailing, is a 2016 release.  A foreigner’s mysterious appwebart-bct-oct23earance in a quiet, rural village causes suspicion among the locals in The Wailing.  Released in June of this year, The Wailing  has garnered enthusiastic reviews  on the film festival circuit and is currently the highest rated film on Rotten Tomatoes.  You can read more detailed descriptions of these below.

The Halloween Fest will also include spine-tingling live performances in between films by James Dorr and by Cricket’s Bone Caravan, so come early and stay late.

So begins Bloomington’s local Ryder Film Series announcement of the coming weekend’s special showing, from 2:15 p.m. to 10:45 p.m., “Halloween Fest:  Sunday, Oct 23 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater.”  That’s right here, downtown on Kirkwood Avenue for those unfamiliar with the venue, with my part scheduled for the intermission between THE EXORCIST and THE WAILING.  And for what I’ll read (hint:  it’s the same tale I read for the 4th Street Arts Festival in September, cf. September 4), let us let the Ryder explain:  [DorTombs Final copyr] will be reading a selection from his newest book, TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, a novel-in-stories scheduled for release by Elder Signs Press in spring-summer 2017.  Set on a far-future dying Earth in and around a vast necropolis known as the “Tombs,” “Raising the Dead” is about a young woman who seeks to restore the soul of her newly deceased husband to his body; a tale of necromancy, dark fantasy, airships, and doomed love.  “Raising the Dead,” I should add, has also been published in White Cat Publications’s 2015 steampunk anthology AIRSHIPS & AUTOMATONS (cf. May 27, April 7 2015, et al.).

Schedules, ticket prices.and more can be found on the Ryder’s own site by pressing here.  And, if all the above weren’t enough, they also add:  Wait, there’s a fourth film.  On Sunday, October 30th we will screen the 1958 classic, Horror of Dracula, at Bear’s Place.  If you purchase a movie pass for the films at the BCT on Oct 23rd, you can use it for Horror of Dracula as well.

It’s a contest put on by Grey Matter Press, publishers of SPLATTERLANDS and others (cf. September 11 2015, et al.), to select a small number of flash fiction pieces to play with the big boys (“five disturbing visions from five diverse authors that include Josh Malerman, John F.D. Taff, Erik T. Johnson, J. Daniel Stone, and Joe Schwartz”) in a new anthology I CAN TASTE THE BLOOD.  The prizes include publication, a copy, and a modest gift card and entries must be published in advance for the judges and others — readers who can vote for their favorites too.  The stories vampiress_by_laravilya-d4r2gwfmust be inspired by the “bloody” title, be 500-700 words in length, and, the month almost over, thought I “why not?”

So think of it as a pre-Halloween lagniappe, free stories for all!  Mine is about, natch, sweet lesbian vampire love (so why not?) in a 698-word bare bones version of a longer tale originally published in MON COEUR MORT (Post Mortem Press, July 2011*), “A Cup Full of Tears.”  But here’s the thing, for “A Cup Full of Tears” to be published in the anthology too, it must be voted on by those who read it.  A jury of sorts will look at these too, but when the smoke clears, by noon I believe on Halloween Day (the voting itself ends at 12:01 a.m. October 26), it is those with the most votes that get to move on.  Voting consists of clicking a button to the right that follows each story, and leaving a comment — hopefully positive.  Also, up until October 21, you can enter your own mini-story as well if you desire.

So to vote — or just read — one must press here.  You will see the rules, the details of the contest, but then you must scroll down.  Down and down, passing stories and comments, until you reach the sixth (6th) story.  My name will be above it in blue, then the title in all caps, “A CUP FULL OF TEARS.”  And should the spirit so move, the vote button is at its bottom right, labeled “Reply.”

(Or if, by now, even the idea of elections has you down, just read and enjoy.)
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*See also July 28, 14, June 17 2011, below.

Hurry, hurry, hurry.  The IT’S ABOUT TIME early ordering period, with early bird discount, is ending in just under two weeks according to MSR Publishing editor M. Scott Douglass.   You have seen the inside galleys.  They have been corrected and sent to the editors for final review.  That means we are approaching the deadline to shut off the Advance Sale Cvr_AboutTime_bookstore-200x300Discount price from the MSR Online Bookstore.  . . .   Advance Sales WILL expire October 3.

My story in this one is called “Curious Eyes,” about a time traveler, a chance encounter, and a good night in a Kansas City Bar.  It’s a not very heavy science fiction story, from a long time ago when I was writing a fair bit of SF, and actually published in a general fiction magazine, in the December 1988 THE FICTION PRIMER.  Nothing fancy, mind you, just plain folks, plain setting (well, maybe a little after-hours loneliness, cue in alto sax, a little brush work on the drum, but muted and sad-like, a rainy night outside — you know the scene), pleasant when it’s all over.  Yes, I’ve written a few stories like that.  Way back when-like. . . .

So think of “Curious Eyes” as a rarity,  one of a kind I don’t write too much nowadays, but yours to savor in IT’S ABOUT TIME, and one to be had at a discount to boot — but only for the swift.  For more information, pre-ordering press here.

From the essay on poetry I mentioned writing two posts below:  . . . when I was much younger, poets sometimes read poems with jazz in the background.  A muted piano, stand-up bass, a drummer for accents with cymbals and brush, an alto sax, maybe, while the poet recited the words over it, not as lyrics, but for their own sake, the musicians having the job to make sure their own sounds worked with them.  So Saturday showed the art may not be lost completely.  Saturday I had other work downtown as well (well, on Sunday too) but, when I had a chance, I kept coming back to the Spoken Word Stage.  And one half hour slot had been taken by a group called “Shakespeare’s Monkey,” billed as a “poetry band,” and, yes, there was a poet reading and accompanied by music.  The mix was different — two guitars and percussion, the last sometimes switching off to kazoo-like muted horn sounds, even “echos” of parts of one poem’s words, the modes were different, traditional jazz-like 14199337_1082145731841259_7460941992285364875_nfor one poem about “surrealism,” more strictly rhythmic for a poem that had come before, but the principle was the same, and the sound of the poems with musicians sharing them was delightful.

The event is Bloomington’s annual Fourth Street Festival of the Arts and Crafts (to give it its full, official name), with artists’ booths up and down 4th Street and parts of the cross streets, drawing in artists across the Midwest and beyond.  In conjunction with this, the Spoken Word Stage is co-sponsored by the Bloomington Writers Guild, taking up Dunn Street south of 4th, with an information and “Poetry on Demand” booth (the latter where people can have personal poems written for them by Guild members, in exchange for hoped for donations) as well as the stage.  And, while most of Saturday’s readers were poets, there was a children’s theater and, later, a radio theater group too.  As well, of the poets, both the present and a past Indiana Poet Laureate.

Sunday, by contrast, brought fiction too, two slots billed as “fiction,” three “storytelling,” and one “horror fiction.”  Guess which one was mine!  These in all cases were half-hour readings, with eight more (one billed as including “personal essay”) taken up by poets.  Mine was relatively late in the day, from 3:30 to 4 p.m., out of prime time but not so late that, on a beautiful sunny day, people would have been leaving already.  The piece I read was a story called “Raising the Dead,” originally published in AIRSHIPS & AUTOMATONS (White Cat Publications, 2015 — cf. May 27 2015, et al.) and to be in the final section, of five and an entr’acte, in TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, to be published next year.

All in all a good time, for more of which (the Writers Guild part anyway) one may press here.




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