Who Has the Key to Room #118?

Genuine friends and partners nudge and shove each other to be, in general, better — better people, sure; but what I am really aiming to say is that a byproduct of the mere adherence, and dependence, of friends expands what intrinsically exists as we’re compelled toward potentials of our chosen disciplines.

Creatively speaking, it’s a benefit when those friends are writers who consistently challenge me to perform at a progressive pace.  To grow.  (It’s lost on me, and I’m grateful for, just how many talented, literary allies exist in my epistolary network.)

Over the past several years, I’ve come to know Adam Golaski as not only a friend, but primarily as a writer with whom I can calibrate my own growth as a writer. As a teacher and lecturer, Golaski is insightful and encouraging; he’s also critical, but, like most competent educators, he also knows what the hell he’s talking about.

On his blog, Golaski recently made mention of the forthcoming Looming Low, Vol. II (Dim Shores), and noted my short-story contribution, “Lovenest.”  (The line-up for this anthology is so astonishing that I’m afraid someone’s going to ask, “Who invited this dude to the party?“) Colleagues and readers are so much better at portraying what occurs in my stories than I am (note:  I’m not a clueless creature, but often my audience repeatedly lands bullseyes about the content of my tales better than I ever could), and, to our benefit, Golaski maintains jewelers-loupe scrutiny.

Hotels and motels figure into my fiction (and into my formative years, for that matter, not to mention the more turbulent segments of adulthood) owing to their transient nature:  a temporary “home” — complete with the neon seduction of VACANCY — a palliative to the exercise of travel (or, to look at it another way, the lure of Midwest “mobility” as an antidote to potential stagnation).  I can think of a few of my stories where hotels are critical settings (“Fiending Aphophenia,” “The Undertow, and They That Dwell Within,” and an early one called “Mums”), but my derelict locale in “Lovenest” occupies a significant portion of the action and thematic rumination.

I open the story with an excerpt from one of my most personally-influential poets, Charles Simic — this from his poem, “Paradise Motel” (A Wedding In Hell, 1994):

On the pay channel, a man and a woman 

Were trading hungry kisses and tearing off

Each other’s clothes while I looked on

With the sound off and the room dark

Except for the screen where the color

Had too much red in it, too much pink.

Speaking of poetry:  I know there’s a significant contingent of Golaski-fiction fans in my network, and though I can’t speak for him, I can (I think?) mention that there are projects slowly ascending to the surface of our literary community. Golaski wrote the introduction to my 2020 collection, The Skeleton Melodies (Hippocampus Press), and so I am indebted to the man for that gesture alone. But I encourage his audience to remain current with what’s he’s doing. What I mean: you’d do well to keep an ear to the rail.  A trusty method is to check in on his blog from time to time.  Check it out here.

Announced: “Lovenest” to Appear In LOOMING LOW VOL. II Anthology (2022)

Just received correspondence from editors giving a greenlight to announce: My short story, “Lovenest,” is slated to appear in the forthcoming Dim Shores anthology, Looming Low Vol. II, a follow-up to a book which was nominated for the 2017 Shirley Jackson Award, and won the This Is Horror Award for Anthology of the Year. Sam Cowan and Justin Steele are helming this project — Cowan and Steele are a pair of professionals I’ve been eager to work with for a number of years. The intent, according to Cowan and Steele, is to premiere the anthology in August, 2022, to coincide with the bi-annual NecronomiCon in Providence, RI (August 18-21, 2022).

The table of contents for Looming Low Vol. II will be announced in the weeks ahead.

UPDATE: Table of Contents announced:

1. Matthew M. Bartlett – “The Cryptic Jape”
2. Nadia Bulkin – “Your Heart is a House on Fire”
3. Brian Evenson – “Vigil in the Inner Room”
4. Kurt Fawver – “Radius Unknown”
5. Gemma Files – “Bb Minor”
6. Richard Gavin – “The Intercessor”
7. Craig Laurance Gidney – “Impz”
8. Cody Goodfellow – “Serve & Protect”
9. Michael Griffin – “We Spend Weekends With Dad”
10. Michael Kelly – “Dead but Dreaming Still”
11. Gwendolyn Kiste – “To the Progeny Forsaken”
12. Anya Martin – “The Other Cat”
13. S.P. Miskowski – “Across the Darkness”
14. David Peak – “Zones Without Names”
15. Erica Ruppert – “Ex Astris”
16. Clint Smith – “Lovenest”
17. Simon Strantzas – “Still Packed”
18. Jeffrey Thomas – “Strangler Fig”
19. Brooke Warra – “We Don’t Live Here Anymore”
20. Kaaron Warren – “Songs We Sing at Sea”
21. A.C. Wise – “Into the Green”
22. Alvaro Zinos-Amaro – “Undo”