Dwellings—disparate, digressive—of 2015

2015 teeth

Naturally, situated here in this winter window between the consumer chaos of Christmas and the transitive threshold of New Year’s, many annual lists emerge over the transom, making it difficult to avoid accumulating some ruminative (albeit self-serving) notes of my own.

The challenge, of course, is compartmentalization, along with the exercise of striving to fit all the influential pieces into vivid unity.  (And while I still maintain an old-fashioned, long-hand journal, I will, inevitably, neglect to mention several events, though hope to polish these memories in the wake of this blog-based entry.)  More than anything, though—and in a feeble attempt to mellow the associated myopia—this sort of subjective exercise should be intrinsically instructive for the sake of appreciation.  A complicated, “Thank You,” in other words.

So, submitted for your (and simultaneously no one’s) approval, a modest exercise in reflection—this year, 2015:

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Personally…

…I’m loath to voluntarily (read:  carelessly) share too much of my private, family life (often failing due to the errant posting of photos) within the dodgy landscape of social media; but a doubtless highlight for my family was (after unpredictable upheaval) finally settling into our home, which seems tailored specifically for the unique rhythm of my humble clan.

The Movies…

…I’ve watched this past year are so minimal that it’s barely worth devoting space.  Still, I enjoyed several that linger:  It Follows, The Babadook, Silent House (late to that one, along with Room 237, Oculus, and Chef).  John Wick was a formulaically-fulfilling revenge flick.  One of those Star Wars movies was released in December (you might be able to find the trailer on the internet).  Saw it.  Pretty fun.

Music…

…was, as usual, a fluid entity.  Gorged myself on Ghost B.C.’s album, Meliora.  Uncle Acid was a fun find this fall, and have been consuming as much Baroness as I can of late.  And this year ends on a sad note with the passing of Lemmy on December 28.

Writing…

…is really what I come here to examine.  This year, I was fortunate to have crossed paths with Jordan Krall, publisher of Dynatox Ministries.  My novella, When It’s Time For Dead Things To Die, was released in early 2015 by Dunhams Manor Press (and imprint of Dynatox).  (Note:  thanks to David Bridges for placing the novella on his own year-end list.)  A few months later, DMP released Xnoybis, #1, a quarterly journal of weird fiction, which included my story, “The Rive.”  Over the summer, I was contacted by Stephen Jones who passed along word that “Dirt On Vicky” would be included in his annual Best New Horror anthology.  BNH #26 was published by PS Publishing this past autumn.  Also, fall saw the release of C.M. Muller’s eagerly anticipated anthology, Nightscript, Vol. I (which exceeded expectations—Muller continues to garner much-deserved accolades, including winning the Dark Muse Award for Best Multi-Author Collection via Anthony Watson’s Dark Musings).  “Animalhouse” found a home in Nightscript’s impressive TOC.

Now, nearing the annual end, the Mythic Indy anthology (after suffering a minor setback in its winter, 2015 publication) is scheduled for an early 2016 release.  You can find my short story, “The Fall of Tomlinson Hall; or The Ballad of the Butcher’s Cart,” in this inaugural project.  And just a few days after Thanksgiving, I received word that my tale, “By Goats Be Groomed,” found inclusion in the GNU Journal, which should gain readable life in the first months of 2016.

And the intimate orbit of my writing community…

…in which I’ve made some genuinely meaningful connections with in 2015.  The following folks have sustained with me, in a variety of ways, an ongoing, communicative comradery for which I’m galactically grateful.  A sober and sincere thanks to these guys in particular, along with so many more that this bonehead will forget:  C.M. Muller (for guidance, for the occasional epistolary exercise and, let’s not forget, razor-sharp and shadowed fiction); Jordan Krall (for giving my long story a shot); Scott Nicolay (for the kind words and for providing the far-reaching platform of The Outer Dark for a lesser-known “voice” like mine); Joe Zanetti (for the reviews, virtual head-butts and slaps on the shoulder); Matt Bartlett (maintaining a sort of inspirative edge in his fiction); Lou Perry (for providing unexpected—though infinitely appreciated—praise for Ghouljaw); Frank Montesonti (for his collaborative efforts with last spring’s F.C. Literati reading at Bookmama’s in Irvington); and, finally, to Jon Padgett, Daniel Mills, Christopher Slatsky (coolest initials in the biz), and John Claude Smith (coolest surname in the biz) for their endorsive support.  Thank you all for being both advocates and, in one way or another–on some level or another–friends.

 

“A Care For Dark Cookery” Interview with The Outer Dark (Episode 21)

I was recently afforded the opportunity to appear on Scott Nicolay’s podcast, The Outer Dark (Project iRadio).

The Outer Dark

L’esprit de l’escalier has been particularly pronounced in the wake of the interview and subsequent social-media (ephemeral as it may be) conversations.  Still, we managed to discuss the eerier writings of Henry James and Hawthorne, as well as the relationship with my writing and the structure (houses included) of societal rituals.

For over a decade, Thanksgiving Day (owning to the typical, day-off-work traditions) has been, for me, a day to absorb more of what I’m reading (sneak in an extra story or two), and reflect on the writing exercise I’ve accumulated during autumn.  (Standing out in my mind with Kodachrome clarity is Thanksgiving, 2000, when I completed Dan Simmons’s Summer of Night.  Ignorant of the craft (as I still, in great part, am), that novel was a revelation to me, and I had that quiet period during the holiday, and extended winter holiday, to wonder what it would be like to write something — anything.

Scott Nicolay has been enormously supportive of the Ghouljaw endeavor.  So, on this Thanksgiving Day, 2015, I’d like to record my gratitude for his writerly camaraderie, and for his high-octane celebration of little-known scribblers dog-paddling in weird waters.

Bon Appétit, Indy

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“The Fall of Tomlinson Hall” by Clint Smith

Dear readers and comrades:  I hope you’re having a wonderful October.

Here’s an early treat for Halloween, 2013 (and perhaps Thanksgiving, depending on your interpretation):  the release of my short story, “The Fall of Tomlinson Hall; or The Ballad of the Butcher’s Cart,” which is part of the ongoing  Mythic Indy series at Punchnel’s.

The short tale is centered on a pair of downtown-Indy line cooks during the 1950s who — pardon the pun — bite off more than they can chew when uncovering an “underground” secret.  Follow the link here:  “The Fall of Tomlinson Hall” by Clint Smith.

As a supplement to the story, I’ve provided some historic photos associated with the characters and which figure into key scenes:

Columbia Club (Then and Now)

The Columbia Club of Indianapolis. 1888: Republicans join to support candidacy of Benjamin Harrison. 1924: Columbia Club hires Rubush & Hunter for new clubhouse; begin construction on 10-story limestone building on site of former site Dr. Isaac Coe, the second physician to move to Indianapolis.

City Market Vendors (Historic Photos of Indianapolis)

A couple of lads sell fruit at the bustling Indianapolis city market, circa 1908.

Crispus Attucks (Historic Photos of Indianapolis)

Fans cheer during a basketball game at Crispus Attucks High School (1958). The IPS school board opened Attucks in 1927 to segregate the city’s African-American high school students.

Tomlinson Hall (Historic Photos of Indianapolis)

Tomlinson Hall and the City Market, both completed in 1886.

Tomlinson Hall, 2 (Historic Photos of Indianapolis)

1912: Vendors sell meat and produce along Alabama and Market streets. Clearly noticeable in the background are Tomlinson Hall and the City Market.

Tomlinson Hall (Then and Now)

Tomlinson Hall: Constructed, 1883, and destroyed by fire in the winter of 1958. All that remains of the elaborate structure is the side-door arch in the courtyard of the City Market.

And while you’re at it, check out the newly constructed (i.e. barebones) Facebook page for my forthcoming collection, Ghouljaw and Other Stories: facebook.com/Ghouljaw.

When you stop by Punchnel’s, be sure to visit all the previous Mythic Indy stories and their contributors:

  • “The Man on The Monon” by Ben H. Winters
  • “Dining on Salvia” by Eliza Tudor
  • “Odd Man Out” by Jay Lesandrini
  • “Population Profile: the Bridge People” by Matt Jager
  • “A Delicate Endeavor” by Maria Cook
  • “Heart of the City” by Alex Mattingly
  • “The Zero Point” by Hugh Vandivier
  • “Ebony Paradox” by Maurice Broaddus
  • “thinmanlittlebird” by Austin Wilson
  • “How Market Square Arena Killed Elvis” by Maggie Wheeler

That’s all for now, friends.  Happy Halloween!