Major props to Mike Davis and his team for a fun and engaging conversation at the Lovecraft eZine Podcast. You can catch the episode here. Despite a minor (and temporary) connectivity glitch on my end, we were able to discuss a number elements which comprise The Skeleton Melodies, as well as some of the formative drivers of my fiction. Among the mentions: the influential novel Summer of Night, the effect of creature-feature host, Sammy Terry, and little name-dropping (among others) on my colleagues Adam Golaski and C.M. Muller.
And while Mike and Lawrence and Kevin and Harlen and Cordie watched the satellite pass over, their faces raised in wonder at the bright new age now beginning, Dale watched them, thinking of his friend Duane and seeing things through the words that Duane might have used to describe them…
—Dan Simmons, Summer of Night (1991)
As I’m wont to do on Thanksgiving evening, as dusk draws up on a day dedicated to frantic culinary endeavors, a spectrum of logistics, and general familial demands (I’m grateful for the chaos and chores in all their variegated forms), I also nurture a memory, a narrow moment which had a profound consequences.
That day and date back in November, 2000, represent coordinates of a tectonic shift along what was, at the time, a rather ambitiously listless landscape. As I, along with many of you, express sentiments of, I also grow preoccupied by a sense of melancholy at closing that crease-covered paperback—a daunting melancholy (The amount of time and attention it must take to be a writer…) which was not wholly unpleasant, as it compelled the dissective questions: How is it done?…How does this work?…How do you get them to see?
I began studying. I began dissecting. I began. Sapere Aude—Incipe!
Seventeen years ago this evening, I stole away from an acidic / insipid Thanksgiving-dinner-table conversation, retreating to an isolated, second-story bedroom to read the last eight pages of the Warner Books paperback-version of SUMMER OF NIGHT. I scrutinized / savored the novel’s last lines with the understanding that I’d inadvertently navigated myself toward a craft-creative crossroads…
I’m still trying to figure out what kind of writer I’m supposed to be…