Eating Barbequed Iguana

I’m on a mexican radio
I wish I was in Tiajuana
Eating barbequed iguana
I’d take requests on the telephone
I’m on a wavelength far from home
I feel a hot wind on my shoulder
I dial it in from south of the border
I hear the talking of the dj
Can’t understand just what does he say?
Radio radio…
—- Wall of Voodoo, Mexican Radio

The Tennessee Williams quote on the wall at the Gallier House, Royal Street, French Quarter, New Orleans.

I wrote about this on my Facebook page back in February – but I don’t think a lot of people followed the link.

At any rate, this story started back in 2012, on a trip to New Orleans. I ran into a group at the St. Vincent’s Guest House and soon was involved in a one-day writing marathon – walking around with a handful of folks, scribbling away.

I was inspired by the experience to the point I organized a Writing Marathon or two of my own, here in Dallas.

Then finally, in July of last year, I was able to swing attending the full week-long Writing Marathon Retreat – branching out from the Gallier House to write across the French Quarter and beyond.

One day, the group I had gone with that day stopped for the fixed-price lunch at Antoine’s (highly recommended if you are in New Orleans in the summer). I remembered an incident that had happened in that very restaurant thirty five years earlier. I pulled out my pen and notebook wrote up my memories in the bar.

At the end of each day, there was the option for a few folks to stand up and read from what they had written earlier. I put my name on the list and read the story from Antoine’s. The readings were recorded.

Then, in February, a selection of the recordings were played on KSLU radio.

You can listen to the 2017 readings AT THIS LINK – If you want to skip ahead, my reading is at about the 14:10 point.

If that link doesn’t work – go here – http://www.kslu.org/awards_recognition/index.html and click on “2017 Writing Marathon.”

People have asked me about the siren at the end of my reading. That isn’t a sound effect – the fire engine actually went by on the street outside, siren blaring, as I finished.

Now I need to get going and register for the 2018 Retreat. So much fun.

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A Month of Short Stories 2017, Day 13 – Hop-Frog by Edgar Allan Poe

Deep Ellum
Texas

Over several years, for the month of June, I wrote about a short story that was available online each day of the month…. It seemed like a good idea at the time. My blog readership fell precipitously and nobody seemed to give a damn about what I was doing – which was a surprising amount of work.

Because of this result, I’m going to do it again this year – In September this time… because it is September.

Today’s story, for day 13 – Hop-Frog by Edgar Allan Poe

Read it online here:

Hop-Frog by Edgar Allan Poe

The eight ourang-outangs, taking Hop-Frog’s advice, waited patiently until midnight (when the room was thoroughly filled with masqueraders) before making their appearance. No sooner had the clock ceased striking, however, than they rushed, or rather rolled in, all together–for the impediments of their chains caused most of the party to fall, and all to stumble as they entered.

—-Edgar Allan Poe, Hop-Frog

Everyone has read Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart in school. Everyone is familiar with The Raven, The Pit and the Pendulum, or A Cask of Amontillado. But I bet you haven’t read Hop-Frog.

It is a brutally simple tale of revenge and horror. Never one for subtlety, Poe goes for the jugular here, and delivers. I’m surprised this tale hasn’t been used more often (as has Poe’s other tropes) in modern horror films. It’s a yarn that holds up well, almost two centuries after it was written.

An interesting fact about the story is that, apparently, Poe wrote it as a literary “revenge” against a woman, Elizabeth F. Ellet, and her circle of friends. They had been trafficking in gossip about Poe and alleged improprieties to the extent that Poe’s wife felt they had driven her to her deathbed.

Don’t mess with a short story writer, or you will be immortalized in horror.

Poe on Writing:

I prefer commencing with the consideration of an effect. Keeping originality always in view — for he is false to himself who ventures to dispense with so obvious and so easily attainable a source of interest — I say to myself, in the first place, “Of the innumerable effects, or impressions, of which the heart, the intellect, or (more generally) the soul is susceptible, what one shall I, on the present occasion, select?” Having chosen a novel, first, and secondly a vivid effect, I consider whether it can best be wrought by incident or tone — whether by ordinary incidents and peculiar tone, or the converse, or by peculiarity both of incident and tone — afterward looking about me (or rather within) for such combinations of event, or tone, as shall best aid me in the construction of the effect.
—-from THE PHILOSOPHY OF COMPOSITION

Coal and coke fire, Frisco, Texas.

The Mark Of Steel Upon It

“The immappable world of our journey. A pass in the mountains. A bloodstained stone. The marks of steel upon it. Names carved in the corrosible lime among stone fishes and ancient shells. Things dimmed and dimming. The dry sea floor. The tools of migrant hunters. The dreams encased upon the blades of them. The peregrine bones of a prophet. The silence. The gradual extinction of rain. The coming of night.”

― Cormac McCarthy, Cities of the Plain

Steel in the forge, Frisco, Texas

Steel in the forge,
Frisco, Texas

Spark By Irreplaceable Spark

“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.”

― Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

Forge Fire Frisco, Texas

Forge Fire
Frisco, Texas

The Nights Will Flame With Fire

“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.”
― Charles Bukowski, Factotum

Frisco Heritage Center, Frisco, Texas

Frisco Heritage Center, Frisco, Texas

The Nights Will Flame With Fire

“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.”
― Charles Bukowski, Factotum

Pizza Oven at Cane Rosso Deep Ellum Dallas, Texas

Pizza Oven at Cane Rosso
Deep Ellum
Dallas, Texas

The Glint Of Light On Broken Glass

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
― Anton Chekhov

Saturday was the annual Cedars Open Studios Tour and Bike Friendly Cedars had organized a bike ride to the various studios and galleries. I had been looking forward to this for months and was concerned as the day approached that there was a prediction of violent thunderstorms. Still, I was up for giving it a shot.

As a compromise, I did drive down in my car instead of taking the train – that way I had a refuge and means of transport if the weather turned really bad. I also took my commuter bike instead of my folder – the big tires, weatherproof cargo box, and fenders are designed to get through any weather. I parked at Lee Harvey’s, dragged my bike out of the back, and pedaled down to the Bowler Hat to meet up with the other folks.

We gathered together and rode off, touring a large number of artists, their spaces, and their work. It was a big variety, from ceramics, jewelry and paintings to gigantic sculptures and architectural works. Everybody was very friendly and there was even a good bit of food and drink set out too.

The weather held out until the middle of the afternoon when it turned cold and rainy. I bailed on the bike tour and hid out under the awning at Lee Harvey’s for a bit. It helped that there was an excellent band, Shoot Low Sheriff, finishing out a set. Clay Stinnett – the artist that painted the work I bought at For the Love of Kettle – was there showing off some paintings.

About that time the sun was setting and the heavens really opened up. I wanted to go to the finale of the evening at Bowman Hot Glass, so I unpacked my rain gear and headed out.

Despite the weather, there was a big crowd at Bowman. A lot of the folks I had seen here and there during the day also ended up at Bowman. I bought a glass Christmas Ornament and carefully packed it into an extra pannier that I brought along.

The highlight was the molten glass Christmas tree. A large structure of wood and iron was brought out and placed in the rain, surrounded by a safety zone demarcated by yellow police tape. A sound system boomed out an appropriate accompaniment. Two women dressed as glow-in-the-dark angels came out and garnished the structure with rolls of paper tape. Then a man in a silver heat suit and a torch lumbered from the building and set the paper and wood on fire.

The glass furnaces inside the building were opened and the bright orange glow bathed the cold and wet crowd outside. Then three glassblowers began grabbing giant blogs of glowing glass on the ends of long blowpipes, carrying them out to the tree, and dribbling the thick liquid all over the tree. In an intricate and dangerous hot dance they took turns running out with their molten burdens, holding them over the tree, then returning for another load.

The hot glass ignited all the remaining unburned wood, flooding the entire sculpture with flame. After a number of trips, the iron armature within was completely covered with strands of glass. It really did end up looking like a Christmas tree – festooned with a thick layer of crystal icicles.

Finally, they finished and everyone cheered. I packed my bike up and set out in the rain and dark to ride the few blocks to my car. I was very grateful for my fenders and Gore-Tex rain gear.

As I pedaled out I took one last look at the tree. Unfortunately, the falling rain was too much of a thermal shock and it shattered most of the glass tree – but it was incredible watching its creation.

Christmas tree made of fire and glass, Bowman Hot Glass, Dallas, Texas

Christmas tree made of fire and glass, Bowman Hot Glass, Dallas, Texas