Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Once More, Karl Edward Wagner

Rest in peace, old friend. Who'd have thought that I'd be older than you one day...? Wayne

Sunday, November 26, 2006

1994. The Check Says It All.

From the estate of Karl Edward Wagner. That's when it finally hit me as the truth.

Ghosts of October

In the time between my two blogs, October 16th marked the 12th anniversary of the death of Karl Edward Wagner. This is the guy--and don't let above photo circa Phoenix, 1993, befuddle or bemuse you--who found that story of mine in GRUE#1, the one that really TRULY sucked (if you look back on things, no dialogue, little character development), but he knew I had the imagery there, he could feel my Chicago, and knew I deserved a chance to swim with the sharks. When you hear me use the phrase 'commonplace book' instead of 'journal,' it is because it was Karl's phrase. Karl put me in the next decade's worth of Daw's YEAR'S BEST HORROR STORIES, taking tales that were not in mainstream magazines, but small start-ups like DEATHREALM and (NOT) ONE OF US, who would continue to survive for ten years or more, yet back when Karl and I first met, most every book was a saddle-stitched book the size of a phone book from out in the boondocks. Peggy Nadramia, Mark Rainey, John Benson, they published the stories first. Karl found me a bigger audience, gave me the chance to expose Chicago the way other city haunts like Nelson Algren and Frank Norris did in earlier decades. Rest in peace, Karl Edward Wagner. Christ knows you didn't find it here...otherwise you wouldn't have been a writer. Your pallbearer, Wayne

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Back Where I Belong

I went up north for the first time in six weeks, my new job keeping me tethered to the south suburbs, and it was great to see all the meltdowns I keep trying to avoid emulating; every day I struggle to stop dismembering my life. On Belmont and Wilton, a man near a dumpster enticed me to get some free seeds from the garbage rim, taking a few packets and opening them after I politely declined, and as I continued to the el, I could hear him singing a song about free seeds for the city. It was in the 50s today, so I ambled around downtown, bought Sean Doolittle's new mystery RAIN DOGS at Border's, looked out from the second floor windows at the rebuilding of Block 37, soon to be the new HQ of our CBS affiliate, long ago the hunting grounds of The American Dream and Francis Madsen Haid, THE HOLY TERROR. Across the street is a place I kindly call John Wayne Macy's in the earshot of locals. It used to be Marshall Field's, and I say it with common sarcasm and therefore do not look like the average nutbag. If anything, I am closest to the cat whose photo above I have tried to capture for two decades. Only the singing kid with the liters of Tab escapes my grasp now. The guy above howls when his mouth opens, his missing front teeth makes me think of someone with Lesch-Nyhan syndrome, a disease that causes people to actually cannibalize themselves. He will sometimes walk the train cars, invading ones space, never really asking for money, maybe wanting only a smile or a wish of hope in return. How this guy--who I first saw when I started working in the Loop in 1984--has fought this place so long is way past my understanding. It will be winter next week and I already want to call it quits. I'm chewing on toothpicks, channeling my pain, typing with my one finger as fast as I can, as if drilling through a wall that holds secrets that the unnamed fellow above certainly discovered long ago. I know that if I lived on the street, my madness would be cured. Right now, I'd settle for Ygor playing the violin from a window high above and far away from me. Beckoning. Your monster buddy, Wayne

Archives For Stately Wayne Manor Feb-Oct 2006

Should anyone want to stumble through my old blog, the one I had before completely effed up things by merging with Google, you can still access it at