Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Giant MagiKist Lips

I had forgotten them completely. They were right where that big billboard of the sweaty guy is. I took that photo in 1992, past the ruins of block that was demolished and would stay vacant for fifteen years. This was the block that much of THE HOLY TERROR centered around. When I took the photo, I was standing where the Woods Theater played third run films, and across the street was the old Greyhound terminal. Many city newcomers slept in the alley between the theater and a Burger King after eating scraps. Opposite those gigantic red neon lips, MagiKist was a brand of carpet, was a place called Shopper's Corner but is now a Borders. I mention the lips towards the end of the novel, which I have finished proofreading. There is another set I will never forget, they were off Roosevelt Road, and as a child I would see them and know I was close to my destination. Illinois Research it was called then, one of the Cook County clinics. I went there three days a week until I was thirteen, being taught to walk straight and keep my head from lolling (the latter still happens if I don't concentrate hard). I learned in retrospect to dislike the clinical psychologists who would monitor me in an empty, stark white room, picking up pennies or walking up and down stairs, day after day after day, variations on themes. I wish I had a photo of the MagiKist lips to go with these memories, both good and bad. ---Wayne

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Painkiller & The American Dream

I'm still in my Old Haunts mode, trust me. Been working on proofreading my 1992 novel, THE HOLY TERROR, as Midnight Library will be publishing a mass market 15th anniversary edition. It will have a forward by me in which I explain the car accident that kept page 243 gathering dust in my word processor for 68 days, and why the novel is set during the winter of 88/89 yet it took me until 91 to finish. Much of it with the help of Yvonne Navarro and Janet Winkler, who typed entire chapters from my dictation on cassette while I was in the hospital for 291 days over two years. Part of my right hip is fused to my left forearm now, for those not in the know. Because my right arm is useless, and the doctors tried EVERYTHING to repair 'ol lefty. I find myself immersed in my own personal history, before and after the incident on 55th Street. Buildings in the novel have been razed, or over-developed. Richard Daley's son was elected mayor, an office he still holds. I read the passages involving The American Dream, and wonder why I never took the advice of Sid and Greg and so many others, never writing more than 5 stories involving the crippled hero. The novel will get a greater audience, as the $29.95 price tag was the kiss of death in 1992 dollars, plus there is a new generation of writers and readers to discover what my world was like when I was turning 30. The middle photo is of me dressed as Evan Shustak, in all his crippled, insane glory. Much of the "outfit" he wears were not throwaway props, some I still use to get through my days as sanely as possible. The photo was taken near the ruins of the Cuneo building by HE Fassl, to accompany a story in Rachel Drummond's SEQUITUR magazine. The top photo is one of my favorites, but it is much changed from the bleak corner where Grandma was killed by Francis Madsen Haid--whom the press dubbed The Painkiller--while she sat in a wheelchair, hunched from the cold, talking to pigeons. I miss 1989, the year that defines the remainder of my life. ...Wayne

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Teal Tell All (Then Back To The Old Haunts)

Within seconds of my blog post, Von sent a comment; I felt like Charlie typing in the entry code for Good Vibrations in The Looking Glass and Penny pops up almost immediately. Of course, anybody who doesn't watch LOST will not get this observation, but you could always email Sid or Larry. Sid mentioned a pun on a Wayne shade of teal, which reminds me of a similar line after my late friend and editor of Year's Best Horror wrote "Burst Just Ghostly." I told him the next line must be "turn a Wagner shade of Ka-arrl." (Bastardized Procol Harum's "Whiter Shade of Pale," for you young'uns out there, a song that will be played at my funeral). Charles queried on just HOW teal could be a doorway to madness, well, it CAN be. But I have Johnny Cash and Robert Mitchum as my gatekeepers.

Back to the Draculs (no typo) and Am'tyville thangs. Old Haunts, Night Two. I hardly get to downtown Chicago anymore, certainly not during the day. I miss seeing my fellow meltdowns, like old Ellroy trudging back to the Thompson Building, mumbling to himself. And probably in a better state of mind than me. Maybe he's talking with a ghostly Karl Edward Wagner or tapping out Baa Ba Baa BA BA bum ba5 over and over in my, um, his head.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Old Haunts

My old laboratory is now an old haunt. Everything was taken off the walls after I decimated my bookshelves. The south wall is now a teal doorway into madness. Two entire bookshelves are gone. Perhaps in my insanity I'll now call this place my control tower. We'll see. Anyways. I think I'll be posting regularly again, for now my theme being old haunts. I have an entire folder of photos, plus others that need to be rescanned because of my recent hard drive debacle. That top photo? You can still see both the interior and the exterior of The Orbit Room in episodes of CRIME STORY, set in 1962 Chicago. It was a dance club, retro before retro was the in thing, playing Sinatra next to Siouxsie & The Banshees. Now its a bank. A fucking bank. More soon. Wayne