Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Ghosts of Block 37, circa 1988

I've learned long ago that I'm happier to be by myself, at least in the sense that I am not as tormented inside as I am when I'm around others. And, through this diabolical and dastardly computer, I have made friends in all corners of the world, Etain in Johannesburg, Steve in Christchurch,Kees in The Netherlands, Jaime in Tasmania (he's the guy who found a copy of my novel in a used bookstore in Sydney), and have ended the year with a comic book deal through a publisher in New Delhi. I even traveled outside of the United States for the first time in my life, going to a convention in Toronto in April. That said, as much as I'd like to visit any and all of my new friends and witness their cities and towns through their eyes and not their text, I fear that I shall always be anchored to Chicago. One block in particular, the one I centered on in the novel that Jaime bought. Block 37 is bustling these days, the Oriental building across the street displaying signs for WICKED, the studios for our CBS afilliate Channel 2 being built on the northern side of Randolph Street, where the Treasure Chest and the Burger King and my make-believe Marclinn Rainey Home For The Handicapped stood in the center of the block, where that abandoned building appears in the photos and the homeless slept atop steam vents in the winter months. The entire block was torn down in the summer of 1989 and remained empty for almost twenty years. I've yet to come up with a dedication page for the anniversary edition of THE HOLY TERROR, but I think that I'll likely have to dedicate the book to The Ghosts of Block 37.


Sidney said...

I've thought a lot about the circle of friends now spanning the U.S. and the globe. I guess it's 2008 for everyone now. Have a happy one!

James Robert Smith said...

Seems a good choice for a dedication commentary.

I don't think there's anything wrong with being anchored to a place. If you can find some form of happiness in that place, and if the fact of the anchoring causes you no pain.