Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Long Distance Call

The phone call came one cold January evening; it was my father’s ex-fiancĂ©. They had been engaged for a short while, some time before he eventually met and married the woman who would be my mother. Dad never really talked about the personal details of the relationship, but he made it clear he didn’t think they would have been good together. Still, over the decades, she would contact my father. I don’t remember any visits from her, but my mother knew her enough to recognize her, and knew her voice on the phone.

She tried several times to get back together with my father, which of course really piqued mom, that she would have such gall, all those years later. I’m not sure when the last time was that Joanne contacted dad, but I was at least a teenager; perhaps it was even after Flo and I were married.

Dad called my mother over to the phone, and had her listen in for a few minutes. It was definitely Joanne’s voice, mom later concurred. All told, they chatted for at least twenty minutes. Shortly after the conversation ended, dad called me.

The strangest thing about the conversation with Joanne, at least so I thought at the time, was that she had been murdered six years earlier.

According to D. Scott Rogo in his book “Phone Calls from the Dead,” recipients of these calls generally appear to be “blocked” somehow from recalling that the person on the other side of the conversation has died, until the call is ended. This apparently is what happened to both of my folks.

Dad insisted it was Joanne, and said she’d spoken of things only she could have known about. Flo and I visited, and we all talked about the conversation at length. Mom shortly blanked on any details she might have remembered, but still remembers firmly that it was Joanne. At the time, dad recounted a few trivialities from the conversation, though he left out details of most of it; and when pressed, his response was disturbing. There was some part he didn’t want to speak of, and said he would talk about later. That part, he later denied remembering, or that it was in any way significant.

I brought it up a few more times, and while we occasionally chatted about how strange it all was, he always managed to evade any more discussion of the content of the conversation.

My father died of a heart attack three months after that phone call.


Later that year, I was home when I heard a gentle tapping on the front door. It rather startled me, because it was identical to my father’s unique knock; I’ve not heard it since.

When I looked outside, I saw it was the postman who had knocked. He had left a package, wrapped in brown paper, at the door.

The package was from Joanne’s mother, with whom I’d never had contact. It contained a photo of a group of soldiers–one of them was my father. There was a short note, just saying she thought I should have this.

It arrived on my birthday.

Twisted Dreams

For those of you (Both of you!) who read my “Synchronicity and Dark Dreams” blog from a few weeks ago, I pulled it because I had the opportunity to submit it for publication. It will appear, along with three of my photos, in the June issue of “Twisted Dreams” – I’ll put a link up at www.3AMBlue.com when it’s available.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Requiem for the Damned

“By the damned, I mean the excluded.” - Charles Fort.

What I photograph fits this criteria. The abandoned – a shack at the edge of a cornfield, a derelict factory, an asylum that’s home only to rats, ghosts, the memory of horror.

I find an ancient tree, etched with character, shortly before it is cut down and fed through a wood chipper. I make a study of a stone chimney standing long after its house burned away from it, or a ruined cinderblock filling station; I often find my subject just before the wrecking ball excises the scar, and all trace of memory. This is my art.

I come across abandoned domestic rubble beneath an overpass; a makeshift table, a tiny wooden chair, a mattress dragged who knows how far; a long screwdriver, stuck in the ground behind weeds – easy to grasp for self-defense. A thick folder of seemingly random newspaper clippings, hidden in an electrical box.

Factory walls and railroad cars tagged by artists, bangers or just someone who just wanted to leave his name behind after he no longer needed it.

Transient relics of our transient existence.

The abandoned. The excluded. The damned.

A fat spider I found hanging on its web in the gap between fence and gate, dangling above chain and rusted padlock guarding yet another empty factory… appears on the cover of “Requiem for the Damned,” an Anthology of Horror that goes on sale February 22, 2008.

With fiction by:

Jennifer L. Miller
Eric Enck
Jordan M. Bobe
Cassandra Lee
Dave Rex
Jessica Lynn Gardner
Kevin Lucia
John Stanton
Charlotte Emma Gledson
Jane Timm Baxter
Colin M. Maguire
Scott Harper
Matthew Alan Pierce
Stephen W. Roberts
Michael A. Beaudry

Order a copy here: http://www.lulu.com/content/2088659
Or click on the link from my web site: