Monthly Archives: August 2010
Passionate about the paranormal? You can read about Ross Castle’s recent encounters, reality TV’s pitfalls, ghost stories’ grip and investigation’s how-to all in one place thanks to C.L. Ross, author of forthcoming paranormal thrillers The Llewelyn Legacy. She featured the paranormal on her blog for the month of August (and Nathan and I got to contribute)! You can click on each person’s name and it’ll take you right to the post. Enjoy!
This Lead Investigator for Ireland’s East Coast Paranormal Investigations got more than he bargained for while assisting the Killarney Paranormal Society at the 14th-Century Ross Castle. Here, he finally releases the details of his terrifying experiences. Exclusive.
Co-host of The Ghostman & Demon Hunter Show and A&E’s Extreme Paranormal shares how paranormal reality TV works—and why, when investigating, it’s imperative to think originally and go deeper.
Writer of award-winning ghost stories discusses why they’re still one of the most popular forms of entertainment, and why spooky story collections—fiction or non—always fly off the shelves.
The author of The Everything Ghost Hunting Book gives an overview on the state of the paranormal investigative scene—and why she wrote the volume that’s been consistently in Amazon’s top ten sellers in the subject.
This lead investigator for the Killarney Paranormal Society in the South of Ireland reports on her favorite investigation so far–and shows that shaking up your routine just might be a good thing.
Many writers I know have asked me about the Norman Mailer Writers Colony workshop experience. I had planned, on some point, at posting specifics about the workshop I attended this summer—Fiction: The Protagonists with Marita Golden—but fellow writer and workshop attendee Len Joy beat me to it, and has done a fantastic job! If you want detailed insight on what it’s really like to attend a Colony workshop, you can read Len’s blog—and see some great photos—here.
I’d encourage any writer to apply for these fabulous week-long workshops; they’re offered all summer long in a range of disciplines and are taught by some of the most accomplished writers working today. Attendees are chosen on merit and the application period usually opens sometime in January.
And I won’t forget to mention that you meet some pretty neat kindred souls. Not everyone in my group has a blog or website, but here are the ones that do if you’re interested in “meeting” them:
Douglas R. Dechow http://www.douglasdechow.com/
Lofty Ambitions: Douglas R. Dechow’s Blog
Marita Golden http://www.maritagolden.com/
Do Not Go Gentle: Leonard Joy’s Blog http://lenjoy.blogspot.com
To see a schedule of this year’s workshops so you can get an idea of what’s offered, visit http://www.nmwcolony.org/workshops/workshop/2/31/2010. To bookmark the site and check back frequently for 2011’s offerings and open application period, it’s http://www.nmwcolony.org/ and select the Fellowships/Workshops/Programs tab.
And, of course, although you’re working—we had class every day and yes, there was homework—there’s still time to enjoy what Ptown has to offer. In my opinion, a little daily recreation—especially experiencing new things—is always what makes these workshops so rich. Here are a few pix from my great week. Links from the places I visited (those places that have websites) follow the photos. Enjoy!
We had rain once the whole week, and I enjoyed it on the skylights in my writing room.
The speakers work!
Norman Mailer Writers Colony
The dunes (information only)
Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM)
Truro Vineyards of Cape Cod
Pepe’s Wharf Waterfront Restaurant
Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum
Provincetown Jazz Festival
Provincetown Municipal Airport
…then Andy Bailey’s “Strike” at Read Short Fiction might be just what you’re looking for! It’s just been posted here. Enjoy!
I’m pleased to announce that Full of Crow’s editor Paul Corman-Roberts noted that “Jingle Shells” was “the perfect ghost story for us to run for Full of Crow Fiction’s October Issue!”
The story centers on a washed-up Adirondack amusement park Santa who’s out of a job. So put a little creep in your impending Christmas…check out “Jingle Shells” in Full of Crow Fiction Quarterly in October.
I’ve lost lots of things over the years, but there are three items in particular which really bother me: a set of thumb-sized dolls with bright blue and pink accessories I had when I was around three, a scrapbook of The ClioPlayers, a small theatre troupe I ran at URI in the early 1990s, and most recently, a rare Christmas ornament—Bernard from Disney’s The Rescuers. Every once in awhile, I think, one of these things’ll just show up in the most unexpected place—like a set of keys, an earring’s mate, or a favorite pen often does.
But that never happens. They’ve just vanished, as though they’ve blinked out of existence.
When I went to the Norman Mailer Writer’s Colony in Provincetown in January for a month, I’d brought a knit winter hat with me. I hadn’t owned it long and it wasn’t expensive—I’d bought it in late 2007 at Old Navy for $1.99—but it had become my favorite: since it was brown, it went with over half my wardrobe and both my winter coats, and in my opinion, it was stylish. It was also very warm.
I wore it pretty much everywhere the whole time I was up there, but I didn’t need it the last week—the temperatures has risen to the high forties and even the low fifties, so it wasn’t necessary. When it came time for me to leave Ptown, I was packing my things and noticed it was missing.
I looked everywhere. It wasn’t at Mailer’s house, nor was it at any of the bars, restaurants, galleries, or shops I’d been to. It wasn’t at any of my daily haunts, and it also wasn’t at any of the apartments I’d visited. I was able to figure out the last time I’d worn it was when I’d been crawling through a foundation on Commercial Street the day before my birthday, but I had a picture of me later that night with it on, so I knew I hadn’t left it in somebody’s sub-basement. It had simply disappeared.
I came back to Connecticut and shrugged it off, reverting to an older hat I didn’t like as much for the remainder of the winter. I had plenty of hats, so it wasn’t like I was going to purchase another one—nothing could replace the special brown one, anyway. The hat, however, hovered in the back of my mind like a love affair gone bad: what happened?
Last week, I was back at the Colony as part of the Norman Mailer Center for a workshop. We met every day around a table in Norman’s living room, and had, as people do, adopted a “seat” for the week. I sat with my back to the sea, facing my new friend and fine writer, LuLu Johnson. She was making a poignant observation about someone’s work, but for some reason my gaze drifted beyond her right shoulder and settled in the corner.
There, perched on a curved umbrella handle, was a brown hat.
My first thought was oh my God is that it? It certainly looked like it—it was that milk chocolate color, it had the small basket weave, it was a little pilled all over and frayed on one edge. That can’t be it, I thought. That has to be someone else’s. But it was August, and who the hell would bring a hat like that to a beach community at the height of a record-hot summer? I blinked. It was still there. I studied it some more.
It was my hat.
I was overwhelmed with the urge to leap out of my chair screaming, “my hat! I’ve found my hat!”—but I didn’t, knowing that not only would everyone not know what I was talking about, it would disrupt class. When workshop was over, I took a couple of photos and clutched it as I would a lost lover.
It wasn’t until the next day when the group was having dinner at Pepe’s that I related my story.
“Oh, that’s your hat!” LuLu said. “It was in the middle of the floor. I thought that was really strange, because, you know, it’s a winter hat, and I didn’t know whose it was, so I just picked it up and hung it there on the umbrella.”
Marita Golden, our instructor, noted she was convinced objects have a secret inner life—that they need to go away for awhile sometimes, disappear completely, go on their own journeys. That they come back to us when we’re ready.
Later that night, the hat was on my white coffee table. It looked so out of place it was eerie—the ghost of the winter when my own incredible journey had begun.
I’d left Ptown in February in a state of confusion and unrest about my life, what I wanted from it, where I was going. At that time, doors weren’t just closing or opening—they were slamming or blowing off their hinges, and it had been so chaotic and emotional that none of it made any sense.
August was the opposite. In the middle of the week—literally, on Wednesday—everything resolved. I knew where I belonged, what I wanted to do with my life, where I was headed. Doors were barely hishing closed and opening like their hinges had just been oiled, and what I’d been through in the last eight months seemed logical. Everything had come full circle. A journey had been completed. I was going home a settled, happy, optimistic person. In fact, I had so much optimism I could start blowing open doors all on my own.
And the next day, the hat showed up out of nowhere. Weird.
Coincidence? Maybe not. Marita might have been on to something. Do things disappear and materialize again when we’re ready? Is there some alternate dimension they haunt until the timing’s right? This is much like life. We can want things, we can try to force things to come about (or not), but in the end—and I believe it applies no matter what religion or spiritual orientation you are—these things don’t happen until we’re ready. Until the time is right.
So what about my dolls, my scrapbook, my Christmas ornament? Perhaps they’ll still turn up. I could’ve begun a journey at the point where each of those items disappeared, and I’m not done yet.
Now I just have to figure out what happened to my favorite towel, which I remember packing before I left Ptown, but it wasn’t in my suitcase when I got home…
 I don’t remember word-for-word what she said, so this is a paraphrase. I just remember being struck by it, and thinking, ‘yes! Yes, yes, yes!’
There was always something magical about a treehouse, and I have often wondered what it would be like to stay in one.
The last time I was in Ptown at the Norman Mailer Writers Colony, I stayed in a cute little beach-themed apartment, full of light. This time around, I’m in a three-floor two-bedroom condo under the trees—and the room in which I sleep, as well as the spacious attic where I work, seem like they’re tucked up in the boughs. Childhood fantasy number umpteen—someday I’m going to live in a treehouse—complete!
Have I spent much time in it? Not much. For those of you wondering why I’ve fallen off the face of the earth, my days here have been filled with swimming, sitting on the beach or on Norman Mailer’s back porch, doing homework, attending workshop, and spending time with the other attendees, all fine writers. Instructor Marita Golden is amazing; since the workshop is all about protagonists in fiction, I’m finding I’m learning as much about myself and other people as I am about the ones I create on the page. Each of us also gets a private meeting with Marita to discuss our work, and, as a group, we’ve been out to dinner at Fanizzi’s, had a pleasant cocktail hour, and attended a jazz concert at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum [PAAM]. We have plans for the rest of the week to include a visit to the famous Pilgrim Monument and a trip to Truro Winery. Oh, yeah—I’ve also managed to cram in a visit to the Wellfleet Drive-in.
Here’s pix of my palace in the trees, where right now I’m sitting as the ocean breezes pour through the open window and skylights, and where each night, I fall asleep to the sound of rustling leaves and marvel at how, when I was a child, I never thought a dream like this would come true.
You can click on each thumbnail to get an enlarged image. Enjoy!
Carpe Articulum Literary Review has chosen “Doors” for its next quarterly issue published this Fall.
Carpe Articulum is translated into several languages—including Russian and Hindi—and features beautiful photography and artwork. Past issues have included interviews with writing and film industry greats, including Jodi Picoult, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Connie May Fowler, Pulitzer Prize Winner David E. Hoffman, Jeff Goldblum, Ray Harryhausen, and Steven Spielberg. “Mater Amabilis,” a story by Harrison Solow—who won the 2008 Pushcart Prize for Literature—took first place in the magazine’s most recent short fiction contest and appeared in the summer issue.
For more information on Carpe Articulum, you can visit its website or its listing at NewPages. To get a glimpse of the magazine’s Spring 2010 issue, click here; to read about Harrison Solow and her experience with Carpe, visit here.
Here’s the cover of their summer issue:
I’m honored and thrilled that “Doors” has found such a prestigious home, and I’ll let you know when the issue is available for purchase. I won’t spoil the story, but if you’d like to know what inspired it, you can visit https://kristipetersenschoonover.com/2010/01/16/the-bone-lady/ .