Monthly Archives: March 2019

Sinister Settings: FORDLANDIA

Fordlandia Riverside near Tapajos River

Riverside Avenue in Fordlandia, which was near the Tapajos River. This image was printed in Grandin’s 2010 book, FORDLANDIA.

If you’ve read my work, you know that settings are something about which I’m passionate. A unique, vibrant setting always makes for a more interesting piece.

I’d always wanted to write a story involving a place called Fordlandia—a city Henry Ford built in Brazil in the late 1920s so he could have his own supply of rubber for his manufacturing; a place that is now abandoned and overgrown. I finally got the chance when I wrote “Attempted Delivery,” which appears in my forthcoming collection, The Shadows Behind.

Never heard of Fordlandia? Lots of people haven’t (when I mention it I usually get “what the hell is that?”) There’s a reason for that. The experiment in a utopia, meant to mirror a factory town in the Midwest—complete with a school, movie theatre, dance hall, church, modern hospital and paved roads (but no alcohol or tobacco)—was an unmitigated disaster.

“The houses sucked for the environment, the food made people sick, the rubber trees wouldn’t grow or just plain died of a strange blight,” notes the marine biologist, Juliane, in my short story “Attempted Delivery.”

That’s the short version. The land was infertile, cargo had trouble reaching the city unless it was the rainy season, and Amazon wood—which Ford had hoped to sell in order to cover costs until rubber trees took hold—had no value. At one point the workers rioted. By 1945, Fordlandia was abandoned, nothing more than a broken dream.

Fordlandia house ruins

One of the houses that remains in Fordlandia today. This is a screenshot from a 2008 Spanish documentary on the subject.

Today, there are people living in Fordlandia, Read the rest of this entry

THE SHADOWS BEHIND cover reveal!

I’m thrilled to show off the cover for my forthcoming short story collection, The Shadows Behind, coming from Books and Boos Press on April 30, 2019! The cover’s art is by A.L. Cortez, who had some interesting things to say about its creation. You can read that on the press’ website here: https://booksandboospress.com/2019/03/21/the-shadows-behind-cover-reveal/

The Shadows Behind Final Cover

This collection, which is foreworded by Damnation Island author Stacy Horn, contains six long out-of-print favorites, among them “Doors” (Carpe Articulum, 2010), as well as four featured in various, esoterically-themed anthologies (which, if you didn’t buy those anthologies, you probably haven’t read).

What’s most exciting are the seven new Read the rest of this entry

An ode to something old…

Old Journal 1

This old memo book reeks of mildew, but that’s part of what makes it magical for me–it smells like my dad’s old den.

It’s spring, and for many of us, that means the deep clean: dusting the baseboards, washing the curtains, Q-tipping between the floor tiles. For me it means cleaning out junk, too, especially in my basement, which seems like a never-ending project.

What’s cool, though, is when I find something I’d forgotten I had that I can still use. Back in the late 1990s, I was buying Read the rest of this entry

Just Write

Some wonderful thoughts about writing in the in-between–no matter what your in-between is.

Behind the Press

I haven’t written on this blog in more than four years. The last post is about joining Storyful, and I haven’t worked there in months.

I was laid off last summer, one of the casualties of what has been a hard few months for the news industry as a whole. It’s been a hard topic to talk about on social media as you fight to find your next adventure, though the in between has been its own adventure too. How do you talk about this thing that has been making you feel horrible because everyone feels horrible when they’re laid off? How do you promote yourself when you’re not feeling good about yourself?

And that brings me to writing on this blog, something I’ve wanted to do for awhile but wasn’t quite sure how to do it, especially with the thing weighing heavy on me. What do I write about?…

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