Photo “Come, baby, reach me” © Sarah Bloom
Well, this is just a gas, seeing “The Salvation Skits” up over at the hot, new literary journal “disenthralled.” I spewed out the first draft of the skits in October of 2009 and editor Walter Conley watched over the subsequent drafts with his tender-tough and artful eye. The changes were minor betterments aimed at clarity; otherwise, the story was always in five parts, sometimes overlapping, always revealing different sides of itself through selected characters’ eyes. The final draft was completed at the end of November and sat on the shelf until December 15, 2009 when Walter published Part I of the skits as a preview-of-coming-attractions sort of thing. The full-blown deal was published earlier today as Special #3. I hope you check it out, and if you do, that you’ll let me know what you think of it, either via comments on “disenthralled” or here. Feedback is king.
Special thanks to Quin Browne for going beyond noticing and to Walter Conley for this opportunity to run with the big dogs. The way of Walter is an art form in itself, made this first publishing experience of mine a joy. Sarah Bloom’s photography adds to that, and I’m honored Walter paired it with my story.
And now, here’s what you readers of “The Essence of a Thing” pay extra for: a tidbit, a little story background. “The Salvations Skits” is based on one, small seed of truth. In my roaring twenties, I really did show up at a church service straight off a night of partying. And the rest of the story bloomed fictionally wildly from that small seed, took over the entire garden, and went on to consume the neighborhood.
i just read them again. i just sat back and again said, “holy fuck”.
you are… beyond words.
and, yes, walter is an absolute doll!!!
Holy fuck’s the ultimate, Quin, and I’m not takin’ it lightly. I’m framing it, hanging it in front of my face ; ) You’ve been all the help in the world, and Walter, well, what do you suppose he thinks about being a “doll”? Bah, you’re right, he’s secure enough in himself not to give a shit. Now that is one of the best things about him : )
Plagiarizing myself, I repeat:
That is one tsunami’s worth of Fine over there. Put that in your year-end review and smoke it. And blow rings with it, while you’re at it. What an amazing year-end [year-beginning] gift to us all. Okay, Walter had the stocking, but you, chica, had the stuffing.
So much beauty and grace in the entire piece, but I especially love how Val is crying / praying for them once she’s back in the truck, the whore’s compassion, a sweet understanding piece of tender beauty.
I think Duvall can handle it; we’ll let him play Silbus to lure him all the way in. I’ll play the rosy-cheeked usher as a cameo, trying to keep himself out of the spillway. Trying.
Hell, I’ve already got a shrine to ya; now, I’m gonna have to build a fuckin grotto.
You run quite well with the big dogs there, girl.
Paschal, as one who dates your sweet-reading fiction, I can call myself duly honored by your “beauty and grace” words, and I tell you I am still being entertained by your ever clever plays on words. You are da ever lovin’ professor.
Definitely Duvall. I will play Val just for the fun of messing with your fine self, and because I know what it’s like to walk into a church with makeup on from the night before… Oh, who the fuck are we kidding? Maybe we should use Sean Astin and Claire Danes. I dunno… Taking suggestions, Everyone!
Scrap the grotto project, hermano. Well, I don’ hafta tell you that. It is what it is, happens like it happens, like we never expect… Just thank you for being a constant source of love and support.
I am honored to have my images paired with your kick-ass story. I had no idea what to expect when Walter contacted me, but liked what I read in existing installments of disenthralled. I didn’t even know which images of mine were going to be used.
That they fit so well with your story is a testament to Walter’s insightful eye.
A pleasure all around. I hope to work with you and with Walter more in the future.
One of my favorite things is to interact with others who create, who make something out of nothing, or everything, the ether, whatever’s at hand. I pored over your photography sets and dig them, am awed by them.
I watched “Patti Smith: Dream of Life” on PBS the other night and I got a dose of an artist’s mission. Whatever an artist’s mission is, it’s the driving force, the thing you can’t help, the thing that moves you from one thing to the next like a train there ain’t no stoppin’. I see it in your photographs. So for you to come by and drop off some choice words is momentous.
It’s fortuitous, this pairing. Walter’s got one hell of an eye. As you, I hope to do more with you, with Walter.
Thank you, Sarah and Miss A, for trusting me.
Most readers assume that I’m using the word “disenthralled” to imply a state of boredrom or disinterest. The true meaning is something quite different:
v. t. 1. To release from thralldom or slavery; to give freedom to; to disinthrall.
Well, it’s easy, Walter. You give off good vibes, even over and through the miles and miles of fiber optics and airwaves : )
The boggling thing is that I’m one who adores the dictionary, has it up online or on hand somehow, and I never thought to look up disenthralled. On first seeing the word in reference to your magazine, it just immediately meant to me a state of being over pretence (affected writing) and on to real (visceral/unaffected writing). Similar, I suppose: free to be real ; )
Holy Shit, that was awesome! I would have commented sooner but I had to read it several times on several days to soak it all in. You know, you are a blitzkrieg on the senses. You blow us away in the space of 5 or 6 paragraphs on a regular basis. The Salvation Skits is airing it out for us in a more expanded format. And all I can do is repeat what Q said, “holy fuck”!
Someday, you’re going to drop an entire novel on us. And then you will really blow our fucking minds!
No, man, you are awesome! For showing up over there and waiting for fucking ever for me to show up over here to thank you yet again for being your cool self. Talk about blitzkriegs! Life would sure suck without your “holy fuck”! That’s two HFs on The Skits chalkboard, and like I told Quin, those ultimate ratings keep me up like Jay and going like Nico.
You may have to wait until I retire for that mind-blowing novel, that is, if I don’t kill off all my brain cells by then ; ) Either way, you know I live to blow your mind and I will do my best. You can count on it : )
I second, third, and fourth all of the above and add my own thoughts. Five years ago we made a painful change from a church we had attended for ten years – our children had grown up there. We were coming home feeling so much worse than we did when we entered the sanctuary which was not one any more. I read a story somewhere about a young woman who had been through some horrific family circumstances and was at a point where she was forced to talk to the pastor. He asked her why she hadn’t come to him sooner and her reply was that she felt so bad already, she didn’t want to feel worse. If we (the royal we) Christians, make the Vals of the world feel like the only place they can receive comfort, absolution, peace is in a pickup truck after they have left the church then we are bigger sinners than Val ever thought about being in her sad life. I actually feel uncomfortable and a little guilty when I identify myself as a Christian. It’s like giving myself a name that says I have attained the degree, license, uniform, ticket to heaven when the truth is, I know more than anyone that I am way closer to Val than to sainthood and that’s why I/we NEED the church. The church is failing people and the church is made up of people so we are all failing each other.
Sorry about the soapbox but you set it in front of me! The entire thing rocked my socks and made me want to preach this sermon and shame the church folks and root for Val and Ray and ok I’ll just shut up now. This was a wonderful prodigal tale and you told it just the way it is.
Yes, I did, Dee. I kicked that soapbox toward you and nodded as a signal to please, step up and have at it. I have no problem taking responsibility for that, so I’m giving you back your apology. You can use it for a time when you really screw up somewhere on down Life Road ; ) You make some good points, ones that have figured in to my own mad search for answers where organized religion is concerned. In this world are the churches of Philadelphia, of Laodicea, of Pergamum… The good, the bad, the ugly. Val will find her way, regardless, because she’s bent to it : )
This is so exciting! Reading your post and the thank-you notes was like the acknowledgments in the beginning of a book – you’re getting there, I believe :D
I shall go and take a look!
Ew, yeah, kinda like in a book… I hope it didn’t come off as immodest. Well, most folks who know me know that I know I’m a guppie in this ocean and mostly happy to be here! The Skits is an interesting first effort, and I hope you find something in it you really like : )
Missalister discovering your talent has been an unexpected pleasure. The Salvation Skits are rare, profound, engaging and like all the best things, profoundly ambivalent. This is a great site. We wander within the field of dreams.
Mr. Godwin, what an honor to be paid a visit by you! For some time now I’ve more than admired your writing, “more than admired” meaning I’d like to eat it, to wallpaper my writing area with it, and of course to be able to duplicate it! So I’m pleased you enjoyed The Skits and your visit here. I hope to see you wandering this field again : )
Wander I will Missalister, and bring only the finest cuts to your table. I would suggest that you dine only with the purest silver for the benefit of your discerning palate.
As you wish, Mr. Godwin : )
And to go with your choice cuts, I hope to bring a fine Merlot to brighten the cheeks of our little Miss May. From The Skits, remember? She’ll be joining us today if all goes well.
Missalister, I believe Miss May has already arrived, her cheeks are glowing. And yes, I hear you have a fine cellar.
Miss May is indeed in the room! She’s sitting on the sofa with me now, telling me all, and I do mean all, for the Merlot is plying her well. I’m recording her every word and hope to post the results here for Sunday Scribblings by the end of the day.
And yes, you heard correctly ; )
Well she’s a woman of hidden talents. She only has to knock, and the door will be opened for her.
You would know, Mr. Godwin : )
What I’m saying is she needs to turn to the other door, someone is waiting for her. You know what I mean Missalister.
OH! Right! Gotcha. I missed my queue to excuse myself from Miss May. She’s quite a talker! Thank you, good sir : )
Well Okeydokey. Visiting your site is such a pleasure, especially when you offer me a glass of that fine Merlot.
Anytime, Mr. Godwin : )
And thank you for this sprightly round of commenting today!
stop all the chit chat and get writing – I’m on the edge of me seat here LOL
LOL! Hi, Dee, it’s good to see you! Yeah, between the fun and other stuff going on I never did finish my Miss May piece. But I will. It’ll be no great shakes, but it will be. Maybe I can get it done and linked to the SS site tomorrow night and then get around to see others’ contributions. It feels like forever since I posted for SS, so I’m really looking forward to it!
no prob – I would love for you to write old Rev. Dr. Silbus McInnery a back/forward story too. You left enough of an opening there with his vodka swilling humanity unchecked…
Heh, yeah, you’re so right, and I may do that. Most commenters on “disenthralled” mentioned more on May, but Peggy mentioned McInnery as you have here. She also thought there could be more on the rosy young usher and Ray, too. The sky’s the limit on The Skits, looks like. Yeehaw! :-D