I had a somewhat surreal, but very pleasant, experience last night. I was invited to a pulp fiction reading group meeting at St. Joseph's Abbey and Seminary College. This is on the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain, about a twenty minute drive from my house now. As I turned across the one lane bridge onto the grounds, I glimpsed a small lake/pond off to my right, with several stone benches located around it for meditation purposes. Although I thought I’d never been to St. Joseph’s before, I realized as I saw the lake that I had in fact been there, and that certain elements of the location had stayed with me for over twenty-five years.
A couple of years after I came to Xavier, probably about 1987/88, I went on a retreat with some other Xavier faculty to an abbey. We all rode together so I didn’t drive, and at that time I lived in the New Orleans area and had no idea what the “North shore” was. Years later, I still had pleasant memories of the peacefulness of the location and began using that remembered setting in a post-apocalyptic story called “The Razored Land.” I tried to figure out where the real location was so that I could do some research on it, but no one that I remembered from that retreat was still at Xavier so I had no luck finding the place. I went ahead and constructed the story with an abbey I called “St. Peter’s” as an important setting.
Just a few weeks ago I submitted “The Razored Land” to a publisher and it looks like it will indeed be published (although I never count my chickens before they hatch). Last night, as I turned onto the grounds of St. Joseph’s, I realized I’d rediscovered that lost setting. It gave me a nice feeling of synchronicity. And, the pulp meeting and discussion went very well. It was extremely nice to talk about Robert E. Howard, and Lovecraft, and pulp fiction with folks I could physically set down at a table with. The group had wide ranging experience with the pulps. Some were extremely well versed while for others it was an introduction. It was certainly fun, though.
Thanks to Casey Edler for the invite.
Also, by the way, I start giving final exams and getting final papers tomorrow so I will likely be largely out of touch on the blog until Wednesday of so of next week. I trust there won't be any blogpocalyse while I'm gone. I'm leaving Riot Kitty in charge until I return!