March 19, 2009

New Story at SmokeLong Quarterly

A new story of mine, “Night Vision,” appears in the latest issue of SmokeLong Quarterly, along with a short interview, “Smoking with Edmond Caldwell.” 

Whether its impending publication had anything to do with my compulsive decision to start smoking again a couple of weeks ago is anybody’s guess.

I can however say that I’m in excellent company, smoking along with the fine stories and interviews of Sarah Black, Bill Cook, Thomas Cooper, Scott Garson, Shane Goth, Tiff Holland, Tim Jones-Yelvington, Darby Larson, Tara Laskowski, Samuel Lee, Charles Lennox, Ravi Mangla, Heather McDonald, Jen Michalski, Gregory Napp, Susannah Pabot, John Riley, and Ania Vesenny.  

My story also has the great fortune to be paired with a haunting photo by Simonetta, who can take photographs and play the harp at the same time.

Non-smokers are invited to huddle around the entrance.


Robert M. Detman said...

Congrats, Edmond. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Frances Madeson said...

Your new story went right through me and I read it as a piece with the interview. Your gifts are evident in both. It makes me want to tell you this…

I was walking by the East River in the sunshine on Sunday heading north somewhere between Battery Park and the South Street Seaport. Tourists were out with cameras, as were the vendors hawking their I Heart New York hoodies in Easter egg colors. There was a guy ahead of me, something of a brute physically, bulked up, the kind of body one might acquire in Attica, say. He was carrying a thick board maybe two feet long, ten inches wide, more than an inch thick. Every fifteen feet or so he stopped to slam it as hard as he could on the railing. Two hands. Whomp. Every time he stopped, I stopped, too, ten or so yards behind him. As powerfully as he brought it down, the board did not shatter, rather, it made a horrible music and though I didn’t touch it, I suspect the railing vibrated a long distance in both directions. It was both a show of manly strength and an act of violence; it was a threat, but to whom I could not know. I just watched him from what I hoped was a safe distance. I don’t know what other passersby saw, mostly nothing I think, as usual, snapping their cameras idiotically at the landmarks, the canned postcard images, while this volcano was shooting out gushers of molten lava just steps away from where they stood posing and grinning. I could have taken my chances and rushed by. I certainly could have crossed the street to the less scenic side. But I stayed with him. Where does that duty come from in us, in artists—that obligation to witness and even identify with this sort of thing? “He wants to make an impact,” I thought to myself. “He’s rattling his cage.” And I was frightened, because there was no actual cage to restrain him and if the only tools at hand were that board and his physical prowess, someone might get really hurt, literally, not metaphorically, damaged. So I watched him. I gave him a context. He had my full attention and after two or three more dissonant chords, he surprised me. With all his might, which was considerable, he threw the blunt board out over the water, where it landed with a loud splash. We both watched it sail off, quickly taken up by the swift current. When it was lost in the horizon, and I was confident he had no immediate plans to do likewise with himself and join his projectile in the murk, I resumed.

So here’s what I wish for you this morning, dear Edmond. Take your cigarettes down to the Charles and smoke one, and then another, and one more. And please, throw the rest of the pack into the water. We are vulnerable, electrochemically and every other way, too, all of us. Your librarian. One can imagine that she faltered, maybe only once, but with no one to call her back the “conversation in the vast and well-appointed dacha of her disordered mind” became irresistible. What is that if not a kind of smoke?

Edmond Caldwell said...

Thanks for reading, Robert & Frances.