First, let me say that all of this was written well before Comedy Central began airing "South Park," and tough beans. Sometimes great ideas do hit batches of people all at once.
I was really thinking more in terms of the massive publicity that "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" was bringing to Savannah, Georgia. However, I think that was more of a justification for writing the book than a reason. Sometimes your brain rationalizes things. And, c'mon, if Asheville, North Carolina can't beat 'em all.....
This book/series is the reason this site exists. What you are about to read is what I have typed in of the first in a planned series of 77 novels (and yes, to some extent, I have outlines for all 77 written out) that attempt to explore what is wrong with our society and if it can be fixed, if at all. This is where I process things first: In the Sheila series. I am working on others in this series as well, but this is the foundational book and it's by far the closest to being done.
I make no claim whatsoever that any of this is true. Obviously real people are written in. Obviously I have done a lot of close observation. But any one character far transcends the boundaries of any one person it may closely resemble. For instance, those who grew up with me may recognize the person who was the superficial basis for Elsa Grant. She's easy to spot. But along about the fourth chapter, Elsa really ceases to be about "the typist" in any way whatsoever and is about much larger things. The same is true of a character who is liable to cause a greater stir. Basil. And that's precisely what the character requested to be called. Talk to him about it. Even the best research stops dead at the door of Manor House. What is beyond is an exploration of character and mystery. You can only do so much in the realm of the rational.
I have left this text exactly as it was placed on my shelf on a sudden impulse three days or so before the death of the Princess. I dare not change a thing. I think she would have liked it that way. There are still certain lines that give me the chills.... I have not produced any final draft since (and very little experimental draft) because I have had no hope of sustaining that hard-core, take-no-prisoners Monty Pythonesque tone. There was just no way. I believe this is understandable. This is a complex work and one that requires every word be pushed to its individual limit. Every time. All the way. No cheating. And sentimentality would have been cheating. Sorry, Bimbo fans. Enter with caution.
Download it before the lawyers get here. I make no promises.
And thanks especially to:
And the grandfather of us all, Hunter S. Thompson. Long may he rave.
Plus that dude who had the column in the Citizen-Times about the two guys in the VW bus on the square. He didn't realize he was teaching me to write.
And a special thanks to Tripod for boosting my freespace allotment to 5 meg. I took that as a sign. As well as the requests and comments of everybody else who's said things. Thank you. Thank you all. Now you know where this site came from.
And lastly to the spirit of Seeley's Castle. The legends it has inspired over the years. The people who tell them. And the nuts like me who try to write about it in some sane fashion. To the old Minute Market on Charlotte Street, purveyor of the world's best munchies for pondering the mountain on a hot summer's night and listening to the brook that ran back of the house....To the kids who actually liked the crap I wrote in elementary school....and to the ghost of Thomas Wolfe. It is very, very hard to live in this town and not feel the pressure. I walk past his birthplace on the way to get groceries. His grave is a mere walk from my house. I rarely go there. He requires I examine myself and those around me. Blame it on him. When you go visit him, forget the flowers. He likes books. He wants to know what's going on. He gets bored.
The usual copyright statements apply.
Who knows -- it may even help me make progress on typing the old stuff in. Checking it over and all that. Cleaning up the text. It's got to be done.
But at least I can write again. This is my most important series. At least I've accomplished that much.
Society of TOE (Theory of Everything)
The Art of Renaissance Science
Harmony in Chaos
Mandelbrot Explorer -- I love this one!