It seems like all we do on this page anymore is to apologize for not keeping up to date and blogging as usual, like last year. We have even gotten a warning from Amazon.com that if we do not post another blog, we shall no longer be published on the Kindle page there, so let us explain.
The novel, Egypt Cemetery, is a trip through the childhood of Michael Hendricks (yes, Hendricks), as seen by the author, as far back into the 1950s as he can recollect and taking him up to the sad year of 1971, by which time JFK, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison, along with the ‘hippie scene,’ were all dead.
It is a story, it is a purging of the soul, it is what kids did back when kids were allowed to be kids and grown-ups were still allowed to yell at strange kids whenever they saw them up to something wrong.
Today, if you yell at a strange kid for riding his bike into traffic and nearly killing himself without realizing it, it is as good as starting a Third World War. Parents do not care if the kids are safe. They just do not want you to yell at them.
When we were kids, we got yelled at everyplace we went. Sometimes we got chased. Somebody was always after us, one way or the other. We did other things back then, besides get yelled at, that the youth of today will never have the opportunity to experience…like making crank phone calls. The closest you can get to that today is watching Bart Simpson make a fool out of Moe over the phone at Moe’s Bar on The Simpsons.
Nobody asks if you have Prince Albert in a can anymore, of if your refrigerator is running. All the fun has been stymied in the wake of caller ID. There is no more fun anonymity. There is no more good music on the AM radio. Monsters are no longer scary.
Today, a big issue is bullying. When we were kids, it was a free for all, as to who could heap the worst insult onto the next kid. If you got insulted, you shot back. We actually used to purchase ‘insult cards’ at the price of 25 insults for a dime. They were the size of business cards and said things like, “Get rid of 20 pounds of ugly fat…cut off your head!”…of “Its nice to see your back…especially after seeing your face.”
There was a whole industry devoted to helping us insult each other. Another good one was to take the theme song from a currently-popular television show and insert the name of your victim into it, while adding assorted rhyming jibes to the tune of the ditty. Or take the case of the poor unfortunates who were marked from the start just by the spelling of their last names…like Randy Nipples, who was doomed to a life of saying, “It is ‘Nip-PELS!” Sure we had our fun with his name but we played together, too.
The message is that childhood has changed. It is not as much fun…or it does not look it, anyway. In many ways, we are glad to be considered ‘old’, since the new world is not as much fun as the old one. In Egypt Cemetery, the author tries to present those innocent days of youth, before everything had a double meaning and things were what they appeared to be. It is not exotic, it is not earth shattering, it is not politically correct…it is the way it was before the internet robbed us of everything from regional dialects to colloquialisms to regional pride. We are all one big country now. We are all starting to sound the same. In the sixties, you could tell where a person came from as soon as they spoke. Not any more…even the charming and warm southern accent is fading, and that is a shame.
The cemetery pictured above is actually the cover photo for the book, taken by the author in County Tipperary, Ireland. His love of cemeteries began at with the Egypt Cemetery in Podunk, Pennsylvania.
Mr. Hendrick is an integral part of the writing staff here at CFYSA and we look forward to his return in July, or maybe even in June, once he has finished all the editing and writing of the novel. If you are hungry for some new work from him, you can get a copy of Beatdom Issue 11 ~ The Nature Issue. You can enjoy the front cover he conceived of Arthur Rimbaud (painstakingly drawn by the back-from-the-dead fingers of illustrator Waylon Bacon) or look at the tables of contents, which he photographed at two places which are very dear to him, his local library and the raptor sanctuary, where he has been a volunteer for fourteen years.
On the back cover, you can see the cover of Egypt Cemetery, as it will be published, and inside you can read interviews he conducted with Beat writer Ann Charters, country music legend Hank3 and punk rocker Richie Ramone, who was the fastest drummer in the fastest of the original punk bands. He also recently conducted an interview with punk icon Patti Smith, which will appear in Issue Number Twelve of Beatdom…The Crime Issue. Part of that interview is posted on www.beatdom.com .
So hold onto your hats and the fun will begin again soon enough. We just need Michael here to inspire us with some of his insane views that somehow seem to make sense in an insane world. He is almost done with the hard work and misses his readers very much.
He says we should say, “Hello!”