When David proposed the idea of doing a podcast I really didn’t think it would pan out. We’re both busy guys. He travels all the time. I’ve been slowly developing an indie-writing career in addition to my main job.
But the seed was planted and things eventually took root.
I listen to a lot of podcasts. In the beginning, to learn from other indie writers about the self-publishing industry, now more for pleasure. So, I was familiar with the medium. When I asked David what would be our subject matter he immediately answered: horror and science fiction… subjects we have been more than comfortable with for a very long time.
It made even more sense to me because one of the genres I write is horror. I thought, if anything, it would be a good platform to eventually cross-promote my books with.
OK. Let’s do it.
If you’ve read this far, you’re likely familiar with the rest of the story… the genesis… bantering about our respective genres… critiquing sci-fi and horror weekly… genre-related news… the origin and concept of keys, etc.
What you don’t know is how grateful I am to have reconnected with him.
I’m originally from Atlanta and live here currently. I only lived in Morristown, Tennessee for 14 years (1975-1989). David and I met in 1978 but didn’t really become close friends until 1982. So when you break everything down… we were only around each other for about 8 years. But during those 8 years, we bonded profoundly (at least as I see it in retrospect), the last 2 of which I lived in the guest bedroom of his house (formerly his grandmother’s home).
There were other people in our group of friends… mostly theatre geeks, genre nerds, and like-minded individuals. As far as the nucleus, I would include David, me, Bill Pitts, Steve Rohe, Wynn Thompson, Lee Russell, and David Farmer. But the dynamics would change from time to time… different Theatre Guild productions (David was the Artistic Director), different casts/people came into play and, eventually, some people (myself included) relocated.
But while I was there, especially cohabiting, we were close, always working on projects together… plays, short films, writing plays and short films, writing for local TV, Guild fund-raisers, watching films, discussing genres and directors, collaboratively creating, steeped in an artistic-minded culture.
I miss that a lot. (I also miss eating Sunday lunch at his mom’s—Betty-Jo’s—house).
But I was a mixed-up kid at the time. Closeted, playing straight, lying to myself and others. I also felt that Morristown offered nothing for me to make a living at… and though I was probably at my happiest there creatively, I had to find outlets for growth, both monetarily and hormonally.
The easiest (and the hardest) thing to do… was leave.
Why I didn’t just come out (to many I’m certain knew anyway), and continue my life there, I’ll never know. But I often wonder how things would have turned out should I have.
Flash forward. I got a BA in English, which is why I still write a lot. I discovered teaching wasn’t the career for me, lived briefly in Greece with some dear friends, and then wound up in Washington, DC, where I entered a retail management career (via Borders bookstore). And though I’m ever weary of that label, I’m grateful for the journey, as it is how I met Dennis who was living in the Baltimore area at the time. Sixteen years later and he is still with me.
But ever since I left Tennessee, other than my own writing, I have had no creative coalition… no like-minded group of friends that I can jam with about the arts. And I am coming to realize that it may be just as large a hole in my life as when I was closeted.
I started this blog entry as a brotherly homage to David and our finding each other again thirty years later. But now I find myself wanting to thank him profusely for tossing me a tether back to a world where I feel at home again, not just the oddball in the corner that talks about horror movies… writing… film… art.
I am a creative. It gives me joy. I feel the energy when I am sitting in front of a screen and typing these words for you to read, wondering how they will affect you… if you identify… if you understand… if you need me to throw you a line as well.
So, David and I picked up three decades later as if no time has passed at all. We’re tight… even though all of our communication is via text and telephone (we hope to change that next year). I’m not certain if it is as much an old friend reconnection than, perhaps, a spiritual reconnection.
I say both.
We are of the same ilk. Gypsies… (in my case) separated from the caravan… jamming once again on the power of creativity… collaborating on our first show in a very long time… reunited to a table of hearty soup, fine wine, and warm bread.
Thank you, David.
I am home.
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