Having passed my Phd qualifier my second year into graduate school, but broken of spirit, poverty worn, I decided to opt out, get my Masters degree and move on. So my third year in Wyoming was a strange one. My girlfriend at the time had broken up withe me the summer before and moved out of state, which if you've ever broken-up with someone while in Wyoming, it is a guaranteed dry spell of a year or more. (This statistics based on demographics and geography alone: 400K people, 100K sq. miles, it's almost Boyle's Gas Law at that point). So with another sub-zero, alcohol fueled, high altitude winter ahead, there was quite a bit of time to kill. Firing up Word 95 on the venerable 386, I sat down to write.
|The Buckhorn Bar "The Buck" Laramie, WY|
This was 1998/99, a few years before the "paranormal" publishing craze that's now transmogrified into the whole Twilight phenoma/monstrosity/what-have-you. A decade earlier, the seeds were sown for the boom. It was only a matter of time. By indulging its tropes, I was not reinventing the wheel, not by a long shot. The angsty, but too whimpy for punk, goth sub-culture of the 1980's had carried over into the 90's like a hangover, thanks to Ann Rice, Vampire The Masquerade, customized fangs, and Bauhaus reunion tours.
Coupled with an almost religious sense of nostalgia, the wayward Fluevog/trench coat/eyeliner crowd kept the candelabra fires alight. Goth pop-culture was on the verge of going mainstream. Merely an observer, not an emulator, I realized it would provide a nice fantastical twist to the college 'rock and roll' adventure I was attempting to write, like Hunter S. Thompson meets Bram Stoker. So I wrote, no outline, no sense of direction, the plot developing en route. It was, in no uncertain terms, a mess of a manuscript.
So after I turned in my thesis, successfully defended, and packed up the U-Haul. THE EMPTY CHAMBER remained unfinished, to be completed later. Stay tuned for the Part 3...
NOTE: I do intend to put up a synopsis of THE EMPTY CHAMBER complete with illustrations at some point. I think putting up the full MS for folks would be cruel and unusual punishment, that and the editing required to make it anything but a full blown embarrassment would be too exhausting. But never say never, I guess.