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Last updateTue, 06 Aug 2013 2am

Ryan Wilson

Ryan Wilson

Ryan Wilson’s Spiral Bound Brother, won a fellowship for novels in progress from the Vermont Studio Center. He is Stories Editor of The Black Boot (theblackboot.com). Ryan works in counseling and teaches writing at Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles. He wishes to lovingly namecheck his family: Sarah, Chance, Seamus, and Tuva.   To reach Ryan-- ryanewilson5@yahoo.com

Monday, 27 February 2012 02:00

Whammy: A Brief Reminiscence of Tamarken

A week before the fatal plane crash, Peter Tamarken (of Press Your Luck! fame) came over to my bungalow duplex in East Hollywood at my request.  We’d spoken on the phone the night before, mostly him venting about his just-completed opus, the rough treatment it’d been getting at the major publishing houses.

“They tell me it has no genre.  They don’t know how to sell it.  I told them to sell it as a memoir, like everything else.  Who even knows what that word means?  Nothing.  Nothing is what it means,” he’d said on the phone.

Merry Christmas, St. Louis & The Loving Hum of a Subaru

4.

When Tim Conroy picked me up from the hospital to drive me home, the hospital staff and I had every reason to think Iverbe, my roommate and apparent sorcerer, was still alive, his heartbeat strong. So a particularly recent sketch of Lila’s—of me, in my kitchen the night she came over, a nude—was on my mind as I sat slouched in the beaded passenger seat of Tim’s piebald Tercel. It was chilly and clear, and I left the window down to let the air strike against my sewn up gash, which stung, but the cold wind relieved a hot and deeper pain, from underneath.

Awakening Mutilated in Starched White & The Evaporation of Space-Time

3.

My wife divorced me without warning on my fortieth birthday. So there was that; an old sore, but somehow it still determined all the waking hours of my life.

Until Lila called me, and I predictably accepted her advances, I hadn’t touched a naked woman in six years, that’s counting the last year or so with Megan, my wife. Part of a death cycle, woman to man to man to woman to man, unable to think of her body like fruit, then his body becomes oppressive and stupid.

The Jack London Test & A Rare Seduction by way of a Half Deaf Ex Student

2.

I stood up there every day, submerged in a windowless bunker in the southwest suburbs of St. Louis, my place of origin, performing maniacally (they say) in front the eager achieving, ruddy faces (a few brown ones mixed in), for twenty-five years. T-w-e-n-t-y-F-i-v-e. I taught a section of the slower kids too of course. We all had to take our share, “what can you do?!” we used to chortle, all the young teachers, in the spirit of post(post)Woodstockian revival camaraderie, “the fucking war!” You actually have to love some aspect of being in a trench with no way out, or the children eat your spleen.

Duke and Lila, 17 and 21, don’t know some key things. They don’t know that they are brother and sister, or that other even exists. They don’t know their real father. And they don’t know he’s a killer. Linked and guided by Craft, a burned out, depressed, pied piper of a 9th Grade English teacher, the three fatherless pilgrims make their way across their absurd, brutal, and beautiful homeland to confront the man who triggered their bond, their voyage—and for Duke and Lila, their existence.

Each pilgrim gets a turn in the driver’s seat, but the chapters to appear in Thunderdome for the next four weeks spill from the mouth of Craft, the binding agent and the first narrator to hold the wheel.