Thursday, May 7, 2009

Emerging Writers Network's Short Story Month features Richard Grayson's "Vampires of Northwest Arkansas"

Dan Wickett's comprehensive Emerging Writers Network blog has been featuring numerous posts a day during May celebrating Short Story Month. One of today's posts is about Richard Grayson's "Vampires of Northwest Arkansas," which is collected in Dumbo Books' And to Think That He Kissed Him on Lorimer Street.

Dan writes that "Vampires"
struck me as a 9/11 story, as it's set on 9/14/2001, as well as an interesting little story of comparisons and contrasts.

The narrator, an unnamed male from Brooklyn, is visiting his old friend, Cindy, who has moved to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. There is mention of the World Trade Center, and the fact that the narrator determined nobody close to him was lost, maybe just some friends of friends. Life in Eureka Springs certainly seems safer, and the fact that planes are still grounded means he might just be in this safer environment for some time to come. His friend Cindy then gets bitten by a bat. Getting to the hospital involves finding the closest house, which only has a 16 year old male, Duane, when they arrive. He drives them to the closest hospital, which has no rabies vaccination.

Grayson drops in interesting tidbits throughout - where Duane is assumed to be a heterosexual male (the narrator assumes when they first meet him that they've interrupted him and his girlfriend), but then he makes an interesting comment at the end of the story with a sly look on his face that allows the reader to question that. There's a mention of Christ of the Ozarks and how they had to make Jesus out of proportion, much stumpier than he should have been to keep from having to put a big red light on his head to make sure no planes crashed into Him - fitting in well with the earlier mention of 9/11. Grayson drops all of these in very matter-of-factly so that it doesn't beat the reader over the head, but seeps in throughout the read. And then for some time afterward - a good thing for a story to do.
The story originally appeared at VerbSap in February 2005. Many thanks to Dan Wickett, the hardest-working man in lit bizniss, for the plug.

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Our link above to the Google Books Search page of the story in And to Think That He Kissed Him on Lorimer Street turned up their interesting keyword feature for the book. Apparently they've assigned three tags for each story:
And to Think That He Kissed 1
Brooklyn Law School , Canarsie , Brooklyn College

In the Sixties 19
Brian Epstein , fascist , Sixties I got

Diary of a Brooklyn Cyclones Hot Dog 25
KeySpan Park , Hot Dog , Ketchup

Heat of the Moment 31
Titania , Lissette , Deborah Harry

Mohammads Therapy Monkey 58
squirrel monkey , Derek Johnson , Herb-T

Seven Sitcoms 64
Ethel Waters , December Bride , Mary Jane Croft

Vampires of Northwest Arkansas 74
Mill Basin , Eureka Springs , Erica Jong

Ways to Defeat Green Arrow 94
Maya Deren , Defeat Green Arrow , ripoff

My Life in the New York Post 102
Fred Silverman , Richard Grayson , Federal Election Commission

The Cool Guy 110
Robert Moses , third girl , Cool Guy

The Lost Movie Theaters of Southeastern 126
Glenda Jackson , Kings Plaza , Midwood

Shirtless TeabagEating White Boys 139
reggaeton , roach clip , marijuana

Two Totally True Tales Featuring 149
Louis Farrakhan , African American , Million Man March

Babysitting Laurence Fishburne 156
Larry Fishburne , Denny's , Creatine

Melissa and the Good Legislator 162
Planned Parenthood , Melissa's mom , Cayuga County

Reasons to Date My Aunt Aisha 172
birthmark , lost without , Beguiling lips

Seven Men Who Made Me Happy 178
Bruce Sterling , John Stamos , Joel Crothers

Schmuck Brothers of East Harlem 189
SparkNotes , EAST HARLEM , Kosher

Three Scenes from My Life with Special 203
Truman Capote , Noodle , Barbara Walters

Land of Golden Giants 215
Kid Flash , Green Lantern , Winifred Wagner

Gd Is My Fuckbuddy 232
Coral Springs , Kevin Bacon , Broward Mall

Victory Boulevard 246
Mabel Normand , Staten Island , Henry Fonda

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