Maybe it was a dream.
Spring of 2005 I flew into the Florida panhandle with my wife at the time then drove out to a suburb of Mobile, Alabama for a wedding. Making the most of the trip, we drove over to New Orleans for several days. Other than a trip to Disney World a few years earlier, I’d never been to the south before. I was not prepared to fall in love, I did.
I fell head over heels for New Orleans. The food, the culture, the music, the architecture, the history…I finally understood why people thought New Orleans was magical. It was, I realize, the oldest city I’d ever been in, and something about that might have resonated with me. I don’t know.
Flash forward to late August of the same year. I’m getting ready to take a four-month contract job writing product copy for a dot-com, while my wife moves out to Chicago to start a huge new job. And a storm was on the horizon. That storm turned out to be Hurricane Katrina.
I was supposed to move out to move out to Chicago, but like New Orleans, I found my own life buffeted by storms it couldn’t weather. Cracks, structural flaws, revealed themselves. I decided to stay in Seattle and rebuild, and that made all the difference.
I wrote before. But I would not have identified myself as a WRITER before. Days after I made the decision to stay and not try and fix the marriage, I started my first Gato Loco novel, Greetings from Buena Rosa. By the end of the month, I had my first publication, the story “Kid Gloves” for which I received a T-shirt.
Maybe it was a dream. Two friends shared a story they had heard from a friend who was on the ground with a crew rebuilding New Orleans. The part that struck them was this story he told them about Storm Wine—bottles of wine that were found by people cleaning up after Katrina. These bottles were thought to be lucky, blessed, possessing of special magic. Storm Wine—proof that some things could survive utter devastation, and in surviving, were made special. I have been unable to find any other reference to this. Maybe it was a dream, or maybe it just faded back into legend. We all weather storms, some are just bigger than others. It’s just coincidence that mine corresponded so closely with Katrina. A storm came along and it changed us, revealed a bit of magic, and showed us our strength.
I wrote several short stories inspired by New Orleans. I’ve collected a few of them, along with others–stories inspired by music, by dreams, by strange conversations with fantastic people. They’re going to be published in an ebook format later this year, complete with my notes on each one. They’re a testament to what can happen when a person decides to stop writing and instead become a writer.
Complete at $1.99 with notes on each story, Storm Wine includes:
- Another Exit, Another Waffle House (never before published)
- The Fishwives of Sean Brolly
- Memory in the Time of Bones
- Deacon Carter’s Last Dime
- The Invitation
- Frames of Reference
- Dancing Tonight! Live Music!
- None Left Behind
UPDATE: Storm Wine is now available. Link here, or on the store tab.