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The Secret Sauce – Roses in December

posted on March 15, 2017

Just about the time I thought I was finished with Roses in December, I realized that that there was still one more shoe to drop. There was the letter from Eugene to Lucy that had been intercepted by Lillian and kept from Lucy. From time to time I had thought about dealing with that, but I never found a particularly elegant way to bring closure to the story. Then one summer Saturday morning I went out to a derelict and shuttered amusement park just south of town to wander through and take some pictures, all the while not quite knowing why.

As I walked past the melancholy detritus of the former playground, I came upon a collapsed building which held in its rotting remains a bit of concrete lattice work that was similar to what I had seen in pictures of the Wisteria Ballroom at the long gone Summit Beach Park.

All at once I knew how the story was supposed to end and why I had taken time off from a working Saturday to visit the blighted remains of an old amusement park. I found it interesting when I later learned that Crankshaft’s artist Chuck Ayers had been through that park himself gathering illustrations for a magazine article. Another one of those happy accidents that become a part of the process.

The Secret Sauce

posted on March 2, 2017

Whenever I give a book talk, I think the part I enjoy the most is the Q&A that generally follows. Readers, it seems, are always interested in just how all of this comes about from the initial inspiration to the choices made in executing ideas. Ergo The Secret Sauce where we’ll take a look at the ingredients that go into making up a Funky or Crankshaft strip. In a sense, this entire blog is about that, but here we’ll drill down a bit more into the process itself.

Ippso pippso the photo of the abandoned house above. It’s a house I’ve jogged past for years and each time I’d find myself wondering about it. What happened inside those walls? What secrets does it have?

The interior of this house was fascinating. There were pictures and a mirror still hanging on the walls.

It led to and became the reference for a Funky week that’s coming up this month as Funky decides to pay a visit to a house that he’s passed by many times on his runs with Les.

There’s a story hidden behind these decaying walls. And like all of us, Funky wants to know what that story is and how it ends. Inside he finds a painting called “Dakota Wheatfields”. It was a painting I discovered in an art class in Junior High and I finally finally found a place for in it in the detritus of this former home.