Meanwhile, here’s something for all you kids:
Some advice from another old guy:
Don’t make our red states blue?
And an never say I don’t give time to opposing viewpoints:
This weekend, there will be live readings for to promote the Kickstarter for Speculative Fiction for Dreamers. It will be live at www.facebook.com/mattgoodwin6, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 7 PM – 7:50 PM (EST).
Sunday, I’ll be reading a teaser from my story, “Those Rumors of Cannibalism and Human Sacrifice Have Been Greatly Exaggerated.”
But it’s not all about me, other writers will be reading:
Myths and Magics: Friday, October 16
Karlo Yeager Rodriguez
Tammy Melody Gomez
Dystopias and the Apocalypse: Saturday, October 17
Grisel Y. Acosta
Wild and Weird Fiction: Sunday, October 18
Stephanie Nina Pitsirilos
Scott Russel Duncan
View the reading, give to the Kickstarter, read the book!
Next stop Bluff. Mike, who travels all over the country selling his wooden drum boxes at craft fairs, told us that the route Emily has planned was kind of boring, and suggested a more scenic path. We went for it.
Along the U.S. 64, we passed some of Earthship Biotecture’s fanciful/futuristic houses--another place that would be great for low-budget sci-fi filmmaking. Next time, we’ll take time to stop and do some photos. According to their website they do nightly rentals. Hmm . . .
Later, we passed a house that had a dummy, all in white, hanging from a noose on its gate. We kept moving.
Chama triggered some of Margaret’s memories. She talked about a car accident she was in there back in the Fifties.
When we got onto the 84, there was a sign: CARNIVORES CUSTOM MEAT PROCESSING.
And then, Colorado. Mike was right. It was pretty scenic.
Emily pulled over at Pagosa Springs (WORLD’S DEEPEST HOT SPRINGS --ESTABLISHED 1891), because she wanted to fill our tank, but Mike warned that cheaper gas could be found further on. The water in the river was clear, so he stopped to do some fishing.
Past Durango, there was a TRUMP/PENCE sign; the lower half was a stenciled message about bulls and cows for sale.
In Cortez, there was a Colorado zen road sign: CAUTION VARIOUS STREETS.
Finally we reached Utah, where oil pumps sucked on the surrealistic landscape.
Emily slowed down to let a scraggly-looking horse cross the road. There were others. Was this a wild herd?
In Bluff, we were the only guests at the Kokopelli Inn. The town seemed dead.
The Twin Rocks Cafe was a different experience. COVID rules apply. Plexiglass shields have been installed. It seems to be mutating into a Native burrito bar. The Navajo tacos are still wonderful, though.
After Mike caught up with us, I got a message from Blaze Ward, inspired by a photo I posted from this trip. He asked if I’d be interested in writing about “postapocalyptic tacos” for an anthology that’s in the planning stages. Just what I need, another project. Then I started getting ideas . . .
The next morning I saw a guy who looked like the ghost of William Gaines, the creator of Mad Magazine, at the Sinclair station.
Then it was back through the Rez. A big, fat, flowing datura bush was growing by the side of the road. Actually, lots of them. 2020 was a good year for datura.
It was overcast. The colors of the fantastic geology were richer.
We kept seeing a sign:
Navajo guerrilla muralists have been busy decorating abandoned buildings. Fresh paint glowed. Usually in places where there was no easy place to park and take a picture.
We passed a car labeled: NON-EMERGENCY TRANSPORTATION.
Wonderful country. You go over a hill, and it’s another world.
Signs reminded: FACE MASKS REQUIRED ON THE NAVAJO NATION.
At a Flagstaff gas station I filled up next to a guy with a camouflage Trump cap, while Trump’s face smiled from a sticker captioned MADE OF MONEY AND BRAIN DEAD NO FUTURE AT ALL.
Margaret was quiet. A week on the road left her tired. But she talked about wanting to do it again next year.
As we got closer to Phoenix we ran into rain.“I’m not even going to bother with the windshield wipers,” said Emily. “The only places we got rain were in Arizona.”
It’s a New York Times Best Seller, and soon to be a Hulu series:
Mexican Gothic probably started back in Teotihuacán:
And can be found in Mexican movies:
And Silvia has other books, too:
Nine to Eternity, edited by M. Christian, is out in a Kindle version, with a softcover in the works. It’s a great new anthology, and there’s a story by me, “The Great Mars-A-Go-Go Mexican Standoff.” Here's a teaser:
was all decked out in a fully articulated, interactive monster suit, ready to
step in and play the lead in the classic musical comedy Gojira because
the has-been soap-heart-throb that Cruzarama had cast in the role had actually
– I kid you not – broken his leg in an extracurricular performance with a
And a story by my wife, Emily Devenport, “Skin Deep.”
There’s also stories by Jody Scott, Ralph Greco Jr., Arthur Byron Cover, Cynthia Ward, David Lee Summers, Jean Marie Stein, and M. Christian.
Such a deal! Buy it now!
As we passed through the lava fields of El Malpais, Margaret said. “Lava, you can't fake lava.” And later “I can’t tell if this is a fake road.”
She was having a Philip K. Dick/zen kind of day, and talked about how everything was fake, the rocks, the towns.
Emily tried to assure her that it all was real. “How do you know it’s real?” Margaret asked. Emily couldn’t come up with an answer.
Pie Town, one of our favorite stops, had suffered in the pandemic. Several of the famous pie shops were closed, and the Pie Town Cafe--our favorite--had shut down and was for sale.
Luckily, across the street and down the road, The Gatherin’ Place was still in business, brimming over with character--and a few characters. The employees wore masks as required by law. There were also Trump flags flying out front along with the Stars & Stripes, and all kinds of photogenic New Mexico local color. I’m happy to report that they serve an excellent green chile apple pie.
Margaret declared that “The pie is real,” even if the people across the patio weren’t.
Sooner or later, we all reach the point where just getting through the day is disorienting. It’s been even more so this year. 2020 may just make zen masters of us all.
After that we did a driveby of the VLA. The visitor’s center was closed for the pandemic, but we could drive for miles through the wide-open, spacey forest of radio telescopes. Margaret loved it. We even stopped to take some pictures.
“Some day one of us will make contact,” said Margaret.
As we approached Socorro, Margaret reminded us that the name meant “help.”
It’s not as sci-fi as Grants, but has a MidCentury Modern Hispanoid/Aztlán charm you can’t get anywhere else. The two sides of the El Camino Family Restaurant--intact and sun-blasted--capsulize the unique atmosphere. We did pick-up there too.
In the motel, the news told of a 6 foot asteroid approaching the Earth, two hurricanes, another police shooting, another riot, and Trump planning to announce a COVID-19 vaccine at a convention where loyalty to him is the only platform. It was like the one-party, one-candidate Soviet elections that my middle school social studies teacher told me about back in the Sixties.
Maybe Margaret was right. Maybe it’s all fake. Maybe it’s a new virus. The Everything-Is-Fake virus. In a few weeks no one will believe anything. And by November . . .
No. I have to stay focused.
Besides, if everything is fake, is there a real one somewhere?
Can you have a fake without the real thing?
The next morning we got on the I-25 and took off for Santa Fe. A mist hung over the low hills, and there were signs: DEMOCRATS FOR PEACE, AMERICA WORKS BEST WHEN AMERICA IS WORKING, an electronic one flashing reminders to wear a mask, and the koan-like ZERO VISIBILITY POSSIBLE and GUSTY WINDS MAY EXIST.
I keep expecting to someday see one that says SHIT HAPPENS.
And an interesting piece of graffiti on an overpass: MARX. There was no indication of whether it referred to the Brothers, or Karl.
Aside from that it was mostly featureless flatland. “You guys know what this plain needs?” said Emily. “Radio telescopes.”
In Santa Fe, we stood at the Silver Saddle Motel, on Cerrillos Road. Margaret had the Lone Ranger Room, Emily and I had the Calamity Jane Room, and when he caught up with us, Emily’s brother Mike got the Billy the Kid Room. The rooms were suitably decorated with Hollywood memorabilia, and the hotel has some spectacular decorations by the renowned artist El Moises.
The woman who checked us in informed us that New Mexico Governor Michelle Lynn Lujan Grisham blamed the hotel and tourism industry for the presence of COVID-19 in her state, and that what we thought was mist we saw on the drive over was smoke from a large fire.
Was the whole world on fire?
Wearing masks, as per Governor Grisham’s orders, Emily and I did some exploring of Cerrillos. At a Goodwill, I found an old Frederik Pohl novel, BlackStar Rising (. . . in the late twenty-first century, there is no President--not even a United States. China rules the Americas, and to most people “US” and “USSR” are just quaint abbreviations in historical dictionaries. Fun reading in the current situation), a mural and some signs to photograph. Emily found some clothes for herself and her mother.
Next door was a lavishly decorated Mexican restaurant called Adelita's. Margaret said she wanted to dress up in nice clothes and go out to eat. This place looked promising, there was a big, beautiful patio, and the guy we quizzed said there was no need for reservations.
When he got Margaret dressed up and brought her over, the place was locked up and empty. Business was slow, and I could imagine a manager deciding to shut down and close early. We’ll try again next time we’re in town. If they’re still there.
We cruised further down Cerrillos,and found a place called Los Potrillos. Not as fancy with the decor, but it did have patio dining, and they were open, and doing a lively business.The food was good,and Margaret had a good time.
Santa Fe smelled smoky in the morning. The wildfire was still burning, training the big sky a duller shade of blue. It was also 61°F, a delight after the record heat in Phoenix.
Margaret was still having doubts about the reality of it all, saying: “Is this really a motel?” “I wonder if he’s real?” “He’s not real.”
As we took off for Española, on a bridge over the freeway, two people held up flags. U.S.A. and New Mexico. There was no way to know why.
In Española, there were abandoned buildings, but also some new ones, it’s still like a big barrio that twists around the Rio Grande. Mike said the water was too muddy for fishing.
Oddly there was no outdoor roasting of green chiles. We encountered none during our entire trip. The roasters sat empty, unused.
We checked into the fantastic Inn at the Delta hotel. It had a fabulous, if a bit overgrown (as were most places we saw) garden. Southwestern architecture and art were all over, even in the gigantic rooms. Our room was bigger than our entire house.
We enjoyed a cool morning while watching news of rioting in Wisconsin, insanity at the RNC, and oh yeah, hurricanes . . .
I wandered around the mostly empty, palatial hotel, taking pictures of the art in our rooms, the dining room, and lobby. There’s so much art that the manager says her son calls it “the museum.”
An impressive collection of New Mexico/Native/Hispano art.
There was more than one depiction of a winged figure holding fish. The manager told me it was an archangel who had to do with bounty, and who sometimes is shown holding sheaves of wheat. A Google search revealed that the archangel Raphael is often shown holding or standing on a fish. He is the patron of travelers and pilgrims and is responsible for healing miracles.
Next to the Inn at the Delta, is the public library, with a mural headlined ESPAÑOLA, WHERE CULTURES UNITE.
We took the scenic route to Taos.
Emily made us all open our pocket books when we passed the graveyard with the fake motorcycles, a custom she picked up from my mom. This is near Truchas, which still seems like home.
In Taos, the Paseo del Pueblo Norte was all torn up. There were lots of colorful, abandoned buildings, and places that looked abandoned, but had funky, hand-painted OPEN FOR TAKE OUT signs. Other signs included, HYPERBARIC OXYGEN & COLONIC, TAOS IS ART, ANDEAN SOFTWARE.
Pieces, one of Emily’s favorite thrift stores, where I have found some very strange and interesting books, was shut down.
The Sun God Lodge is still closed for repairs. Has been several years now.
And the entire building with the cool mural with Billy the Kid with a bunch of arrows in his hat is gone. Not even the foundation is left. And six-foot tall weeds have had time to grow.
The road to the Taos Pueblo was blocked off with rubber cones and tribal police vehicles with flashing lights.
The clerk at the Kachina Lodge told us that business is dead.
They did have a lot of great Native/Southwest decor, and a full-sized equestrian statue by Fredric Remington as the token representation of Anglo culture (next to an American flag) out front.
Emily took a stroll down the Paseo. I took a lot of Taos 2020 photos. We got bear claws at Michael’s Kitchen. The town is still worth visiting.
The next morning, Hurricane Laura and the Kenosha shooting blotted out the absurd RNC.
As we left Taos we whizzed past a place that had JESUS SALE signs up for years. The signs were gone. I think I saw a metal, rusty, centaur-like thing with a lot of arms.
“If Hunter S Thompson and Alfred Bester had a Chicano child, it would be this.” -- Dave Hutchinson
“Sometimes I read it front to back sometimes back to front. Sometimes I just drop down in the middle of it it and read anywhere. It's a great book.” – Misha Nogha
“. . . each of you with a wild mind and a cerveza or two under your belt should immediately buy it and see what truly imaginative, ALIVE, literature can be . . .” -- Arlan Andrews
". . . trailblazing, damn amazing . . . Vintage Gonzo Chicano SF" -- Saladin Ahmed.