Thursday, April 9, 2009

Friday Forgotten Short Stories: Rhinestone Tombstone Blues

Rhinestone Tombstone Blues by Sylvie Simmons
From the collection Too Weird For Ziggy

Country Music Songwriting Superstar LeeAnn Starmountain returns home to deal with the death of her mother, her sisters and the country music industry's attempts to use the event to sell records. LeeAnn has made her career out of writing hit songs often starting her creative process by fantasizing about her mothers death. These death fantasies are not the typical simple murder plots but elaborate and twisted in such a way that they often loose the fact that a little old lady is the victim and focus on original and funny elements of the deaths. Of course LeeAnn has been a logger heads with her mother her whole life and even in death her mother has to remind LeeAnn that she is nothing and one-up her at ever step. The story is a quick twisted little ditty (like many of the best country songs) and it effectively skewers the world of country music, country song writing and small town life. I ran across the story in the collection Too Weird For Ziggy which I spotted at the local library sale, it's tacky yellow and red cover even bore a cut out price $3.99 sticker. The stories in the collection all deal with the music industry in so way or form.

I am going to throw one more out there, I have become aware that there are some of you out there reading that have not read the work of H.P. Lovecraft, and want to recommend-- Pickman's Model. The story is told by a friend of artist Richard Upton Pickman a painter known for is gruesomely realistic images of ghouls and horror. Pickman has been kicked out of Art School, and his friend... well, like Lovecraft I want to leave the horror of the story's reveal to your mind until you have the time to sit and read it. It's a solid piece of work that gives a good idea of the best of what Lovecraft had to offer and a good place for the new Lovecraft reader to start. Follow it up with either or The Statement of Randolph Carter or The Unnamable for samples of his shorter works, and then The Call of Cthulhu or The Dunwich Horror for his longer stories. All of these stories are easily available in collections of Lovecraft's work.......... also the band The The Mountain Goats' had a recent song called Lovecraft in Brooklyn on their Heretic Pride album that is worth checking out.


Cullen Gallagher said...

This is perfect timing, as I've been wanting to read some Lovecraft, as I just read my first Fritz Leiber. I'll be sure to check out these stories.

Martin Edwards said...

Lovecraft is an interesting writer, but I don't know this story. Thanks for highlighting it.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I have loved the Lovecraft I've read. No "H" in rinestone?

Iren said...

H.... H.... I knew something was misisng, my error. Thanks everyone for your comments and let me know what you think of any of these stories if and when you catch up with them.

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