Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Partners in Rhyme

The Rhyme of the Century

Years ago I wrote The Locket, a fairy tale for my neighbor’s daughter, Jeanette, on Union Street in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Every week I’d write a chapter and drop it off with her mom, Barbara, and they would have story time that night. The story was about a little girl who had to travel to the fairy realm in order to retrieve a plant with magical properties that would cure her sick mother. What I didn’t know at the time was that Barbara had un-diagnosed cancer. When she passed, I wept that my story didn’t come true. There was no magical plant to save her. While doing research for The Locket, I read Grimms, Mother Goose, and Aesops for reference, story ideas and characters. Out of all my research, Humpty Dumpty stood out. I had questions that had to be answered! Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall. Where, when, why, what, how? I had also just watched the remake of Dragnet with Dan Akroyd. What if it wasn’t an accident, or vertigo? What if he had been pushed? What if there was an investigation?
So I started writing, knowing this might be a great story for my niece and nephew, Rhemi and Gabe. Many times I write to discover what I’m thinking about, especially when it comes to my short stories: to discover the ending, to solve the case, to get answers, to find the why. And so I reread Mother Goose Tales and populated my world of The Big Nursery with those characters, figured out the suspects, blended some realities and told it in the Dragnet style, making Friday’s Child my detective. Thus True Crimes from Rhymes Square was born.
In all good detective stories there is a sidekick, one usually close to retirement, about to get married, or have a child. This trope is used to create more sympathy when that character dies. Don’t worry, nobody dies in my story. So the thing is, I have a cat named October and I thought Friday’s Child (who is loving and giving,) should have a partner named September (thirty days hath he till retirement.) Looking back to the story of Humpty, there are all the kings horses and all the kings men--they must be the beat cops. So Friday’s Child and September must have come up through the ranks, made detective, and explains why September is a horse. Now, as detectives, they work for Mother Goose.
My first draft was a rambling mess and this is why writers need editors to reign them in. Fortunately my buddy Doc was there to tell me to use the police procedural structure. I had the Dragnet voice but not the milieu. I got back on track, finished the tale of Humpty Dumpty and read it to a nonplussed Rhemi and Gabe. They needed pictures to help them follow the story. So I filed my story away and forgot about it. That is… until my fabulous artist friend Eric Hamilton
published The Sound in the Basement; a Kickstarter-funded children’s book. Once I read it I asked if he would read my story and consider illustrating it. He read it, loved it, and then we came up with this crazy idea to produce True Crimes from Rhymes Square as a limited collector’s edition, and a sales tool to find a publisher for national distribution. So here we are, nine months after the journey began. Along the way, we picked up Liz Daggar to design the book, and Stephanie Cox-Williams to be our project manager and keep us on track. Printing costs for the book are 4.5k and I am indebted far much more to Eric, Liz and Stephanie for all their work to date. Our Kickstarter is for 6k because we know we can make that mark, but our true goal is to raise 12k in order to pay everyone, including myself for out of pocket expenses. Artists and artisans need to be paid and our team has tremendous faith in this project which is why you should too!
Truly, I am here on bended knee with cap in hand asking you to join our team and support this project. We’re creating art, promoting talented people, and together we all are creating something new and unique. For just $35 your reward is a signed numbered collector’s edition of True Crimes from Rhymes Square. When we get a publisher, we will be the next Stinky Cheese Man. Imagine your bragging rights when that happens. You can say, “I made that happen.”
And you can make it happen by clicking here.
So 
Love, Andy

Sunday, April 19, 2015

found an old short story of mine

Boiler Maker by R. Andrew Heidel I sallied up to the bar. "A pint of bass and a Glengoyne singe malt, neat please." "Ah, a boiler maker," replied the kindly old barkeep. He wore a white shirt with brown stripes covered by a glowing white lightly starched apron. He was a bartender of the old school, right down to the handlebar mustache and arm bands. Give him a straw hat, I thought, and he would be perfect in a barbershop quartet. "Yah, I need something to warm me up." The bartender took a look up and down the bar. It was a quiet Tuesday evening. A couple sat at the end of the bar, whispering sweet nothings, chocolate covered love, candied happiness, fingers entwined like the tentacles of an erotic gummy squid. Satisfied that the clientele was taken care of he turned back to me. "Sure you don't need something to cheer you up?" "Not right now. Sometimes it's not about the pep talk, pops." "Sure it is, if you don't do it for yourself, whose gonna do it." I felt like socking him. The last thing I needed to do was look on the bright side. I was happy with the dark shades I looked through at the moment. But something about his sincerity, his compassion, kept me from getting up and moving over to one of the empty booths. "Okay, hit me with your best shot," I challenged him. "Well, what seems to be the problem?" "Have you ever tried your hardest? I mean taken everything you've had and invested it into something big, really big? You know, into your dream?" "Sure." "And then have that come to nothing?" "Yup." "Well, that's where I am right now." The barkeep glanced sideways, then leaned forward on the bar, "Listen," he said in a conspiratorial manner, "don't just follow your dreams, chase them. Pursue them. Stalk them. Use all your cunning and guile to sneak up on them from behind and pounce upon them. Wrestle them to the ground and make them yours. And when they slip through your fingers, strengthen your grip, practice your holds, and don't ever, ever, give up." I thought about what he said for a moment, looked at him and asked "So what happened to you? Did you give up?" "No. I didn't give up. I found my dream, but I didn't know what to do once I had it." He picked up a towel, began drying a mug and we both lapsed into silence.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Believe it! I Opened my bar

A little over three years ago I was laid off from my job in publishing. Then the economy tanked and I thought, what a great time to open a bar. Now, at long last and almost two years of waiting, The Way Station is finally open and I'm employed full time again, by my self. I hope I turn out to be a nice boss.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Story Time

This one is from the archives written back in 2005.

She only comes out at night by R. Andrew Heidel

It’s late so I brush my teeth, turn out the lights, strip down and go to bed.

I wake in the middle of the night to the yowling. If you’ve ever heard a cat in heat, you have the beginnings of knowing this sound. Remember that sound, the one of the cat in heat. Now imagine it is plaintive instead of urgent, sad instead of excited, emerging from the soul of the cat, instead of its sex. Now you know the sound of “yowling” and how it can wake you in the middle of the night, full of fright. I call to my cat. Make the clicking sounds with my tongue against the soft palate to gain her attention then call her name. “here, Sally Brown.” I hear the pitter pat and click-clack of paws and claws against the linoleum floor. There is a pause as the sound reaches the edge of my bed, and then I feel the tell-tale landing on the mattress besides my head. I reach out for her, to stroke her, to calm her night terrors, but my hand doesn’t meet her warm soft fur. It passes through a freezing cold bubble and my body becomes paralyzed. She is not there. She died, a few days ago and now that I’ve buried her, she only comes out at night. I feel her climb up onto my chest like she used to and lay down, her whiskers barely touching my face and remember, cats can steal your breath. If that is the case, Can a ghost cat steal your soul?


Monday, December 28, 2009

More Legs than a Catapillar

Update December 2009. Smartmom at the Brooklyn paper wrote about the decade that changed parenting forever. At number three (with a bullet) is me for my Stroller Manifesto.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Befloor and after part 2


As you can see from exhibit A, the floor has been trashed from several parties, additional work, and a squirrel named "Sparky." I got down on my hands and knees and used my Lancaster Services Dalmatian technique and hand wiped the floor clean, then shined it with Liquid Gold, prepped it with Mineral Spirits before putting down a coat of Polyurethane. As you can see from Exhibit B, the finished floor looks amazing with hues of deep red and chocolate. Stay tuned to Waystationbk.com for a full spread of the finished bar hopefully by the end of next week.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Way Station Logo


Behold the glorious logo for the Way Station, Brooklyn's first Steampunk bar and performance venue. The logo was created for me by the incomparable Elizabeth Daggar/Electrofork.

We had a very successful secret opening last saturday and you can see some of those photos at Way Station's facebook page. I'll post some here soon. Stay tuned, we're going to have an Octoberfest on October 10th featuring Balkan Brass Bands, Bratwurst, and Beer!