Thursday, September 14, 2006

Memoir of a Ghost

Back in the day, I was doing first reading for Mark Rainey at his late, and very much missed, Deathrealm Magazine. He phoned me one evening and asked me if I’d be interested in taking on some of the reviews for a certain Andrea Locke.

Andrea Locke was a featured reviewer whose work I’d noticed in the magazine. Mark informed me that, in fact, there was no Andrea Locke. She was actually a creation of his and the reviews listed as Andrea’s were by other, anonymous, folk. “Would you like to write some Andrea Locke reviews?”

I agreed. It meant free books and magazines, and it meant I’d get to write, and in those days I wrote many hours a day. I was always looking for an excuse to write more stuff.

In the years since the passing of Deathrealm, some folk have occasionally asked me if I had been Andrea Locke. Well, yes…sort of. I like to think that I wrote the best Andrea Locke columns, but I by no means wrote them all. Who was she? Who were the folk who made up the many facets of this creation?

Well, I don’t know the answer to that. What I do know is that there were at least six other Andrea Lockes. And there may very well have been more. It’s hard to say.

In addition, over the years--and at the time of publication--I would sometimes get the credit for writing a particularly biting review with which I had no connection. And sometimes I’d get the blame for something Andrea had written which I had not penned. In one instance, I was considered for membership in a kind of author collective. But one of the writers was pissed off that I’d negatively reviewed one of their works as Andrea Lock, and so I was blackballed from joining. Alas. I simply shrugged it off. But the humor in that particular situation was that one of the other members of the group, with whom the blackballing author was friendly, had in fact written the Andrea Locke column that had so insulted.

So it goes, eh?

When Deathrealm closed its doors and retreated to history, I was sad that I’d no longer get the opportunity to write any more columns under the pseudonym of Ms. Locke. She’d developed something of a following, this nebulous creature. And I have to admit that I missed the free books and magazines. Free stuff is always cool.

Later, I was offered the chance to resurrect Ms. Locke, this time purely under my own pen. I agreed to do so, but the publication that made the offer closed its doors before I could get a head of steam, and they also failed to pay me for the few reviews I did write for them. (Ms. Locke isn’t losing any sleep over it.)

In recent months, a couple of acquaintances have written to me to ask if I had been the semi-famous Andrea Locke. So I would explain to them the situation and try to count the number of folk who had contributed to her output. In the end, though, I don’t know who had written which column. I was kept in the dark as to the authors connected to specific works, save in a couple of cases.

As far as I know, Andrea Locke is totally dead, now. She has parted ways with the publishing world, unless one of the other lords of her has resurrected her hoary ass.

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