The Stencil Ceremony, what is it, when did it arrive in Stevats' history, and how come they are in my book? One will never know the mystery, the when, or who it was that read their Stencils. You reader will have a window: dark, demure, and less ambient than most want, to those words of truth, hurt, and sometimes murderous events in Stevats' antiquity. The first Stencil Ceremony that I stumbled on was published in a fledgling on-line magazine titled Dark & Dreary Magazine, its title was Rearing. The magazine eventually fizzled out, but it was published, albeit, for a short time period, and never saw the light of day in tangible soft back, or e-book format. The short, very short, Rearing, was flash fiction piece, under 1000 words, that I found in the crawl space beneath an old house we were renovating. The cold damp document was weathered with age, soil, and wrapped in a thin layer of protective coating, which was unidentifiable. I copied it quickly, put it back in the spot I found it, and submitted it to get the words out to the masses, or the small audience that Dark & Dreary could muster. Since finding that Stencil, I continued to search, making it a game for my wife, and kids. The Stencil in the paper back of Blood, Dreams & Tears (e-book here) is quite longer, a little more three dimensional, and full of the weirdness that most expect to appear in those pieces.
I found, Life in a Sheltered Mind somewhere in the Honey Swamp in Louisiana. We took a vacation and on that visit to Louisiana, took a swamp tour back in June of 2005, the summer before Katrina hit. The swamp tour guide stopped at a floating house boat, and I rummaged through it, when the other tourists had left, almost getting left behind, I found it under some old floor boards that had creaked underfoot, there was a steel box attached to the bottom of the floor to protect it from the swamp water. This parchment was protected in the same material as Rearing. My wife, Maria, was pissed that I made the tour guide wait on the boat, and had been worried I was going to be left behind (more like excited), marriage with kids can surface all kinds of emotion. She got over it, when I read the Stencil to her and the kids around a very hot campfire at the campground in the hundred plus degree heat. It wasn't an ideal night for a story telling session. I sometimes wonder if we had been in the comforts of the Airstream's air conditioning maybe it would have been better welcomed. I've found several after that, on many vacations, on many drives through the countryside exploring old houses, and often wonder, how the hell these Stencils, which took place in the small town of Stevats, arrived in so many places, and more bizarre how the heck they are connected to me? Is it coincidence? Is it I, the destined craftsman, pen in hand, to put words to paper and share them with the world? I guess I'll never know, but my quest and collection of Stencils will continue to grow on every travel and exploration I make.
For now, indulge in the introduction to every Stencil, the introduction written by me to best describe their nature, and what I've learned from reading them. Thanks for stopping by, and as always, thanks so much for reading!
The history of Stevats’ is marked by a peculiar ceremony. The rituals, hosted by an elusive group of people, give a bizarre afterward to death---taboo speeches written and real about the dead, presented by a person who was exclusively invited to read or write the afterward. These customs are called Stencil Ceremonies, an outline of deceased, unenlightened, and catering to the dark side of their lives. The people who wrote these words often used pseudonyms to shroud the fact that the dead were being disrespected. These were rare written letters that were read with masks of concealment; the readings often taking place in obscure, secretive locations.