By golly, I finished it. It may not look like it, but this map of a place that really only exists in my memory and imagination took a lot of work. I surveyed the town and made a set of rough map sketches back in 1994. Some of the places on this map don’t exist any more, while a few never existed at all in any real sense. I finished drawing it out in pen and ink yesterday, February 15th, 2016.
This map is Norwall, Iowa, population 275 (If you count the squirrels… and we had a lot of squirrels in this town… in more ways than one). The map is attributed to Bill Stuyvessant, known to the locals as “Cherries Bill” because he loved cherries more than any other fruit and it was the exact same color of red he had on both his cheeks and nose. For the last decade of his life, the 1960’s, he lived alone. His wife died in 1958. His only son, Christian, died near Bastogne in December of 1944 at the Battle of the Bulge. He lived alone with a house full of stacks of old newspapers. It is believed by many that he was a sorcerer and knew practically everything. Some even said he was God. The map probably had to originate with him because it shows the locations of key settlements in the Faery Kingdom of Tellosia, which of course is known only to practicers of magic and those with vivid imaginations.
Norwall is the setting for my hometown novels series. They are not exactly science fiction and not exactly fantasy, but have heavy doses of both. They are actually about real life as it can be warped by imagination and dreaming. You can make the argument that they are surrealism. The four pictured above are completed novels, except for When the Captain Came Calling on the right. It is undergoing a complete rewrite and is only about 50% complete. I have one published novel in this series through I-Universe, an imprint of Penguin Books.
I also have a number of novel projects in the planning and rough-draft stages that are also set in this little imaginary Iowa town. I am continuing to write and expand it all as time continues relentlessly forward.