Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Wood/Dziawer Odyssey, Part Two by Greg Dziawer

Only the infinity of the depths of a man's mind can really tell the story.

Sterling, my co-author
Not that anyone asked, but this week I'd like to delve into the methodology—or perhaps the lack thereof—in writing these Ed Wood Wednesdays blog posts. 

At any given time, I'm usually engaged in half a dozen or so angles of Woodology. That entails sitting down for a few hours a night after work here at the PC in my small, cluttered office, Googling away patiently and inquisitively, while sipping a beer or two. As now, Sterling often sits in my lap. Many nights, the hours and the beers increase. And as the weeks wear on, I've engaged myself since last October in producing a blog post every seven days. You are reading the very same right this second!

My obsession with Ed Wood has morphed into a Mission Statement, a "duty":
  • Recognize Ed (as an outsider artist)
  • Index Ed (fully...and no, that's not impossible)
  • Access Ed (clamor for it; it won't happen on its own)

Generally, by the weekend, I begin narrowing down the possible subjects for the Ed Wood Wednesdays post. Until recently, I was delivering the (sometimes messy) posts to Joe to lay out here too late, late on Tuesday nights typically. I'm aiming to get them over sooner now. Joe always does a superb job with the layout, and his edits are few but purposeful. His critical feedback to me has been tremendous.

The day of writing the post is the come-to-Jesus moment, when I have to commit finally to a subject. There can be a bunch at play, all simmering over time. This week, I find myself juggling all of these possible topics:

  • Last week's blog post was a second piece on Ed's friend and associate Charles D. Anderson, and I've mentioned Anderson in other posts. In no time flat, I found a bunch of other Anderson titles, identified a key pseudonym, and found Norman Bates references in bibliographies of (non-Pendulum-family) gay magazines. All interesting, but I'm dismissing this one because it needs more work. To justify another piece centered on Anderson, I'll need to produce a developed bibliography.
Another Anderson novel, written under a pseudonym.

  • Reverse-engineering authorship in a desert, the scant number of adult paperback titles I've found published by Swedish Erotica as the Swedish House line hold promise of containing at least one of Ed's final, unknown books. I've identified a second author in the series who is not Ed, but did have a connection to Ed. Dismissed. Needs more work!
  • The artists whose work adorned the stories and articles—and even the edges around the photos—of the Pendulum-family magazines largely defined the look of the mags, in concert with photo layouts rooted in a hippie authenticity. While I briefly covered Phil Cambridge here, I've come across far more of his work since, including pre-Pendulum paperback covers. The other artists at Pendulum are also coming into focus, such as the mysterious figure known as HUIE. Dismissed with lots more work to do. Below is an example of HUIE's work, by the way. This drawing accompanied the anonymous article "Homosexuals Who Marry" from Pendulum's Boy Friends, vol. 2, no. 3, 1970. Note how HUIE cleverly managed to incorporate his signature into the artwork itself.
Some vintage artwork by HUIE. Note the hidden signature.

  • Found an e-text of a title pseudonymously credited to a highly suspect pseudonym of Ed's two nights ago. Am also reading simultaneously two suspect paperbacks, one clearly not written by Ed, and the other a strong contender. All too preliminary...too murky. Dismissed.
  • There was one title, Parisian Passions, credited to J.X. Williams on the cover, and to Ed on the title page. Ed indubitably wrote it. But the story of J.X. Williams is a whole other story. Way too complicated and probably an unproductive tangent. Dismissed. 
Eddie's credited on the title page, not the cover.

Beyond the immediate, the ongoing obsessions that have developed along concurrent tracks include the life and work of Dr. T.K. Peters and an overview of the writing of Carlson Wade. The pseudonym Shirlee/Shirley is also Ed's drag alter-ego and an ubiquitous character in his short stories and paperbacks. Books not written by Ed continue to be credited to him and offered at inflated prices. On and on. There's so much work to do!

But my research has already yielded fascinating dividends. In this rare photo, for instance, Dr. T.K. Peters screens a movie engraved on metal "film," a preservation measure for Oglethorpe University's Crypt of Civilization, sealed in 1940 for six thousand years

Dr. T.K. Peters at work, preserving images for the future.

We'll continue to dig into all of this and more in future Ed Wood Wednesdays. And as you surely know, the future is where we'll spend the rest of our lives!