5. The Fort Negley Lights

It’s hard to say how long this has been going on and people just didn’t know it was a ghost. Until the rise of cell phones, I don’t know how you’d know for sure. I first heard about it from some Vandy grad students who lived over on Marlborough, just next to Love Hill. They regularly walked up to the top of it. At night, even in the city, they found it a wonderful spot for star-gazing.

But, one evening, at dusk, they were up on top of Love Hill with a friend, who was something of a Civil War buff. He was pointing out to them why Love Hill was such a strategic spot, showing them how you could see clear across town, from the Centennial Park dog park hill to the old reservoir that marks where Fort Casino was to Fort Negley.

And, as he pointed at Fort Negley, they all saw a faint, blinking light. At first, they thought it was nothing more than maybe a car or, they speculated, kids with flashlights up in the park.

But then the friend said, “I think that’s Morse code.”

“What’s it say?”

“I don’t know.”

“That’s weird.”

“Maybe they’re doing some kind of reenactment at the fort?”

So, they went to see. But the fort was locked and dark.

The couple didn’t think anything of it until they saw the light again, this time in the middle of the afternoon.

“Okay, that is something,” they said to each other. “Let’s go see.”  They grabbed their binoculars, got in the car and cut over by Rose Park and stopped there to see if they could still see it. And there, in the woods below Fort Negley was a shiny spot of some sort.

“You stay here,” the one said to the other. “Just keep watching it while I try to get closer.” And so the one took the car over to Fort Negley, staying on the cell phone with the other the whole way.

“Yes, I can still see it,” the other said. “Go more to your left.”

“I can’t go any farther left.”

“Well, it should be right there.”

“Can you see me?”

“Yes, it’s right there, right in front of you.”

“There’s nothing… Oh, excuse me, sir.”

And then long silence.

“Honey, are you there?”

The other searched the hillside through the binoculars and was just about to dial 911 when the one ran into the Fort Negley parking lot at full speed.


“I thought I saw a man, in a uniform, but he… I don’t know… I saw him, but I didn’t. His face. It was like he had no face, just nothing where his face should have been.”

More Self-Publishing Considerations

Neesha Meminger is mulling over self-publishing over at The Rejectionist and there’s a good discussion in the comments. I tend to think about these things in terms of professional wrestling, because that’s a metaphor that’s easy for me to understand. Each night, the line-up for who will be performing is called “the card.” Wrestlers fall into three groups–new talent, midcarders, and main event level folks. The new folks are trying out their gimmicks, developing their skills, and just looking for ring-time. The people at the peek of their career are the ones most of the fans want to see. They’ve got a schtick and a catch-phrase or two and a back-story everyone knows. And they can move some merchandise.

But you need solid mid-carders, because they’re the ones who you can pit against promising new guys in order to help hone that talent and the ones you can count on to make your superstars look their best when they’re in the ring. They may not be bringing in the big bucks, but they’re solid performers who carry a lot of the organization.

What’s interesting to me is that what Meminger is saying (and she’s not the only one saying it) is that publishers aren’t really interested in midcard authors anymore. They’ll take a chance on the new guy, but if she can’t rocket to superstardom, they’re not likely to continue to support her.

We can debate all day the wisdom in ridding yourself of your mid-level talent, but I obviously think it’s a stupid idea. Having a stable of solid writers who will perform consistently is not something to just let go of in search of the next JK Rowling.

But the other thing I keep thinking is that, damn, there’s opportunity here. I don’t know what it will look like exactly, but talented people want to get their work out.

That’s a lot of content to let go to waste.

Someone’s going to seize that opportunity.

This is Supposed to Reassure Us that O’Keefe Isn’t a Creep?

You have to see this:

“In my version, the reporter was never going to be placed in a threatening situation,” O’Keefe wrote. “She would have had to consent before being filmed and she was not going to be faux ‘seduced’ unless she wanted to be.”

Allow me to point out the obvious: If someone is lying about his intentions, say, pretending to seduce you for the sake of videotaping and humiliating you, you can’t actually consent to being videotaped and humiliated, because the person who wants to videotape you is lying about his intentions. She cannot consent to activities she is not aware of!

And once you are lying about something as fundamental as that, your credibility about whether she was going to be placed in a threatening situation is less than non-existent.

He was lying to her, all along, but we have to trust he’s not lying now?