I’m way past overdue for this project but the road trip up north finally gave me an opportunity to take some July photographs of some of the places which inspired scenes in my first short story publication, Tearing Down Tuesday.
Kyle’s parent figure of sorts is Audrey Young. She owns a sort of salvage and fix it shop headquartered out of a white barn on her property. The Murphy Family Barn in this shot is one half of the inspiration. It is actually an old hay and livestock barn.
The Seven Days of the Week in Tearing Down Tuesday make their home in the Tinkerin’ Woman’s Shop.
The Tool Shed in this shot represents the other half of the inspiration for The Tinkerin’ Woman’s Shop. Oddly enough, my Uncle Paul had this John Deere Gator in for work, so you could say this gives a pretty good impression of what I saw in my mind when I created the John Deere Farmerbot Model 805, aka Tuesday.
I love the clutter of this space and the mingling of dirt, grease and other scents. You could hear the methodic beat of the electric fence generator in the background.
In the story our protag, Kyle Hackshaw, reaches a decision point while swimming in a rock quarry pool. This lake inspired that scene, even if it is not a quarry. I think Kyle would have seen the same sort of Simpson’s July Summer Sky.
We used to swim in that lake but the algae blooms and snakes have made that untennable.
I have mostly positive memories of my summers on the Murphy Family Farm. My Uncle Paul and Uncle Mike still farm up there and while things are a bit worn, the place still feels comfortable and welcoming to me. Strange that I’d set such a dark story in a place of incredible beauty.
To my eyes, the photographs, especially the emerald landscape against the brilliant blue sky, represent what Missouri truly is, a farming state with a culture and history worth retelling in fiction. The sad thing is that these days, most science fiction writers would be quietly appalled at the lack of bandwidth, Starbucks and the like in this environment.
I’ll try to post more photos this week along with other photos of the road trip.
Steven Francis Murphy
Author of The Limb Knitter and Tearing Down Tuesday
North Kansas City, Missouri