The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Limbo ain’t no fun when you’re in it

As a writer, I enjoy creating limbo for my characters to fight their way out of. I probably got warped by old TV shows such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone, and Night Gallery. Those shows had plenty of limbo, often limbounresolved at the end of the episode.

I met Rod Serling once at an English Department “tea.” He gave a talk and then we all mingled and shook hands with him. I probably said something lame while shaking his hand. Unfortunately, there were no selfies in those days to record the moment.

I did wonder how he thought up the stuff he thought up. I worried about myself when I thought stuff like that up even though I didn’t get my stuff on TV where I could be paid for thinking strange things.

The limbo was (and possibly still is) a dance. If you remember Chubby Checker’s recording of “The Limbo Rock” in 1962, then you’ve been around for a while. I never tried to do the limbo because it looked like a good way to get hurt. But ever since then, it’s been hard for me to think of limbo without thinking of “the rock” as an object that hits you in the head or a spooky place that you visit rather than rock and roll style.

In some theologies, limbo is the edge of hell, a place where you went to wait, I guess, if you weren’t bad enough to go to the main venue. I don’t know if the powers that be make you dance to the “Limbo Rock” while you’re there.

I Create Limbo for Others, Not For Myself

All of that said, as a writer, I see limbo-like plots and scenes better when I’m making them up from a position of calm and order and serenity in my own life. I marvel at writers who can create wonderful stories while their own lives are in a state of chaos.

Many thanks to those of you who picked up a copy of the new audio verson.

Many thanks to those of you who picked up a copy of the new audio version.

My own limbo is created by (a) having just come out of the hospital after appendicitis surgery and feeling, er, zoned out and tired, and (b) knowing that I have to go back into the hospital on May 9th for kidney surgery. I’m not worried about it even though I know I’ll feel even more zoned out and tired after I’m discharged from the hospital since it’s more intense than an appendectomy.

Meanwhile, I’ve felt like doing more research for works in progress, but find my concentration is in, well, limbo whenever I try to make progress on the manuscript of the next book in the queue. This tends to tick me off because I see there the story needs to go and, quite frankly, the characters are getting ticked off because they feel like they’re in limbo.

On the plus side, many of you have found the audiobook edition of Sarabande. I’m happy to say that even though I’m in limbo, the production process of the audiobook version of Conjure Woman’s Cat is moving along with a probable release date in about a week or so. Both narrators have done an outstanding job.

Thank goodness my publisher isn’t in limbo and keeps things on track while I’m not on track. By the way, a glass of wine at dinner does help the limbo do down but doesn’t make it go away. Two glasses is even better. Three glasses probably adds more limbo to the mix, and I don’t want that.


When not in limbo, Malcolm R. Campbell writes magical realism and fantasy stories that make others think he lives in limbo.




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