Thursday, December 19, 2013

Michael F. Housel's Wonderful, Magical, Literary Elixirs!

Michael F. Housel's Wonderful, Magical, Literary Elixirs...

Many years ago, when I was but a young, naïve lad, I penned a string of cryptic short stories in the fantasy, psychodrama vein, in an anthology entitled "Michael F. Housel's Wonderful, Magical, Literary Elixirs!". I thought the stories were pretty swell at the time, though others, not understanding my eclectic disposition, tended to differ with that lofty opinion. However, a select few eccentrics, who by chance stumbled upon the entry, were at least open-minded enough to fancy the yarns, but I guess with the grand passing of time, none of these various likes or dislikes are of significant consquence now.
The important thing is that “Michael F. Housel’s Wonderful, Magical, Literary Elixirs!” was born, presented with a prologue/epilogue and little intros, as well excellent illustrations by my pal, Steve Goodrich.

The anthology’s wraparound dealt with me, Brother Mike, a wanderer of dreams, who finds himself in an Old West locale, to present his stories, “literary elixirs” as they are so conveniently labeled, for the sake of appealing to the “bitter, hopeless and depressed”. Brother Mike trusts that these oddly geared tales will make those he encounters feel more at ease with their doleful existences.

In the original volume, Brother Mike distributes his tales from a magical, horseless wagon: not quite steampunk, but nonetheless atmospherically capturing that particular flavor. For added effect, he sports a stove-pipe hat, in homage to Cliff Robertson’s character in Rod Serling’s popular “Twilight Zone” entry, “A Hundred Yards Over the Rim”. (In other general respects, I have often perceived Brother Mike as a sort of poor man’s “Dr. Who”. )

Anyway, for your viewing pleasure, I have included a little picture of Steve's “Elixirs” cover below. As you can see, the booklet was patterned after the types one might find in the Old West, which make brief appearances in such modern , cinematic Westerns as “Unforgiven” and “Tombstone”.  (Incidentally, the title scroll was somewhat inspired by the text on "Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of War of the Worlds" album cover, which Steve evolved into an infinity-sign insinuation, which then became distinctive to my would-be series.)

(It should also be noted: one of the stories in the original “Elixirs”,  “The Tormented”, was adapted as a “reading” by yours truly for the audio-zine, “Tales from the Grave”! My good friend, Brett Turner, also adapted another story entitled, "Cold to Kill", as a short, experimental film back in the late eighties!)


  1. I like the Old West patterning on the cover. It caught my eye as I was reading your blog. It sounds like you have come across difficulty over the years with those not embracing your eccentricity. Many of us deal with that. For every one person who turns away from eccentricity, there are three more in your corner supporting you!

    1. Indeed, I've faced a fair some of flack for my overall eccentricities, and particularly my "Elixirs" endeavors did receive an ample amount of bafflement when I shared them with some folks decades ago. I was a mere lad then, and my creative ventures weren't quite so fine-tuned, but I think the strange story content is primarily what threw many people. Nonetheless, I'm proud I fashioned these little books with the help of my friend Steve, and I greatly appreciate your kind words regarding the Old West-styled cover of the original compilation.

      I'm optimistic that the eccentrics will happily rally around me once Damnation Books releases "Flask of Eyes". "Flask" is defintely offbeat, but should still prove a fun read. (In its own particular way, it's really a modern spawn of "Elixirs".)