Influences For Uncivil X

With any work, whether writing, music, painting or other art forms there are outside cultural influences that inspire or shape it or the person creating it. This is about acknowledging the places, artists and works that inspired me in the period written about during Uncivil X and still do today.

Listed below are some of the artists, works, figures, events and places mentioned in Uncivil X or had an influence on me and it.  The list is very much a mixture of high, pop and underground culture.

This is written in a way that it does not give away any of the plot.



I will begin with the obvious choice.  The rise of Nevermind in the fall of 1991 was so unexpected and overwhelming. It came out of nowhere and changed the rock musical landscape. They were my favorite band at the time. I related to Cobain's lyrics. Lithium and Come As You Are were my two favorite songs. Their music was a life changer for me.


Arthur Rimbaud

Arthur Rimbaud

French poet in the mid to late 1800s that died at age 37. His life story and writing were a huge influence on me. I begin the book with a selection from After The Flood. His influence resides throughout this book and I also mention his poem The Stolen Heart and the story behind it.


Death In Venice

The book and film were a part of my life from the time I was a little boy. I lived a similar scenario with a person known as English Stan in the 1990s.

Also from that film, is the inspiration of Gustav Mahler's Symphony 5, Adagietto. Leonard Bernstein's conducting is mentioned in the book. He conducted Adagietto at the funeral in New York for Bobby Kennedy in 1968.
Mahler was also an inspiration on me for his life in exile.


River Phoenix

River in My Own Private Idaho

Aside from being adorably handsome, River Phoenix was the best young actor of Generation X at the time. I had first noticed him in the 1985 film Explorers. His best roles were in Running On Empty and My Own Private Idaho. His death in 1993 was more shocking to me than Cobain's.

Resonant Frequency

Resonant Frequency is an aspect of the novel for those doing a close reading. The main character vibrates at certain points and that behavior is based on resonant frequency.

A Boy's Own Story

This is my copy of the book from the period of Uncivil X.

It is the classic gay, coming of age story. It was the first gay book of any kind that I read. I read it two or three times. Also mentioned in the book is Edmund White's, The Beautiful Room is Empty. I was not brave enough to buy gay books in person and they were not available in Paulding County, so I ordered through the Barnes & Noble catalog.


Doing Time On Maple Drive

Doing Time on Maple Drive cast. Yes, that's Jim Carrey.

Growing up I had seen many gay movies on cable television. My all-time favorite would be Parting Glances from 1986. In 1992 there was a made for television movie on Fox that was much more relatable called Doing Time On Maple Drive. It featured a gay male character that was the same age as I was that grew up in a dysfunctional household. The character was deeply into the closet and attempts suicide. His relationship with the character Kyle was heartbreaking. I taped that movie and watched it many times in the early 90s. 


Egon Schiele

Schiele self portrait.

Some of his trees.

The first time I ever saw any of his work, I fell in love with it. I explain why in Uncivil X. He was an Austrian painter that died at the age of twenty-eight.
There are other painters mentioned in Uncivil X: Kandinsky (my favorite), Jackson Pollock and Cy Twombly.


Tacheles. Courtesy Wikipedia

Tacheles was a legendary Berlin squat and artist collective in the former East German side of the city. Berlin was known for its long history of squats in abandoned buildings. I have been fascinated by Berlin, the GDR and the Berlin Wall since I was a small child. After German reunification in 1990, Berlin was a popular place for Americans my age looking for an adventure.

The Goat Farm Atlanta. Photo by me.

The closest similar place that existed in Atlanta in the 90s was the Goat Farm. The Goat Farm appeared in the 1989 video for the Indigo Girls' Closer to Fine and has since appeared in movies. That video is a wonderful time capsule of Atlanta's decay in the late 80s and early 90s that I loved. Some of the other spots are the Bankhead Bridge to nowhere (which was still in use at that time), outside what is now the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, the Boulevard tunnel and too many other places to mention. How Atlanta is portrayed in modern pop culture and media, is not what it really is or was, but that is a topic for another day.

The Unanswered Question

Music from Charles Ives that made me think about life. Leonard Bernstein explains it.


Red Hot + Blue


Red Hot is an organization that was popular in the early 90s for its fundraising, campaigning and fight against AIDS. It was mostly known for putting out compilation albums composed of popular artists such as George Michael, Lisa Stansfield, Seal and many others. Their campaigns featured the art work of gay artist Keith Haring, who died of AIDS; among others.


The feud between Karpov and Korchnoi. Their story is a fascinating one.

The Red Balloon


The Red Balloon is a 1950s French short film about a boy chasing a red balloon through the streets of Paris. This was shown in school when I was growing up and I likely saw it again on public television. This film has stayed with me throughout my life and I am very fond of it. 


A 90s gay zine.

Zines were not something you could find in Paulding County and so you either found them in Atlanta or ordered them,as most did, through the mail. Zines were small, independent magazines often run by one person made on a photocopier. They were at their peak in cultural relevance in the 1990s. Zine creators often wrote about everything and anything imaginable. I knew a person in Atlanta that had a zine and I sometimes read other zines.


Ford Factory 

Photo courtesy Georgia State University.

This is the former factory where I lived in Atlanta with my loft circled in red. Most of Uncivil X is set in Paulding County, but the last few chapters are more Atlanta oriented and some of it is set in the factory.

I actually had two lofts there, but I simplified it to one for Uncivil X. The above photo is from 1988 before the Murder Kroger was built next door and the abandoned factory was converted into living space. When I lived there parts of the building were abandoned and decaying. We would sneak into those areas and up on the roof.

Today, that is the gentrified Ponce City Market next door in the background. When I lived there it was City Hall East and the neighborhood was FAR from gentrified in the 90s. The Masquerade was behind us on North Avenue and it made for a lively scene between that and the general sleaze that made Ponce so interesting.

Model-T factory from another vantage point. Photo by me.

The building in 2013 from the bridge over Ponce which now carries the Beltline. When I lived there that was a sometimes active rail line. Otherwise those tracks were a shortcut to Piedmont Park and people would engage in sex on the tracks between our building and City Hall East.

I had a large rainbow flag for all of Ponce to see. Taken from a video of mine 1995.

I had a great view of the Clermont. Taken from a video of mine 1995.

I wish I still had those metal candle holders. They were so heavy and well made. Taken from a video of mine 1995.

Living there, along with the stone house at Rhodes Hill, was the catalyst for my love of architecture and old buildings. I already loved antiques and unfortunately one of the stories that had to be cut from Uncivil X for word count reasons; was about the time my father and I bought an entire house of Art Deco antiques when we redecorated the house at Aviary Hill in the early 90s.

Totally Fucked Up

This film was my introduction to Gregg Araki films and independent, gay underground cinema. Aside from Totally Fucked Up, I very much enjoyed The Living End. I mention the opening scene and other parts of the movie in Uncivil X.


Barnsley Gardens

Barnsley Manor. Image courtesy Wikipedia.

Though Uncivil X is approximately 98% true, sometimes I had to change minor details to make for a better story or to avoid some other type of issue. Barnsley Gardens is the inspiration for Addison Manor in the book. I wanted to change parts of the history of the house to tell my story in a more effective way. It is true that I visited Barnsley with those particular characters on a drizzly, lonely late fall day in the early 90s. The place was also very different from what it is today. There was no resort and it was only the ruins of the manor house.

Visetown & Vise Landing, Tennessee - Decatur County

Video still from a VHS of mine in the mid 1990s looking toward the Tennessee River.


A newspaper mention of Visetown.

A newspaper mention, among many, of Visetown from 1939.

Rhodes Hill in Decatur County is very much based on a real place and has appeared in all three of my books. It is a place that barely exists today on any map; known as Visetown in the family and by map makers as Vise Landing. The stone house, mercantile, other buildings, barns and farm are very real and built by my ancestors. The stone house at Visetown was one of my favorite places in the world and has inspired me many times over. 

Though I spent a lot of time in Decatur County in the 90s, very little of it is in Uncivil X as I wrote about it so much in Dweller On The Boundary and Terminal Wake.

The area around Visetown has changed some over the decades with a country club and marina now located where we swam as kids in the Tennessee River.


Me at Lost Creek in the mid 80s.


The Beech River at Lost Creek 2004. Photo by me.

Another location in Decatur County, Lost Creek, is also a very real place and the stories from there are true. The real name is Lost Creek and my family maintained a presence there well into the 2000s. Along with my grandparents and my grandmother's second husband's properties; my father also owned a house there. My father in the 2000s simultaneously owned a house at Lost Creek, in Parsons and a house with a lot of acreage in neighboring Perry County.

Vise Pharmacy, Decaturville, Tn. Photo by me 2004.

Some random Vise presence in Decatur County. Having such an uncommon name where I grew up in Georgia, it was always strange to see my last name on so many businesses in Decatur County. That never got old.

Aviary Hill

Aviary Hill in 1990 when the house became white. Photo by me.

Of course, there is no way to neglect the house and hill that I grew up, as it is the most common location in all of my books to this point. The house is located in New Hope, Georgia. It was the single most important place in my life and shaped me in countless ways.

Blackout Log would be to the right and behind me in that photo, fifty yards away.

The photo above is a foot bridge my father and I built over the creek behind my house. The land influenced me as much as the house and I loved growing up there. I would not have wanted to have grown up anywhere else.

Photo by me mid 1980s. Photo by me.

Newcomers to Paulding County in the last twenty to thirty years can not grasp how rural it once was. Paulding County was well known for moonshine through the 1960s and 1970s. The moonshine still above was one that was on our property. There were probably a dozen behind my house as you went deeper into the woods towards Elsberry Mountain, though none of them were in use.

Elsberry Mountain

Though Elsberry Mountain is only casually mentioned in Uncivil X, it was a common location in my other previous books and I thought I would include it. It is located maybe a mile behind Aviary Hill. It was a regular place I walked or rode my ATV growing up, probably once a week or more. I knew every inch of that mountain on every face. 


Legendary Georgia Tech football coach, Bobby Dodd, had a compound at the base of the mountain. I never knew who he was until much later in life. I met him once when I was about twelve years old. I was walking the dirt road with my dog and came across this elderly man, it was a strange sight as I never ran into people out there as it was so isolated. He introduced himself and asked who I was. He told me to be careful.