Support Your Neighbors: Seven Eleven Ceremony and Other Short Stories

Here at LiveTaos, we’re fortunate to find out a lot about what’s going on in our community. We’re pleased to offer you this new LT exclusive feature Support Your Neighbor, where we help get the word out about local crowdfunding projects. Keep money in our community and help your neighbors do great things!

We begin by featuring the project of a LiveTaos contributor, one Mr. Barnaby Hazen.

barnabySeven Eleven Ceremony and other Short Stories
by Barnaby Hazen, art by Sarah Nettleton

We have heard many clichés about the dichotomy of family life and pursuits in the arts. Oscar Wilde said, “Women, as some witty Frenchman once put it, inspire us with the desire to do masterpieces and always prevent us from carrying them out.”

Franz Kafka wrote to his love Felice extensively during their doomed engagements, at once overcome by his passion for her, and restrained by his dedication to his writing. The Led Zeppelin entourage was only ever bummed out by the presence of the band’s wives at shows.

But in the Adams Familyesque household of Taos writer and musician Barnaby Hazen, this stereotype is irrelevant. Barnaby’s wife, Sarah Nettleton, is a Taos artist who has been very active in the Taos art community, and with Taos Pride. Last summer, Barnaby played a jazz set for an art show at Midtown Lounge she promoted to benefit Taos Pride, and now Sarah is providing the cover art for Barnaby Hazen’s first short fiction project, Seven Eleven Ceremony and Other Short Stories.

Hazen: “I had been working on music that fit her venue, so that gave me a chance to debut my solo jazz set. Now, somehow in our busy lives we’ve managed to slip in enough conversations about my book concept that she’s put oil on canvas. It’s going to be a diptych, it’s almost done but already I see a far more fitting and beautiful visual than I could have imagined for the cover on my own.”

The idea of convenience stores being the center of Hazen’s stories shifts the loneliness and ambivalence of his characters out of the dark and into the obnoxiously bright lights within a convenience store. There they may be forced to make at least minor decisions or leave. Nettleton’s eerie depictions of the 7/11 logo put the surrealism of this theme immediately in the eye of the readers, before they would embark on a journey through the dark, funny, sometimes absurdly gut-wrenching stories of Hazen’s invention.

On the website promoting his project, Hazen continues to use madness as his agent. He rants about how he hates promoting himself, and in a video, he ineffectually taunts the same franchise he’s named his project after for selling him shoddy notebooks. These same shoddy notebooks are now also being used as incentives to fund his book—you can get one signed for you, or even take possession of the very one he scratched notes into for the stories completing his collection.

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Do you know of a local crowdfunding project we should cover? Email [email protected], and we’ll run it in our next installment of support your neighbor.