New Bedlam Project
Some years ago, a small flicker of light lit the window of the old New Bedlam Library’s attic. A solitary figure waited by the candle, while three fellow survivors took their seats around a battered oak table behind her. When they were all as comfortable as they could be, considering the circumstances under which they met, she began to speak.
That meeting began a chain of events that has led us back to New Bedlam, back to the insanity and beyond the insomnia.
In early 2006, Louise Bohmer and Jodi Lee discussed what goes on in the depths of a writer’s mind when they are afflicted – perhaps blessed – with insomnia. Within days Jodi had outlined a proposal for an anthology set in the nearly-fictional town of New Bedlam, and by the end of the year the wheels had been set in motion. Courting Morpheus was finally published in 2010 through Belfire Press, one full year after The New Bedlam Project launched in April of 2009.
For two years, The New Bedlam Project survived as a free-to-read, blog-based webzine. TNBP continues to be a paying market, registered with both Ralan.com and Duotrope.com, supported by small ads, donations and the proceeds from past anthologies. Some of horror and sci-fantasy’s most promising up and coming writers have been spotted on the streets of New Bedlam, possibly looking for a way out, or perhaps they seek Morpheus, ready to bribe him for just a few moments of sleep.
From the candle’s flame to the darkest corners of imagination, New Bedlam has grown to encompass far more than anyone ever dreamed of. The monsters have definitely escaped their bounds, and the writers may never sleep again.
Even Morpheus dares not walk these streets alone…
New Bedlam – Backstory
Jodi Lee’s grandparents used to tell their grandkids that they were slowly turning her hometown into ‘New Bedlam.’ Rather than building directly from said hometown, the town she offered the original 13 writers was a combination of the three towns she’s spent most of her life in: Thornhill, Morden and Miami Manitoba. And that’s where the resemblance ends.
Other residents may not recognize anything they see written, or even the maps provided. New Bedlam was -and is- the darker side, the reflection, of those towns. It is what she sees -what all writers see- when they dare a glance into the mirror, in the dark.
Every character experiences New Bedlam in a different manner, perhaps a different time or on a different plane. Jodi Lee experienced New Bedlam as a far greater place than her hometown. The family spirit/mascot, Yahootie, came to life in her imagination, his hand reaching through the mirror that graced the second floor landing of her grandparent’s creaky, old house. As any curious child will, she took his hand, and followed him through.
That mirror now hangs on her bedroom wall. Every time she sits down to write, she knows her grandparents -and Yahootie- are watching over her shoulder. She even has a picture with faces watching through the glass, but no one is in front of the mirror itself.
She just can’t stay away from New Bedlam… not many can.