Blue Street

Blue Street and the triangle below it features in many of Patricia Russo’s stories. I’m fascinated by this area of strange happenings, odd characters and occasional catastrophes. I tried to draw a map of it all, but the borders kept shifting, so instead I asked Patricia to explain this place to me. This is what she said:

Like I know what Blue Street is. Obviously, it’s a place. Obviously, it’s also a community. And it changes, yes, both geographically and through time. Blue Street (or the triangle below Blue Street), started out as a neighborhood of poor people, working class people, ignored by the city, full of slaughterhouses, chemical factories and warehouses containing stuff nobody with clout would allow to be stored anywhere else, and where the people had to learn, from necessity, to take care of themselves. There is definitely the idea that this a marginal, poor, ignored-by-the-powers-that-be place.  It’s also the place that, after a [rather unspecified] catastrophe, changes and transformations occur among the population; also the place where the grannies, male and female, become the respected voices. 

Monsters live there, or what are conveniently called monsters.  After the warehouses burned (and the rest of the city plunged into chaos), the inhabitants of the triangle below Blue Street were even more on their own. They developed their own small communities — settlements, independent republics. In the early days of the shitstorm, barricades were erected and battles were fought. As time passed, travel from one small settlement to another became easier — traders blazing the way — but the area is still pretty much ‘broken lands.’ New sorts of people have emerged (I’m not going to say ‘evolved’). The Rat Folk, for instance. And the Pigeon People, who are building roof-top cities. And this stretches out into a distant, though again not very specifically pinpointed, future. If you think I have all this outlined somewhere…..ha ha ha. 
 
There are connections with Blue Street and Adams Park (which has appeared in number of my stories.) Also with Consolation Boulevard, which is not in any of the stories in the collection. But this is, in my mind, the same city as in “People Unnoticed” (which appeared on Eric Marin’s Lone Star Stories site), and a lot of other stories. My geography is fluid. So’s my chronology.  I don’t have maps, or timelines. I do believe I have avoided direct contradictions, but I could be wrong about that.

Some of the characters repeat, too. Rippy/Ribbie, yeah? He’s also in “The Dogs Are Alone Upstairs.” (Which appeared in Not One of Us, the zine edited by John Benson.) He’s meant to be the same person, though become a folktale character by the time of “Grandpa Lost His Toothbrush.”

Blue Street spreads out, as you’ve noticed…:-)  Much of the rest of the city did not recover from whatever-the-hell-it-was that happened. But the idea of Blue Street was that this was a place where people had to do for themselves, and because they’d had quite a bit of experience with doing so before, they were more successful at it than the people who lived in more attractive neighborhoods.
 
Blue Street is a place where both science and magic work. Or science that looks like magic, once you get to the point where the ‘old tech’ is hardly remembered or understood.
 
Blue Street is a place where strange things happen, and nobody is really terribly surprised.
 
Blue Street is a locus for one possible future:  tolerance and cooperation between and among the people who consider themselves true humans, and the new people.  The Rat Folk, the Pigeon People, the Gray Folk with their six fingers and too-round eyes — there have been raids, and small wars, and killings by all sides. But in some of the stories, there is the option of another path, though many of the ‘true’ humans are too afraid and suspicious to attempt it.
 
See, these were the elements in my head.  In some of the stories, some of them got used, some of them didn’t, some of them got changed.  And then there is the time factor — is the story set before the warehouses burning, or just after, or fifty years later, or a hundred years later? That’s one of the reasons a lot of this is not so consistent.
 
For example, in this story, a Grannie Brian is mentioned, but nothing else that connects to Blue Street.