Thursday, July 29, 2010

CD Relase On Friday - or - Yippie Skippy!

If you'd like a copy of the disc, email me and I'll make it happen one way or the other. Right now we are charging $10 a copy and will gladly mail it anywhere on the face of the planet... and beyond.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Parade Of Ex-es - or - Calpurnia's Warning

Things couldn’t be better. Am I exhausted? Overworked? Under-paid? Over extended? Under appreciated? Yes. Yes I am. But I am happy. I am soaked to the bone with my own sweat, stretched to my maximum by my own commitments, pushed to the edge of my physical limits, and ready to wake up and do it all again tomorrow. I am bruised and callused and burned and scared and bandaged and bleeding and happy to show off my battle wounds. There is dirt under my fingernails from last week that, no matter how hard I use that bristle brush, won’t come out. I am living in a torrent of my own design and, in all honesty, haven’t had a day off, a day to myself, a day with no work, a day alone, in over thirty days. I smile more than ever these days, but my body, my muscles, my being whines about the last job with every new job that I take on. My bones are tired. So why is it when I get to rest them, when I finally find some time between the whetstone and the grindstone, when I’m rebuilding my strength, why is it then that my dreams turn into a parade of ex-lovers. It is as if ever past commitment, every pretty face that has turned sour towards me, every lost and shattered relationship is dispatched against me while I sleep. They are beautiful and vindictive and unrelenting; lined up like Senators at the Theater of Pompey. I wake up exhausted, with my heart visibly beating through the thin summer sheets. Last night’s thunderstorm has become this morning’s drizzle.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Garrison Keillor's Notes From July 12th - or - I Really Am A Direct Blood Relative Of The Other JC

Going on the Belief Walleyes Eat Late

by Thom Ward

we fish at dusk. No strikes.
Just the occasional bass
thwapping the roof of the water,
making us wish our boat
were anywhere but here.
Which is the umbrella bed—
fat sandbar of stalk weeds, shells,
tangled hooks and lures,
the snouts of old centerboards.

We've nailed some giants off this bed.
Speckled green, dorsal fins bristled,
they died in the snarl of our net.
The thought of those fish
can tease a mile of line from a reel.
So we let out a little more
As the lake goes back and the loon
cries to its mate. The locals say
when you can't see the end of your pole
the day is done.

"Going on the Belief Walleyes Eat Late" by Thom Ward, from Small Boat with Oars of Different Size. © Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2000. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

It's the birthday of the man who said, "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." That's Henry David Thoreau, (books by this author) born David Henry Thoreau in Concord, Massachusetts (1817). In 1854, he published Walden, or Life in the Woods, which has become a beloved classic.

It's the birthday of poet Pablo Neruda, (books by this author) born Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto, in Parral, Chile (1904). As a boy, he read all the time and wrote poetry. Even though his father disapproved of his writing, he kept doing it, and he was encouraged by the poet Gabriela Mistral, who lived in his town and later became the first Chilean to win a Nobel Prize. In 1923, when the boy was 19, he sold all his possessions in order to publish his first book, Crepusculario (Twilight), and he published it under the name Pablo Neruda so his father wouldn't be upset. In 1924, he published Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, which was incredibly successful.

It's the birthday of mystery novelist Donald Westlake, (books by this author) born in Brooklyn, New York, (1933), the author of more than 100 books.

He worked as slush-pile reader for New York-based magazines, and at night he wrote his own short stories — things that did not often advance past the slush pile. In fact, he received 204 rejection slips before his first short story was ever accepted. But soon after that, the first novel he wrote was accepted by Random House. It was called The Mercenaries (1960), it was huge best-seller, and it was nominated for the prestigious Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

He wrote fast, sometimes publishing four books a year. Publishers had reservations about releasing multiple titles in one year by a single author. And for this reason — especially early in his career, when he was furiously prolific — he used pen names. Mystery novelist Donald Westlake was also mystery novelist Richard Stark, and he was Curt Clark, and Timothy J. Culver, and Tucker Coe. And he was Samuel Holt and also Edwin West.

Almost all of his books are set in New York City. His two most famous characters: one a bumbling, disorganized criminal, John Dortmunder, and the other a callous felon named Parker.

Westlake wrote on a typewriter — manual typewriters, not the electric kind — from the 1950s through the 1990s and into the 21st century, up until he died on New Year's Eve 2008 from a heart attack at the age of 75. His reasoning: "I don't want to sit there while I am thinking and have something hum at me." For decades, he wrote in the middle of the night, getting started at 10 in the evening and going through till 4 in the morning. But later he moved his work schedule to daytime — still seven days a week — saying, "I loved it [working at night], but social reality impeded. Now I wander in here at 9 in the morning or so, and come back for a while in the afternoon. I am a very lenient boss." He usually wrote about 7,000 words in one sitting, which is something like 25 double-spaced pages in 12-point Times New Roman font.

It's the birthday of (Gaius) Julius Caesar, born in Rome around 100 B.C. He came from an aristocratic family that traced its lineage back to the goddess Venus, but by the time he was born, his parents weren't rich or even distinguished. And so it was rather ambitious of him to try to become a Roman politician, at a time when it was almost a requirement for all politicians to come from powerful families.

In the last years of his life, Caesar was appointed absolute dictator of Rome. He had ambitious plans to redistribute wealth and land, and he began planning public works and an invasion of Germany. But a group of senators, led by Brutus and Cassius, wanted to bring back the old republic. So they organized an assassination on the steps of the Senate. Caesar died from over 20 stab wounds.

Julius Caesar said, "Which death is preferably to every other? The unexpected."

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®
-Garrison Keillor
The Writer's Almanac

Face Book Doesn't Know Me - or - Still Dizzy After All These Years

A friend emailed me this photo from Facebook. Maybe I'll breakdown, maybe I'm steadfast, maybe I need breakfast.

And then there is this lil' thang. Even my Pops, who hates tattoos, likes it.

I have since shaved the rest of my chest, sliced my nipple, been slapped three times by the Rev's wife, and done too many shots of Jameson to count. I am loving life. Now, if only...

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Currently Reading, Currently Reeding - or - My Teen Years Are Not Considered Teen Reading Material

As much as I think the alternating authors for alternating chapters is a gimmick to keep both stories a little more suspenseful than they actually are, I am really enjoying this book. John Green has a way of making insignificant and unremarkable main characters into some kind of social litmus paper; proving to me that even the most drab friends of mine from my childhood in the woods would be perceived as unbelievable if I had the energy to write them out the way that I remember them. The dread headed mountain hermit that, every summer, would build an ewok-style tree house and move into it as a summer home away from his mother's house. The hot and busty pot head neighbor who would invite me over after school, ask me to do her Earth Science homework for her, which I would happily do day after day after day because when I finished, she would get me stoned to the high heavens while she danced around her room, whipping her hair all over the place while singing Violent Femmes, smoking a joint and driving me crazy in her over-sized t-shirt and panties. She got her weed from a mostly homeless guy who lived in a tiny shithole appartment that was always full of dirty dishes and zombie people.

The more I think about it, the less I think my life is suitable for a John Green audience. Maybe that is why he hooked up with David Levinthan on this book, so show a bit more edge and to drop a few more F-bombs.

Fuck yeah, John Green.