You’d think that being jobless would resemble some manner of paradise involving sitting on my ass, eating government cheese and doing absolutely nothing, right? Wrong. In the last month, I’ve put more time into my career (writing) now that I don’t have gainful employment than ever before. I can honestly say that I’m going through one of those quantum leaps marketing-wise. The kind I haven’t enjoyed since way back in 2001. Most of my days have been spent schmoozing on the phone until the battery dies out on my portable, writing any number of different personal projects and assignments, blogging and working on my sites as well as those of others, and spending what little time is left in the evening taking care of things around the house and spending time with my wife while shoehorning research into other side projects.
Yesterday alone, I got up at eight in the morning, got a good running start at life and didn’t stop until around midnight. Aside from a ten minute nap, I didn’t stop. When I get a full-time job, it’s going to be a bit of a relief, because I’ll have the sort of structure again where I can allow myself to rest once in a while. Even after getting a molar pulled last week and suffering from related migraines, I felt guilty taking a portion of two days in the last seven to relax and recuperate. With as many hours in the day as I have at my disposal, I still feel as if there isn’t enough time to accomplish everything I’ve been setting out to do.
Bret Easton Ellis told me during our interview a few years back that he treated writing like a job, ‘clocking in’ at 9 a.m., breaking for lunch and then banging out of work around 5 p.m. I wish I could stop that early. While tiring, I realize how crucial the time I’ve been given is. I’ve decided that I’ll be taking this holiday season away from the horrific nightmare that is retail to actually enjoy spending time with my family (new and old) for the first time in 16 years in addition to working on the multitude of projects that are currently under construction or already in progress. As you may or may not know, the next two essay collections (Slapstick & Superego as well as Merry Prankster) are complete. I haven’t penned a shred of new poetry for two weeks, but Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick (the next poetry collection) is well over 140 pages without even including the freaky 50 page project I worked on in July (‘Rock/Pop Goes The Weasel’). And then there are the freelancing assignments….
My beloved editor at Gusto (Brian Connelly) is apparently moving me up to the big leagues in terms of freelancing and I couldn’t be more grateful. In addition to the Club Watch bar reviews, he’ll be phasing me into their ‘Tell Me’ section at the very FRONT of Gusto (page two after the front page), conducting interviews with artists, writers and musicians on the cusp of making their big break inside as well as outside of Buffalo. In regards to that, I’m going to humbly request that if any of you know of an artist (preferably a musician or band) with an upcoming gig in November or December who doesn’t have a firmly established fan base and deserves a wider audience, please email me at once with biographical as well as contact information. My musical tastes tend to run about twenty or thirty years behind, so I’m woefully ignorant where current up-and-comers are concerned.
ArtVoice has also given me the green light on one of two projects I hatched during the idea-storm I was besieged with on my honeymoon at Silvercreek in early October. With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I’ll be writing a piece about the hot spots to hit on the day before Thanksgiving, which happens to be the biggest party night of the year, eclipsing even New Year’s Eve and/or St. Patrick’s Day. Again, if you happen to be ‘in the know’ on a bar, club or pub that blows the doors off business wise before the turkey hits the table, drop me a line. My deadline window is one week, and I NEVER miss deadline. It’s one of the qualities that’s reinforced my reputation as a serious writer in Buffalo and I’m certainly not going to call that into question now.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure and privelage (sp?) of recording an hour long show plus with my podcasting hero Uncle Hal from the Pissed Off World Of Uncle Hal show. He was my first choice after being offered my own show at Think Twice and with zero notes, bullet points or questions, we managed to fill 70 minutes worth of the most offensive, irreverent comedy imaginable. If Hal didn’t have an appointment, I seriously would have gone for two hour-long shows in a row. I raced Episode XV out as soon as I could and my producer Richard Wicka at Think Twice uploaded it at once. I strongly encourage you to listen at once over at:
I had some issues finding the new episode with more luck refreshing on Internet Explorer, so if you don’t see Episode XV (and the subsequent ‘Bonus Round’), click Refresh and cross your fingers. I’m not sure if the site is experiencing technical difficulties, but I’ll be getting to the bottom of it over the weekend.
In addition to the Big Words One Man Mobile Unit, the Monsters Of Verse are full steam ahead. I returned to Clarence High School on Tuesday to teach my first workshop on the mechanics of poetry as well as writing in general to Ms. Foster’s Poetry Club while recording the event. That episode (#3, for those keeping track) can be heard over at:
Once again, I experienced issues finding the newest episode of each show on AOL, so if you have Internet Explorer, you’re better off visiting the site from there.
And last night, the Monsters Of Verse launched their second official reading at Talking Leaves on Main St. in Amherst. JR Finlayson, Carrie Gardner and myself kicked off the evening in alphabetical order with fifteen minute sets of amusing, insightful and philosophical poems that the crowd really seemed to respond well to. Due to a small snafu regarding our start time (I forgot that we started at 6 p.m. instead of 7), we read for an additional forty minutes for the sake of entertaining those who showed at or shortly after 7 o’clock. Twenty minutes of the second set were lost from the digital recorder, so if you weren’t there, you won’t get to hear it once the non-stop rock block of genius goes up online. Depending on where my day (and my weekend) take me, Episode IV of the Monsters Of Verse should be up on the web by Sunday afternoon at the latest. I’ll shoot you all an email when I’m positive that it’s up.
I’ve had a lot of time to think in the last four weeks. One of the things I was turning around in my head yesterday was just how…overjoyed I am to have two like-minded creative maniacs to tour Buffalo and beyond with for the next six months. With Jeff Finlayson and Carrie Gardner on deck, I honestly couldn’t ask for two other people I’d rather be out and about reading with. Aside from sustaining, supporting and inspiring each other, they remain my dear friends and I’m not so much surprised with how well our collective dynamic is growing and improving so much as I’m pleased with the results. Maybe we’ll hate each other come the beginning of May, but I doubt it. Their talent, professionalism and their knockout prognostication skills continue to sustain and inform my burgeoning poetry skills. At the risk of getting gooey, thank you, Jeff and Carrie. Our events (and this project) are a feather in our cap that I’m very, very proud of. I realize that putting up with my thousand event-related emails, phone calls and frequent tantrums is far from fun to deal with (just ask my wife), and your respective patience and professionalism is slowly molding me into a better team player. You two are the best.
Our next stop on the quest for global spoken word domination hits next Thursday (the 13th) at Spot Coffee on Delaware and Chippewa from 7-9 p.m. Three days later, we’ll be at my favorite bar, Desiderio’s on Broadway on Sunday the 16th at 7 p.m. with special musical guest Shaky Stage. Attendance so far has been admirable, but where the hell have you guys been? Carrie has brought the majority of our audience and I’m embarrassed to say that most of the Big Words army have been missing in action. PLEASE make the time to show your face for one (if not both) of the next two events. I’m disappointed in the total lack of support in terms of these promotions where you’re all concerned, and it would be nice to see some if not all of you out during this new experiment in our collective creative careers. While I realize that our performances are not at the top of your list, you’re missing out. We’ve had a great big barrel of fun so far and it’s only going to get better as we continue to sharpen our skill set on the road. Forget everything you know about poetry and give us a try. I promise that we won’t let you down, and the after-parties thus far have been phenomenal. I’ll leave it at that.
And, on a final note, two new articles popped up online this week. This month’s issue of Acid Logic is rolling out hot at 15 mph with ‘Sawed Off Sam Walton’, a strangely topical essay about spending half of my life in the hell known as retail. Read all about it over at:
And after a month long unintentional hiatus from comic book reviews, I put my nose back to the grind and started pumping a few new graphic novel critiques and sending them off to my new editor at Comics Bulletin. You can catch them every Wednesday on www.comicsbulletin.com
. Top Shelf Comics has been kind enough to send me more than my share of advance copies, review copies and entire libraries for research purposes having to do with the radio show, and one of the books they sent me stood head and shoulders above anything I’ve read this year. Despite what you might think, I actually do read comics that don’t have Batman in the title. This previous Wednesday, I gave Nate Powell’s Swallow Me Whole
the credit it truly deserved. Check that review out over at:
You may have to scroll down a tad as my show-notes inform me that it is no longer Wednesday and there isn’t a direct link to each review. Since the Swallow Me Whole review, I’ve been hard at work building up a stockpile of other new reviews so that there aren’t any gaps on that site. I’m neurotic about taking advantage of each and every site and publication I write for and I hate to be tardy to the party with any of them unless it’s absolutely unavoidable. Writing comic reviews is a labor of love and it doesn’t even feel like work to fire off 5 or 600 words about every book I shovel into my brain. Excelsior!
That should be all the news that’s fit to print for the time being. Thanks are in order to: JR Finlayson, Carrie Gardner, Richard Wicka, Greg Sterlace (farewell and good luck, new friend!), Jonathan at Talking Leaves, Josh Smith, Uncle Hal, Wil Forbis, Thom Young and last but not least, my wife. Lindsay has had to endure hell and back and back around again in the last four months. This wrongful termination from Gamestop was another curveball that we didn’t deserve or anticipate. She’s a real trooper, and without her love, support and reliability, I’d be well past the point of sanity by now. I love you, chipmunk!
Oof. One final word. Now that Hal has popped onto my show, I’ll be doing a walk-on over on his. We’ll be recording Episode 61 (or is it 62?) next week and you know I’ll give you the head’s up once it’s online. The two of us are the politically correct equivalent of a keg full of dynamite strapped to a minivan doused in nitroglycerin whenever we get near a microphone. The Big Words episode was brutal, but now that we’re back in the groove, our show on his site will be worse. You have been officially warned. Have a great weekend,