Posts Tagged ‘poke the scorpion with a sharp stick’

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Doubt It Publishing @The Buffalo Small Press Book Fair

February 17, 2012

The show must go on!

 

While I’m not sure if I’ll be able to attend or not due to work obligations, Doubt It Publishing will have a table at the event along with a catalog of books on sale at The Buffalo Small Press Book Fair.  Doubt It authors Mark McElligott (Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind) and David Waters (12 Priests & 3 Gnomes) will be at the event to hawk their wares, sign some books and meet and greet with attendees.  The boys will also have copies of If They Can’t Take A Joke, Slapstick & Superego, Mockery and Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick for sale.

This will be the third year that Doubt It Publishing will participate in the event.  The Buffalo Small Press Book Fair takes place on Saturday, March 24th at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum in downtown Buffalo from noon-6 p.m.  For more information, feel free to visit:  http://www.buffalosmallpress.org/

 

Buy our books already!

Tom Waters

Publisher, Author

Doubt It Publishing

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Out With The Old, In With The New

December 29, 2011

2011 was truly a banner year all around.  If someone told me this time last year that I’d launch three books in the span of 8 months while working on two more and holding down a full time job, I’d tell them they were nuts.

Mockery got better media exposure than my last three books combined and went on to sell more copies faster than any other book I’ve released.  In terms of sales it’s second only to If They Can’t Take A Joke.  It continues to sell steadily even though the inaugural push is over with.

Mark McElligott’s Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind was a resounding breakout success from a talented and previously unheard of writer.  Together we managed to find a larger audience for his idiosyncratic brand of humor in his hometown of Lockport as well as throughout Buffalo.  And while there was no real launch campaign for Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick, it’s turned a tidy profit since its release in August that would make its previous poetry predecessors proud.  The collection was received as an entertaining step forward compared to both Breathing Rooms.

            Somehow this year I also managed to get banned from Time Warner Cable and earned a film credit for the music video ‘I Wanna Be Oprah’ (which is still available on YouTube).  I guess we can chalk both up to being in the right place at the right time.

While doing some site maintenance this morning I realized that some of the links to the right here were broken.  I updated all of them to ensure that they were functional, so for those interested, you can now click on Born Pissed and Zany Hijinx to buy my first two books or click on ‘The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour’ link to go right to the show.  All of the links on the right-hand sidebar are fully operational again, so browse at your leisure!

Speaking of Big Words Radio, Season 4 turned out to be the magic number.  Somehow despite the over-the-top comedy and subversive, offensive content the show turned out to be the Little Podcast That Could, finding an audience of over 3,000 listeners per month.  Season 5 promises to be just as crass and irreverent as it’s always been, so stay tuned!

The next two years should be light duty compared to this one.  I’m putting the finishing touches on Icarus On The Mend: Memoirs Of A Manic Depressive before working on the cover and interior design with cover artist Derek Patrick Evoy and graphic designer Brian Platter (Six Shot Studios) for a firm signed and numbered (50 copies only) hardcover release date of October 25th, 2012.  Exactly one year later the book will appear again in two trade paperback volumes for the general public.

It remains to be seen whether there will be a 2012 Doubt It Publishing Author Of The Year.  The book I devoted countless time into proofreading, editing and consultation on fell through due to contract negotiations and after Voices From The Herd I have zero interest in extending a call for submissions.  I am working with someone on something else but time will tell if the concept bears fruit or not.

Thanks for such a spectacular year, everybody.  I look forward to a productive and financially successful New Year!

 

Sincerely,

Tom Waters            

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Book Signing Dec.4th From 4-6 p.m. w/Mark McElligott

November 7, 2011

After a four month flurry of promotions together, Mark McElligott and I are still a bit tired and weary.  Nevertheless, we are planning some book events during the busy holiday season.  On Sunday, December 4th, we’ll both be at Talking Leaves on Elmwood from 4-6 pm signing copies of Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick, Mockery and Mark’s breakout hit Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind.  All three books will be available for $15.  Talking Leaves currently has all three books in stock at both their Elmwood and Main St. locations.

I’m also in the process of setting something up at Dog Ears Books in South Buffalo for December, so stay tuned for news about that.  On top of that, Mark’s shown an interest in booking an event at Café Karma in Lockport, so odds are strong that we’ll book something for him there.

Even when we’re not busy, we’re busy.  I’m promoting lightly on Poke The Scorpion until my calendar frees up, so please try to make it out to Talking Leaves if you want a copy.  My time for the next month is deeply invested in proof-reading an editing a possible manuscript for next year and everything else is on a back burner for the time being.  While my poetry books have never been blockbusters in terms of sales, they’re steady sellers over the years and they mean every bit as much to me as the humor books or other projects.

We look forward to seeing you in December,

Tom Waters

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Poke The Scorpion Publicity Junket Rescheduled For Late October

August 13, 2011

I try to follow my instincts, and my gut tells me that it’s a smarter idea to promote Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick during the actual Scorpio season, which runs from October 23rd through November 21st.  While the book is already out online, it makes more sense to promote it effectively during the boom season for the rest of my tribe, so to speak.  While I’m not superstitious and while I don’t cling to too many pat philosophies, there are too many parallels and far too many coincidences associated with the Scorpio sign that are worth giving tribute to.  The entire book is devoted to the Scorpio mentality along with scorpions as a species.
While my poetry collections make up a very small percentage of my overall revenue, the new book is still worth hitting the road and promoting.  Some people shut down instantaneously when you even mention the word poetry, so they’re not going to even be receptive.  Other people’s ears perk up at the notion of something new and innovative.  Others can be converted given the right circumstances.  That’s the market I’m going after.  It’s my wish to incorporate a few readings, signings and related events along with some old tricks that have worked in the past.  Mark McElligott will be joining me on the journey in Buffalo and beyond.  The Monsters Of Verse will get back into the habit this fall with a few coffee houses and a few bookstores.  I’m entertaining the idea of even doing some guest bartending stints just for the hell of it.
Breathing Room Volume I was wildly successful considering the miniscule hopes I had for it.  Volume II did just okay by comparison, but it was weirder, so that’s okay.  The few people who picked up the first batch of Scorpion books have called it ‘the best poetry book I’ve written so far.’  It may be my last.  Locking into that frame of mind is difficult to do, but I’d be happy to go out on a high note where poetry is concerned.
Please enjoy your summers and free up a few weekends in late October and November.  Poke The Scorpion will be hitting you where it hurts soon enough.  In the mean time, I’ll be crouched in a small dark place waiting to strike.  Like most scorpions.
Thanks for staying tuned,
Tom Waters

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Poke The Scorpion Book Giveaway Contest

July 13, 2011

This month I’ll be giving away three random signed copies of Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick.  What do you have to do to get it?

 

1. ‘Like’ Poke The Scorpion on FB by following this link:

http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/poke-the-scorpion-with-a-sharp-stick-selected-poems-2008-2011/16130225?productTrackingContext=search_results/search_shelf/center/1

 

2. Rate the book on lulu.com.

 

3. Post a link on your Twitter, FB, Google + or any other website you may have.

 

4. Leave  a comment on this post.

 

5. Drop me an email at bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com with ‘Contest’ in the subject heading.

 

Final deadline is August 1st, 2011.  Whether you live in Buffalo or beyond, I’ll hold a random drawing at the end of July.  If you’re local I’ll hand you a copy at the first scheduled reading or signing for Poke The Scorpion in August.  If you live out of state or in another country, I’ll send you a signed copy out of pocket.  I’d like to launch this book with a bang and I need your help to do it!

 

Game on,

Tom Waters

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Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick: 30% Off Soft Launch Orders!

July 1, 2011

Here we go again…

It’s July 1st and (as promised), I’m proud to announce the heavily discounted soft launch of Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick, my third collection of angry, funny and oversexed poetry.  While I wouldn’t say that this go round is tamer than Breathing Room Volume I and II, it is softer somehow.  I wrote the bulk of the book right before and right after my wedding, so there’s a soft sense of acceptance and inner peaceto the body of work that sets it apart from the other two books.  I’m very proud of the collection for the leap forward in originality as well as the design and the format.  For those of you willing to take a chance on something different, you won’t be disappointed.  From now until August (when I plan on promoting the book in Buffalo), Scorpion will be 30% off if you buy direct on lulu.com.  Here’s your quick link:

 

http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/poke-the-scorpion-with-a-sharp-stick-selected-poems-2008-2011/16130225

 

After four solid months of interviews, press releases, and appearances for Mockery, I’m ready for a break.  Mark McElligott, Dave ‘The Real Deal’ Waters and I have one more outing at Brennan’s Bowery Bar next Sunday (The Brennan’s Boxed Trifecta) on Sunday, July 10th at 6 p.m. and then I’ve got a month off before we kick back into high gear.  I’ve never felt that summer was a good time to promote because there are too many other events going on to compete with, so we’ll be resting up and waiting out the season before we get right back into it this fall.

For those of you who helped to make Mockery my fastest-selling book, thank you.  It’s on target to be my best-selling humor collection to date by year’s end.  There’s a momentum to all of this that seems to be catching up to me this year in a good way.  Hopefully most of you will make the leap of faith over to Scorpion and join me for the second half of this year.  Things are only going to get better from here on out.  There’s a lot left to accomplish.

Enjoy your 4th of July and buy my new damned book!

Tom Waters

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‘Scorpion’ Rising, Icarus Ascends & Rust Belt Books On The Horizon

June 22, 2011

While Mockery is winding down and Mark McElligott’s Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind is still gaining momentum, I’ve been quietly preparing to go full steam ahead with promotions this fall with Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick.  Brian Platter (Six Shot Studios) and I finished the book in record time.  While I originally set a deadline for the final version of the book at August 1st, it’s already done.  You can buy the book in advance by clicking your way over to:

http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/poke-the-scorpion-with-a-sharp-stick-selected-poems-2008-2011/16069791

Please click the FB ‘Like’ tab to the right of the book and feel free to review, comment or rate the book while you’re there.  There’s a ten page preview of the contents on the page in order to give you a sneak peek at how the book looks.

Starting on July 1st (through the end of the month), I’ll be running a 30% off sale on lulu for those of you interested in buying the book online.  This should offset their shipping rates and make the book more affordable to those of you who live out of state who are interested in picking up the third poetry collection.  After that I’ll be doing a soft launch on Sunday, July 10th at Brennan’s Bowery Bar in Williamsville at 6 p.m. along with Mark McElligott and a live musical performance by Dave ‘The Real Deal’ Waters.  If you’re a former classmate from Clarence High School, it sounds as if the classes of ’92, ’93, ’94 and beyond will be dog piling into Brennan’s on the same day for an informal reunion.  At last count, there will be no less than 50 other alumni showing up, so this event is shaping up to be a real barn burner.  Signed First Edition copies of Poke The Scorpion, Mockery, Slapstick & Superego, Breathing Room Volume I & II, and If They Can’t Take A Joke will be available along with Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind by Mark McElligott and 12 Priests & 3 Gnomes by David Waters.

The hard launch for Poke The Scorpion will hit in August and Mark and I will start touring and promoting in Rochester, Buffalo, Alfred and beyond.  While I was apprehensive about releasing two of my own books in the same year, it was a necessary evil I had to carry out in order to devote the time and energy it’s going to take to bring Icarus On The Mend in on time for a fall 2012 launch as a numbered hardcover limited edition of no more than 50 copies.  I’ll be devoting at least six months to proofreading, editing and re-writing the manuscript so that it’s grammatically correct as well as entertaining from a pacing standpoint.  One year later in 2013 I’ll be retiring the hardcover format and launching two smaller volumes of the same book with the intention of releasing a third volume when I get older.  Somewhere in the interim I’ll release Travesty, a return to shorter form where my bombastic essays are concerned.

Mark McElligott and I will both be reading this Sunday at Rust Belt Books on Allen St. in the heart of downtown Buffalo at 5 p.m.  We may be a little late, so please be patient with us as we’re both driving from the suburbs.  We’re paying to rent the space, so attendance and book sales for this event will be crucial.  The turnout will determine whether I go back to Rust Belt books or not, so if you live downtown, make Sunday count for us please.  This is the first reading I’ve done at Rust Belt in almost a decade.  Mark is polished and primed and almost pitch perfect where his timing and delivery are concerned.  Stockman’s, Caz Coffee and Finnan’s were good practice for breaking his teeth on audience response and now he’s ready for prime time.  Look out, Buffalo, because we’re ready to make a sizeable entertainment dent in the collective populace for the rest of this year and we won’t stop until we win you over.

See you this Sunday,

Tom Waters

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Final Wraparound Art For Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick

June 12, 2011

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Cheers & Jeers: Events As They Develop

June 8, 2011

Okay, here’s the rundown for this particular week…

 

Doubt It Publishing Author Mark McElligott will be reading selections from his breakout debut book Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind  this Saturday at Caz Coffee Café at 7 p.m. in South Buffalo.  Our turnout was less than ideal at Finnan’s Pub last Sunday, so it would be really nice to see some of you who might be remotely interested in supporting local arts actually show up.  While we both realize that the weather is nice out, we’re in the final stretch of a three month junket and we’re busting our asses to get his book out to a new audience.  If you live in (or near) South Buffalo and you’re free on Saturday, please show some support and stop out to see us at Caz Coffee Café.

Most marketing and PR experts would suggest that I shouldn’t complain about a lack of turnout because it makes me look whiny or it makes us look bad.  I simply don’t care.  Mark and I have both invested a great deal of time and money into publishing two books and promoting them and it seems as if (now that the weather has improved) most of you have no interest in discovering just how funny his book is.  Please prove me wrong.  Clear up your schedule, skip a forgettable trip to the beach or a laughable summer venue and come out to see something real.  If you’re the sort of person who needs a newspaper to tell you what you should be interested in or what you should spend your disposable income on, take a chance for once and discover the actual art scene in Buffalo versus the Reader’s Digest abridged version.  Copies of Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind will be available for $15.

On the whole I’ve been deeply disappointed with audience turnout for this junket.  I have no control over it and there’s no way to analyze it, but many of you have let us down.  It’s easier to do nothing than it is to do something, so take comfort in your complacency.  To those of you who continue to show up for the book launches, readings and signings and those of you kind enough to tell your friends, spend money at our scheduled venues and spend your hard earned money to support our work, we really appreciate it.  If it weren’t for you, we wouldn’t be able to continue creating and publishing new books.  If there were more people like you in Buffalo, there’s a strong possibility that we’d actually be able to make a living wage doing this and we’d be able to produce a larger body of work, but odds are that that will never happen since most people in Buffalo (again) need to be told what art is worth buying by their local media like lost and sluggish sheep.

I appreciate the cross section of you smart enough to make your own decisions and the fact that you march to the beat of your own drummer.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making your own informed decisions based on internal judgment instead of a deep-seated need for peer approval or a desire to have someone else tell you what is and isn’t entertaining.  If you receive this message via email, I understand that it’s infinitely easier to delete this message than it is to take the time to read it and react or respond to it, so for those of you who are reading this right now, thank you.  To those of you who reply or react by showing up to a reading, thank you even more.  I’ll get off my soap box now.

At the time of this writing it is now June 9th, so the Doubt It Publishing call for submissions is now wide open until November 1st.  Again, if you’re a local (Buffalo) writer and you have a completed manuscript or a draft in the realm of fiction, non-fiction, poetry or short stories, please send your manuscript in at: bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com.  One of you will be chosen for publication in 2011 and I’ll give you the full force of my attention and publicity skills to ensure that we both turn a tidy profit on your brain trust in addition to setting up a slate of appearances and book signings.  If you’re willing to put in the work, so am I.

Thanks in large part to graphic designer extraordinaire Brian Platter (Six Shot Studios), Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick is coming along at a brisk pace.  The book should be available by August 1st at the rate we’re going, but I won’t count my chickens yet.  The format size is being developed so that it bridges Breathing Room Volume I and II.  The size of the book will be somewhere in between both, which says a lot about the content.  The cover looks gorgeous and I couldn’t be happier with the bold design choices that Brian has made for the interior.  For those of you daring enough to jump head first into a poetry book, you’re in for a pleasant surprise this fall.  JR Finlayson, David Waters and a host of other local poets and I will be touring throughout Buffalo after the festival and concert season in autumn to promote the book as well as other books.

This Sunday I’ll be returning to Think Twice Radio to interview broadcasting icon Brian Kahle for The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour along with local artist and blogger John Kindelan.  We’ll be talking about censorship, the line that’s blurred between advertising an investigative journalism and the current state of Buffalo broadcasting.  The conversation will be bold and uncompromising, but I’m sure you’ve come to expect that from me.  Your frequent (and often vocal) encouragement has molded me into the person I am today.

These are exciting times.  While my pace may be brisk and my candor unforgiving, it’s all because I’m building the framework for a larger plan.  The first ten years of my professional career as a writer are over.  I’m headlong into the next ten and the scope and landscape of a grander design is well underway.  For those of you willing to participate and play along, I’m eternally grateful.  As for the rest of you, you’re missing out on something very real and extremely fun.

 

Race you to next week,

Tom Waters

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Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick Cover Art

June 7, 2011

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A Few Acres Of Ground To Cover: New Books, New Shows & A Reality Check

May 29, 2011

What a productive week!  After telling multiple newspapers that I had no intention of writing an essay collection ever again, I found a way to write another essay collection: make it fun again.

Unlike any book I’ve written to date, it started with the title: Travesty.  My goal is to make every piece live up to the title of the book and to make sure that every single rant is shorter, funnier and more offensive than anything I’ve written to date.  I also set a few ground rules: nothing longer than three pages, every rant has to be written in one sitting and I can’t cover a topic I’ve covered so far.  I started last week with one rant about the supposed Rapture and haven’t stopped.  One third of the book is already done.  The only problem is that I have no idea when to release it.  Doubt It Publishing has a full dance card for the next two years, so I may have to piggyback it with the numbered hardcover release for Icarus On The Mend in the fall of 2012 and I’m leaning strongly towards that.

Pre-production on Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick (my third collection of poetry) is progressing at a rate that’s astonishing and well ahead of schedule.  Brian Platter (the graphic designer behind Six Shot Studios) has taken the bull by the horns and he’s tackled the book head on with a bold look, some daring choices for the title and content fonts and a beautiful presentation where the headers and footers are concerned.  For those of you who were trusting enough to make the leap along with me where Breathing Room Volume I and II were concerned, you won’t be disappointed.

The content has evolved since the original two poetry books to the point where I’m no longer aping my own heroes and I’ve developed my own voice where poems are concerned.  While it’s not necessarily a jumping off point, it is a progression, so we’re working overtime to create a size format that bridges the jump between Breathing Room Volume I and II.  If you buy this book this fall, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the growth.  Two major national literary magazines (The Chiron Review and Chronogram) have already gotten on board with three different poems that they’ll be publishing in short order.

I devoted a week to submitting the content to the top poetry trades in the country along with putting the final touches on the manuscript and it’s already paying off.  While poetry books don’t pay off as well as my rant collections, it’s a labor of love and something I would do whether I turned a profit or not.  This new book means a lot to me and Six Shot Studios is doing a spectacular job on the appearance.  Expect the specialty format this fall by the time Mark McElligott and I get very serious about touring on a regional scale.

Last night I reconnected with two dear friends in person for the first time in three years: Greg Sterlace and Paula Wachoviak (sp?).  Greg and Paula are back in town for a limited time and he’s taken back the reins for The Greg Sterlace Show, his wildly popular Time Warner program spanning back over the last ten years.  The results of the show taping were horrific and hilarious at the same time.  For those of you who catch it on TV, it’s the epitome of cringe comedy.  I’ll have a link for you in a week or two, but in the mean time, here’s a sneak preview of a small percentage of the wrongness at play here on the Mr. Ski Mask show that Mark McElligott and I taped almost a month ago.  Click your way over to:

http://sterlace.com/episodes/index.php/2011/04/the-greg-sterlace-show-832

And finally, there are two new belated episodes of The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour available online as well as for free on iTunes.  Almost a month after the actual in-store event (I had to pick up a new SD Card Reader), I hammered out the content and edited it for full-scale enjoyment this morning and posted these two abominations.  Here are your links and synopses:

Episode 61: ‘My balloon knot will stay firmly tied’

Tom kicks off a comic book promotion at Don’s Atomic Comices with a star studded cast of special guests including Carrie & Ron Gardner, Monster Matt, Terry Kimmel, John Kindelan, Michael Hoffert Jr. and Brian Platter.  Newcomer Brian Bogucki gets blindsided while Mark McElligott rolls with the punches.

To hear the show online click on the link below:

http://www.mevio.com/episode/282800/episode-61-my-balloon-knot-will-stay

Tom’s Atomic Bonus Round: ‘Parting Words’

Tom closes out an evening of hilarity and insanity by getting a few more cheap shots in at Terry Kimmel’s expense and dropping a few promotional plugs for once.

To hear the show online click on the link below:

http://www.mevio.com/episode/282797/tom-s-atomic-bonus-round-parting-words

-You can also conveniently subscribe to the show for free on iTunes by searching ‘Big Words Radio’ under the Podcast section as well as the Comedy listing.  The Literature category is a dead link that is no longer active, so please subscribe and the entire library will be at your command!

May was a horrible month for the show in terms of downloads and requests, so I implore you to visit the sites or subscribe to the show.  Without a noticeable increase in traffic I see no reason to keep devoting so much time to working on pre-show prep, research, questions, guests, recording time, production and posting time.  If you enjoy the show, please tell your friends, spread the word and download at will.  Big Words Radio has been booming since September of 2010 and it’s crushing to see the latest numbers.  For a show production that costs me so much in man hours without collecting any monetary revenue, I could really use your help.  Download, listen and tell your friends.  Unlike some other podcast hosts, I don’t cook my numbers.  Despite some recent turbulence that has zero bearing on this month’s numbers, I would really appreciate your ears (and your feedback) on the show.  I’ve spent four years slaving away on a free hobby and it would mean a lot to me if you pitched in and clicked a link or shared the show with the people you know.  All I ask for is a spreading contagion on my stats by the end of June.  Please help me out.

Mockery is selling better and faster than any book that preceded it, so thank you so much for that.  Every appearance has been positive and the book is breaking down barriers heretofore unheard of.  You have no idea how grateful I am for all of the people who have come on board and spread the word about my work and my book.

Three people in the same week commented or asked about the level of my output lately (a lot) and I wish I had an answer for all of you.   I’m in a good place.   The big picture is clicking comfortably into a lifestyle that leads me to bigger and better things along with the ability to write more and publish more often.  Things will only get better from here.  Doubt It Publishing is not a short term subsidy house or a slash and burn print on demand concept, it’s quickly becoming a reality.  I’m going to have to make a hard decision in November when it comes around to picking a new Author Of The Year to work with.

At the risk of sounding insincere or faux-humble, here’s what’s always guided and informed me: William Carlos Williams.  He was a popular poet, a family man and a practicing physician.  After a full overtime shift and an appropriate amount of time eating dinner and tucking his kids into bed and spending time with his wife, he added some hours to his waking existence to writing poems.  I’m an artist from Buffalo.  This is the only option that any of us have for expressing ourselves.  If your work means that much to you, make the time for it.  That’s it.  None of us are busier than William Carlos Williams was, so what’s your excuse?  If what you have to say and want to say is important, you’ll find a way to express it and make the time to do it above and beyond every other responsibility that you have.

I’m nobody special.  Writing is the way that I cope with a world that I can’t grasp or deal with without figuring it out on paper.  None of us are heroes or gods or legends and the majority of us do it because we need to.  Otherwise we’d lose our minds without the outlet.  All of this is work.  All of this is important and vital and crucial to me.  Whether it’s a mountain or a mole hill, this is what keeps me relatively sane.

Thank you so much for making it a lucrative side business.  In another ten years, I hope to make it a career.  Please help me work towards it.

Keeping busy,

Tom Waters

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Elston Takes The Gold, Mockery Sells Through & A Few Surprise Books Launching…

May 11, 2011

The ArtVoice 2011 Best Of Buffalo Awards came and went and Jon Elston (the resident playwright for the Road Less Travelled Theater Company) won for Best Writer.  To be honest, there’s no one I’d rather lose to.  Jon’s a talented and prolific writer in addition to being a great guy and we’ve known each other too long to let something as petty as an awards show get in the way of our friendship.  Congratulations are long overdue for Jon and his accolades are well deserved.  I suppose I’ll just have to campaign harder and start earlier next year when it comes to AV’s poll process.

On to more pressing business and the importance of timing, though.  A funny thing happened on the way to the Caz Coffee reading: I checked my inventory and somehow I’ve gotten down to two remaining copies of Mockery.  The book has performed so well for the initial slate of launch events that my first payload is depleted.  The book is doing very well and it’s selling a lot faster than I expected, surpassing the break even mark (recouping production and design costs) and far exceeding it.  More copies are on order and they’ll be in stock in time for the Talking Leaves Main reading next Thursday (7 p.m.) as well as the reading and signing at Stockman’s Tavern with Mark McElligott on the 21st (7 p.m.).  If you want or need a copy before then, you can pick one up at either Talking Leaves location or order direct from my distributor at http://www.lulu.com.

As far as book releases go, I’ve always tried to release no more than one of my own books for year.  That policy is changing.  With the amount of people who have voiced their interest in the autobiography (Icarus On The Mend), there’s another side project that’s been scooted front and center in order for me to release an Icarus limited-run numbered hardcover in the fall of 2012 (50 copies) followed by a two volume trade paperback launch in 2013.  The manuscript for the memoirs is massive, and it’ll take no less than six months to proof, edit and revise.  After promoting Mockery and doing some light piggyback promotions in the fall with Mark McElligott, I’ll be blocking out some time to dig my heels in and get the work done.

This week I finalized the structure and the basic manuscript for Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick, my third book of poems.  Unlike Breathing Room Volume I and II, it’s a step in a different direction: an original one.  While both Breathing Rooms were an homage to the people who inspired me to write poetry (Charles Bukowski, e.e. cummings, Rosemary Koethe and Tracy Zullo, respectively), Scorpion shows evidence of an emerging, original voice.  Like any writer (and much in the same manner in which I started out writing essays), I aped my favorites.

The wake of that process has a momentum of its own, and the result is an amalgamation of some standard tricks along with quite a few new ones.  The Breathing Room  books were never blockbusters in terms of sales, but the content was important to me, and they’ve sold slowly and steadily enough to warrant a third collection.  The response I’ve gotten from those of you who enjoy poetry as well as those of you brave enough to try something new has been overwhelmingly positive encouraging.

The only speed bump in working on the layout was dealing with comments from many of you that Volume I: Free Verse was the best book I’ve ever written.  How in the hell do you top a comment like that?  With hard work, frequent revisions and a liberal dose of elbow grease.  Much like the pre-production on Mockery, I’ve gone out of my way to creative a cohesive, seamless book that can be read in one sitting.  Anything that didn’t feel right got tossed and anything written after the initial draft that felt like it belonged alongside the source material was added.  I hope that you’ll be pleased with the results.  Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick is slated for a September release this year.  I’ve already got an artist working on the cover art (mixed media) and Brian Platter from Six Shot Studios will be working on the interior design and cover layout.  More details as we get closer to the launch.

Meanwhile Mr. Mark McElligott is doing quite well with his Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind.  His debut collection of rants broke even the week it came out (within two days of sales) and the word of mouth on how funny the book is has been generating a lot of referral sales.  While my humor leans towards the universal, sarcastic and psychotic, his headspace is a lot more user friendly.  Mark’s manuscript won me over with his unique voice, his left-field observations and his bravery in the face of self-deprecation.  It’s paying off.  Doubt It Publishing’s first release from a single author is a hit.  The book will continue to reach new heights (and sales records) once we actually begin promoting it next Saturday at Stockman’s.

And finally, I’d like to work a plug in for an old friend and comrade.  JR Finlayson (whom you may remember from the Monsters Of Verse) has released Multiples Of Eleven, his first full-length collection of poems for the clever price of $11.11.  To buy a copy of the book, click on over to:

http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/multiples-of-eleven/15597052?productTrackingContext=search_results/search_shelf/center/1

With one new poetry book out and another one on the way could there be a Monsters Of Verse revival?

I certainly wouldn’t rule it out.

Have a great week and I’ll keep you posted,

Tom Waters

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Miscellaneous

February 8, 2011

            A lot of projects are in the planning stages currently and it’s more a matter of juggling and strategy than inspiration and execution.  Book 9 (Mockery) is in the last legs of pre-production and designer Eve Barbour and I are aiming for a hard April launch.  I’ve always been fond of doing book launches on April Fool’s Day (which falls on a Friday this year), so don’t be surprised if you hear about a large public event and bookstore insertion then.  At $15, it’s the lowest launch price of any rant collection I’ve ever released, so I’ll be shooting for volume rather than profit margin. 

            After that, Mark McElligott and I will be going into pre-production on his book, Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind while we schedule appearance dates at the same time.  We’re looking at a summer release date for his book around the same price point.  While Mark’s never published a book before, he’s got a diverse back ground in music, cartooning and stand-up comedy that should translate well on stage once he gets up and running.

            As for the radio show, Eisner and Harvey award winner Dylan Horrocks (Hicksville) will be talking to me and co-host Terry Kimmel on Thursday, February 24th.  Mark McElligott returns as my guest in March and in April I’ll be discussing the hilarious and often controversial books of Mark Kalesniko (Alex, Mail Order Bride). 

            After agonizing over how and when to release the autobiography (Icarus On The Mend), I’m leaning towards publishing a limited print run of 100 hardcover first editions in 2012 for around $29.95 with no complimentary copies for the local or national media included.  Everyone who knows about the book wants to get their hands on it right away, so I might as well give you all what you want.  Once those hundred are gone, I’ll release two volumes of trade paperbacks for $15 each with complementing photo negative covers and possibly an additional chapter. 

            As for the third poetry collection (Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick), I’m not sure how to gauge demand for the book, so don’t be surprised if it’s released alongside one of the autobiography print runs.  While both Breathing Rooms reached (and exceeded) the 100 copy mark, they’re more a labor of love than a concerted business decision.  Poetry is a tough sell in any market, so I was glad to net over $2000 on the first two in the first year.  The third collection will be the last for a long time, so hopefully readers will enjoy the aftermath to Breathing Room by realizing that the content is new and unusual, not just scraps left over from the first two books. 

            I’ve never had this much material on the slate before at any one time.  Hopefully by 2013 I can buy back the rights to Born Pissed and Zany Hijinx, relaunch them with better cover designs, tighter editing and a lower price point.  If there’s one single piece of advice I can offer budding writers, it’s this: Don’t publish with America House.  There’s no reason why you should give 90% of your royalties away to a publisher for a manuscript that you put 100% of your effort and inspiration into. 

            It’s a bittersweet situation to be in.  I’ve got three years before I have to write another word.  I’m considering writing a novel, but for the time being I’m going to rest and relax since this is the calm before the promotional storm.  Thank you for reading and supporting my work.  People often ask me ‘Do you make any money off of your books?’ and my answer is always that I wouldn’t keep putting them out if I didn’t.  From a fiscal standpoint, 2011 is going to be a great year to make money while making people laugh at the same time.

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Also (an excerpt from the upcoming collection Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick, e.t.a. 2012)

January 8, 2011

Also

f scott & zelda

had the right idea

hemingway

knew what he was doing

ellis

mcinerney

capote

chinanski

 

tie one on

 

(& off topic entirely)

salinger

 

shut out the voices

the muses

the drive to keep writing

day & night

find asylum

detox

sanctuary

a sanitarium

or a safari

away from everything

& try to forget

 

(although it goes against the grain)

 

slough it off python-like

a maturing

let it go

find comfort in 80, 90 & near toxic

proof

(s)

 

if only it were the seminal

prodigious

30s again

with a wellspring of talent

a readership chomping at the bit

& a sun that rose

also.

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Monday Big Words Update!: The Last Fandango

April 27, 2009

After oversleeping on Saturday for a 7 pm reading at Caz Coffee Café (long nap), it was a relief to discover that Jeff Finlayson, Kyle Kaczmarzcak and Diane Meholick kicked one of the last two MOV shows off without me just fine. I felt like a dick for not showing up early like I normally do, but this is another sign that it’s time for a break. We had a great time and a great show and I’d like to personally thank everyone who came out for the reading. Due to my tardiness, the event was not recorded, so if you missed it, you won’t have an opportunity to hear it online at a later date. Sucks to be you.

I can’t help but take stock of the six month run that Jeff and I have had together traveling around as the MOV and on good days, I’m very grateful for the process we went through. On bad days, it seems like the agony of being in a rock band without the money or the groupies. All in all, it was a great concept and Jeff and I have become stronger friends as a result. A lot of new material has been written as a result of our constant feedback, reading the work out, and interacting with the public. A while back, I said that I regretted ever having a part in the inception of the Monsters. I spoke too soon.

Jeff is a very talented writer and he now has a new book (and a half) of new poems that he’s drummed up because of our tour. Instead of writing a mountain of new material, I’ve learned to spend more time editing and to elicit editorial wisdom from my peers, so my third collection of poems will be a tighter, more concise collection with less dreck and more concentrate. The MOV experience was like boot camp for us, in a way. We are hardened professionals now, and the thought of reading my poems in front of an audience is no longer horrifying and frightening. Jeff and I talked Saturday night after the show and he wants to continue the moniker. Because of the Slapstick launch in the summer (and a much-needed rest after fourteen months of writing and promoting), I won’t be continuing on after May. However, Jeff will. With any luck, other area poets will join him in the hopscotch-style readings we founded together with Carrie Gardner.

We’ve got one more reading in May at the Center For Inquiry with distinguished poetess Christina Wos Donnelly hosted by Perry Nicholas and I couldn’t think of a better way to round out the end of the junket. I try never to say never, but after that, I’m out for awhile. If any area poets are interested in joining Jeff in the non-locale-specific gauntlet, please feel free to email him directly at:

Dullroar25@hotmail.com

That’s all I’ve got for today. I’m pretty goddamned tired. Tired of promoting, tired of writing (after a year and change of it) and tired of putting my face and my name out there. It’s clearly time for a break. Some writers have the ego, the drive, or the tenacity to keep plugging, promoting and assuring others that their work is worth reading and I’m not one of them. In a semi-professional career spanning almost a decade where I’ve never promoted any one book for more than three months, I’m tapping out for a bit. I’ve had enough for now. I’m sick of myself, I’m sick of both poetry books, and I’m sick of leaving my house for another scheduled engagement. It takes a certain kind of person to continually tour the circuit and I don’t have that quality. At the heart of it, I’d always rather spend any night quietly at home with my wife or quietly out at a bar anonymously. I stopped doing any of this for ego reasons a long time ago. Even this is redundant.

Make it out to the Center For Inquiry on Wednesday, May 6th at 7 p.m. for the final reading for the original founding members (plus Christina) of the Monsters Of Verse. We’ll razzle, dazzle and amaze. Ten slots are also open for open readers.

As for everything else, all of the original episodes of Big Words Radio are almost complete. The process is time consuming and aggravating, but all 35 episodes should be done by week’s end. Expect a new episode next week. And the final installment of ‘Pronunciation’ (a lengthy essay on my wedding and everything surrounding it) hits the pages of Night Life magazine this week, so scoop it up for the final word.

In two more weeks, I can have my life back. I hope it still fits. I’ll talk to you all in two days for a new Quixote Wednesday Update,

Tom Waters

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Bonus Poem! Conduct Unbecoming

April 4, 2009

This week has been a bitch and a half and I was thinking about this poem earlier today.  It applies to quite a bit.  Instead of giving a ten minute explanation for a one page poem, though, I’ll just let you read it.  It’s from the upcoming poke the scorpion with a sharp stick, which I’ve been working on quietly with what little free time I can spare as of late.  Enjoy! -Tom

Conduct Unbecoming

i would rather tell people

exactly

how i feel

when i feel it

than mince words

pretend that there isn’t a problem

or join the longstanding tradition

of stabbing others in the back

or misdirecting my anger on those who aren’t deserving of it.

i prefer to go for long periods

without saying anything

in favor of lashing out

saying something i’d regret

or resorting to physical violence.

i choose to beat myself up

by various methods

instead of

channeling my rage, confusion or sadness

towards the people i love

& when all of these subroutines & behaviors fail me

i default

& retreat inward

for a season or three.

It’s a sad, dysfunctional, pathetic, pathological world

when i’m the misfit for carrying on as previously stated

& the norm for dealing with others

is quite to the contrary.

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Bonus Valentine’s Poem! ‘Be Mine’

February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody!

This is the first new poem I’ve written in about three months.  Odds are that it will go into my next poetry collection, Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick, which is due out some time in late 2010 or early 2011.  Enjoy the holiday,

Tom Waters

Be Mine

Real Love

is 3 millimeters between our open eyes

(not so much scanning as)

taking in every speckle, fleck & dilation of the pupil

in naked adulation

or the closest thing to total understanding

that two people can have among each other.

It’s:

the guerilla hug on the way out the door to work

an instinctive hand reaching for mine in our sleep

sharing a meal meant for one

sequestering ourselves from everyone else

just to be with each other

having a nap before or after bedroom elocutions

tracing the soft scent of skin

with my finger, nose or tongue

the hiccup of breath preceding a tear I anticipate the source of which is all thanks to me (and the fact of this brings about a horrid pall of shame and guilt I’m unfamiliar with)

your eyelids brushing my cheek when you wake

the comfortable feel of your ass with my hand

knowing every curve and bump and freckle and wrinkle and laugh line and chasm of sorrow on your body from back to front with my eyes closed and every embarrassing story, parable and anecdote about your life twice (most of them), the boys who hurt you and your parents who shaped you, the girls who hated you, or a world that changed us, found us, made us, dusted us off and dropped us into the same spot together so that we could find ourselves

à

HERE

Hers, His

Who fucking cares?

We made it

for now

we have one another

Today, tomorrow, next week

which makes the rest of it bearable

that has to be Real Love

or a facsimile

thereof.

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Newsletter Feed: One Bigass Sit. Rep! Two new podcasts, two new articles and a whole bunch of other stuff!

November 7, 2008
Whew!
 
    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:
 
http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/tom-waters/tom-waters.html
 
    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:
 
http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/monsters/monsters.html
    
    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:
 
http://www.acidlogic.com/retail_sucks.htm
 
    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:
 
http://www.comicsbulletin.com/reviews/
 
    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,

 
Tom Waters
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‘(Poem For) David Foster Wallace’

October 8, 2008

-(from the upcoming collection, poke the scorpion with a sharp stick)-

(Poem For)

David Foster Wallace

A great majority of my giants

never find the front page when they die.

David was a professor at an Illinois University.

Then he decided to write fiction

of a calibur

so intrinsically funny

& naturally intelligent

that I often needed a dictionary

next to my bedside.

Wallace was very well off.

His books would never be

national sensations

but his readers were rabid

in their praise

& often bought every book he wrote.

Mr. Wallace had very serious mental issues

in his youth

that I thought he overcame.

Apparently he didn’t.

When he signed a book

for me several years ago

he crossed his name out

on the title page

& signed by spelling his initials (DFW).

The big magazines loved him

& published him as often as they could.

They should have.

He was that good.in a nation of predominantly

stupid

scared

& sullen lemmings

who seldom read a book

start to finish

his contribution to letters

raised the bar

back up

from the level of

pulp horror garbage

& serial romance novels that

frustrated housewives read in bed with a purple vibrator.

A man who plays a cynical,

wise-cracking doofus on the

American version of a popular British sitcom

is in the process of directing a film adaptation

based on one of his collections.

David

killed himself

several weeks ago.

(i just remembered while i was brushing my teeth this morning).

Tired of toeing the line

against a wall of

numb,

television-addicted stupidity.

One of the best soldiers

we had

has fallen in battle.

He will be missed.

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‘hum a few bars’

September 2, 2008

-the following poem is from my third poetry collection (under construction right now), Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick.  While I wrote it a few weeks ago, the last few lines seem fitting for what went down this week in the ongoing pinata that my immediate friends and family seem content to smack me like when I’m down…

hum a few bars

never go to bars

on weekends.

they’re full of brash

foolish children

aching to see and be seen.

skulking about the rail

posturing, mugging, braying

like asses

with designer gels and perfumes.

police cruisers lie in wait

picking their moment

savoring the hunt

waiting for the right

clown to pass through

their periphery

another life destroyed

maybe two

zippety doo dah.

dance clubs

packed to the rafters

with glitter and glo

disposable songs

for disposable people

practicing the slow

ritual

something like the sexual act.

lifers

hanging on to the last call

i’ve been there

(and I still visit myself from back then

from time to time)

but it hurts to go back.

nursing that last beer

that last scotch on ice

that last stout

that one more before the road home

hanging on to the night

because we’re horrified

of what comes into view

in broad daylight.

weekends at the bar sadden me

there are too many

things that can go wrong

and there is enough that is

faulty

in my contradictory

Existence

and enough ugliness

outside these haunts

to contend with.

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giving it away for free: madhouse

August 8, 2008

the pathetic thing is that this isn’t even part of either volume of breathing room.  i’m working on a 400 page hardcover in my idle (right!) time that i’m gonna set for completion in 2010 called poke the scorpion with a sharp stick.  this october (when my b-day rolls around), i’m going to get a tattoo that i’ve always wanted.  a traditional scorpio symbol from the zodiac in black with his tail reaching out of a circle like a bat-signal for my sign.  that’s gonna be the cover.  it’s good to have goals.  it’s good to visualize these things five moves in advance, too.  anyhow, here’s one i wanted to share that i transcribed from my notebook three minutes ago.  enjoy!

…the whole World is a

{ MADHOUSE }

a looney bin

full of

ranters

ravers

whiners

screamers

schizos

alkies

uppers

downers

punchers

(ragers)

nail-biters

ankle-grabbers

cutters

rapers

the raped

the debauched

the hunted

the haunted

guilt-ridden

pyromaniacs/sodomaniacal/nympho-maniacal/mid-life/crycyle

meltdowns

-i’m not the only inmate.

-i’m not only an inmate

(but)

i’m also the president.

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