Tag Archives: me
I gave up blogging in favor of Facebook posting years ago, but I’ve come full circle and am back to blogging instead. This form has a little more permanence, I think, and if I’m gonna be ignored, I may as well own it.
Though my first published story was in 1977, I’ve been a full-time writer for just a couple of years. I attempted to go full-time just after coming hope from the illness that caused my disability, with a big backlog of material that I fondly imagined was ‘good enough’ and a lot of ‘belief’.
Didn’t work out that way — one, I didn’t have the energy or stamina I had been used to and couldn’t maintain that schedule, and two, the material desperately needed reworking — which I’m still doing, six years later.
Hard to keep going in the face of such massive apathy. I haven’t written anything that has galvanized people into talking about it for years, though that doesn’t stop stuff from getting pirated. I’ve sold more than 5000 kindle-copies of my chapbook, mostly through direct sales. But I have four reviews on Goodreads/Amazon.
Gotta trust in the process though. I know my stuff is good enough. No editor has ever returned a piece saying “This really sucks.” Instead, “this really doesn’t fit what we’re trying to accomplish here. But good luck with this story. I’m sure you can sell it — somewhere else” is the common response.
I resist comparisons…and some of this is sour grapes probably, but I see people whose work isn’t real good selling consistently, and it chaps my ass. But I’m a middle-aged white male, and I guess I should just get used to being marginal. Isn’t like my imagination is inclined to the mainstream.
And I’m not gonna stop, though it gives me pause (and yeah, there are times when I want to stop because working in a vacuum sucks). Friends and even some objective critics have told me they enjoy the work…it’s just that it doesn’t reach enough people. And I don’t know how to get that to happen, other than to keep throwing spaghetti.
I’m not alone. There are lots of us pasta-throwers.
But I ask you — if you’ve read a thing of mine, how about some feedback? Just “I liked it” would be fine. I think you have to write a couple more words than that, but it doesn’t have to be in-depth…that’s the point. People who write for themselves rarely try to get public.
Yeah. I’m having a minor crisis. Not ‘impostor syndrome’, but ‘invisible man’ syndrome…brought on by lack of success of worthwhile material. Help a brother out if you can.
Thanks for reading.
Strumpet — That’s the name of the first track for my 2017 RPM Challenge cd. You can listen to the 320k version at the site or the 128k version here. Feel free to tell me what you think. It’s a bit of a departure for me as it has absolutely no guitar on it, being a bent sort of piano jazz with a swing to it and some trumpety nonsense. I’m at RPM as Doctor D because their site is stupid and wouldn’t allow me to do it as ‘moderan’, like I’ve done the other four or five times I met the challenge. Most of this is live. The bass part is played by my trusty Dean Playmate, the keys are my pos Casio, the drums are midi re-voiced, and the horns are a mix of techniques.
I was awakened, politically speaking, by the visage of Richard Nixon glowering at me from the big tv in the den in my parent’s house on the southwest side of Chicago. I hated him on sight-his venal corruption was so clear to see, even to a six-year-old, in 1967.
Started paying attention, as best a six-year-old can, to GREAT EVENTS. I understood about Nam and cottoned on to the divide between North and South, and to some of the reasons why.
I was horrified. Man’s inhumanity to man, and all that.
We were a Catholic family. My dad’s side was slavic, my mom’s Quebecois. We attended church, and I attended Sunday School. By the time the Nixon administration began, we were studying the sacrifice of Isaac, and that was causing a great upheaval inside me. Previously unthinkable thoughts began to bubble up in my brain.
I went to the Monsignor, who was frequently present on the church steps after mass, and queried him about my doubts. He was completely unable to quell my misgivings. He was in fact scornful, and I have never forgiven the man for that reaction.
It was as if I had no right to free thought, in his mind, because of my years. I turned away from the church. Subsequent visits to the inside of the place (and there were a great many of them) left me physically ill. I puked on the kneeler more than once. Faith had become indigestible.
At eight, I was at odds with both church and state, and couldn’t talk to anyone about it. I refused to be confirmed in the faith, and became at odds with my extended family as well. I was officially a weirdo.
In school, I was normally put out in the hall, because I was disruptive. They weren’t teaching me anything. I was barred from jumping grades because the faculty felt I was too immature (I was really tiny) and socially maladjusted to stand the change, and there were no other advanced programs, at Louis Pasteur school, that I could get into.
I read comics voraciously, after tearing through all of the study guides. I was allowed inside to take tests, which I finished long before anyone else and took to decorating. Spaceships and spies adorned those sheets, and the teachers used that as an excuse to lower my grades.
Comics and Star Trek led to science fiction and horror. The Archer branch of the Chicago Public Library had Arkham House and Dangerous Visions. And books by people like Gay Talese and Allen Drury, politically-oriented tomes that I also enjoyed hugely. I officially became atheist shortly after reading Lovecraft. How could I not? But I couldn’t tell anyone…not then, not there.
I got kicked out of that school that year, more or less because I completed an assignment to create a crossword puzzle by including only ‘four-letter’ words. I also stole my files from the principal’s office and gave them to my dad.
My reward was being placed in a Catholic school. Good old St. Turibius, at which place I was already a pariah. Not among the kids…yet. But among the personnel, except for Ms. Dino, the Filipino social studies teacher, under whose tutelage I discovered an admiration for the ‘American experiment’.
Spent most of my time in Mother Superior’s office, or in the hall, reading books. It took three years for me to get kicked out, for heaving a desk at Sister Celine Marie, who cracked me on the knuckles with a yardstick for questioning her wisdom, and for daily fist-fighting with Mark Lancaster, who was a vocal Nixon proponent…and almost a foot taller than I was. I was for McGovern, naturally.
Celine Marie also encouraged people to bully me. I should have followed up after the desk hit her. Mark and his friend Jeff Cannon caught me and kicked my ass good, the day the revelation about Eagleton surfaced. Broke my nose and probably a few ribs. When the janitor broke the thing up, I had just hit Jeff upside the head with the porcelain from the top of the toilet tank.
There was blood everywhere. It was great.
The only time I have been as happy as when I was walking home from that place in mid-May was when I left Signature Insurance behind forever in 1986. Both walks had that sense of freedom and having done the right thing, and turned out in much the same way.
Everyone was pissed at me.
We white-flighted out to the western ‘burbs when my asshole uncle, who had begun defaulting on his mortgage because of shifty deals he made in the lumber business, demanded his half of the money for the house we lived in.
My files arrived ahead of me. And the city was WAY different from the suburbs. I was still light-years ahead of anyone else intellectually, but I was four-foot something tall, with glasses, and had only recently outgrown orthopedic shoes.
I lived through two years of junior high somehow, with the experience being capped by getting kicked out again…I was allowed to graduate after taking a battery of intelligence and psychological tests that proved what I already knew. Grade school ended for me in March 1974. By mid-May, I was watching the Watergate hearings for entertainment, unable to tear myself away from the awful spectacle, afraid for what that all meant to the body politic…It was no surprise when Reagan happened. The things he and they did were no accident, amplifying as they did Conservative advances made by the Nixon administration, and we’ve never really recovered from those depradations, let alone the profound national anomie that has suffused this country in the wake of Watergate and VietNam.
Trump is no accident either. I can only hope that the rage he used to fuel his ascendancy is turned fully and properly against him and his cohort, and that they receive their just desserts and are discredited and deposed.
But I foresee violence.
I wrote this a good many years ago, but I think it still applies, especially right now, with all the unrest in the US, so I’m posting it up.
with apologies to the late Gil Scott-Heron
the revolution will be televised
the revelations will be disseminated by covert action
read between the lines
disinformation will be commonplace
this information will be available for public display
in keeping with the signs of the times
the revolution will be available at your local video store
its evolution will be in conversation and hidden passions
you will be told where to go for more information
disinclination will be no excuse
this inclination will be made available to the local networks for instant replay
Marching, charging, surging, curving
bearing truths, and so unswerving
largely barging, herding burdens
speaking in tongues, and so, unnerving
the revolution will not march on little cat feet
though its aims may seem a trifle foggy to the uninitiated
The revolution will not be colorized
The disputation won’t be quashed by network sanctions
dissatisfaction won’t be bastardized
this satisfaction won’t be gained at the expense of our children’s days
but by the sweat of our brows
a restitution will be undergone
exasperation will be rededicated by inverse flexion
come just as you are
disapprobation will be frowned upon
this approbation will be intentionally overplayed
all night long
Grunting, jumping, lunging, sponging
crime rate’s up, retention’s plunging
skimpy pimping stinking thinking
booted up, the network’s linking
the revolution will not turn on a dime
though donations will be gratefully accepted
the revolution will overthrow the status quo
the corporations will be deregulated by negative cashflow
we’ll be good to go
inarticulation will be commonplace
this articulation will be ubiquitous and prominently displayed
why not make a stand
the disenfranchised will be mobilized
the misbegotten will be unforgotten and unafraid
great yet still unwashed outside
and in canyons of steel and glass, the herd will march on the head of a pin
and air their dirty laundry again and again
until that discoloration will seem commonplace
and the hues will be red white blue and gray
and indeed all the sixteen million tints of the rainbow
for the world is not black and white, nor gray, but a technicolor show
the revolution will be brought to you in wide-screen surround
damn near lifelike, a theater in the round
Never complain, never explain
Do what you must, excuse our dust
Beg to differ with the gipper
Win one for us
The revolution won’t be fought with swords
Slurping, chirping, lurking, jerking
Winging, slinging, pinging, singing
ambiguous and unrelenting
spreading pending gender bending
roles reversing and revolving
the evolution of the revolution beginning
The revolution is electric
respect it, reflect it
garrulous, careless and hairy
the revolution is intention
intoning baloney can only be phony and fixed
watch the parking meters for signs of the apocalypse
by the light of the setting sun