Archive for the ‘Etc.’ Category
Turned out I wasn’t cut out to be an arts columnist — and that two years was all I had in me as a podcaster. The prospect of turning 44 in January has me taking inventory of my creative pursuits. I’m looking forward to doing more storytelling, playing more music and keeping my hand in comedy.
There will be more poems, too, whether anybody wants them or not. In fact, here’s one:
A jar of fireflies
on a shelf abandoned
years ago to dust
gives this place
(a barn) a glow a guy
could read by
if he’d brought a book.
But no one would believe me.
does my story become
instead? That I was
lit inside (warmed, too)
by a little something shared
from a different jar.
No wonder I can’t
remember how I got here.
Maybe that’s why I’m alway so blurry.
I’ve spent a lot of quality time among a lot of trees, but hiking with the gf and our new dog Sam is the best. Here they are at William O’Brien State Park. I’ve been hard at work on several writing projects, including a character monologue, some poems and a play. I’ve been recording some music, too. More about all that later, when it’s ready to be known about.
I’m a simple, small-town Indiana boy born and bred. But I still lit out for brighter horizons as soon as humanly possible, which meant after college, because the state paid for that shit. I moved over to Ohio for grad school. Then back to Indiana for a couple of months, while I looked for a job after school. Then I spent a few years in Chicago, which I later learned was in Illinois. From there I headed down to Missouri. And now I live in Minnesota, which feels like home half the time. That’s not bad after a dozen years, right? It doesn’t matter. Sometimes nothing looks familiar for miles in any direction and I remember that when I was a kid, Indiana’s state motto was “Wander Indiana.” Which I thought meant that Hoosiers were free to travel wherever they wished within state lines, but we weren’t allowed to leave.
I’m aware the headline of this post is all manner of wrong in the apostrophe department, Officer Grammar. I’m taking creative liberty, just like I do sometimes when folks ask me questions that I choose to answer.
Four interviews in about five years. That borders on media harassment, if you ask me.
Rehearsals for “Once Upon a Time in the Suburbs” begin soon. The Ferrari McSpeedy production for this year’s Minnesota Fringe, this hilarious play will be my first “acting” gig. I’ve said many things on many stages, but never anything written by other people in the U of M Rarig Center Thrust Theater.
Fortunately, Joe Bozic and Mike Fotis are funny dudes. Smart dudes, too. They’ve (type)cast me as a cranky coot. That I can handle. I’ll also be playing original banjo ditties in the show. Because I’m incapable of playing other people’s banjo ditties. Anywhere, anytime.
Between now and August, I’ll be recording audio versions of my two stories about squirrels for a project I’ll post more about later, after it’s been officially announced to the world. Or at least the Twin Cities arts and parks communities.
I’ve got a couple of new stories in the works, which means I’ll be distracted by new poem ideas any minute.
Finally, the gf and I are preparing for our Scotland visit in late August, which means developing a taste for haggis and/or heroin.
“The answer is never the answer. What’s really interesting is the mystery.” — Ken Kesey
“If you can’t write clearly, you probably don’t think nearly as well as you think you do.” — Kurt Vonnegut
”When you write from your gut and let the stuff stay flawed and don’t let anybody tell you to make it better, it can end up looking like nothing else.” — Louis CK
“Making people laugh is the lowest form of humor.” — Michael O’Donoghue
“I’m not a comedian. I’m Lenny Bruce.” — Lenny Bruce
“The important thing in writing is the capacity to astonish.” — Terry Southern
”It’s not that the Irish are cynical. It’s rather that they have a wonderful lack of respect for everything and everybody.” — Brendan Behan
“If you’re really a truth-teller, you better be funny. Because, otherwise, they will kill you.” — Fran Lebowitz
After I breeze through this, I’ll be attacking A Singular Man. Reading (and in some cases re-reading) an ex-pat Irish-American novelist who’s not published a book in more than a decade is how I plan to prepare for my August trip to Scotland.
Geography has never really been my strong suit. Probably because I grew up just four hours south of Chicago and nobody in my family ever told me, let alone took me there.
Was that child abuse? Sometimes I think so.
Back in 2007, not long after Kurt Vonnegut died, Playboy and Vanity Fair entertainment journo extraordinaire Eric Spitznagel wrangled a bunch of writers known (and not) on the web to pay tribute. Vonnegut’s Asterisk was titled after one of Vonnegut’s most famous drawings: his asshole, in Breakfast of Champions.
I’m currently rereading Breakfast for the seventh or eighth time, so I’ve been thinking about my meager contribution, which was also something of a tribute to Bill Gates. “I’ve always suspected that my asshole represents the best that civilized society can aspire to,” I wrote four years ago. “But drawing even a simple dove proved too difficult for my sad abilities, which is why I ended up tossing my crayons and importing a dingbat symbol via Microsoft Word instead.”
I included a caption with my asshole to ensure that it wouldn’t be mistaken for religious iconography or a pigeon. And I did it all in blue because I believed then,
as I believe now, that my asshole should match my eyes. Metaphorically, at least.
Tom Poole, of the Twin Cities agency Talent Poole, convinced me to submit an audio sample of me jabbering on in my bored baritone so that I might be hired for voiceover work by clients looking for a different sound.
Those clients exist, he insisted.
When I know for sure where my sample is posted, I’ll share the direct link. Until then, let’s pretend I’m going to become rich and famous. Because I’ve already spent the money.