So I’ve landed a new regular writing gig, covering the arts (and whatever else I notice at any given moment). “The Columnest” is written for mnartists.org and is currently a blog feature at walkerart.org. I hope you’ll go give it a read, leave a comment, etc.
My first column, which included a respectful shout-out to Chicago artist-of-many-talents Tony Fitzpatrick, was a throat-clearing exercise, just to be sure the mic was on. That’s his piece “The Bruised Village” above.
The legendary Spider John Koerner, the hilarious Maria Bamford, starving artists who’ve forgotten that being a little hungry comes with the territory, the art of bad advice and the published commencement addresses of David Foster Wallace, Neil Gaiman and Kurt Vonnegut are all in my sights.
All of my comedy and poetry responsibilities have been fulfilled! My performance calendar is empty for the first time in a while.
Maybe now I can get back to some projects I’ve been neglecting. Because the world deserves a one-act play from me. And possibly a new short story. And there’s always the podcast to attend to. And more little ditties to write and record.
After another cup of coffee, maybe. Or you’re also welcome to contact me about performance opportunities.
When I’m not writing or standing on a stage somewhere saying things into a microphone, I’m often sitting around my house playing guitar, banjo or dobro. Or, recently, mandolin. If I land on an idea that holds my interest for a minute or so, I do a quick field recording of it. Sometimes my music winds up playing in the background of the podcast. Sometimes nobody hears what I record. Until now. I plucked and strummed all the instruments on these ditties, for better or worse.
If you enjoy what you heard here, feel free to share it. If you’d like to use any of my music for some kind of collaborative project, please let me know.
I was asked to provide a headshot for a Valentine’s Day reading at the Walker Art Center, where I’ll be sharing 20 seconds of my poetry. That’s how much time I afforded this photo, too.
The January/February 2013 issue of Lake Country Journal, a beautiful magazine published up in Brainerd, Minnesota, includes one of my many new winter poems, “Holding the Ladder.” It’s not available for reading online and the mag’s regional, so here’s the poem, slightly revised. Because I never know when to leave well enough alone.
Holding the Ladder
My crazy coot neighbor has climbed up on his roof again
wearing an old pair of hockey skates
to kick loose ice dams.
He’s swearing and stomping around
like a plaid madman. I’m as quiet as the snow.
My wife ordered me outside an hour ago,
saying, “For Christ’s sake,
drag him down — or at least break his fall.”
That wasn’t all, but I’d heard enough.