I have a new poem in the latest edition of the online lit mag elimae. I’ve had a fair number of poems in elimae over the years. [Scroll through archives dating back to 1996 for daring writing by an incredible array of poets and flash fictioneers you’ve never heard of. I’m in there, too.]
Current editor Cooper Renner and founding editor Deron Bauman have always been very kind to my writing. They’ve been there for me whether my poems were funny, moody, ridiculous or elliptical.
Readers of Gordon Lish‘s legendary Quarterly might remember Cooper better as Cooper Esteban, the mad poet whose work was often the highlight of that mag’s back pages. Like the best of us without Knopf deals, he’s gone the ebook route with his fiction.
Founding and editing elimae’s first couple of years [and publishing a handful of beautiful handmade books that now go for big $$$ on Amazon and eBay] weren’t enough for Deron. [His video and still camera work are also worth searching out.] Deron also created Clusterflock, possibly the last authentic community blog doing what blogs did before the Web began to feel like a mall.
The ‘flockers don’t bother with cute recaps of SNL or pre-election debates. They’re too busy explicating spam email messages.
Smart, talented folks — good folks by any measure — are wherever you look. But you’re still responsible for opening your eyes. That’s what this new poem, called “Truckness,” is all about.
[Truck drawing by Cooper Renner]
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’ve not posted lately because Hurley, aka “the hound,” has been struggling with gut and ass issues that appear, at long last, to be on the mend.
I’ve also been busy planning and putting together music for next year’s “You Are Hear” podcast for mnartists.org.
But suppose you’re among the single digits of people who can’t wait until 2012 to hear from me.
Well, consider yourself notified that Saturday, November 19th, I’ll be among the “celebrity” judges of The Incredible Drinkin’ Spelling Bee at the 331 Club.
Words. Booze. Me being funny into a microphone, saying things I’d regret later if maybe I remembered them.
What’s not to love? Hurley wants to know.
Starting January 2012, I’ll be hosting “You Are Hear,” a new monthly podcast for mnartists.org.
Listeners will discover new stories, poems, humor pieces and other word stuffs written and recorded by Minnesota’s finest literary, comedy and spoken-word talents — unless they’re under contract at MPR.
People you’ve heard of. People who’ve barely heard of themselves. Plus my bearded baritone.
You should probably make room on your iPod now. That’s what Steve Jobs would’ve wanted.
I’ll post additional deets and submission guidelines here and on Facebook in early December.
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.
Back in 2006, when I was just beginning my missionary joke-writing for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency,
I talked to Matthew Simmons. At least he’s gone on to great things.
Poet, photographer and artist Peter Schwartz talked to me in 2009 for the online literary/arts mag Prate.
French teacher, writer, performer and blogger extraordinaire Michele Campbell kicked off her Life of Art series with this Q&A.
My most recent online interview was for the wonderful people at mnartists.org and The Walker Art Center. They tricked my favorite bookstore out of me, among other juicy tidbits.
Four interviews in about five years. That borders on media harassment, if you ask me.
Next up on my creative calendar is a reading at Silverwood Park, as part of a project co-sponsored by the great peeps at mnartists.org. My stories “Squirrels” and “Nuts” will be available for audio download to enjoy as you take in the park’s trails and autumnal colors. On Saturday, September 24, I’ll be at the park to share my ridiculous li’l nature tales in person. So if you hear about Bigfoot sightings, you know why.
I’ll be performing a mix of vintage and brand-new stand-up at this the Sunday after I return from Scotland.
I hope folks are able to understand whatever brogue I pick up across the pond. I hope I’m sober by then, too.
I’m thrilled to be gigging for/with the Workhaus Collective. At The Playwrights’ Center, where theater begins.
That can only bode well for those “acting” gigs not in my future.
If you made it out to Ferrari McSpeedy’s “Once Upon a Time in the Suburbs” at the 2011 Minnesota Fringe, thank you. If you happened to review the show on the Fringe site or on your blog or for a more official print or digital media outlet, thanks again. If you were one of the reviewers who suggested that I speak an unfamiliar form of English out of your ear’s range, believe me when I reply here, in typed words that I hope your eyes can read, I got the message.
I heard you loud and clear.
I used to review books and music for money, so I understand the impulse to protect innocent consumers from bad art for money and/or a lack of self-esteem.
What I think of the Pioneer Press and/or its theater criticism isn’t the point.
The point is this: I learned a ton performing in a big, goofy female western in Ayn Rand’s idea of a theater. Last time I got to perform with such talented folks in such an impressive venue was back in 2007, when I did vaudeville with Ned Beatty. Of course that Ned Beatty. No shit.
And, no, we’re not related. We established that chatting backstage, as soon as we were introduced.
But he’d be a cool grandpa. Too bad he wasn’t available for Fringe.
“An agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another.”
— Ambrose Bierce
I’m less busy than usual, but exponentially more stressed out of my mind.
That’s the only excuse I have for neglecting my reader.
Acting is hard. Dialogue does not stick to my brain, it turns out. I’ve never been the kind of guy to memorize sets or stories word-for-word. When not working directly from a script or set list, I’ve always outlined what I planned to perform, then talked loosely around that vaguely memorized outline.
This has turned me into a rambling, inconsistent stage performer. Or a shambolic, authentic charmer, if you happen to enjoy what I do.
My difficulties with the acting craft made me appreciate all the more Will Eno’s “Oh the Humanity and Other Good Intentions” when I saw The Peanut Butter Factory’s current production of it at Intermedia Arts. Christopher Kehoe, Mo Perry and Matt Sciple made Eno’s abstract, existential jokes sing with equal measures of dark comedy and genuine vulnerability.
That’s why I pitched the production for an MPR Art Hounds segment. Besides the fact that I love radio.
I could now promise to update this site more often once I’m done with the Fringe, but that would go against my commitment phobias. Let’s just take this as it goes and see what happens. We’re both grown-ups.