It's been about a month. Here are some things that have happened since then.
1) I watched Summerslam 2005 and didn't cry when the giant electronic American flag unfurled behind Hulk Hogan during his entrance. This is a semi-major life-improvement.
2) I applied for a job stocking ice and beer at a casino. I didn't get it. Two weeks later they called me and asked if I want to work part-time checking coats.
2b) I told them to fuck off.
2c) What I actually did was just not call them back after they left a voicemail.
3) I searched for "Iowa" and "Wisconsin" on PornHub. There were a bunch of videos for Iowa and all the chicks looked pretty hot. There were like seven videos for Wisconsin and all the chicks looked like they were made of stale biscuits.
4) Several dumb old photos of me were uploaded to Facebook by other people, such as this one where I'm wearing an XL Pantera shirt and standing next to a cardboard cutout of Shaquille O'Neal and this one where I'm wearing a winged battle-suit I made out of Construx.
5) I locked my keys in my car twice, once behind the coffee shop and once a week later in front of the coffee shop. The same guy from Master Key came to my assistance both time. The first time he was wearing a pink mesh shirt underneath a button-up tank top and when he went into his trunk to get the tools he needed to get into my car, he had to first take out two huge chainsaws and set them on the ground.
6) I got ordained. I'm going to marry so many drunk people at the bar.
7) I met Mick Foley.
I had some stuff get published recently. It seems like I used to be stoked for weeks after something got published and now I've had three things go up this past month and I'm already back to feeling like I haven't done anything. Writing is better than meth, but only because it doesn't ruin your teeth.
In a rare showing, I was able to write and publish an essay. It's about Neko Case, and though everything I do is, on some level, about Neko Case, this is blatantly about Neko Case and how her album Middle Cyclone made me learn things about living in and around solitude, the extent to which I should love myself, and respecting fear as it arrives in all humans. It's up over at The Rumpus, and I'd love for you to read it.
"The year 2008 tumbled out of itself and took with it the things that consumed my days. Within a month I had lost my job to the upholding of liquor laws, my college education to an unavoidable graduation, and my girlfriend to youth and general apathy.
I spent a lot of time in bed, not depressed, but reading depressing things—Seamus Heaney’s Selected Poems 1966-1987, William Matthews’s Search Party, Rick Bass’s In the Loyal Mountains—often out loud. I read Heaney in an impassioned Irish accent, Bass with a gruff-yet-kind tone of wonderment. I read Matthews sitting up, as if at a podium, addressing a faceless sum of the discontinued millions.
There were certain lengths I was willing to go to in order to not be myself."
I also had a story called "Trace" that I've talked about here before on the subject of "revising old stuff I wrote and wondering if it's all just a big waste of my fucking time." This one turned out decent for being around so long and going through so many drafts. It's up over at 10,000 Tons of Black Ink, and it'd be really great of you to read it.
"My grandmother spent her last several thousand mornings highlighting the obituaries."
Lastly, the fourth story in my chapbook/cycle Murmuration is out there in the world now. I'm happy with how this one turned out and, like most of my stuff, it ties in with another story: The Honeybreakers are the band that had dissolved and reassembled in my story "Sometimes We Were Young." Here we find them merely dissolving, as seen through the eyes of our faithful narrator. Please read it over at Bartleby Snopes.
"Revising my dreams into the necessary shapes involved going out to the van every night and playing guitar in the street. I waited until after the show, after everyone had locked into the distractions that would take them through to morning. I would strap on whichever guitar I grabbed first and commence to shredding first against the van and then eventually to the center of the street. This was a small reassurance that my life would eventually resolve itself if attacked from compromising angles."
I've spent so much time playing music that I haven't really had time to sit down and write anything. This isn't really a very good excuse. "Write every day" is kind of the only semi-infallible writing advice out there, and I'm totally blowing it. If this new country-rock project gets off the ground, I'll be in a total four bands in addition to working 40+ hours between two jobs. My options in life turned out to be "one band that does a lot" or "four bands that don't do much." Regardless, none of these bands are getting me laid, so it doesn't really matter.
I'm also going on a micro-tour with the Oakland-based rock & roll band Victory and Associates as a hired gun to replace their real lead guitarist who can't make it because he has a real job, unlike us. My band Legal Fingers played with them back in October and we hit it off and I've been on their podcast not once, but twice, and now we're going to christen our union by piling into a van and making it smell bad for about a week. I've spent the last month learning how to play a dozen or so of their songs and in less than a week I've got to prove that I won't fuck it up. For those not in the know, this is what volume was invented for.
But still, I haven't had time to write anything because when I'm not at a band practice I'm making a flier for a show or I'm being a fucking dickhead on Twitter or I'm watching The Family Feud at the coffee shop. Murmuration has been done for months now, which means I've been slacking on finishing the wrestling-themed chapbook. One story called "A Comprehensive List of the Least Worst Way To Do Everything" is done and making the rejection rounds, but "Waiting for Andre"--the story about a rich man with a bone disease who learns about and becomes obsessed with the anecdote of Samuel Beckett giving Andre the Giant rides to school--is stuck in revision hell. I've just finally got a decent grip on it after weeks of picking at it here and there, but it's still not close. The title story, "The Road Becomes What You Leave," exists only in the form of an aborted story from years ago. If I finish this book before the end of the year, I'd be surprised.
And I'm working on a novella, but the truth is that I'm not working on it nearly as hard as I'm working on my tweets, which is fucked up.
I hope I have something to show the next time I check in, but I'll probably just have more stories about how drunk girls in bars yell at me and then later on get my phone number and pretend to be Stoya. Mario Kolaric is doing the artwork for my chapbook and Matt Kish is doing the artwork for Justin Lawrence Daugherty's chapbook that I'm putting out through Passenger Side Books. So there's that. But still, I can't take credit for that. All I did was send some e-mails. I did that to Christina Hendricks and NOTHING.
That's it for now. Be wonderful.
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