It's been about little bit. Here's what we're working with.
1) I sold a big chunk of my t-shirt collection, because I'm not the sort of person anymore who needs four Tool shirts.
1b) I made the mistake of getting a Tool tattoo on my 18th birthday, so I'll have that forever just in case I ever feel like I'm not advertising very well for a band I haven't really liked in about eight or nine years.
1c) People will pay $20 for a Rage Against the Machine shirt while my Fucking Champs shirt sells for a meager $3, because the world is full of people who wish they had Tool tattoos.
2) At the Goodwill in Dubuque, IA I found a record haul worth a couple hundred bucks that I got for about $14.50. Stuff by Swans, Mission of Burma, Jesus and Mary Chain, Brian Eno, Billy Bragg, and a bunch more in that vein. RIP, Dude Who Died and His Parents Took His records to the Goodwill in Goddamn Dubuque
2b) I'm still debating about whether or not to sell them. One time I found the first three Desert Sessions CDs for $6 each and sold them to pay my rent. I'm not hurting for money, but I'm probably not going to put on Red Roses For Me by The Pogues very often. Will trade for chili dogs.
3) My girlfriend got me invested in Veronica Mars. I'm not admitting it anywhere except here and I'm mostly attributing it to a brief-yet-warranted obsession with Kristen Bell I had when I watched Party Down a couple years ago.
4) I contemplated spending a substantial sum of money ($1000) on a pair of tights that Rick Rude wore in the ring at one point.
4b) They weren't the Cheryl Roberts ones, so I passed.
4c) And I don't have $1000 to spend on dirty wrestling tights.
5) I got to have snow days for the first time in about a decade. I probably just ate pizza earlier than I normally would have otherwise.
6) I tried listening to Dream Theater again because I knew I liked them at one point in my life. They're actually pretty fucking stupid.
6b) I almost got a Dream Theater tattoo once.
7) At a classic car/rockabilly show recently, I bought a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles poster about how you shouldn't do drugs and also stepped into a pile of piss so big it could have been measured in fathoms.
8) I gave wrestling valentines from 1999 to all the kids I make lunch for and they were super stoked. I asked one little girl born in the year 2010 what she knows about 1999 and she said, "Nothing," which makes total sense but still bummed me the fuck out because I've had aches in my body older than her.
8b) I ran into my mom at a gas station randomly and she told me that I have degenerative arthritis in my knees, a family trait that had gone previously unmentioned and, because I don't have insurance, undocumented. Last year she told me I'm Jewish. Next year I'm going to find out I was born on Mars.
8c) But not Veronica Mars, unfortunately.
9) Some drunk girl came into the bar where I work and was talking loudly about how she's going to be Cinderella at Disney World this summer and then I found out her and her friends had signed their names on the toilet in the bathroom and then I called her a cunt and she left. No reason to mention this except I hate her.
10) I went to my first live wrestling show in almost 15 years, RING OF HONOR: RAISING THE BAR PART I in Milwaukee. A couple bitter wrestling fans not buying merch because there weren't t-shirts for a certain tag team's gimmick they only use in Japan, but otherwise a wholly awesome night.
10b) Seriously, if you say shit like "I don't like moves, I like matches" and then argue with me about whether or not it's okay for Marty Jannetty to use a top rope powerbomb as a transitional move in '96, you need to settle down.
I haven't written much lately, or at least I don't feel like I have. I keep trying to build up a cache of stories and then send them out in a lump to all sorts of different places, like I did in the Our Band Could Be Your Lit days, but what little I write ends up either getting picked up right away or I get solicited and end up back at zero. I know it sounds like I'm bragging--not humbly or gracefully, either--but it does bother me a bit, to have the only struggle be the actual writing process.
Isn't that the dream, though, to have to only worry about feeling better? If I'm not concerned about getting published--especially on nice little runs of getting picked up like I've been on for awhile--and I'm not obligated to write by academia or outside pressure, I can really only justify writing by how much I like it and how satisfied I feel when I do it.
I always tell people that the reason I don't drink or do drugs or anything like that is because I like myself just fine the way I am. This is to say the opposite, that I like the world just fine and I'm the one who needs some tweaking.
What I think I'm taking the long way of trying to say is this: If I don't feel the need to write, if I don't feel as if I'm compelled to do so, and I only write because it's the thing that gets me to the place where I can become my possibilities, what do I do when I feel like I'm already there?
So I haven't been writing a lot lately. It's been pretty good.
Of what I have written lately, here's what's been picked up where.
My story "Banzai Skydiving" went up at Connotation Press a bit ago. It's about how sometimes you can know everything and it doesn't matter. Thanks to Meg Tuite and her hard work and enthusiasm for all things literature.
It was my last day at work and Pippi wouldn’t let me do anything except watch her look into a bathroom mirror and tell me about everything and the whole damn world. She was seventeen and didn’t get into the college she wanted to get into and probably wouldn’t get into any of the other ones either, so she started reading lists of facts and coffee table books and then, when she found out I was quitting and essentially leaving her alone in a Wisconsin grocery store to wonder if tomorrow would be a little bit different, knew every reason I should stay.
My story "Lifeguard" went up at Jersey Devil Press. It's about New Coke and desire and devotion and doubt. Thanks to Mike Sweeney for asking me to be a part of this special issue to help JDP founder Eirik Gumeny get two new lungs. He has cystic fibrosis and needs your help. Any small amount will do. I've donated my money and I've donated my time and I've donated my words. The rest is up to you. Eirik's a damn good guy and I owe a lot to him and Mike both. Donate here.
I didn’t marry a girl named Florence and then she won the lottery. That’s not the way I tell it, but it sure is the way she tells it, like they’re related, like there couldn’t be one without the other.
“I’m building a pool the size of your apartment building,” she tells me. “Come on back and I’ll fill it with whatever you want.”
“Fill it with New Coke,” I say. “They haven’t made it since we were learning long division. Get the last drop to the brim and I’ll pack up everything I own.”
Speaking of donating, there was a recent problem of abuse in the writing community. Lots of people had lots of things to say, but the only thing that matters is sympathy and understanding for all involved. And also putting your money where your mouth is. An article on xoJane isn't going to do shit. Buy a blanket for a woman in need.
Safe Haven Rescue and Resource Center
Women Against Abuse: Advocacy In Action
AVDA: Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse
Or go local, even better. Just shut the fuck up and help. Opinions won't buy deodorant for a woman who had to leave her house.
On a more positive note, I'll be on tour for a few days coming up this week. I did Rock Island and St. Louis last week with some incredible writers and I'll be doing Grand Rapids, Chicago, and Madison this week. Here's the full info:
Thursday, March 20th at The House of Pancakes in Grand Rapids, MI
An evening in the living room featuring Ryan Werner (Passenger Side Books - WI), The Bandit Zine! (Reading from their issue on feminism), and poetry from Matty Feedlord Weaver, Keean Mansour and Luke P Fortier.
Suggested donations of $3-5
6pm - please be punctual!
No jerks and no drugs.
if you bring alcohol, you must donate
& please only bring a few
Friday, March 21st at Church of Templehead in Chicago, IL
This is a tangential little part of the UNCOMMON COPIES series of events!
Reading will start at 7:00 sharp! No punk rock time!
This is a free event, but the donation bucket will be out and about!
Ryan Werner, Matt Rowan (UNTOWARD MAGAZINE), and Peter Jurmu (ARTIFICE BOOKS).
The event will have xeroxed stories and broadsheets for sale in addition to other DIY books and merch. Following the readings will be a panel discussion about DOING IT YOUR OWN DAMN SELF!
Saturday, March 22nd at Dragonfly Lounge in Madison, WI
Soundless Album Release with Tyranny is Tyranny, Young Indian, Ryan Werner, Tegan Swanson. LET'S PARTY. Post-everything. Very loud. Very heavy. Very humble.
Here's to future radness, folks. Let's do this. To the pit.