Monthly Archives: June 2009

Pride

Thank God I survived another gay pride. It’s like surviving another tour of duty. It’s not the parade so much or the drugs or the alcohol. It’s the people. Oh Lord the people. If we really wanted to gain some respect from society at large and promote ourselves as positive contributors to society, we’d definitely do background checks on who we let in pride events. It’s basically like a juvenile detention center and a federal prison unlocked their doors and said, “Have at it.” I wasn’t armed, but I was flexing a lot, you know, to show people I got some pythons that escaped from the gun show.

Pride is trashy. Literally. After the parade there was trash piled up all along North Halstead. And I’m not talking about your normal quantities of street festival trash. I’m talking fuck-the-world kind of trash. It was as if it was the end of days and everyone just decided to let loose. Who cares about climate change when a meteor is rocketing toward your planet? Let’s throw all our soda cans and McDonalds bags in the street. And hey, later, we can roll around in them. Because we’re trashy. Super trashy.

Overall I was pretty disgusted, but not surprised, by my own kind. Oh sure, I’ve done some sleazy, trashy shit in my days. But it was always conducted in a dark basement of some bar’s back room. Not on the city street of Chicago for God’s sake. Get a room…at a bathhouse, you freak.

But I had a great time. Good food. Good friends. Good drinks. And most of all this:

See you at da club!

See you at da club!

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More Thoughts On “Letter To A Young Writer”

So yesterday I linked to this blog and wrote a response on my blog to her post, “Letter to a Young Writer.” She linked to my post via Twitter with some comment about how my blog proved her point, or something. All that is fine, and the link helped drive additional traffic to this blog, which I know she knew that would do that. So for that I thank her.

She today posted a follow-up on her blog explaining her post and her intentions behind writing it in the manner that she did, a manner I described as “a cynical diatribe.” In a nutshell, she says the post was meant to be tongue-in-cheek. My favorite part of her self critique is this:

It was an over-the-top self-annihilation of a part of myself, a part of most or all of us, that is grotesque, and competitive, and, well, sort of sick.

I’m  not 100% sold on what this means. I get the satire part of it, and the whole thing about satirizing the competitive side of the business. It’s the phrase “self annihilation” I’m not clear on. Does this mean she was critiquing herself in an effort to purge this behavior from herself? Does she recognize these negative qualities within her and truly strives to rid herself of them? Or does she see these qualities and allow them to exist?

Because this brings up a great point about being an artist. Part of being an artist is self discovery, self reflection and self critique. It is an introverted process that requires a frightening amount of introspection. You have to dwell deep within the internal cave and face all the creepy crawlies no matter how big and poisonous and scary they may appear. If you do not confront the good and the bad you find inside, if you do not take a realistic view of what is dwelling within your subconcious and scrutinize your motivations for your actions in life, you will never unlock your true potential as an artist. I’m not saying this girl hasn’t done that. If you read further, she implies life has dealt her some shitty hands from time to time. But just because you get covered in poopy doesn’t mean you’ve learned not to stand under a cow. You have to live and you have to learn. And as an artist you take these life lessons and you incorporate them into your art. For someone like her who appears to do narrative non-ficiton, that means you cover topics you find interesting, that personally touch you, that you have a vested interest in. That doesn’t mean writing about yourself, only those things you have a passion for. If you like character studies, write about interesting people. If you like death, write about war. So live, learn and let that influence your writing. Hopefully this girl has done that. Hopefully she has reflected on her motivations for what she does and has discovered that being published in a big magazine or being on television aren’t really worthy motivations. What is a worthy motivation? Just having a passion and doing it because you have to, because something inside you says that if you don’t, your life will cease to be as vibrant.

And I still stand by the fact that writing doesn’t have to be about the big things. It doesn’t have to be about the guy who gets blown up in Iraq or a prostitute being a whore. Because we all have these stories. Every single one of us. I do. I’m sure you do too. Even if it doesn’t seem as grandiose as a man who was wrongly convicted of murder or an African orphan or people living in an American ghetto, it is just as important and just as worthy of writing about. Because a story about a man getting his arm blown off in Iraq isn’t a story about a man getting his arm blown off in Iraq. It is a story of loss and acceptance, of servitude and consequence. We all have expereienced elements of these themes throughout our lives. So why not write about that? If you can find the miraculous in the everyday, you are set as a writer. And in fact, I’d extend that to say you are set as a human being.

Letter To A Young Writer

Thank you Bryan for this, a cynical diatribe from what is I guess a moderately successful writer targeted to an amatuer.

She makes some good points. She also comes across as a real queen douche, and a fairly uninspired one at that.

Who hasn’t heard the salty, foreboding warnings of the writer who has been “hardened” by their work and who thinks journalism school is for “fuckwits” (my word, not hers)? If I was at the Chicago Printer’s Row book fair with a sockfull of batteries, I probably couldn’t walk two feet without clubbing one of these “aged and learned” writers to death.

Let’s start with her first point: Journalism school is for losers.

Confession: I went ot journalism school. Is it for losers? I wouldn’t say that. That’s a generalization. I’d say it’s for those that want to be writers but have the smarts to know that being an English major truly is for losers or for disillusioned do-gooders who think journalism is still the bastion for truth, justice and the American way. I fit into the former. It’s probably why I’m not a journalist anymore. Many people I knew were the latter. They all have jobs at papers and make decent livings. Don’t get me wrong. The journalism industry is going down faster than a Thai hooker on Blowjob Day. But journalism school isn’t all bad. It’s a great way to get a piece of paper that is kind of worth having. And it totally beat having to learn all that stuff political science majors have to learn. That’s actual, useful information.

2. She was asked if she could support herself solely on blogging and writing, to which she replied she has a writing/editing position that helps her out. There really wasn’t anything I disagreed with here, except the keep your day job comment. I left mine as an editor to become independent. It’s a great way to live. No boss. No office. Just me, my desk, my unclothed body and a ham sandwich. I’m joking. I don’t eat ham.

3. She was asked what her “break” was. Once again, I think she had a reasonable response stating that there is no “break,” although she used the turn of phrase as an excuse to once again attack the journalism industry. I mean seriously, who cares? I stopped caring so long ago, I see no reason to waste my breath talking about its downfall. Grandpa died, sister. Get over it! He’s not coming back, and all your grave dancing is doing is showing how much you really do care. Well you shouldn’t. Cause it’s stupid. So let’s go out there and make something better than the old model. All hail the new flesh. Anywho, there really aren’t any breaks. It’s just life. You live it, and your career will develop. And if all you want is to write for something that is well known or to be on t.v. as a commentator, well then you should probably tear off your own head because that’s a stupid goal to aim for. Your big break could very well be the first time you have some nothing magazine say, “We’ll pay you an amazingly shit ton of money to write about something stupidly droll.” That is most often a writer’s big break.

4. She was asked for advice from someone who has years of experience writing for small magazines. Her response is fine. No issues here. I especially agree with the part about not giving advice to wanna-be writers because, at best, they are just possible competition. Because they are. And that scares me. Luckily I got something they don’t. An understanding that it isn’t about finding that great topic. Life doesn’t happen in the maginificent. It is found in the everyday. And if you can make tying your shoes sound like the virgin birth, than you got a career. It’s all about style and voice. Know yours and you rule the writing world. It’s just so hard to develop because you’ve been taught all your life what “good” writing is and you’ve read “good” writers, so you have all these preconceived notions. Fuck that. Discover the way you enjoy writing, don’t fall into cliche (even cliche that is considered good cliche. You want to know what good cliche is? It’s writing that sounds interesting and artistic, but is really just derivative crap. Like starting a story about the Iraq War with a lead that talks about a little Iraqi girl washing her hands in a crater created by an artillery shell. Has someone written this? Fuck if I know. But it’s stupid. Because even if it is real, I don’t care. I don’t know who this little girl is. You’re just appealing to the standard notions we’ve assigned to little girls and war, and we see this juxtaposition and our hearts sink because they’ve been trained to do so. This little girl could have eaten someone’s face. We don’t know. Stop playing with our hearts.) A better way to start such a story? Talk about the moon. Or mustard. Or something you overheard on the bus. It’s more interesting for me because you’re not using some tired cliche. But really. Just write about what you know and write it in a way that feels honest to you. It’s harder than you think, but once you get there, it’s pretty easy.

End rant.

(Note: I don’t give a shit if I have improper punctuation or misspellings in these posts. I don’t have time to proofread. Just deal.)

Summer Is Here!

Summer is here!

I went to the beach.

The gay beach.

There were many gays there.

I sat alone.

By some trash cans.

And listened to Grizzly Bear.

People stared at me.

Mainly at my butt.

I pretended not to notice.

Boys were dancing

To Lady Gaga

On a shitty boombox.

Woomp, woomp, woomp

Goes the bass.

Please pull your bathing suit up

Skinny ass twink.

And stop looking at my ass.

It’s reserved.

The Meaning of Life Pt. 2

The last part of the meaning of life, as I see it at least, was all happy and love and puppy dogs and rainbows. This part is not. This is the second part, the Empire Strike’s back if you will. This is the part termed “the belly of the beast” where life hands you lemons and you have to sit with a sour, puckered face until part 3 (coming soon to a blog near you…my blog).

So as I said before, life can be all about inspiration and art and love and following your dreams. But life is also about randomness and being dealt a shitty hand that can’t even beat an ace high. Like a 10. Cause you can’t always control everything that goes on in your own life. Which sounds like a fucking stupid concept. I mean, it is YOUR life. But sometimes an airplane crashes or a safe lands on your head or you let a fart slip out in front of a room full of people. As the Buddha didn’t say, “Shit happens.” (although he kind of did say that).

It is these moments where you are presented with a choice. To live life or to just become overwhelmed by the bankrupt slot on your wheel of fortune. You can choose to accept your reality and stop fighting the crap monster that stands before you or you can choose to let that crap monster frustrate you until you too are crapping yourself. Cause that’s what happens when you fight a crap monster. Note that. It’s important.

Everyone at everytime has something monumental thrown your way that is out of your control. A friend or loved one dies. You get injured or become ill. You get fired. You get preggers. You go to jail. It will happen to you. You must accept your fate and learn to be happy in spite of it rather than seeing it as a permament pox or curse upon your being. You have to strive to find the love and beauty in life, despite the pain.

Because in the end, part 2 of the meaning of life is about pain and suffering (now we’re getting real Buddhist). Life is suffering. It is those that can see past the suffering, rise above it, and keep a smile on their faces that truly understand what it means to be alive. So go out there, blog readers, and live your life. Know that shit will come your way one day and that will probably be a bad day, week, month, year or decade. But try to find a way to be happy even with the pain. Because happiness doesn’t find you. It doesn’t strike you like a bolt of lightening or suddenly turn the corner and bump into you. You have to find it. And it’s never far because it’s always inside you.

Now who wants cheezy pie!

The Meaning of Life Pt. 1

I have spent a tremendous amount of time and energy trying to unravel the mysteries of life. Oftentimes our existence feels kind of frivalous. Like I’ll find myself laying on my couch and staring a the ceiling for hours saying, “Really? This is what it’s about? Just passing the time? Really?” And truth be told, from my understanding, it is…sometimes.

I love Joseph Campbell and Kurt Vonnegut and Jim Henson. These are people that seemed to get it right. Yeah, they might not have been happy all the time, but who is? Life isn’t about being happy all the time. It’s about striving for equilibrium, it’s about self discovery, it’s about taking every challenge that comes your way and working through it. It’s about artistic vision and inner voice. It’s about self expression, connectivity and the collective unconcious. These three men seemed to understand that. Joseph Campbell with his writings on a universal myth, the belief that we are all heros setting out on our own journeys. We are Jesus and we are the Buddha. It’s a beautiful thought, and it is one that empowers. Kurt Vonnegut understood the pointlessness of the world, but still found tiny miracles in everyday life. He might not have been in favor of organized religion, but he saw it’s benefits in creating a sense of community as a means to defeat the lonliness and isolaiton many feel throughout their lives. And Jim Henson was an artist with a vision that he was so committed to that it became an entire franchise, set out with the mission to enlighten and educate youth and adults alike on the factual (such as 1+1=2) as well as the harsh inevitabilities (Mr. Hooper’s death anyone?)

To me, these ideals are the purest, and those we should strive to retain throughout our everyday lives. Well, these and love. Love, love, love. Because in the end it doesn’t matter how big of a star you are, how many books you’ve written, how many movies you’ve made, how much money you have in the bank. What matters is that you love with all your heart and allow others to love you. It sounds cheezy. But I think it’s true.

Okay, this post is extra sentimental. I’m obviously on my period. I’m going to the store to buy tampons. BRB LOL OBGYN!

Right Wing Bigots vs. Zombies

It is an age old question, a question as old as age itself. In the same vein as, “Mommy, where do babies come from?” and “Can I eat this moldy thing in the fridge?”, the question of who would win an epic battle, right wing bigots or zombies, plagues the human subconcious throughout his or her day to day life.

Let’s look at what we’re dealing with here people:

Side 1:Right Wing Bigots

Advantages:

Heavily armed. These fuckers live like it is the end of days because in their mind it is the end of days. They put bazookas in their children’s Xmas stockings, and I’m not talking about the kind with the asinine cartoons on the wrappers of some dude blowing bubble gum all over his face. I’m talking about the kind that can take out a ’65 Chevy with one twitch of the trigger finger. Chicken Kung Pow!

Angry: These people don’t need no Monster energy drink or a Red Bull. They’re fueled purely on hate and blame. If the economy sucks, blame the Jews. If you lost a sock, some black dude probably stole it. And if your Chinese food made you sick, blame the Mexicans that work in the kitchen. Ethnic zombies stand no chance against rueful rednecks. That statement is a fact that you can find in any public school textbook.

Ignorant: You would think ignorance would work against you. Being able to tie your shoes, let alone breath through your mouth, are evolutionary traits that have helped man survive through the ice age, the stone age and the winter of our discontent. But when it comes to zombies, intelligence is the carrot that will have those undead donkeys gnawing on your skull faster than you can say, “Dear fucking God, stop gnawing on my skull!” That’s because zombies love brains. They’re like truffles (the chocolate kind). The less you have, the more lacking in flavor your head will be to a zombie. Smart people = delicacy. Stupid people = empty calories.

Side 2: Zombies

Advantages:

Undead – They’re already dead. What have they got to lose? A family? A job? Nope. Zombies are orphaned freeloaders doomed to roam the earth for all eternity looking for something to do to pass the time. They can’t even play Wii because the motion sensors can’t sense zombies. So instead they just walk 500 miles and then they walk 500 more.

Insatiable Hunger – As stated, zombies love brains. It’s their one pleasure in unlife. Fortunately the never get full, which is bizarre because they have all the working parst us living do. Their stomachs have to get full eventually. I guess this means zombies poop. Or maybe they don’t poop, per se, as much as waste constantly leaves their body, like a bucket with a hole in it. (Note to self: ask a zombie if they poo, but be discreet. You don’t want to embarass the zombie.) So yeah, zombies dig on brains. And they’ll totally dig on redneck brains, despite their lack of them cause eventually all the smart people will have been eaten.

That’s about it. Frankly I put my money on the gun-toting, pick-up driving racist hoosiers. But I almost always put my money on them because it’s better than keeping it in a bank. Rim shot! But seriously, I will gladly give up all earthly possessions just to watch this battle from afar. And if you want to buy a t-shirt to root for your favorite team, I’m selling them (see below):

1. Pro Bigot Shirt

Life Power!

2. Zombies

Hate Is Delicious!