Posts tagged writing
By now almost nothing that happens benefits storytelling; almost everything benefits information. Actually, it is half the art of storytelling to keep a story free from explanation as one reproduces it. The most extraordinary thing things, marvelous things, are related with the greatest accuracy, but the psychological connection of the events is not forced on the reader. It is left up to [her] him to interpret things the way [she] he understands them, and thus the narrative achieves an amplitude that information lacks.
21st Century Malleable Steel
Stalin changed his name to Stalin from Jughashvili.
Man Of Steel - did you also know he wrote poetry in his youth village?
Faulkner wrote poetry before becoming the iron authority of Yoknapatawpha, his fictional county.
Faulkner changed his name to Faulkner from Falkner.
A clerical error, perhaps, a chance to stake your own claim
on history. He was 5 feet 5 inches. Unsuitable for the U.S. Army.
Stalin had a gimped arm. Was 5 feet 4 inches.
Wore wedges in his shoes.
Fake it til you make it
Men of the 20th century, this is where we part.
Too many sides of the argument, too many views to point at.
Too much free information to support an authoritarian state.
Too much appropriation to control where your work will go.
To whom will your work reach.
To whom your work will speak.
This is the Century where all stale and staid Industries will fail.
Where states will separate.
Where power will disperse like ink itself bleeding off the card faces in a cardholder’s
Could Stalin allow Stalin self doubt?
Was there room for Terror to allow remorse?
Public appearance is everything & nothing
infuriates a control freak,
unable to hold water in his lap
without a fish tank,
like a portrait of the pacific ocean
in an enemy’s home.
The lengths we go for hiding
truths. Remember how they called him friend? The Allies, the Great War, called him Uncle Joe, who knew what a gulag was? Back then where was wikipedia & youtube?
20th Century men with their 20th Century power.
You know Faulkner had a brother who was also an author.
Faulkner had a brother who was also an author, imagine.
It’s true. John Faulkner.
Well actually it was John Falkner.
rem tene, verba sequentur
“seize the thing, the words will follow”
*alright, yea, i’ll be that dick that quotes fkn latin, but only cuz i came across this and thought it might be useful to any writers out there chasing down their stories…organizing their first zines…their 9th zines…whatever. Go after the thing. The THING. Go after it hard and the words will come how they may.
**i dont know any other latin.
this is not a poem even though it looks like one.
believe me, it’s not.
my girlfriend’s out of town and i kinda feel like a piece of shit cause i should be with her, but i’m broke.
but i have things to do.
who am i?
not the person i want to be all the time, but getting there.
2 months ago we picked up out of the blue and went to Panama for a week - on a credit card - and now i can’t even go with her 5 hours in a car to Los Angeles.
pick your battles. we pick our battles.
my friend’s wife gave me a giant lemon last night from their small tree.
it was so gigantic it felt symbolic. metaphoric.
when life gives you lemons…
take love from where you can get it. take support for what you need.
know what you need.
need to keep working. need to finish things i’ve begun. need to be at the forefront - the cutting edge - of my own being.
my body felt like quitting last night, but i stayed up working on a new story for Pioneers’. they won’t quit so i won’t quit either. they’re creating their future
and im creating mine.
your brain can do extraordinary things when it is exhausted, when it pushes beyond exhaustion, when the house is quiet, when your focus doesn’t waver, when you are bold, and ugly in form, and sober, and searching, searching, searching yourself.
i got one sentence beyond quitting, then fell asleep.
but it was a good sentence.
a big sentence.
a sentence beyond what i thought i could do.
woke up early this morning and hiked Tamales Bay for a few hours.
found 300 beached dead jellyfish stranded on the rocks in the new shallows while the tide was out.
felt like a sophisticated life-force was announcing itself
in the form of a prototype that was not developed enough to sustain here.
reminded me that last night my friend showed me Google Nights (or something like that). blew my mind. you hold your iPhone up to the sky and it tells you what star constellations you are looking at. GPS.
ive seen Jupiter thousands of times, but have never known it.
i don’t have a smartphone.
felt like a sophisticated life-force was announcing itself.
felt good to hike Tamales Bay
this morning after writing one more sentence than i thought i could the night before.
felt like the story wrote itself while i was hiking and not thinking about it at all.
felt like a sophisticated life-force was announcing itself.
saw a snake.
saw a giant slug.
saw a black-tailed deer.
came home and made some more Death In A Rifle Garden zines.
came home and made some tomato sauce.
my girlfriend is still away and i wish we were together.
at least now the house smells like tomato and garlic and basil.
at least now the house is covered in zines.
gonna finish writing that story now.
gonna drink some beer when i’m done.
Pioneers Press and Rich Baiocco (Boot N’ Rally, Death in a Rifle Garden) get a nice mention on this writing podcast
What Comes May Dream (Chronicles of the Waking Away)
What powerful thighs! Dreaming
them clapped against my ears i come alive
“This motel cot is too clean for our cheap games” -
sheets crisp as new money, cornered tight - You’ve changed.
& awake we’re pecked at by mattress coils;
& how reflections of highway light caught in the walls?
Impressed your outpouring of sobs can
still catch me off guard, in a Moleskin.
Can I collect myself before we’ve stranger-ed,
collect these thoughts on butterfly boards?
Pin the wings and classify their origins
- it’s futile. But I have to know I tried.
A promise I’ve kept since I was a child.
Golden Smog and Younger Brother Tagalong
“I hate everyone younger than me,” proclaimed JP. Some kids had just thrown a snowball near us. Talking to him was kind of a drag, but we’d gotten off at the same train stop, and he lived a few blocks away from the liquor store where I was heading to work. I’d never known him well, but we’d grown up together in the neighborhood - he was probably 30, though if I didn’t know him, I would card him.
“I don’t go out of my way to do it. I’m not WC Fields, kicking crying babies or anything. I just mean I don’t respect kids, like, just cause everyone’s supposed to - these little giggling, fad billboards. I’m not like everyone else, yielding to youth culture and the children are the future crap. Everyone wants younger and younger. Screw that. You go on the Internet and it’s like guys our age should be dead in Internet Years. Like these kids know what they’re talking about.”
“Jesus. Fuck you,” he laughed. “They’ll come for you too, don’t worry.”
And he continued:
“I say Let em flick me off, flick me off the planet while they have the reign, if they have the reign. If not, fuck off.” He spit behind my shoulder and turned up his jacket collar as we rounded the corner into the wind.
“Thats the way of it though, right?”
I shrugged, not wanting to take his side, or argue. I thought a snowball to his dome would be funny, how outraged he’d be, his tiny fists would shake.
“Either you embrace the future generation and sit in your place, subliminally become a parent or a teacher or some sort of responsible figure, or you hate them with the same disdain as you felt adults carried towards you when you were a kid, a young punk… a little shithead. When I was a kid I hated everyone my own age too. They had nothing exciting to offer. The pettiest problems and the most trivial joys. I was such a fucking snob.”
He was proud of it, swallowing a smile inward that seemingly made his nostalgia burn bright enough to light his cigarette. I could smell the snob on him. As a kid, he knew exactly who he was, and didn’t shy from sticking that entitlement in your face if you were an adult. He corralled the whole world in front of him and sneered at it. There was definitely a sort of cruelty I remembered about him when we were younger that I found entertaining, and also a kind of neighborhood mythology because he had acted in commercials and got on Law & Order once too - a smart ass but smart as well, always had girls around him, younger girls - sooo cute, they’d say. He was ‘famous’ for a while, and he wore that, and then he was ‘supposed to be famous’ for a while, and that pose won out. His face never matured, just aged. There was tightness in the skin around his mouth now. There was no blossom. If it happened at all, it happened a long, long time ago.
His breath was moth shit.
As a kid I tended to those younger than me. In an Italian family, there’s always so many little cousins running around at every Sunday gathering. I was at the Kids table forever, airplane-spooning rigatonis into little slobbering mouths, waiting for a great aunt or some other to kick off so a plot of real estate at the Adult’s table would open up. I couldn’t act my own age if I tried, I had no idea how that felt. But when dinner would wind down, and I’d hear Devin’s cherokee roaring over the hill and honking, I’d run outside and jump in to a soft bake of weed cough and music blaring that was always new to me, and so sweetly insular. We all worked together at a snack bar at a country club over the summer, and they were 3 or 4 years older than me - Ritz and Webbs didn’t even finish high school, just dropped into the real world. I never thought about age when we hung out. I never thought about hate. I sat in the middle, passing things that came to me, listening, absorbing, staring out the window, all but forgotten really except for the simple fact that each night they always stopped for me on the way out to The Bluffs to get wrecked. Younger brother tagalong in golden smog was always the perfect age to be.
~from Issue #2 of Boot N’ Rally, my new 5-part serialized fiction/essays zine.
Check out the cover for Issue #1 here. Available now! Msg me if you’d like a copy. Super limited run. Distro may change in the future. $3 (for cost & shipping) or trade
Meyu and Yuki
I love you he said for the first time, and waited for her to say it back to him.
Sure, she thought. I love you too she said, feeling certain that she would love him a little less with each passing moment.
They kissed around a little bit on the grass beneath the tree, but it really wasn’t too comfortable and it really wasn’t too heavy. It was heavier yesterday, when everything was unsaid, but it was heaviest a few weeks ago before they’d even kissed, when everything was unknown.
That’s when she loved him the most.
Craft Notes 3—Lonesome Dove, for example
Okay, so here’s an idea to take or leave:
If everyone drinks and it becomes customary in the culture of your story, how bout have one of your characters NOT drink. Deal with that, as a writer. And I’m NOT suggesting you should be quirky. But give humanity the individuality we all deserve. Respect it. Respect differences. ‘Golden Rule’ type shit. Don’t downplay humanity to fit your characters, dig into it to discover your characters. Woodrow Call doesn’t drink in Lonesome Dove. It’s a goddamned Western and EVERYONE is drinking whiskey in EVERY scene, and his co-ranger Gus drinks, loves drinking, loves talking about drinking, and Jake Spoon drinks, and Roscoe has whiskey in his pack, and Dish stumbles into the hitching post drunk BUT retired Texas Ranger, Captain Woodrow Call doesn’t touch a drop of liquor.
You get someone, even just one person, interested enough, perturbed enough to ask WHY? while reading one of your stories and they’re on the hook. You get a person asking WHY? and you dare to come up with a good answer for them, then you’ve done a better job than 100% of the boring, indistinguishable, self-serious, tone-deaf, bullshit writing out there that nobody in their right mind should care about, yet minds of little imagination or curiosity promote.
Peddling John-Vincent Greco
Had a B-L-A-S-T at SF Zinefest over the weekend. Didn’t really know if anyone would give a shit about some handmade poetry zines, but things worked out. Afterwards I bought the best tasting case of cheap beer I’ve ever had in my life, a Burger & Fries at Tops Coffeeshop, some cocktails at The Page for me and my homies, and oversized Chinese steamed buns with my girl on Labor Day morning in…uh, Chinatown. Where else? If you bought a book, traded me for one, read one//considered it//then put it down and walked away, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. This is new stuff, but only the beginning.
Just to clear up a few questions I got :: 1) John Vincent Greco is a character that appears in fiction that I (Rich Baiocco) write, and these are his zines. His worldview. His poetry. Kind of another little universe that will tie the whole sordid story, and make it more like sordid real life. 2) 5iREN5 is the first book, and Death In A Rifle Garden is the second. 3) The translucent tape baby is kind of his symbol, 4) yeah I agree, it’s kinda creepy lookin’ 5) and is photographed around California. But that’s enough about that.
Found a lot of cool things at Zinefest but these were my two favorites, both of which I traded for. Ebb and Flood is a serialized comic of ghost stories by Brian Herrick. Asswipe is a zine to wipe your ass with & 24 pages of pure shit by Vanessa X, this is issue #1 and I f*ckin’ Love It! She writes “this zine was made bc I had just moved to a new city and was frustrated, friendless, and broke. Luckily things have changed and now I’m just friendless and kind of broke.” She writes, “the best part about zines, to me, is that anyone can make one, and even if it sucks, at least you put in the effort to make one.” She writes, “especially in a world that is so technology focused.” She writes, “And if you don’t like it MAKE YOUR OWN.”
I can’t say it any better, so I won’t.
You know what they don’t teach you in school? How to love someone, again. How to love someone at all, really. How to ask for help. Not that help isn’t there—it always is, I suppose—but how to ask for it. How to deal with your surroundings gone blind with denial. How to cope with death. How to lose without being destroyed. How to accept a 2nd impression of someone. The difference between being right and being kind, and the wisdom that sometimes it is more important to be kind than right. And the wisdom of when.
Instead they teach you French, and Trigonometry, and other important skills like that.