Matthew Good on Writing

Canadian recording artist Matthew Good is a legend – for a number of reasons.

I like his lyrics. In his song “Generation X-Wing” the chorus consists of a singular line, repeated a few times:

“I will always be the worst”

So yeah, I’d say MG understood writing.

Many years ago I read a “Story” on his blog – it was an interior monologue about drinking away the pain. It wasn’t that good. I decided that I could write better and that’s when I started.

So here’s Matthew Good and the acoustic version of “Generation X-Wing” for all of us who have always been the worst.

 

I’ll be back in a while – whenever I sense that y’all are getting too happy/too comfy. Then I’ll post Two Cow Garage’s “Should’ve California” live from 3 Kings Tavern and once again, remind you not to be too happy/comfy. Like – what are you thinking?

Steve

Boycotting Valentine’s With Sons of Butcher

V-Day is coming up and I will not be participating in that soulless corporate imposition – by choice. (Someone else’s choice – but – that’s not materiel.)

Fight the power is what I’m saying.

People say to me “Steve, why don’t you write love songs?” I tell them it’s because I’m not a musician. Then they say to me “Love Poems? Why don’t you write love poems?” I say its because Sons of Butcher wrote all the good ones, and set them to music, and I’m not a musician.

Here’s their “Made Love by the River” – The lovin-est love ballad of all time. It’s like Valentine’s Day, but with less greed, every time you play this song:

 

 

If there is one thing I want for you to take away from this sweet, sweet sonnet it’s the following lyrics:

“Listen, kids
Love’s a four way stop
If you get there first, you have the right of way
If they get there first, they have the right of way
If you both arrive at the same time, in that magical moment
The person to the right, has the right of way”

Damn.

It’s dusty in here. Something got in my eye.

Later gators. Remember: Don’t give in. You are only fooling yourself.

\m/ \m/

Steve

Of Readers, Editors, and Nominations

Los Angeles

No idea who originally took this/made this but I do love LA. 

In November of this year I had a story titled “All of the Words to All of the Songs” accepted by an on-line publication called Chicago Literati and in the same email they told me they were nominating it for a “Puschart Prize.” I did not actually know what a Pushcart Prize was – I quickly confirmed with writer friends that A) this was cool and B) it doesn’t come with a check attached.

Ah well. In the end of the literary pool I swim – and like -small indie publishers rule and no one makes any money so praise is the only form of currency we have. I don’t mind. I am very pleased for the kind words of the Editor who selected and nominated the story.

I never know who reads my shit or what they think of it if they do. I write because I like to do it – I get some satisfaction out of ordering words around. In my short literary career I’ve had feedback from strangers exactly four times: The Pushcart Nomination from Chicago Literati, a positive review @ thereviewreview.net of my story “The River by The Garden” appeared in an independent review of the Molotov Cocktail, and two strangers on Twitter professing their admiration for other stories of mine.

That’s all.

I didn’t win a Pushcart, and I don’t use the nomination on my “author bio” when I send out other work. I understand that there are thousands of nominees, and that the process itself ranges from totally unbiased totally biased. Winning some sort of prize might help the ol’ writer’s resume’ and if ever I win anything you’ll be sure to hear about it.

It would be a monumentally self-serving lie to say that I don’t care who reads me, or if anyone reads me. At a certain point as a writer, you must admit that you like to be read. We write whether we are read or not, because that’s the way we are, but no one ever put pen to paper save for some sort of posterity.

At any rate, I am pleased with the comfort of strangers, and you can read my Puschart Nominated Story “All of the Words to All of the Songs” here at Chicago Literati

To any of you who read my stories – Thanks!

I’ll be back soon with links to more poesy I have being published and some other crap to amuse small minds when I have no actual news to report.

Steve

My Header Pics

cropped-looking-n-from-rachel-nevada.jpg

No one ever asked but my old header pic (above) was taken in Rachel, Nevada on December 29. 2014. My youngest and I had road-tripped it and made the trip to Rachel and the infamous Little Al-E-Inn – A place made (semi) famous in the movie “Paul” due to its proximity to the fabled “Area 51.”

The picture itself was taken from the parking lot of the little Al-E-Inn facing roughly due North across the 375 – “The Extraterrestrial Highway.” The inn – and Area 51 – would have been at our backs.

There is nothing out there. Nothing. You could hide a large secret base and have an army of aliens unloading crate after crate of Bigfoots and no one would ever see.

Make sure you are on a full tank of gas going to Rachel – there is no gas in Rachel itself.

cropped-shortgrass-prairie-near-barnwell.jpg

My current header pic was taking on a hike on March 12, 2012 a few kilometers north of Barnwell, Alberta. That’s what the short grass prairie looks like in it’s natural state. Although it’s difficult to tell, the farm on the right hand side of the picture is across the Old Man River – I’d guess sit to be 3 to 3.5 k’s away and the river would not be an easy crossing in March when it’s swollen with run off and the water is hypothermia-inducing cold even though the river itself is not exceptionally deep. When we were kids we used to “tube” down the river to a landing near the town of Taber – we’d float down on the current resting on old tractor-tire inner tubes and while an afternoon away. I wonder if anyone does that anymore?

Like the Nevada pic this pic is taken facing north.

If you have a big enough and sharp enough screen you’ll see little puffs of black smoke trailing off to the right (East) – that’s a from a tractor plowing. It was very windy that day (like most days here) and thus the dotted black line in the sky.

And that’s the story of my header pics.

Stay young and cool comrades, I’ll be back to post something when I have something to post.

Steve

What I Learned About Writing in 2015

I hate “writing tips” – most are banal, tautologies at best, as are most “writing rules”. Writing rules are for people who believe – sincerely – that there is a magical formula and if they can just find it they’ll write a “best-seller” and reap considerable financial rewards and a fair amount of prestige thereby. These are the people that think of “writer” as destination and not occupation (i.e. “work”) and it is to be hoped that they’ll be first up against the wall when the revolution comes. Some people write, other people sit around thinking about what they’ll say in interviews when they are “a writer”.  Get your soft ass in a hard chair and start typing.

Nonetheless writing, the endless labor of drafting, editing, revising, re-revising and submission, rejection and acceptance does teach something. Here’s what I learned in 2015:

  1. People use “and” constantly when speaking but it does not make for good written dialogue.
  2. $3 is the most you should ever pay to submit fiction. It’s comparable to postage. Never pay a submission fee/reading fee on poetry.
  3. You can never have too many beta-readers.
  4. You have to have good work habits to be prolific, but you can be lazy as fuck and write a few things well.
  5. There is enough petty irony and cynicism out there already. Write about love, be unafraid. Love’s preface is hope and it’s epilogue scar. Save irony for boring your friends at parties.
  6. Getting poetry published is a crap-shoot but writing it can improve your fiction. Never pay a submission fee for poetry. (I know, I’ve said that twice.)
  7. Writing “rules” have their place but it’s not possible to reduce interesting writing to simple formulas.
  8. No one writes for prizes but it’s nice to be nominated for one. Makes you feel that someone out there read your stuff.
  9. The kind of vanity that says “I don’t care if anyone reads me” dwarfs the egotism of “Read me!” Give us a break. By admitting you write to be read you will drop a huge gorilla off of your back and you’ll write better.
  10. Its a good thing there’s an international market for fiction because my home and native land doesn’t love me.
  11. Contests are a crap-shoot and the winners often seem to disappoint while the runners-up often seem pretty good. Nonetheless a win will look good on a resume’ and you can do one or two per year.
  12. 2015: I did the best I could with what I had. 8 pieces accepted, a pushie nom, and a my heart removed from my body, spread on a piece of toast, and served back to me raw. Soooo … I put it on the page.

Stay salty comrades. 2016 is here.

Steve

The Prophet of Regret (#2)

Rat's Ass Review Cover Phto

My poem “The Prophet of Regret #2” is up at the Rat’s Ass Review in their “Love & Ensuing Madness” project.

You can read it it here along with a number of other fine poems.

I really like the project – although poetry can be written about any subject let’s face it: No one is moved to write poetry unless from sex and death, love and ruin. Save the positive affirmations for cocktail parties and cafe society.