Jim Trainer

Go Where The Work Is

In Uncategorized on June 13, 2018 at 8:12 pm

I got two girls, one’s in heaven and one’s below
one I love with all my heart and one I do not know…
—Townes Van Zandt

It’s hot here, and humid. It rains almost every day and clears up just as fast. A lot of buildings in town are leaning to. It adds to the charm. A lot of folks down here are living the Life. Alcohol and cigarettes over table candles and under street lights.  I’ve been hanging out in bars. Sundays at the Saturn, St. Roch’s Tavern and Siberia. The biggest crowd so far was Monday at Bud Rip’s and the highlight of the show was singing Two Girls with Stumps the Clown.

It’s 7:19PM and I’ve been sanding floors all day. I write this under a big fan, by the fishtank in a small blue room. A bird on a wire sang to me at an intersection today, and it was the most incredible thing to happen to me in a long time. His song was congruous with the sun and sky, the lurch of us at the light and electric wires cutting through nimbus clouds fat enough to pop. I sat on a white sofa at the Orange Couch for 3 hours yesterday, and talked on the phone the whole way home in the rain. Labor will never work again for me but I suppose it will if only for the next 3 weeks. I could busk uptown, and I sitll might, but not before I have a go at where the money’s steady and see how much misery I can stave or shrug off with nightswimming, catfish and cornbread pudding and mugs of honey sweet Italian Roast.

The only way to beat the heat is to get up before the sun. Concurrently that could be the only remedy for me as writer and daylaborer. I’m writing this after work, with coffee, so I know it’s a victory. The pinky side of my right hand is numb from working a palm sander for 7 hours—but I type on. I wanted this post to be obsequious, to get in and get out and fulfill my weekly obligation of 600 words, and for it to remain true like it should, while not giving too much away. I’d rather be coy with you then lie and I’ll never be fake, certainly not in writing anyway. My stay here has been bountiful.  I’m cared for and I’m playing shows. It’s a good life, it’ll be 2 weeks Saturday and I can’t wait to come home.

I’m up under the hotlights at least 2 times a week. I got a rocking little combo and a spokenword gig and double header on Sunday. I’m racking my brain, gestating as they say in the Personal Journalism business—on how to approach An Ex-Patriot In Profile. Bernard Pearce is Louisiana born and bred, a Breaux Bridge boy. He spent years booking bands at the Rinky Dink and Pussycat Lounge and opened the Feed&Seed in Lafayette. Now he’s looking into other markets. The American dollar can go a lot farther almost anywhere other than here. Pearce wants to post up, out in the wild, maintain an outpost and hang a lantern. He hopes to open an Artist In Residence program at the southern edge of the Eastern Bloc. I’ve got a mirrorless and obligations to 3 different pubs including this one. 900 every other Friday shouldn’t be too much to ask of a working writer and my column at The Flake News keeps my head in the political game. The Coarse Grind is good fun and has become, in the words of Into The Void’s sage editor Philip Elliot, a spiritual quest. It’s my way of giving back and sounding out to all ye writers pincered in the savage night or too-bright mornings trying to get it down, neat and fine.

It took me about a week down here to find my groove again. It’s become an antidote, really. If I can bang a column of words out of thin air I’ll feel better. Ideas will take shape in the mist and the impossibility of my dreaming heart becomes tangible and very real. Whatever it is, the story, I’ll keep telling it and writing it down. Wherever I am, hither and yon and on this or the other side of the deadly stakes of American hegemony, I know I can reach out, send out a signal and raise it up the pole. I know you’ll always hear me and we’ll be together again. Whatever peak or valley this raucous mortal carnival has in store, you know I’ll be poking the Godhead and grasping at the why, armed with this new media in a holy and perseverant quest for wisdom. I’ll always be your writer.

The Territory



In Uncategorized on June 7, 2018 at 11:48 pm


In Uncategorized on May 31, 2018 at 1:08 pm

The best work anybody ever writes is the work that is on the verge of embarrassing him, always.
–Arthur Miller
…it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…
–Charles Dickens
I’m like a 4-leaf clover ’cause I hide from everyone…
Dan Auerbach
I’m still alive.
Arkady Babchenko

Welcome to the greatest country in the world. Unless you’re poor or black or young and trying to get an education.  Unless you’re sick or think the Police are to protect and serve like the civil servants they swore to be, or you’re not blindly patriotic and a jingoist, or you think working yourself to death to pay for what you already own is unhealthy and insane.  Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?  Trump lost by three million popular votes and what that pusbag railed about on the stump was the bait of a bait and switch as old as the founding of this country.  Campaign coverage was hardly that.  Instead of paying due diligence to the candidates’ policies, the for profit 4th Estate focused on the salacious.  We the bored or enraged bought it, read it and kept coming back for more.  What difference does it make?  At least that’s what I ask myself out here in Paradise, suffering the second hottest May in recorded history.  The weather ain’t right and you don’t need Stephen Hawking to tell you we’re on the verge of an extinction event, but–the real winner of the 2016 Presidential Election was voter apathy.  A lot of people in this country didn’t vote.  You didn’t even bother to, a disillusionment Putin had long since anticipated and so struck while the iron was hot.  Almost half of you said fuck it, and fuck it–I did too. It took me a good graph to warm up and admit this heinous and disgusting fact but it doesn’t matter.  This country is over.  Instead of bemoaning it for the nuclear summer, I’m getting out.

I’ll be realizing a dream of mine and staking other frontiers.  I’ve paid all my bills.  I’ve no gigs, no bad health, just some irritable bowels that have come to be the symptom of a roaring anxiety.  I drive a Japanese car and I got some money in the bank.  I’ve been unemployed since April.  The next time we meet I’ll have a Lumix mirrorless and Austin will be 511 miles away.  My singing is better than ever and I’ve got every Sunday in June at the Saturn to prove it.  I’ll need to maintain my breathing and vocal exercises and, at this late stage, maintenance should be the name of the game.  I’m 43, wandering just beyond the cusp of the New Century as the dark wind blows.  I’m not young enough to fancy wasting any more time but I ain’t dead either.  I think I’ll be a journalist because it’s the only way I can see myself getting involved without getting my hands dirty.  Some people are called to feed children on the streets of Mayanmar.  I’d rather stick it to the man from a sweaty outpost and press box or ride shotgun in my shirt sleeves with a digital recorder where the real winds blow.  Sleep isn’t as important now.  Not that it’s been.  I’m bolted upright every day at 4, blasted awake by a searing anxiety and gripped by a terrible fear.  I’d do wise to get up, get to it and get cracking but instead I lay prostrate on the big chair until NPR gently nudges me awake, hours later.  That ought to sum it up…I’ve a taste for the high drama and I’m thinking of other climes, so I stanchion myself here for my weekly 600 but have only just woke, fully clothed, late and mossy-mouthed, like the spoiled and privileged white American male I am.  Poison and antidote ain’t it though.  No remedy, no problem.

It’s time to shake the rust and roll the bones good Reader.  It’s been a long time that I should be far from here.  After posting this I’ll ride out to the Austin Book Arts Center and pick up 55 perfectly bound copies of Take To The Territory.  I’ll sell a good chunk of them tomorrow night at Malvern Books and the rest will undoubtedly sell out to my People in Philly and some good folks in New Orleans I ain’t met yet.  I’ll need to get this place together.  Simonize the Element, load up the iPod and consistently pull, item by item from the load, until what’s left is necessary–a tight little package of the media and sundries needed out on the road in the America.  I’m hoping you’ll join me and I’m hoping to get some coins to rub together, in the wild beyond and funded by Empire ain’t it though.  HAVE CAMERA, WILL TRAVEL.

This country is over.  See you in the Other Hemisphere motherfucker.