Jim Trainer

Shrieks from Paradise#20, Dear Charlie O’Hay

In Uncategorized on January 18, 2019 at 11:53 pm

The Office of Jim Trainer
Eastern European Division
c/o Eco Initiative
Varzulitsa, BG

Charlie O’Hay
Hostile City, USA

7/14/18, 1:16PM

Brother Charlie

Ahoy from the territory.  My partner and I pulled in the day before yesterday, making the nut on 5,800 miles—2 flights, 1 bus, 1 train, 1 metro, 1 cab and 118 miles in a white Citreon 4-door.  The last leg we caravanned in, from the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, taking up the rear behind the Blues Bus—6 roadworn folkies from the Big Easy in a Volkswagen with no AC and a big bull fiddle.  They stopped twice on the way—once to “frolic” in the endless fields of sunflowers here, and once for Raki (pronounced “rock yeah”), a whisky made from grapes that smells like West Philly corn liquor to me.  It was time wasted but they’re young.

I don’t know about you but the most important thing in my life is a good night’s sleep—no matter the country or continent.  Hell, I didn’t even mind the Old House in Obedinenie, as long’s I got some solid hours horizontal, and that place was gross!  The bathrooms stunk of sewage and the shower was a hole in the floor full of grease and hair.  My partner lumbered in at daybreak and woke me with his horrible drowning bear-like snoring.  I put in my earbuds and let him have it.  He’d had a rough night drinking Bulgarian whisky and I don’t like confrontation.  Sadly this tendency has resulted in days of me biting my tongue in the close quarters of taxi cabs and commuter trains, buses and airplanes.

All’s well now, I suppose.  My room at the Eco Initiative has the Internet and stereo, though.  He’s in the garden and outdoor kitchen making Jambalaya but steps in occasionally to check his phone for real estate offers.  He found one for 25k, a 3-bedroom place with a barn and freshly renovated.  Last night, at the “shop” doing Kareoke, I overheard him discussing a place with Clive (UK) for 3 grand about 3 hours from where we’re staying.  Whatever, I’m only here to write about it, sitting on the fold up bed drinking instant coffee and listening to Cory Branan.   I’ve snapped a bunch of photos in the hills—got shots of sunflowers, plum trees, still brown lakes and rolling green hills on a $900 Nokia mirrorless.  He says he’ll pay me for the shots, he says he’ll foot the bill for the trip, but—he’s a good talker, it’s why we’re here.

He wants somewhere in EUR that’s cheap enough for him to post up, ideally get some grant money and import culture and talent from around the world who are seeking residencies and time to work on their craft.  (Our flights from Brussels were $88!). Bulgaria came to him by chance, in conversation working sound at DBA on Frenchmen Street in New Orleans.  Then he met Boyanna, of Blato Zlato—touring Europe in July.  That’s why we traveled all this way, touching down just after noon and sipping iced Coca Cola in the U.S. Ambassador’s garden by 7.  We spent a few days in the city before making the trek out here to the village.  I did A Long Way To The Top If You Wanna Rock&Roll at Kareoke last night, and Daniel by Elton John (by request).  Life is simple here, and dirty, but the only hard sell for me is the plumbing.  Read:  toilet.  I guess I’ll have to keep stakes in the America if only to have a clean, peaceful place to shit.  A half block up from “the store” (bar, convenience store and general hangout here) was a connex, a stall behind a metal door, with no light inside and smelling direly of the business you do in there.  No thanks.  I waited til we got back to the Eco Village but even the toilet here isn’t bolted down and leaks some.

I wanted to write you back properly (off Facebook) because your distress dignifies a response and I opt to let whomever reads my gmail to read this, and not Zuckerberg and the whores at Facebook Inc.  Take your time getting me something.  When I’m blocked, I can always write a letter, and if you find yourself doing that I’ll print it.  I don’t know if you’ve read any of The Coarse Grind (link below), but, politics are making their slow way into my work.  It’s mostly about creation and most specifically, How will I write?  It started when I was hauling freight for a buck forty a day in Austin, brutal work, di riguer of the New Century and dangerously keeping me from the writing desk.  It’s morphed into something else but the thread winds through it.  Now, of course, the question is How will I write while I blow all my savings in a country with no toilets on a 3g?  Point is I can relate—it’s getting harder and harder to make it in the America.  My answer was to temporarily expatriate and see how they do over here.  Writing a letter is only a suggestion.  I can always write a letter and often do it just to get the juices flowing.  Of course I’d love it and love to print it, especially if that would be your intention with it, but—whatever and whenever you can.  I appreciate the letter and I love the poem.  I will find a place for it, if not the column, and soon.  I made the call for writers and artists I admire (basically you and Don) because I wasn’t sure how below the radar I would have to fly.

I’m a purveyor of creative nonfiction and personal journalism, I only write from where it’s at.  At this point I feel like my readers rely on me for it.  The state took my Unemployment Compensation away weeks before I left the mainland so there’s no longer a need to keep my location under wraps is there?  Not that I’m not working out here.  Writing all day has got to be the hardest gig, even if the most pleasurable.  I’ll be flying in to Newark late July, hope to do a reading and would love to have you, of course.  I’ll have a book for you, too.  Write something, if you can, but only because it will make you feel better.  (You know it will.) I’m learning that lesson out here.  As hard and haggard as it is on the road if I don’t devote an hour to the Work every day then my Father was right and I should’ve stayed in school.  That’s the script although I’m going to have to reason that out—a benefit of this trip I is that I can’t go on hating myself for not being the Artist I already am. That’s a great revelation to have and information I can use to steel myself working labor when I get back to Texas.  It’s also good to know that I shouldn’t live in New Orleans, but for months at a time and probably not June.  I’m thinking October but I should have a lady with me and be shacked up in an AirB&B on Elysian with plenty of money gigs booked.

Anything you need, you let me know, and I mean that.  You’ll also find my phone number below, but I’ll be out of pocket until July 25.  Have heart braving the America and thank your lucky toilet.  Freedom isn’t free.

Your Friend,

The Coarse Grind

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