Jim Trainer

Out of the Ashtray

In Uncategorized on January 23, 2020 at 10:41 am

This week’s offering is a mixed bag.  It’s a couple posts from The Wire, on my Patreon, and a few words about being back.  Working 2 jobs and self-publishing while honoring my writing commitments by the skin of my teeth–that’s what it’s going to take in this economy.  This is our world now.  Consider however that 13 Patrons, most of whom contributing just $5 a month, have funded my flights for last year’s tour(s).  That’s exactly what I wanted from Patreon, especially after getting slipshod and ran through by the Philadelphia Parking Authority last summer and gouged with a change of flight fee out of Columbus.  Patrons get immediate access to posts like the following travelogue, which is some of my favorite writing and why I got in the game to begin with.  The Wire also features live recordings of shows and songs and readings–a virtual pile of which that PR guru Maureen Ferguson and I will be culling and posting up there soon.  Someone on Bumble asked me what I would do with a year to live.  Without pause I told her tour til death!  Thank you for your patronage and making all this possible.  Consider becoming a Patron and joining me in the struggle for Personal Journalism.  See you somewhere out there motherfucker.  jt



12/20/19, 7:45AM
Austin Resource Center for the Homeless
500 E. 7th Street
Austin TX 78701

The following post has been heavily redacted.

Well.  I ain’t been back a day before the world encroached, closed around my neck and churned its concerns in my guts til I’m angry and sick, feeling trapped and cagey.  This morning at the ARCH someone‘s singing
I can’t be the one you love!
Again and again, down in what passes for a courtyard here.  It’s like a prison yard down there, loud unruly men (mostly) with nothing to do but talk shit and shoot they mouth off.  They’re loud and it’s early and I’m at work.  On the way in it’s a marathon of red lights and guessing which streets will be open and not beleaguered with the endless construction happening at all times in this whore of a town.  Construction and timed reds make a 7-minute drive into a hate-filled 15.  Fixing to leave home this morning, ironing my serving black and whites and not even having time to take out the recycling.  Books and EPs to be mailed in one hand and laptop, iPad and lunch in a burlap Natural Grocers bag.  I bend down to get the card key to the computer lab, placed under my doormat sometime after 10 last night, when I was in bed listening to Malcolm Gladwell on Joe Rogan.  There’s only 2 keys between the three of us.  D. covered for me while on the road and I had the key delivered to him before I left so it was down to him to return it.  I texted him at 4, then after 8.  He finally got back to me, saying his phone was fucked and could we meet after 9:30?  I  told him I was going to bed soon.  He asked if I could stay up until 9:30.  I told him I am going to bed soon and sent him my address.  He dropped it sometime after 10 with a text.  Thanks Pal.
I’ve traveled thousands of miles, spent countless hours wrapping and mailing books, doing readings, having them filmed and all while working full and part time in the last 7 days.  Little Brother picked me up from the ‘port and Spencer too.  Looks like we’re rehearsing Sunday night, just when I thought I‘d get a break.  Guitar player’s going out of town.  So, I’m at the ARCH this morning and St. David’s until noon.  BACK TO THE POST OFFICE after that and then home to stretch and drink coffee, pick up my serving black and whites and captain a party for 75-85 tonight.  Learn these tunes tomorrow morning and try and draft the Poem Of The Week.  Work another party tomorrow night, a lunch on Sunday, rehearse Sunday night, do my shift at the ARCH Monday and finally.  be.  fucking.  done.
I’ve lots of great news about the readings and friends and homies like you who make all this possible.  First I’ve got to get the world off my neck.  Back and I don’t like it,

Austin TX


Brother Will Stenberg reading from No Comebacks at Speck’s Records in Portland in December.

Happy New Year.  I’m writing this on the third floor of the old Bell Telephone building, off Logan Square in Philadelphia.  I’m facing North and the sun and the light on the high rises and old buildings is familiar and strange.  I’m drinking Earl Grey because I’m sick and the truth is it’s bad Good Patron but let’s just keep that between us.  When I get back to Austin I’ll have gone from serving the rich to helping the poor and my body will thank me.  Besides benefits there will be a welcome dip in the stress from my dayjob life.  I could do it but I couldn’t handle it.  Catering is a thankless job but it’s some of the best money I’ve ever made.  It’s a tradeoff I guess because it’s got me sick.

I’m writing you this morning to get a grip and touch base.  It’s been a while and I’m redoubled just thinking about you and your support with a noreastern beam of sunlight ‘cross my grizzled mug this afternoon early in the year.  Patrick the Cat is quiet.  I’m glad of all that’s come and gone, glad I survived even if I‘ve no idea about the future or if I’ll ever be well again.


Tour was a raging success Good Patron and when I think about your gifts I get a real warm feeling.  You helped me pay for these flights so I’m out here speaking and reading and telling stories and getting the whole thing on wax.  PA Spencer Mirabal sent me the audio from the Austin reading at Batch and they’re all keepers.  3 stories told on the mic, a bunch of work from 2031, a letter from ‘07 and even a blog post.  PR Guru Maureen Ferguson and I will be powwowing about how to get all this great material your way soon and then there’s the film.  Plenty of live footage coming your way in 2020 Good Patron.  I’m hoping we can see our way through another year even if it’s one of only so many.  I hope to get out into the territory and look you in the face and see you out there from under the hot lights.  I’ve given myself a rough deadline of 4 towns to hit before we wrap the Year of the Rat.  I’m thinking East Coast ‘cause it’s easy but of course Columbus and some others beyond the gateway to the West and North.

I‘ll start lecturing this year in earnest.  My first stop is the Austin Book Arts Center for a discussion called HEAVY PROSE.  Then it’s on to San Marcos in February, on Uncle Hank’s birthday actually, followed by a reading with the Reverend and Sybil Journal head Stephen R. Spencer III.  I’ll be Professor Joe Brundige’s guest for his storytelling night in February and returning to the wonderful campus of LSU Shreveport.  I’m hoping to get it all documented too Good Patron and put together a reel so I can continue lecturing and anyway paying my freight to towns out in the territory and no doubt double booking whatever cafe or performance space will have me.

What I said about being sick is true enough but I’ve been laying low since Christmas and doing a bit more of it when I get back to the ATX.  I’ve been anxious—who isn’t these days?  But, as soon’s I got started writing you a shaft of warm sun fell on my face like the best blessing and now, especially after punching out these words to you I’m feeling my weight again, engaged in the work and excited about what’s to come.

Can’t thank you enough for your Patronage.  It has literally helped to fund the cost of flights for this tour.  Also you’ve given me reason to rise this morning, this early afternoon on the East Coast when the Birds have lost and the world is on precipice and anyway burning diaphanously down.

We were able to spend this time together Good Patron and isn’t that nice?

Your Warrior,
Jim Trainer
Hostile City U.S.A.


The skies are dark as midnight.  But it’s only 6:25. I drank a cup of coffee too late.  Instead of fighting for parking I came home without the last of my book orders made.  My toilet is clogged. For lunch I had a pickle and wheat thins, dates and a candy bar. I’m trying to get it together for rehearsal tonight but it’s hard.  Hard traveling and I’m not well.

Went by the kitchen to talk to my boss.  Had it all mapped out but lost it when he asked
What’s going on?
I told him I’m taking a full time position with Austin FreeNet.  I’m taking a white collar gig for a nonprofit where the only backbiting they do is about the fucking man.

This morning at the ARCH I had to tell a client 5 times that a password is a combination of letters, numbers and symbols.  It just felt like he wasn’t getting it on purpose. I yelled a lady down at Trinity.  She asked me what I want. I told her I didn’t want anything. She said then why you standing over me. I said I’m not she said you is. I said if you say so she said if I reach out with my arms I could hit you and I said well then we’re going to have a problem then aren’t we?  Then she ignored me and wouldn’t let us through. Volunteers Diane and Sydney watched me go out with a client, arm in arm and with her bag and my cup of coffee in the other hand. 

I’m back home now and cringing that I couldn’t be more real with a celebrity in town and taking some time for photo opportunities with me and my work yesterday.  I couldn’t be real, had to be all business and get my photo op.  I gave him every single one of my books and a couple to his assistant. Though I cringe. I can be 100% real unless I’m expected to be. Then it’s all over, Bubba. Lamp on at the writing desk with fucked bowels and an encroaching storm.  Dreaming of the road.








Tour til death.




  1. […] letters, penned and posted 22 columns at The Coarse Grind and God knows how many blog posts here at Going For The Throat.  I’ve fed myself, kept myself warm and in walls.  I split from the longest gig I ever had, […]

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