Jim Trainer

Archive for November, 2020|Monthly archive page


In Uncategorized on November 27, 2020 at 12:00 am

Two very simple rules. a. you don’t have to write. b. you can’t do anything else.
-Raymond Chandler

When you can meet what you dread with a smile on your face you will truly love who you are.
-Belle Leever

Good Morning. It’s 8:59PM on Thanksgiving night and gloriously quiet. I’ve got a knot somewhere in the gut of my heart. It’s kept me from posting here and from a lot of things. It’s a bad fear. I’ve been unemployed 2 weeks tomorrow. Why I’m not off and running and doing everything I can for the career has got to be fear but like I said it’s in the gut of the heart–somewhere betwixt, hard to get a bead on and impossible to work around. Working around was how I wrote for the last 10 years. Saturday mornings and Tuesday nights, a couple-two-tree hours here and there when I wasn’t bartending, driving a stakebed or working as a lab tech at the homeless shelter. A good 5 years of the last decade I wrote in the morning while working as a live in caregiver. After I got my Boss out of bed, showered and fed him I’d hit the roof with a pack of cigarillos, a hot flagon of instant espresso and hash. Now that I’m sober everything’s become easy and that’s what’s so hard. I’m inured to my own blues. Nothing’s dire which makes everything feel like it is. I back off from the hard edges because I know how bad it can get. I don’t want to wake the sleeping beast of my own critical mind but it makes these days without a day job soft as a smothering pillow.

The first quote above is from America’s finest writer. The second from my first true love. The years that have passed since have made me strange. I am somehow more me but completely different than the 23-year old hardcore kid and budding alcoholic who fell in love with her. Chandler’s writing is bracing. It’s whisky. It’s brisk. It pulls you along. He became a writer after losing his job as an oil company exec, at forty-four during the Great Depression. Tonight is the kind of quiet I hope for every day sitting here, at the desk–by the window cursing the kids or their loud uncle and worst of all the blower and Mexican construction crew. I’m so mad at myself for finally having this quiet, all this time and free money but only squirreled away in fear and anyway unable to look critically at my own material. We whittled the anthology down to 67 posts and I can’t tell, I either love or hate my work. I’m too close to it and so I keep my distance with marathons of TV drama. I sleep late and write a few lines, post on social media and drink coffee until I have a headache, jerk off and take a nap or talk on the phone. This post is for shit but these are the annals and this is the proof. I hate the place I’m at creatively but I can’t shake it. Oh yeah, the economy is as worse as it’s ever been and a quarter million people have died from a pandemic. It sucks out there and it sucks in here. This post about writer’s block is over.

10 Years At Going For The Throat





In Uncategorized on November 19, 2020 at 11:00 am

Frank Mankiewicz, McGovern’s campaign manager, would often say in later years that the book, despite its embellishments, represented “the least factual, most accurate account” of the election.
-on Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72

He was concerned with how a great power handles multiple internal crises–the faltering of the institutions of domestic order, the craftiness of unmoored and venal politicians, the first tremors of systemic illegitimacy. He wanted to understand the dark logic of social dissolution and how discrete political choices sum up to apocalyptic outcomes.
Crispin Hull

You take whatever takes you back…
Cory Branan

10 years ago I was probably thinking I blew it while simultaneously trying to disprove it and anyway just start where I was. I was awarded $243 a week by the state after getting laid off by the Whip In but redoubled while reading a Bukowski biography that summer and discovering Papa didn’t start writing poetry until he was the same age as me. I forgot how terrifying it was back then until Friday when I got fired and I’m on unemployment again. Now it’s 10:20AM on a Wednesday and I’m about to fire up another flagon of Trader Joe’s espresso roast. Of the 96 hours that have passed since my term’ date I’ve fucked off maybe 75 on social media, watching Mad Men and talking on the phone. I keep thinking about what Diamond Dave said about how long it took him to write Jump and anyway holding to the wisdom that you can only tell a tree’s age by looking at its rings but by then it’s been cut down. These sage and savage gems, kernels of truth and caveats and provisos are exactly what it means to be a writer. Country simple deadlines are to be fucked off, less thought about than worried on and anyway should loom over the writer as he invites and deflects the attentions of suitors and ladies either bored at their desk in their offices or unemployed themselves. A writer should, tremulous and uneasily exist between the birth and death impulses of creation and sex, and hitting Send on 600 words to the crazy man who said he’d pay $60 for it.

Not only is this post a celebration of the last 10 years at Going for the Throat, it’s a piece I’m getting paid for and to announce I am back in the Personal Journalism business. Let the characters collide and the bills wait to the brink of collection. Best of all let the words flow and the dance card fill. Lest you think I’m not serious about women and writing I am considering starting smoking again. The only thing stopping me is how hard it is to quit with the low self opinion that persists of any career smoker feeling unfit and short of breath. None of this is what I came here to write about but for 10 years I ain’t had a plan so why start now? This isn’t literature but the annals of a writer who needs to feel like he failed before he even starts. It’s a kink and a flaw that could just be tragic. It could go either way and ultimately is precisely what my motivations are as a writer. The collections, that come out every year, and that I letterpress and perfectly bind by hand irrefutably prove I’m a writer. It doesn’t get more pedantic than that though in its creation those collections come to life. It’s that same birth/death impulse and continuum coexisting with one of the most important maxims of artistic creation and expression–you must let go of your work. This is to say I cannot fully appreciate my work until it is done and it doesn’t get more done than published ain’t it.

Which isn’t to say that’s all that’s inspired and thrown me further down the savage road to living my dreams. Pain, you wanna know, was the reason and expression for its own sake. As important if not more as the message was the medium. I was high on transmission because otherwise my motherboard was dark and cold. I need that jolt that comes from the microphone and I don’t know how long I could write if it wasn’t LIVE before I veered and swerved over, upset the creative/destructive continuum and did a Foster Wallace from the high walls continuing a hero’s tradition of ending it on my own terms. One of my heroes anyway.

Papa went on after what probably felt like the end of his life. He started writing poetry not because he loved it but because he had to. He hated poets, called what they were doing poesy. He couldn’t live down his heroes though and almost drank himself to death with gastro problems trying to be a novelist. We’ll never know the desperation he, and all our heroes who didn’t make it, felt. The phoenix rises from the flame but ordinarily life goes on.

I couldn’t be Rollins, for whatever reason. I found myself at 40, though I knew it all along. 45 was worse. It’s a strange dichotomy and anyway that birth/death continuum maybe bearing out that the older I get the more I want to kill myself but by then I’ll have hopefully done enough that the reasons to go on compel me just as much. I’d say it’s worth it but only from experience. I know it’s worth far more to you my confession that I more and more often wonder and with stronger conviction about it and if I should go on at all.

Anyone who’s been there knows hearing how so-and-so is engaged with suicidal ideation and fantasizes of his own death can redouble and even help, at least–it’ll make you feel vulnerable and more human. Even though your self-doubt is up to your throat and middle age has closed that universal door–even though I was sure I blew it, at age 35, unemployed, a 5-song EP to show from decades playing, even though I felt like I was nowhere, nothing, a nobody–I also knew I could be wrong. I used my own self-doubt against itself. I got smartened up and even though at the end of 10 years I’m only getting paid $60 for a post like this, it’s the real work, it’s what I chose, it’s kept me cloaked and wrapped in love and safe from time. I’m less weary if less spry, but the ladies who come by look great, they can’t get here fast enough, can’t wait to smile in my lap and dote on me and anyway forget all about their desks at their hated office jobs.

10 Years At Going For The Throat



In Uncategorized on November 12, 2020 at 10:04 pm

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In Uncategorized on November 5, 2020 at 12:00 pm

For this week’s post, please write Jim Trainer, at jamesmichaeltrainer@gmail.com.

10 Years At Going For The Throat