Jim Trainer

Archive for the ‘on tour’ Category

More News From Nowhere

In alcoholism, anger, anxiety, art, Austin, austin music scene, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, blues, Buddhism, buddhist, day job, depression, employment, getting old, getting sober, journalism, media, mental health, mid life, middle age, Music, music journalism, music performance, new journalism, news media, on tour, Performance, Philadelphia, Poetry, poetry reading, punk rock, recovery, self-help, self-publishing, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, solitude, songwriting, Spoken Word, straight edge, suicide, TOUR, travel, travel writing, working class, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on August 3, 2017 at 2:14 pm

…it all just seems so sensationalized.
Aziz Ansari

I know ppl like u think it’s “cool” to theorize about quantum fluctuations, but the heat death of the early universe isn’t something to romanticize.
Frances Bean Cobain

…I say hey Janet
you are the one, you are the sun
and I’m your dutiful planet…
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

This Guns N’ Roses weekend is over.
-Your Writer on Tour with Ironwhore, July 2005

Waking up with a hardon is the best thing to happen to me in years.  Never mind I quit smoking, drinking and the Life, that I’ve published three collections of poetry and prose and survived as a working singer songwriter for the last 5 years, or that we just wrapped 4,484 miles pulling in to Hippie Town at 9pm last night.  Waking up erect is good news from the Gods, like we’re gonna win this thing.  Know what I mean, good Reader?  As we were leaving Austin 19 days ago, it dawned on me that I probably have arthritis, if not in my left middle finger, then certiainly on my right thumb.  Anyone reading this blog on the regular knows I haven’t caught my breath in over a year-and there are other, less savory conditions and maladies that’ve fell on me in these paling years, not the least of which being a lack of libido.  I let it all slide, rather than jump through the bureaucratic hoops of health insurance that only led nowhere-but decreased interest in sex was, at the time, viewed as an improvement.  Sex seemed to always land me in trouble somehow, and, by and large the partners I had were colossal wastes and the biggest drains of my time, on my health and my career as a day worker, writer and performer.

The truth is I’ve let a lot of things go.  I’ve insulated myself from the world with this gig.  I’ve maintained at minimum, and pushed harder when I needed to, but when I look back at the last 5 years and think about the fact that I’m 42, I’m terrified and disgusted-the former boring through nights pocked and shot through with anxiety, and the latter beating the opposite sex to the punch.  I couldn’t fuck and I didn’t want to.  It’s called depression, and low self esteem, which can intermingle in a vicious cycle that the worst people will blame you for, but actual compassion for, even if welcomed, can veer too close to commiseration and in any event is a shit substitute for understanding.  The silver lining is the coffee’s done, it’s time to wake up, this gig is over in less than 2 months and, like the Buddhists say-the best time to start was last year, the next best time is right now.  Lest we forget, I taught myself how to write these last 5 years, and the dream of being a columnist has been realized, thanks in no small part to you and your wonderful Readership.  I’ve got a 2009 Monk’s Robe Orange Honda Element and a Tacoma Guild.  I live in a post-gentrified Paradise and every dumb ailment and malady I’ve mentioned can be treated by swallowing a pill-ok, I still need to look into why I can’t catch my breath, it’s true, and wish me luck as I enter their world and try to get the help I need.

This blog has always been the balloon to my wet cement blues.  I talk myself down from the noose here, and you read me and it’s perfect.  Healing myself with my own medicine bag, sitting down to type and hang it on the fucking wall, feeling supported and, most of all, seen by you is terribly important to me-a rudder in the shitswells of a dark and calmitous world, the biggest boon and best thing to happen to me in years besides waking up with a hardon this morning.  Oh yeah, that.  It seems like the weeks get away from me.  I mean, sure, I work full time, and I just spent 18 days on the road with my Boss, but time gets away from me-that is, the time to address the many peccadilloes and tragic breakdown I’ve been skirting since I turned 40.  I feel like I should address it, tacitly, get up on it like Ahab, and chronicle the savage journey I’ve undergone since deciding to stop being depressed (I am NOT saying that this decision cured my depression AT ALL).  Brother Bean has asked for it, in the past, and I feel like I’d do well to bring it back for you-hip you to the saga of a working class ex-Pat punkrocking rockabilly New journalist with a a whole lot of time on his hands, a new car and a rekindled libido.  I’ll still try, good Reader.  You bet.  But I’ve got to wrap this.  I still believe in my dreams and I feel like I’ve got something to live up to, until the next time we meet, so I should get cracking.

May your crown be a halo.  See you next Thursday motherfucker.

 

 

 

 

 

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Hecate’s Road

In alcoholism, anger, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, day job, death, getting old, getting sober, journalism, magic, magician, mental health, mid life, middle age, new journalism, on tour, Poetry, punk rock, sober, sobriety, straight edge, TOUR, travel, travel writing, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on July 20, 2017 at 6:04 pm

How is it that we never completely comprehend our love for someone until they’re gone?
-Patti Smith, M Train

Magic comes to me in fits and starts.  Yesterday, out front Tops Grocery, I heard the crow first, looked up and waited.  Another appeared.  There are always more and of course there is always the shadow of crow, there on the ground in front of me but looking up again see one flying just overhead.  That made 3, from none, that I first heard, and one.  Something else catches my eye.  The boy in orange crocks, looking up too, at the same crow, watching.  Later that night, after swatting the horseflies from my face and belting out the lyrics to a new song in the driveway of the cabin, a woman came from out of the brush with the boy beside her.  His name was Remi and he played drums and guitar and bass.  Remi is 8 years old.

In the kitchen I show him open D and teach him Mona, the Bo Diddley song perhaps better known as Who Do You Love?  It’s a simple 2-chord vamp and Remi picks it up instantly.  He teaches me No Sleep Till Brooklyn while refusing several offers of cold seltzer and philosophizing how he’s only concerned with being alive and what could kill him.  The scrapes on his shin, the scratches and bite marks on his hands (from Bandit the Maine Coon), his poison ivy-they don’t worry him.
“Only if I die and that I’m alive,” he offers not sagely but just like a boy.
He shows me some drum patterns.  Tells me how he fell off the stage but climbed right back up behind the drums in time for the solo.  Talking and interacting with him is unassuming, simple, and factual but enthusiastic.  Mentions that he’s been here for a long time. His mother wraps it up with Blair on the screen porch.  They leave and me and Blair part ways.

I’m sitting out front of Cafe Sarah in North Creek, at an impossibly small, aqua-colored garden table.  I can’t see the bugs but can feel them biting me.  I haven’t caught anyone staring at me but can feel it acutely.  The family just to my right give off a toxic, American vibe.  Whatever charm there is on these streets is bled out, the bitter rasp of smokers’ laughs never puncturing the heavy meanness.  I’d do much better at the beer garden up the street, or even Laura’s, but I don’t drink and I don’t want to spend any dollars anywhere up here, only to have to fight for my psychic place all over again. They think I’m a golem and that’s fine. I’m a man and I mask my sadness masterfully by only shining back anger.

I finished Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl, by Carrie Brownstein, and am just about through M Train.  Brownstein put me back in the 90s, the last time it meant anything anywhere. The detrimental rigors she suffered on tour with Sleater Kinney were all but ignored by me-I was going for the glory and read on as, unsurprisingly, Brother Vedder rose from the pages to affirm the power of rock and roll, like only he can again and again.  Patti Smith understands better than anyone that to be a poet is to stake your claim in the magic of the world.  Her existence is shamanic.  Her inner life informs her outer life, and her outer life always becomes manifest.

Guess you could say I’m out here in the territory.  North Creek sadly feels like the end of America, and it just might be.  My inner life is populated with legend.  My outer life is having to fend for myself psychically, with the flags flowing and thousands of miles travelled and thousands to get back.  I’m off hitch here-disconnected.  My only way out is in a greasy barn with a ping-pong table, up the hill from the cabin where Ben, Blair and I bunk like untoward and swoll dorm mates, away from home and girlfriends at University.  I talked with Jill this morning, who I adore.  She’s 86, out there cutting back the long leaves and talking about the effect of sobriety on Art.  She’s twice my age and if I had a wish beyond this ordinary, cold water phase, it’d be to have her faculties, at her age, and drink chilled vodka in a squat glass while smoking Camel straights.

The road was fine-exhausting as it always is, like a Goddess, an event of endurance.  Seems fucked that this is the prize-at this cafe with the chiggers and Americans, but it’s nice by the lake and I heard my first loon call, late yesterday afternoon.  I’ve got some things turning in my mind, aspirations that sprung up and surprised me, and, despite my road and ageworn body, I should do wise to take note and make these seeds sprout and make happen.  What else is there but the idea and its manifestation?  I never fit in anywhere, let alone upstate where it seems like all anyone ever does in America is wait around to die.

Ab irato,
Trainer
North Creek, NY

Eunuch Blues

In alcoholism, anxiety, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, Bevan McShea, Charlie O'Hay, getting old, getting sober, hometown, Jim Trainer, mental health, mid life, middle age, on tour, Performance, Philadelphia, Poetry, poetry reading, punk rock, recovery, self-help, self-publishing, sober, sobriety, solitude, Spoken Word, straight edge on April 20, 2017 at 11:22 am

Recorded live at Brickbat Books, Philadelphia, September 2016

Catch Jim Trainer speaking in Boston next Wednesday April 26, at the Middle East Corner, with the Reverend Kevin O’Brien, Duncan Wilder Johnson, The Droimlins, and Jim Healy.
8:30PM, $5 advance tickets, $8 day of the show.  Please click here.

Jim Trainer will be speaking and reading from All in the wind, his latest collection of poetry and prose, at Toast Philly on Thursday April 27 with local favorites Charlie O’Hay and Lamont Steptoe.  
7PM, Please click here.  

Jim Trainer returns to the Mill Street Cantina for a special 90 minute set on Friday April 28.  
9PM, Please click here.  

Won’t Stop

In austin music scene, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, Charlie O'Hay, hometown, Jim Trainer, Lamont B. Steptoe, music performance, National Poetry Month, new journalism, news media, on tour, Performance, Philadelphia, poem, Poetry, poetry reading, publishing, publishing poetry, punk rock, self-publishing, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, Spoken Word, TOUR, travel, travel writing, working class, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on April 13, 2017 at 2:35 pm

…to live outside the law, you must be honest…
-Bob Dylan, Absolutely Sweet Marie

It’s a good thing I don’t care about what you think then, isn’t it?
-Your Writer on Facebook this week

Last week on Writing On The Air cohost Martha Louise Hunter asked me where I get the time to do it all.  God bless her.  We were talking about this blog and how 600 words a week is the least I can do if I’m going to call myself a writer.
“Of course there’s Letter Day,” I told her and cohost Joe Brundige, “and I’m posting a poem every day for the month of April celebrating National Poetry Month.”
I told them that All in the wind was book 2 of the 10 that will be published through Yellow Lark Press, beginning with September in 2015 and ending with a collection, as-yet-unnamed, in 2025.
“10 books in 10 years is great, a fine goal,” I went on.  “-but I’m only making up for lost time.”
Brother Joe and I share a symmetry, and experience the joy of communication that can happen between two stringently honest people.  It took appearing on the show twice for me to realize-I am doing the thing.  It’s good when that happens, as opposed to the slave driving I’m usually doing with myself and the crippling feelings of despair anyone reading this blog is, by now, all too familiar with.

I finally booked Boston.  I’ll be speaking at the Middle East Corner with the Reverend Kevin O’Brien and bussing down to Philly the day after, for the Philly release of All in the wind.  Joe and I recorded an episode of Chillin Tha Most at the mansion last week, and it should be on the net next Thursday.  Last week was the kind of week I’d like to have every week, with gigs and radio appearances almost every day.   I kept on pushing till the light of day.  Which is heaps different than the life I’m living in my head, where it’s never enough and I’m only a day working coward.  What’s next is complicated but simple in terms of intent.

I’m quitting this gig.  Moving out to the east side.  Minimizing.  Scaling down.  I’m not sure how it will look or how to even vaguely monetize poetry and the spoken word-but I’m full of ideas and already making half my imminent rent with the gigs I’m already playing.  It’s strange to be striking out now but hardly unlikely.  I’ve long since abandoned anything resembling the common tropes of being an American.  I don’t have any kids, don’t even have a girlfriend.  But I’ve got a passion for media and all forms of communication.  I hope to get further invested in print and broadcast media.  Before I fly out to Beantown the MAMU should be fully assembled and my next purchase will be a touring vehicle.

It took me a while to wrap my head around it.  I had to keep it to myself and it made me resentful.  I couldn’t talk about my plans on here, there was some bad blood about me leaving but there doesn’t have to be.  I’ve started paying my taxes, I got a new dentist and a healthy line of credit.  Everything is moving as it should.  My next venture will be some time researching topics for the blog, so’s to avoid the kind of soul searching pap and whine that she hates and can appear on Going For The Throat when its weekly deadline is on my neck.  Your ideas are welcome, as are paying gigs-do you have a story for me?  Can we find a way to pay my freight so I can come to your town, speak and play?  Please chime in, in the comments below, or drop me a line at: jamesmichaeltrainer@gmail.com.

This east coast jaunt will be a short one but I’m thrilled to be sharing the stage with the Reverend Kevin O’Brien, Duncan Wilder Johnson, The Droimlins, and Jim Healy in Boston.  The Philly release of All in the wind is stacked, with award winning poets Charlie O’Hay and Lamont Steptoe reading.  By the time I go back to work I’ll have played at least 3 shows on the east coast, sold some books and burned hundreds of miles.  I’ll be exhausted, which is how I like it, and plan to be in the coming months.  Into it, no stops, full bore.

See you on the East Coast motherfucker.

MIDDLE EAST CORNER 4:26

…a question of Fuel…

In anxiety, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, Charles Bukowski, depression, employment, getting old, getting sober, hometown, media, mental health, mid life, middle age, music performance, new journalism, new orleans, observation, on tour, PDX, Performance, Philadelphia, Poetry, poetry reading, Portland, published poet, publishing, publishing poetry, punk rock, recovery, self-help, self-publishing, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, solitude, TOUR, truth, Uncategorized, Writing, writing about writing, yoga on December 22, 2016 at 10:10 pm

Introjective depression – the autonomous kind, on the other hand, is characterized by intense self-criticism and there is frequently, then, an intense drive for achievement to offset the internalized sense of inferiority and self-scrutiny.  These individuals can be extremely critical of others as well as themselves and can be intensely competitive, often achieving a great deal, but with little sense of satisfaction – no amount of external validation seems to satisfy the harsh and demanding person that they can be in relationship to themselves.
-Karl Stukenberg on Sydney Blatt’s Developmental Theory of Depression

it seems we lose the game,
before we even start to play
Everything Is Everything

Got my walking papers.  Guess this means the gloves are off.  5 years can feel like a lifetime or it can go by way too fast on shift, on the clock and working for the man.  If it sounds like I’m complaining it’s because that’s my voice, I’m charged with it-fiery and riled and launching these missives through the barrel of a gun.  It’s because the last thing I want to do is tell you a lie or waste your time.  It’s this voice I honed and came to grips with, working for Mr. Fox.  The job gave me a bedtime, gave me the morning, still hated but doable, forced me to eat meals and sleep and watch movies and be lazy.  Above all it taught me what I need to be high functioning, and it’s hardly what I thought it would be.

I’ve published 3 books in the last 5 years, written hundreds of blogs and letters, and played more than 120 gigs, not counting spoken word and storytelling gigs, since I was hired on.  I’m glad to put it this way, and catch a rare reprieve from the inner critic.  The first sentence of this paragraph riddles the inner critic with buckshot, stuffs its mouth with gauze and sends it 6 feet closer to Heaven.  I might not be Henry Rollins but I’m gaining on him.  The pace is fucked.  I’ll never be happy with how long these things take and that’s probably because I’ll never be happy with myself.  I feel like I’m behind before I even wake up in the morning and wonder of the wisdom, sung by Lauryn Hill, in that song from days past.  But there’s so much more to it than that.

Up against it as we are, fucked and doomed to play their game should be enough to motivate, and it does.  The specter of death, terribly advancing on us from the day we’re born should be enough, and it is.  Never being Henry Rollins, never being good enough, has been fine motivation these slipshod and lean years-I know where it’s gotten me but I draw a blank when I think about what’s next.  It’s because you can’t build on a negative.  Anybody who’s ever quit anything knows that not doing it is only the beginning.  You must substitute it with something you are doing.  Quitting smoking, for example.  Of course, I had to first stop doing it.  Once I did the space opened up for something else.  Saying FUCK FUCK FUCK in my head seems to work, until I rupture a blood vessel, but certainly got me through terrible and troubling hours at the IPRC a few weeks ago.  At every step of All in the wind‘s production I was struck with the anxiety of never living my dreams-a great dread that neatly incorporates my fear of death and incredible lack of self esteem into a thorny and torrid cocktail called WHY I WORK ALONE.

Fear of dying will get you out of bed in the morning.  You bet.  A voice in your head telling you you’ll never be anything, never were anything, your parents were right and just because you left your hometown doesn’t mean you got away can also be great motivation, but not in the long run.  I’m 41 and I feel like I am just getting started.  Yogic wisdom tells me that all we are ever doing is getting started, and completing tasks with the quickness of Shiva’s wheeling hands.  The twisted cocktail of death and low self esteem, and the example of great men like meteors burning across the small town sky of my psyche can be potent, virile and all the ingredients needed for a bomb-but I feel like I’m gonna need a fire and for a fire you need fuel.

Work in media suits me.  It’s probably the only kind of work besides performing in which I feel like I am making a change.  I’m struck, sitting here, that it was just over 5 years ago when I decided to do something meaningful with my life and said goodbye to the bars with a few answered ads for Caregivers on craigslist.  In the last 5 years I was able to produce consistently as an artist by going to sleep at a certain time every night, and getting up at the same time every morning.  I had to make enough money to fund the first pressings of All in the wind and September , and have enough spare cash to fly out to the many unpaid (if not thankless) gigs in Philly and Louisiana.  HAAM paid my healthcare premiums but I was only able to get behind the trouble in my mouth with a begrudging loan against an inheritance from my mother, who sent me a check made out to the dentist.   Which is nothing I want to get into now.  It should be noted that I’m sitting on a lengthy backlog of posts, inspired by the prospect of being on RawPaw’s payroll in the Fall of ’14 and a request from Bean Maguire to recount my savage road to sobriety.  The point, now mangled and drug down this winding graph, is I only did it with a whole lot of gumption, even more bitterness and a little bit of luck.

I discovered what I need these last 5 years.  What I want has never been in question, but the crossroads of dread and inspiration at the hated age of 41 has me asking other questions.  Like, how will I hit 20 major cities a year and maintain my bedtime?  How can I possibly create without seeming to be in control of what happens within my own 4 walls?  Simply, maybe I’m not Rollins.  It’s not exactly in the cards to be on the road for over 200 days a year.  Knowing what I need is a start, knowing that it’s fuel is even better, and how I can be at my strongest and even ease the grip of this dream, live a little and breathe is healthy, and necessary.  the area of pause, as Papa put it.

Bukowski, as close to an example and road as I have, lived most of his life at War, but the man knew how to rest, too, and the author’s photos on his later works showcase the hard earned, worn and warm smile of Hank-a man aware of his limitations and therefore resting fully in his own power, if not in love then at peace.

Buddhas On The Road

In alcoholism, anxiety, Austin, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, day job, depression, getting old, getting sober, going for the throat, Jim Trainer, media, mental health, mid life, middle age, music performance, new journalism, new orleans, on tour, Performance, Philadelphia, Poetry, poetry reading, poetry submission, publishing poetry, punk rock, recovery, self-help, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, Spoken Word, Submitting, submitting poetry, TOUR, travel, travel writing, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS, yoga on September 10, 2016 at 6:53 pm

“Fuck Yoga,” my partner was saying, “you should take up boxing.”
We were on the long slink into Texas from Louisiana.  Crossing the gulf coast underneath godheads of clouds that rained on us as we passed.
“Something where you can hit someone, and get hit.”
I was wound tight but it wasn’t the traffic.  It wasn’t from my third cup of gas station coffee either.
“Just sit back,” I told him and eased the stereo up to 10.
Suddenly the rain broke and the road wound long to the horizon.  A good sign.  I rolled the windows down.  My partner fell asleep without another word.

The close quarters of a black 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe were enough to make us buggy, rolling down the windows or reaching for the stereo, a set of earphones or a piece of gum.  Any way to create some space.  My partner slept for a lot of the drive.  Most in fact, which was ok, and much better than unsolicited advice about my “short fuse” or spartan road diet of sliced apples and bread and cheese from Starbucks.  It wasn’t all bad and in fact was mostly good.  We had a good run and he offered encouragement with his criticisms, especially after my set at Siberia on Saturday.

The gist of it is that in twenty years of booking bands, Bernard can spot talent and according to him I’ve got it.  As much as I’ve heard that over twenty years of performing, his words sank in, really got in there.  It was undeniable and I heard him.  He also offered that maybe the dayjob shouldn’t be anything but.  When I told him my plans of riding my caregiving gig as long as I could he said it was a mistake.  I heard him, too.  This blog ain’t about him though.  At least not specifically.

This post is about a life devoted to the creation of Art.  An attempt to disabuse myself of fearful notions that have only kept me doleful and caged.  I took the safe route.  Perhaps.  I still made Art.  In Yoga this morning I realized that everything I think is just that-what I think.  This is some powerful medicine, Brothers&Sisters, and between the kind words of my tour partner and the self-realization afforded one on the Yogic path, I can see out.  I ain’t so scared anymore.  So, then- what am I waiting for?

I don’t know.  But my laziness knows no bounds.  There’s been a lot of fucking about since we pulled off LaTex Road last Monday.  I started back working full-time, which ain’t easy.  I’ve submitted some work and attempted to book some.  But much like when I was smoking and boozing and knew I was not living authentically-I know now that I’m not at 100%.  The details of it are shameful.  I don’t know why you’d want to read about it, but you do, and for this I am forever thankful.

Philly is the last to be booked on my east coast mini-tour.  Perhaps that’s how it should be but I’ve known about these dates since May- when I pushed back my usual June shows to September, and added Boston and NYC.  Some shit fell through.  Mostly unforeseen but now I know.  Also, I don’t need to be reminded that throughout my endeavors I will find a way to blame myself, to prove that I’m not good enough or worry about screwing it up long enough to actually screw it up.  Fly into Boston at twice the cost of a ticket quoted in May, without radio, without a local third act and without a place to stay.  Not to mention without New York City booked at all.  Some shit fell through.  Other shit I worried myself into a fit over, while doing nothing but laying on my back and masturbating.

Shameful, I know.  It’s fucking crazy being me.  I don’t know what I’d do without you, good reader.  I’m still kicking against it, the blues, insisting on this life and burning down the savage road I first stepped foot on over twenty years ago.  I’m still fucking it up colossally too, making twenty year old mistakes.  It’s as if I’m doing this for the first time, which, in a way, I am.  Sober.  Completely me.  Raw.  Nervous.  Wanting a cigarette so bad I could cry, at times, but knowing that my pain would only stop there.  It’s quite the ride Brothers&Sisters.  I’m quaking in my boots.  I’m nervous and raw and completely me.  Still after it.  Still alive.  Still going for the throat.

Namaste

There is no Buddha but the Buddha that you are.  If you meet the Buddha on the road you haven’t understood what the Buddha is. It is none other than your original mind. The idea of seeing the Buddha as outside of your self is conceptual-as is “becoming enlightened.” One can not become enlightened because that would assume that you are gaining something that you don’t have. Your basic nature is enlightened, awake, free, non-dual. This is completely experiential and not conceptual.  You have to kill the concept of Buddha both inside and out.
JJ Simon

 

 

 

 

Is Something Wrong?

In anxiety, Austin, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, day job, getting old, getting sober, Jim Trainer, Maureen Ferguson, mental health, mid life, new journalism, new orleans, on tour, PDX, Performance, Philadelphia, Poetry, poetry reading, poetry submission, Portland, publishing poetry, punk rock, recovery, self-help, self-publishing, singer songwriter, sober, sobriety, Spoken Word, Submitting, submitting poetry, the muse, therapy, TOUR, travel, travel writing, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on August 22, 2016 at 3:10 pm

Does a bear shit in the woods? Does the Pope wear a funny hat? Is the government corrupt? Did your parents lie to you about what it was really like out here, in the wide world slaving the hours away for some shekels and a piece of bread, 4 walls and the game on Sunday? Yes, something is very wrong here and Mr.Jones ain’t the only one who don’t know what it is.

Another 4 days, another email sent. Christ.  Had I started walking with the message it would’ve got there sooner than it did when I finally hit ‘Send’ this morning. Things I’m not up for are things that must be done. Unless I don’t mind the dayjob and am perfectly happy being a wage slave, locked in a gilded cage and living in a yellow mansion here in Babylon-Hippie Town-Austin Texas-the Velvet Rut of the world. This town is like a mirage but the livin’s easy, nowhere near as brutal as Hostile City but never as real either. It’s where the Californians come to die, tech babies and plutocrats live in gauche condos in the sky and the artists and Mexicans beat the heat in pools far east of any metropolitan action. Fuck. Sorry. I  drank too much coffee and the jackhammers up the street seem to be boring into my skull.

Why anxiety? Dunno, good reader but after talking with pillar of strength and badass redheaded wicked witch of the North-none other than the lovely whipsmart Maureen Ferguson-this morning, I think it high time to up the ante. Time to book myself within an inch of my life, lest it take me days to send an email and too long to book a tour and I’ll find myself napping away what precious time I have left in my 40s to do this thing.

“This thing” is be an artist. Which, as discussed in blogs previous, is foregone-and right now looks like publishing 1 book a year at the IPRC and hitting the road every summer on the Gulf Coast junket and the East Coast in the Fall. It’s taking me too long to do things though. I feel retarded and unworthy.
Which as you know by now good reader, is only how I feel about it. The truth is I’ll have hit 6 of the 12 new cities I said I would’ve by the end of October. If I ever get back in front of the Great White machine I’ll have punched 6 submission deadlines to the pubs with flash fiction, essays and poems by the end of August. So, I am busy. And I don’t feel like I am. And rest never comes easy when you’ve got a chip on your shoulder and no college degree.

Be good to hit the ground running, in a Honda 2-door instructing Yoga and playing gigs until I can get out on the road again. Streamline the MAMU so that wherever I land will be a portable War Room and the fun doesn’t have to stop. Perhaps I should be grateful. I’m in good health and beside an enlarged prostate and being out of breath when I tie my shoes, I do get out of bed every morning. The words keep coming even though I’ve stopped offering libations and black hash smoke to the muse. I’ve no lovers in my life but no trouble either. When I look at the map of the Continental U.S. on the wall of the office I think I can do it. And when I reach out for help, I usually find I’m the most able-bodied and ready soldier in the room.

So what the fuck is wrong? Dunno, good reader. Dunno. One thing’s for sure though and that is it don’t take much to bring me around. I just hit the 679 mark on this post and it’s my 4th and last day off before I report back to the dayjob. Have I slain the dragon of anxiety? Hardly. But now I’m up on the mast again. Me and Ahab. Coursing the deep and ready to take another stab at nailing down the East Coast, compiling the new effort and booking the room.

See you on the road motherfucker.

Trainer
Going for the Throat

 

 

Nicorette Blues

In anger, anxiety, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, Charlie O'Hay, day job, depression, Don Bajema, getting old, getting sober, Jim Trainer, media, mental health, mid life, middle age, new journalism, new orleans, on tour, Performance, Poetry, poetry reading, politics, self-help, singer songwriter, sober, sobriety, songwriting, Spoken Word, therapy, TOUR, travel, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on August 8, 2016 at 10:49 am

The blog’s been on lockdown.  Letter Day.  Poetry and songwriting-don’t get me started on songwriting.  We’ll save that can of worms for when we’re up the road a piece, with some space between me and this anxiety ridden nest of calendars and seltzer cans, Amtrak itineraries, rental car agreements, press releases and road maps.  It’s a mess.  I’m excited to get out on the road with wonderful poet and friend Bernard Pearce in a few weeks.  I’m looking forward to hitting the east coast with Brothers Don Bajema and Charlie O’Hay in the Fall-and I feel compelled to this life.   It’s time to transition out of that old skin-book the dates, order merch, press the EP and sink deeply and irrevocably into a dream.  But it took me 4 days to send 2 emails last week.   I’m sunk with the day job, sometimes sleeping and lying around for the whole shift.  My identity as an Artist isn’t on the line.  My heels aren’t licked by the maleficent flames of personal anguish.  I ain’t on the run.  Everything is fine and it’s not fucking fine. I don’t need to write myself out of anything-unless it’s this, six hundred words with myself and with you, good reader, to stir the pot and galvanize, get this rig the fuck unwound and smoke the day job with real work.  Because in the meantime it’s been torture.  I’m slothfully doubled down in middle class comfort.  I eat ice cream by the pint and take naps on the hour.  I hit literary target and I’ve smoked the idea that this is a hobby.  But instead of getting to it, I’m horizontal, watching old episodes of The Howard Stern Show and listening to Henry&Heidi, or worse.

I’ve asked you to consider me, the Artist-consider my work and know I’m here and what I’ve come for.  I had a breakthrough in therapy when Ol Don Jones said
“We’re just gonna do away with you thinking that you’re not an Artist.”
So we did.  And now I’m out here in the wide world.  Blowing off ordering more books.  This morning I wanted a cigarette more than, in the last 8 months, I ever have.  I needed something to bring me out and set me straight.  I jerked off and laid down, tried to sleep off a caffeine headache and forget that today is a day I won’t get back.

I try to keep in mind that I’m lucky.  I’m closer to living my dreams than I’ve ever been.  I’m practically straight edge, unless you count Nicorette-which I chew incessantly.  As good as life’s been to me it feels pretty fucked and I guess there’s no one to blame but me.  I feel locked in, stuck and without drink or drug or sex  I often have nothing to reach for.  Just these words and you.  So I do.  It don’t take much to bring me around.  Five or six hundred words with you and the undeniable power that comes, if not from solving, then identifying the problem.

We start where we are.  Now we begin the practice of Yoga.  Were it not for this blog and our time together, I might have stared down another couple hundred baleful miles of Facebook feed or engaged in self-important dialogue and discourse on the Dog and Pony of Presidential politics.  Without this blog, I could’ve wasted the diminishing hours of my life fucking off in any myriad of pointless and self-destructive American ways.  Of course I could’ve done nothing but then that’s the fucking problem now isn’t it Pilgrim?  I can see the problem.  It has been identified.  The enemy is within my sights.  Writing like this.  Banging on the temple door.  Going for the throat.

#president #presidential #hillaryclinton #donaldtrump #huntersthompson #thewho #goingforthethroat #jimtrainer

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Refuge

In Activism, American History, anger, ANTI-WAR, journalism, mourning, new journalism, news media, on tour, PACIFIST, PACISFISM, police brutality, politics, PROTEST, punk rock, RADIO, revolution, TOUR, travel, travel writing, truth, War, working class, writing about writing on July 21, 2016 at 11:29 am

…I found in him an expression of the American spirit at its worst. Progress was their obsession. More machines, more efficiency, more capital, more comforts-that was their whole talk. I asked them if they had heard of the millions who were unemployed in America. They ignored the question. I asked them if they realized how empty, restless and miserable the American people were with all their machine-made luxuries and comforts. They were impervious to my sarcasm. What they wanted was success-money, power, a place in the sun. None of them wanted to return to their own country; for some reason they had all of them been obliged to return against their will. They said there was no life for them in their own country. When would life begin? I wanted to know. When they had all the things which Americans had, or Germany, or France. Life was made up of things, of machines mainly, from what I could gather. Life without money was an impossibility: one had to have clothes, a good home, a radio, a car, a tennis racquet, and so on. I told them I had none of those things and that I was happy without them, that I had turned my back on America precisely because these things meant nothing to me. They said I was the strangest American they had ever met. But they liked me. They stuck to me throughout the voyage, plying me with all sorts of questions which I answered in vain. Evenings I would get together with the Greek. We understood one another better, much better, despite his adoration for Germany and the German regime. He too, of course, wanted to go to America some day. Every Greek dreams of going to America and making a nest egg. I didn’t try to dissuade him; I gave him a picture of America as I knew it, as I had seen it and experienced it. That seemed to frighten him a little…
-Henry Miller, The Colossus of Maroussi

Well. Hullo there good reader. I’m about as cracked from the earth as can be, despite Confederate flags draped in storefront windows and puerile mugs on the faces of North Creek citizens when I must go into town. I been into town quite a bit this trip, to shop and to drop off Ben in Ticonderoga to catch his train to Canada, but the heft of my days has been spent on my feather down double at 125 in the Hewitt Lake Club. I heard the news of 3 more cops shot dead in Baton Rouge by another unhinged vet this morning, and I can only think that in these dark times paranoia verges strangely close to prescience. It might take the actions of murderous soldiers to wake us up to the fact that we are at war. It’s easy to get wrapped up in hysteria no matter which side you’re on, but you don’t want to find yourself talking politics, or much of anything else, in Trump Country with an Appalachian redneck, 1,800 miles from home. It may be best to go back to bed after coffee and NPR and watch the wind through the trees in your cabin while on working holiday in The America.

Not that the city fares any better. We spent 3 days in Louisville-an antebellum phantom of the urbane and what the bitter end of Big City America looks like. There isn’t anything doing there or anywhere, with death and mayhem and senseless violence on the the TV above the deserted hotel bar. Downtown’s shut down. Starbucks closes at 7. There isn’t even a wind blowing in Hunter Thompson’s hometown, but had we pushed any further beyond the city limits, we might have had to deal with a Duck Dynasty situation not unlike North Creek. At Hewitt tonight they’re listening to the Republican National Convention, but what do Big Politics have to do with it? They mean less to me than they ever did. I’m alone in my cabin, with Henry Miller to read and a feather down bed to lie on and dream my silly, poetic dreams.

It would seem that it’s all a wash, we’ve spiraled down too low and there’s hate and fear entrenched in us. Of course the rut is within, but it’s without, too-the cities are deserted, corporate run neon wastelands and the country’s full of ignorant and vile yahoos, who’re overweight and codependent but think that the enemy is you if you won’t get behind the white man’s imperialist wars abroad and don’t have the backs of a murderous and militant police force here at home. Welcome to The America. Unless you’re a nigger-loving muslim faggot and we never liked you anyway.

Which isn’t to say that it’s all bad, or that the trip this year has only amounted to 3 weeks away from the real work in the War Room back home. I’ve had some reflections this time through the savage land. I’ve been thinking about the only kind of change I can muster and I’m proud to report it back for you good reader, because in fact, all we have is each other.  As the dark takes its deeper turns and we lose another source of light.  I’m sick of heroes…and television and politics and the rich and the poor, sick of Garrison Keillor abridging Hunter Thompson’s “suicide note” (on what would’ve have been his 79th birthday, on Writer’s Almanac this morning) sick of a world that pushes our visionaries to suicide but spends 146 million on The Secret Life of Pets.
What’s new to me is a gratitude, that comes from seeing myself clearly, away from home, away from Hippie Town, out of Eden and out in the backwoods underbelly and urban desolation of America, clearing my lungs of stinking Texas oak and cedar, and finally being able to breathe and hold a note-and I can see myself through the mire. What am I, but a pilgrim seeking refuge? Maybe even Bodhisattva?  Sure, now, you know I can get behind that. I have much to report, much to share-and all of it could somehow conclude nicely with the problem I’ve been having with storytelling and even this blog.

We know how bad it can get. I’ve come to you from the bowels of twisted and dire situations, reported live from the belly of the beast and always sought to come through what Dr. Thompson has called the Wisdom. The Wisdom is like a diamond in the dark.  Wisdom, to paraphrase Richard Hell, makes any situation bearable, any screw or fuckaround worth it. If not the prize or zenith, then a regrouping and a breath, a trust…and that’s where I’m gonna have to leave it, and you, good reader, for now.  There doesn’t seem to be any kind of wisdom or resolution or end to this grim parade of murder and persecution and maudlin effrontery.  It would seem to be fucked which could be Wisdom but won’t really help me now, as I gear up and head back into town to pick up Ben in Ticonderoga.  Out on the highway in The America with an open heart and a 50 pack of Nicorette gum.  Wish me luck.

I was told by a friend
that this great quest would only begin
if I’d stop circling in circles behind my own bars
and spiral on out to the fiery stars
-Mischief Brew, Seeking The Brave

TOURDRIVER#1

In on tour, poem, Poetry, TOUR, Uncategorized on May 26, 2016 at 10:18 pm

haha fat fucking chance
construction crews in Toronto
wouldn’t get
a skinny penny from me
even if our rig bent their mirror
all the way back.
another city, another room
another cold backstage area
with just cheese&lunchmeat
sandwiches or
shitty
American beer.
we roared down
the dirty road and I
NEVER saw a more beautiful creature than Tamara
waiting
at a bus stop in Vancouver
in the fall.
we couldn’t get out of the Midwest
fast enough and we probably would’ve paid to
we tore up the coast
5 from Orangevale
and down the orange groves
we weren’t impressed with L.A.
left there
fast
Portland was a wet bummer
Seattle fared better.
I was living on Gauloises and
Benadryl
we were hauling
a 30’ RV and pulling
a single axel trailer
I was young&stubborn
insufferable
out on the road
with the boys
a tourdriver.

#tbt Denny's Highway 5, Northwest Coast, On Tour With 1349, September 2008

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