Jim Trainer

Archive for the ‘RADIO’ Category

The Medium Is My Message

In Activism, art, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, blues, Buddhism, Charles Bukowski, depression, Fugazi, getting old, getting sober, going for the throat, Henry Rollins, Jim McShea, mental health, mid life, middle age, Music, new journalism, news media, Poetry, published poet, publishing poetry, punk rock, RADIO, recovery, self-help, self-publishing, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, solitude, songwriting, Spoken Word, straight edge, suicide, working class, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on August 24, 2017 at 1:11 pm

Proud and excited to announce this week’s post is featured on Medium!  Please go there and show me some applause (icon of hands clapping at the bottom of, or just beside, the piece).  Feel free to leave a comment, too, so they know we have arrived.

Thanks motherfucker!

 

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More New Century Blues

In Activism, activism, alcoholism, anger, ANTI-WAR, anxiety, art, Austin, austin music scene, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, day job, death, depression, Don Bajema, employment, getting sober, Jim Trainer, journalism, media, mental health, mid life, middle age, music performance, new journalism, Philadelphia, Poetry, publishing, punk rock, RADIO, recovery, revolution, self-help, self-publishing, singer songwriter, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, solitude, songwriting, Spoken Word, straight edge, submitting poetry, suicide, the muse, therapy, TYPEWRITERS, working class, WRITER'S BLOCK, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS, yoga, youth on August 17, 2017 at 1:02 pm

It’s been a while but I am at a loss.  The world may have gotten in more than it usually does but I haven’t been without inspiration since the early days at Going For The Throat.  Those days the crisis was real.  If I didn’t make it as a writer I’d be stuck behind a bar or working hospice for 9 an hour.  Dressed like a Hershey’s Kiss on campus or test driving the Golfquick LE in Sugarland.  My definition of “making it as a writer” is broad and wild.  I can sit down and come up with 600 words out of thin air, and by keeping it simultaneously all too and not personal at all, the thing will find its legs and walk its way into you.  The archetypes are free to roam.  The fact that I’ve become a character in my own story, coupled with a 10-ton outrage and Black Irish honesty has made Going For the Throat a success.  My definition of success, too, is unorthodox-but if anything is true about my 20+ year career trekking down the savage road of New Journalism, it’s that the medium is the message.  That means that I’ve got my transmitter, just like in my Radio Days, and I can feel you out there listening.  I’m a writer so I write.  I still got a day gig, one that’s winding down, and I’m not 100 on what’s in store.  I’m booking overtime-I hope to play every night and write every day.  That’s been my dream and charge for as long as I can remember.  “Writer’s Block” is less than a memory for me, but waking up today, fully clothed, in a dead confederate palace with all the curtains pulled back-is taking me back to when I knew I had to be a writer, and tried to do every day what I now do every week.  Back then it was 1,200 and pure agony.   I volleyed the imminent avalanche of self-hatred that would fall if I didn’t become a writer with the agony of coming up with 1,200 words every day.  There was beer involved.  And cigarettes you bet.  It worked but it drove me out of my mind.

I’m just as fond of those hardbitten scoop days for what happened away from the desk.  Hopping fences, getting shitty.  Falling through the Night Kitchen, driving down dark barrio streets with my tongue in Gwendolyn’s teeth.  My hangovers were grim back then, nothing compared to what was coming.  It was beginning to get old but I saw no other way to assuage both the loneliness of writing and my utter dread of never becoming a writer-as the money ran out.  I caught some breaks.  I got a good job.  I met Rich Okewole and Najla Assaf.  I found my community.  I was taken in by the good folks at the IPRC in Portland (and taken right back out by Trump’s America but that’s another story for another time).  Perhaps my hesitation to pull the trigger this morning is indicative of the end of those Salad Days as a struggling writer.  The gravy train has left the station.  Of all my myriad blues and woe, movement seems to be the answer.  As proud as I am of what I’ve become, I’m terrifed here at the midway.  Possibilities that ain’t been realized won’t be and I could die at any time.

It’s got me shook.  I quit my gig of 5 years, should be out October 1.  I bought a car.  I enrolled in this year’s SWRFA and sent 22 booking emails out into the Live Music Capital of the World, even canvassed West 6th.  Survivors Wisdom tells me it’s time to grind it out, hit the road and stop being such a pussy.  Maybe the truth is that struggle is over.  Not this one, but that one.  The battle with self can conclude.  It’s I and I and a good night’s sleep contending for top place on my list of priorities.  I’ve found myself.  I am who I am.  Cruel time has showed me who I am and branded me with the wisdom that there’s not enough time to change that now.

We both know there would never be enough time but that didn’t stop us before ain’t it though.  We rebelled.  We clanged against the deathhead, came for the Gods and offered them the head of the King.  We bled for it, we had something to prove.  It was useless, futile and fatal and the biggest waste of time.  We squandered our youth.  The youth is gone.  It’s time to get off social media and take to the territory.  Our lives  depend on it.  I got witchy women mixing up the medicine for me and an Ayurvedic scholar laying out a diet plan.  I got Brother Don on the telephone and Sister Sarah at the other end of a computer screen.  I’ve got friends like blood, holding vigil and corroborating and besides all this big love-a fear of death that is all too real.  The prime motivator.  The best time to hit it was a long time ago.  The next best time is now.

I better see you on the streets motherfucker.

In Nine Hundred and Three Words

In anxiety, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, blogging, depression, getting sober, hometown, Jim Trainer, mental health, mid life, middle age, new journalism, Performance, Philadelphia, Poetry, poetry reading, published poet, publishing, publishing poetry, punk rock, RADIO, recovery, self-publishing, sober, sobriety, solitude, Spoken Word, straight edge, therapy, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on March 9, 2017 at 12:07 pm

…it is in the shelter of each other that the people live…
Pádraig Ó Tuama

Let’s keep hustlin’.
Brian Grosz

…without you my address would be the wind…
-from All in the wind

…you’re going to have to accept that a lesbian chainsaw dominatrix or two might be involved.
broliloquy

My name is Jim Trainer and I wish I was somebody else. I mean, there’s something in the way. I mean, I took the last 2 days off work, for my birthday and to “get some stuff done” and the result was only epic laziness. Lunch and gift swapping with a friend. Driving into dusk to see musicians perform in plays. Eating water ice and falling in love with Austin again. Before I chalk up the last 2 days to “not living my dreams” or being lazy, allow me to invoke the wisdom and language of psychotherapy, and ask-what am I getting out of it? The answer is dumb-I had a peaceful couple days with no torture, no monkey, no blues. Basically I was hiding. This doesn’t bode well. Psychologically speaking, I’ve set it up so I will have to live my dreams. Using the alchemy of inner dialogue I told my Self, “If you live your dreams I won’t come down on you for being a piece of shit.” There are so many ways to deconstruct this deal I have with my Self, and none of them are good! Ah, but don’t too wise, for writing is my rabbit in a hat, and this blog my weapon of choice-and this is how. By the end of this graph I have had some insight, a revelation that there within the dialogue with my Self is the kernel of it-the micro and the blueprint. My life has been always being 2 steps ahead of the whip.  What a fucked up way to live, let alone think and react.  Out of fear, like a slave or Catholic.  For shame.

Not to mention I feel great.  I mean, today I woke up at 7:45AM, like always, but I went back to bed after I put the coffee on.  I dreamt that my boss had wiped his hands on my tux shirt and when I went to confront him about it, his door was closed and his room was dark with a note on the door (and it was my Mother’s bedroom door wtf).  Tangential but relevant.  It’s a circus in my mind.  Fear is the carnival barker and the crowd has lined the tent 2 times round, clutching their dirty children and tickets in hand.  I’m sitting here typing this in the bright light of day with my Hugh Hefner robe over the clothes I wore to bed last night.  I feel rested, which is necessary.  Hell I even refused sex a couple weeks ago because the call came in after I was already in PJs.  Do you have any idea how baffling it is for the male mind to refuse sex?  It can short out the man-wires.  I woke up the next day confused and ashamed, like I had done something wrong-but I was so rested I forgot about it and got on with the day.  My point is I feel rested today, after 2 days of  hiding from the whip, instead of hustling 2 steps ahead of it, and somehow not being a “piece of shit”, according to myself anyway, the Mind.  In body I couldn’t feel better.  I just wish I was somebody else and here’s why.

It’s been a long time that I should be far from here. I know that my desire for the artist’s life is how I got this far. It’s not what I thought it would be and I know I could do so much more. Knowing you could be more is strange. Well, not strange-it’s evolution, it’s growth. It’s savage, amoral and bloody. Birth comes from death. Knowing you could do more is heaps more manageable, if slippery. I can’t say I’m not accountable to myself. I can’t say that there isn’t a chasm between who I am and what I’m doing and who I think I am and what I’m doing. It’s all so very twisted and fucked and I can’t see the bottom. All I can do is live my best today, try harder this time.  (Do you know how exhausting that is?).     It’s just so fucked because I know I’ll find myself here again. Dissatisfied. I need a life coach who’ll tell me that everything’s gonna be ok before she fucks my brains out and kicks my ass out the door.  Sorry.  If I’ve lost you it’s because I lost myself.

What I am trying to describe here is what has gotten me this far.  Dissatisfaction is why I dropped out of college, left the hometown, found work as a DJ, singer songwriter, orator and spoken word poet.  Dissatisfaction is why I spent weeks on the road, sleeping and driving for as many as 7 weeks a stretch, across Canada and the midwest, along the Gulf and up the West and East coast.  Dissatisfaction is why I’ve had 3 books of poetry published in the last 5 years and dissatisfaction is the sole reason that 2 of them were published by my own press.  Dissatisfaction is why I left Philly, and tried my hand hawking wares and doing everything from handing out lunchmeat to donating plasma to walking around campus dressed like a Hershey Kiss.  I’ve lost you.  I’ve lost me.  Is seeking and forging the life I want born of dissatisfaction?  Or is it something else?  Is knowing I could do and be more the same as hating myself?  That’s certainly how it feels.  And as far as how it feels, this, we know, is my remedy.  These 903 words.  This post.  This time at the knives, hacking and working it out.  We do it ’cause we have to.  As far as pace and productivity, goals and the ability to relax and unkink without fear that the whip will come down but yet still pushing on?  You know if I had the answer, good reader, I would give it to you.  Right before I fly out the door and hit the streets after the heart of this dream.  A lonely hunter indeed.

It goes on.

 

The Coarse Grind, New Journalism

In Austin, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, day job, getting old, Jim Trainer, journalism, media, music journalism, new journalism, news media, published poet, publishing, publishing poetry, punk rock, RADIO, Submitting, submitting poetry, TYPEWRITERS, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on January 26, 2017 at 3:17 pm

What follows is the first installment of The Coarse Grind, my column that was never published.  A local zine and arts collective had asked me to write 3 drafts under 600 words.  I ended up writing 5 of them and sent the first 3 to the editor.  We had a correspondence then, that included the phrase “curating for millennials”, but ended with me accusing her of being “disingenuous” and “silly”.  I can see her point now, almost 3 years later, while reading these over.  I don’t know who could be expected to read anything as long as 600 words as even major news outlets race to publish first, and edit and redact later.  Besides the horror in realizing how long ago this was, I’m emboldened reading these, in full faith that you, good reader, will read 600 words every week, even if it’s the same old story.  That’s the boon and bane of the blogging business-you’ll never run out of material as long as you keep writing about yourself.  Christ.
Stay tuned for the next 2 installments of The Coarse Grind.  

New Journalism

Christmas Eve ’95 I slept in Cromwell Park. I’d been thrown out of my mom’s house for not having health insurance. It needed to happen. And the rest…I suppose. What happened was I fell through about 5 years of daylabor and shitjobs, another 5 as a mad Boehme, 3 on the getting-sober circuit and shit about 3 years working down here, in the Pearl of the South.  What also happened is I decided to be a writer.  I had to be, as clichéd as that might sound.  I was working a string of jobs that were boring the life out of me.  I dealt with it the only way I knew how-with a typewriter and booze.

One of the first things I did when I got here was get a library card. Checked out Locked in the Arms of a Crazy Life, a biography of Charles Bukowski by Howard Sounes. It was profound for me to discover the great poet had started writing poetry at the age of 35. I was 34.  Another thing I did when I got down here was pitch to Verbicide Magazine and write blues legend Steve James a letter, to say hello and ask for an interview. Those first months in Austin were a fertile time, days and months planting seeds and business cards. It was like I landed, dropped my bags and said,
“In 3 years I will be a writer.”

Then I got a job.  Then I got laid off.   I stayed on unemployment way past any reasonable amount of time, and fell sadly short of my goal of becoming a writer in 3 years. I had to go back to work.   It was one of many crises of doubt I had experienced, going all the way back to being homeless in my hometown in 1995.  I wanted to be a writer.
I landed a live in gig, in a big yellow mansion inconveniently located off west 6th.  A perfectly annoying backdrop and foil for this phase of my life which I can proudly announce to you is “being a writer”. This is the being a writer period, the being a writer time. Now it always was, I guess, but I didn’t know it then. Neither do you. But I appreciate you reading. It completes me. I feel received. Like radio-a magic jolt to it, an urgent zing to these words coming at you-can’t you feel it?  Right? Wow.
What do I do now that I am a writer? That I’ve cleaned my guns enough to crank out 8-1,200 words, neat and fine, on a whim or otherwise?  That of anything and everything that ever happens I not only have a ticket out of but a ticket into? That’s right, good reader.  I got an inroad to the best game in town and the players? Well shit the players are me&you darling and isn’t that nice?
Now that I’m a writer think I’ll bring it back for you. Tell you how I got here and that I’d like you to join me. In the late night or in the bright morning, I’d like you to join me on the savage road-this is the new stuff-join me in this new media, this new age-this moment. Let’s do some shit. Send out our signal into the hungry land. Let’s send out a song of love or better let’s send ‘em some anger. Let us burn.

Out of the Bag

In Activism, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, getting old, getting sober, Jim Trainer, journalism, media, mental health, mid life, middle age, new journalism, news media, observation, PACIFIST, PACISFISM, politics, PROTEST, RADIO, recovery, revolution, self-help, sober, sobriety, War, working class, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on November 17, 2016 at 3:35 pm

For years they had me locked in a cage
then they threw me onto the stage
-Bob Dylan

Ho hum.  Howdy motherfucker.  Trainer here, with the wisdom.  In the days following the election I didn’t know what to feel, let alone how to put it into words.  That’s because the focus of this blog has always been myself.  I didn’t have it in me to be selfish, and would never expect you to be into it either, after Tuesday night’s rude awakening.  I didn’t want to say I told you so, as if that ever helps anything except the pride of the fool saying it.  I know why I didn’t vote, and I’ve seen the readership of this blog decline for making that known, but I was still horrified at the result, and suffered bad constipation (among other things) as the reality sank in.

We’re fucked.  I’ve lived long enough to feel that way 3 other times in my life, and all of them have to do with the highest office in the land.  This feels different though, and I’m different, and as twisted and dark as it is right now, I’ve nowhere to hide.  The last time a candidate who won the popular vote was denied the Presidency, I was 25 years old.  I had, or thought I had, plenty of time to fuck around.  I got lost in West Philly.  I devoted myself to the Arts, even got involved in the battle for free radio.  I fought as much as I wanted to and even though between me and myself it’s never enough, I can look back proudly on that time, my Radio Days.  The truth is it wasn’t enough and it’s never enough but it was the end of the Century and I sure had a good time.

The next time I knew we were fucked was in the next race, 4 years later, and the country had gone stark raving mad for War, and persecuted you for saying otherwise.  The news media in the Land of the Free was onboard.  It was fucked.  It still is.  If we can’t agree on the intricacies of hegemony and U.S. interventionism, then surely we agree that the luring of our young men and women to fight for a lie and come home to a country that doesn’t care about its mentally ill is treacherous, inhumane and wrong.

The collapse of the market and federal bail out that ensued is the watershed moment, good Reader.  It’s when the capriciousness of the Bush dynasty came home to roost.  As progressive and even glorious were the advances made by President Obama, the mess he inherited and how he handled it, has fucked us, the People of the United States for the remainder of this country’s existence.  Something exceptional would have to happen.  Vigilance was needed and a tireless commitment to righting the vessel.  None of those will be forthcoming.

I think it’s worth mentioning that little would be done under Hillary, either, and business is as business does could be the slogan of either party in this cracked oligarchy we will be living in for the rest of our lives.  The little that Hillary would’ve done might’ve been enough to keep spirits up, and her election might not have emboldened the homogeneous bigotry of this country like Trump’s has, but they would still be out there and deals would still be cut in there, hand over hand in her Oval office or his-certainly our inhumane actions abroad aren’t going to change no matter who is President.

The DNC is broken, or, it’s only fulfilling what it always had in mind.  The Republican Party should be over and done with, except that they rule the House and the Senate.  The fact that a reality TV star ran on a non-policy of hate and fear, lost the popular vote and will be President is fucked.  His attitude and bias is piggish and without compassion but even the 47% of people who voted for him will tell you that.  Great writers have already concluded that this is the American character.*

You don’t need to hear it from me that we’re fucked.  If you’ve tuned in and read me-I thank you.  The fact that I started this blog aiming for an outsider’s voice either more critical or accurate than mainstream media, but only came up with a self-help journal and reason to go on, spend a couple hours writing instead of going out to the bougie store for a pack of triple 5s or hanging myself from the chandelier in a dead confederate palace on a slow Tuesday night in Hippie Town is what it is.

I want you to know, though-despite your kind words and appreciation and readership that’s kept me from swinging-I have really let myself go.  I’ve let my writing go because on the eve of ruin in the Land of the Free, I was without words and the only thing I could come up with was a parable about getting old.  Don’t get me wrong, getting old is a thing and a very sad thing when you consider how far I am from my goals and how slow going it’s been.  Every shock of the world and hysteria brought on by charlatans of the news media was dealt with by putting my head back in the bag.  Now I’m sober and the story is the same.

I’ve been here almost 5 years, been posting on here for 6.  I don’t have the spring of youth in my step and I’ve retreated so far inside myself that it took the election of a diabolical asshole to wake me up to the reality-I’m not living to my potential.  It’s a popular refrain down here at the Office.  I’ll never know if the Inner Critic is just on overdrive or if I should just be doing more.  I’ve still got a monkey on my back though, and Art has been re-purposed again as vital, life saving and something to live up to.  This is just the beginning.

See you on the streets motherfucker.

Ab irato,
Jim Trainer
Going For The Throat
Austin TX-Portland OR

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

Shrieks from Paradise#26: Pitch to Writing On The Air, KOOP 91.7fm

In Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, Correspondence, journalism, Letter Writing, Poetry, publishing, RADIO, recovery, self-help, self-publishing, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, WRITING PROCESS on February 17, 2016 at 9:04 am

The Office of Jim Trainer
709 Rio Grande
Austin TX

Host Joe Brundidge&Martha Louise Hunter
Writing On The Air
KOOP Radio 91.7fm
Austin TX

Hello!

I moved to Austin dejected, at the age of 34. The first book I checked out of the Library was Locked in the Arms of a Crazy Life, a biography of Charles Bukowski by Howard Sounes. It was profound for me to discover that one of my literary heroes began writing poetry at 35.

I worked a string of mind-numbing jobs. I drank. Slept with women. I devoted myself to the page. It became a necessity. Those mornings coming off graveyard, when I sat at the President XII Tower with a quart of beer, are burned into my memory. Any time I start to feel like a failure, I remember a time when failure was imminent and very real-I’d never be a rockstar or anything besides a temp worker doing graveyard shifts in the live music capital of the world. I remember that I took a step then, a leap really, I wrote and I kept writing.

Since then I have had two volumes of poetry published, the second coinciding with the founding of Yellow Lark Press, my own publishing company. I’ve quit drinking and got my certification to teach Yoga. Austin has been very good to me. I fly to my hometown of Philly twice a year. The readings there are great. Great attendance and a good show. The music shows are amazing. I feel that maybe I should revisit my hopes and dreams, that I still got a shot at this. This rock and roll journalist poet dream brought into view by greats like Bukowski and another Hank, Henry Rollins and the good Doctor Hunter Thompson. I fine tune my health and try to get my head together. I need to get back out on the road.

I would love to discuss September, my new poetry collection, as well as my continuing and well-documented trek down the savage road to becoming a writer and living my dreams. Please let me know if I can provide you with a copy of September or anything else. I love radio, love KOOP and Writing On the Air, and would love to hear from you.

Thank you,
Jim Trainer
Austin TX

Good News For People Who Love Bad News

In blogging, journalism, media, mental health, new journalism, news media, punk rock, RADIO, recovery, singer-songwriter, sobriety, Writing on December 16, 2015 at 5:09 pm

Heaven, are you really waiting outside the door?
-The Fire Theft

Happiness is a hard gig for a survivor.  The worst kind of trouble can be no trouble at all.  I’m dumbfounded to be hitting my stride now, 10 months in on a sober jag, practicing Yoga every day and sleeping for 8 hours every night.  Contentment can be a real bitch for those of us who’ve decided to be born into this life, if not to make or break with dying than at least to stand and be counted, shock the squares and make our mark before we go down for good and back to dust.  I’ll admit a grudge match with death is no way to live, but a denial of it, even a convincing one, can make you seem dull and young.  Beauty fades and belief as anything but a verb is a product.  History is brought to you by purveyors and it’s a real shame the way we can spin out on things that don’t even matter but fail to grasp what’s most important.  The point is we’re alive and we’re here.  The punk rock movement put boots to ground but sprouted up organically as if it was always here.

We’ve shaken death’s hand.  Not only have we rivaled every foe, we can’t think of an enemy worthy enough to take us away from the real work.  Though they try, we pay visit with the Friend in our work, and it’s in his company we celebrate.  Every step of this process completed is a success.  Every EP, spoken word performance, missive of the New Journalism, every poem and journal entry, every stroke on the canvas and photo taken is a victory.  We can have this life.  We’ve twisted out of the wreck with a new language of love.  We’ve fled mass market culture and made our own.  We’ve shed the mask of the godhead and answer the call daily-at the keys in makeshift offices and behind microphones at ad hoc radio stations.  It’s our world.

The hard part for me becomes, to what do I devote these 600 words?  How do I fulfill the publication schedule of this column?  There are hawks and doves jamming the wire and the big business of news reporting is rife with tropes of us bee-lining it to the grave, fearing the police and toeing the company line with our heads down and dumb hopes of heaven or a payday.  What do I rail against when I’m not really pissed off and how could I possibly be able to spend the hour or so writing this and enjoy it at the same time?  How’s it possible that my hands are filled with work that I love and how is it that I can feel this thing snowballing, gaining mass and momentum and it might not be too long before I can segue a caregiving gig in the Live Music Capital of the World into the life of a fulltime Artist?  What do I rail against when I’m not really pissed off?   How do I fulfill the publication schedule of this column?

Just like this I suppose.  And with your help.  I’d of never made it this far without you but don’t you quit me yet.  We’ve got to jam this fucker home.  We’re seated at the table.  Now let us feast.

We are hopeful that Mosby will retry Officer Porter as soon as possible, and that his next jury will reach a verdict. Once again, we ask the public to remain calm and patient, because we are confident there will be another trial with a different jury. We are calm. You should be calm, too.
-Richard Shipley, Freddie Gray’s Stepfather on the mistrial of Officer William Porter

 

Emotional Physics

In alcoholism, anger, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, getting sober, going for the throat, Jim Trainer, media, mental health, Poetry, publishing, punk rock, RADIO, recovery, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, Writing, WRITING PROCESS on October 14, 2015 at 12:26 am

I’m about to have a nervous breakdown, and my head really hurts…
-Black Flag
Sooner or later we all hit the wall…
-Nathan Hamilton
How would you like a worms-eye view of your own psychology? The nuts and bolts of the machine, the blood and guts of the monster, your reasons, your dreams, your desires, your doubts and fears? Any of you curious about what really makes you tick should publish your own book of poetry. You’ll be pulled through the eye of the needle and shot from the mouth of the cannon. Hours of synchronous bliss working on a dream coupled with marrow scraping minutes doubting every decision you ever made.  Putting your work out into the world can prompt some gnarly questions. The design of my book saw my coveted verse suddenly swarmed by an army of critical voices. And but Christ the questions.  Keep in mind that you’re the one asking, especially if you’ve been sitting in the same chair in your apartment for 14 hours on your day off. Best believe you’re the only one there. You’re on your own and these questions of worth and purpose will surface, and pass through you like hot shrapnel. In fact it could just be the emotional equivalent of Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Translated, for every wild desire to be manifest there is a nightmare of Karma rearing at the same speed.

One of the biggest inspirations for this blog, its main thrust, is that one day I will finally and fully unreel the inner-diatribe of self sabotage.  I will have fully documented the script that grinds out any high hopes or goodwill about living like a cigarette butt.  And it will be here, online, out in the open for all to see. And we will laugh. And laugh and laugh and laugh. We will die laughing. It’s the byline of this blog for a reason. I really feel like I can do it, finally get it all down and slay the dragon, using words as brick and mortar to wall the fucker in. I bring this up because I smell like shit. I’ve been smoking a pack of triple-nickels every day since I first opened InDesign. I don’t answer the phone, don’t go to Yoga. My diet is the simplest form of protein which means bacon and eggs, every day, gross, and caffeine aho I been mainlining the shit. Espresso, iced mocha, bullet coffee (thanks Ceci!) and iced tea. I drink more seltzer than 10 recovering alcoholics and I hate my computer. I’m suffering a certain and specific stabbing pain which can only mean that my hips are cranked beyond any reasonable range of motion and I woke up, this of all mornings, throwing my phone against the wall, for reasons unclear but in doing so jarred something loose and nasty in my shoulder and I can’t wave my right hand without looking like I’m heiling Hitler.
My creative flow was blocked. Which could explain the colorful language of this post.  But at least that shit still works. Like wildflowers sprouting from my skull.  I mention this morning of all mornings because today was the day, or, depending when you read this, yesterday was, but today really is. Final file time motherfucker. Last proof before I get a mockup from Minuteman Press. After mockup and final file and any last edits there is no turning back. I’ll have 100 copies of the book-block of September. I’ll have accomplished a heaping third of actualizing a dream I’ve had since I was 17. But it came with a price.
This wasn’t free. Remember that?
Please live your dreams. It’s the best and worst thing you could ever do to yourself. The most ecstatic torture. While reaching for the stars you’ll feel the cold pull of the earth, and old voices will waft up from the grave, telling you a story of a 17 year old kid sitting on a stoop at his friend’s house in Upper Darby, looking down in awe at Rollins’ One From None.  That’s when the dream gripped me and this whole thing started.  We both know what happened next. The dream laid in my guts for 23 years, while on shift and in the yard, pissing my time away for a dollar, heinous in itself but tragic if my stagnancy came from a deficit of confidence. As it turns out all I had to do was confirm that that way of life was killing me.
When I say Karma I mean history.  The dream won’t be wrenched free easily. Reaching for a dream you’ll be checked at every venture, Brother,and every task and turn from frame to finish, with every edit and redo—you’ll hear a a nagging voice telling you it can’t be done, shouldn’t be done and you’re only your parents failure, you never should’ve left your hometown, should’ve stuck around the campus of community college and bided your time with a new drug addiction until you found your rightful place on Megan’s List.  You’ll feel a fatal gravity of doubt-but none of that matters because if you keep bucking and kicking you will confront yourself. You’ll live through it and have confronted yourself. You’ll come to the new understanding that Karma is behavior. And you’ll know what you always knew.  The writing life is a courageous life.

4/30

In National Poetry Month, punk rock, RADIO on April 4, 2015 at 5:48 pm

radio coming into
the room like it was 1999
“Pink Flag” and all that shit
still holding up
at 3am, the morning
of my 40th birthday

what a thrill
me&Big Brother night
together again
synchronous&singing
to WKDU

a tube radio will literally warm the room
f-this generation,they are doomed.