Jim Trainer

Posts Tagged ‘art’

Workingman’s Blues#3: Capitalism, pure and simple

In Uncategorized on March 20, 2014 at 4:17 pm

2011 was a breakout year. I devoted all of my money and most of my time to being a writer. I wrote. I drank. And I spent allot of time in the pool at Oak Run in the pre-dawn hours with a little firefly of a girl who shall not be named. She got hitched and moved to South Carolina that fall and they closed the pool. I was sitting on 4 short stories and a stack of poetry. I had $200 to my name but very little to show for being a writer or a musician. $40 more than what I moved to town with 2 years before but worse-my despair was choking me of all my inspiration. There are many pitstops on the road to living your dreams. They look just like roadblocks though, and it can leave you rueing the words of your Father, questioning your very worth and asking yourself
Who am I to live my dreams?
The pool was closed. I was out of money. I failed.

Then something remarkable happened. Well, two things actually, and they both involved conversations with a firebrand, redheaded hippie-chick from Washington named Gioconda Parker. She’d go on to become a Guru for me and a dear and cherished friend for the rest of my life. But I wasn’t out of the woods yet…

The following is an excerpt from my interview for an Events Bartending position up in Hill Country. You can live your dreams. You’ve got to learn to lie a little on your way there, though-something I never really got the hang of. This is for all you dreamers out there; and for all you dreamless corpses smugly conducting interviews in climate-controlled offices without ever knowing what it’s like to starve to death.

“I know you’re a musician so, hypothetically, what if you were offered a really big gig on a night when you were booked to work with us? What would you do?”
“Hmm. Let’s see…I of course would have to decline on the gig and come work for you and the company. It being that you’re paid $35 for every hour I work for the client and I only see $12 of that, it would pain me for you and the company to miss out on the $23 an hour you usually make off me for doing nothing while I hump trash cans and cinder blocks from the wet bar and am being talked down to by your sawed-off team leader at some filthy rich wedding in the bitter cold sticks of Bumblefuck, TX without a staff meal or gas money.”
“Sounds great, James.”
“Good Juan, I’m glad you approve. It’s capitalism, pure and simple.”

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The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire!

In Uncategorized on July 3, 2013 at 11:27 am

The ruse is up. Satya motherfucker. It’s high time to disabuse myself of my own delusions. Might as well do it here and in writing, which is how I come to understand anything anyway. We’ve been down this dirty road before. Today we’ll be dismantling my belief in change.
I been blowin it out with big boys of Lonestar and Sapporo. Same old story. Same old song. My blowouts now are pretty harmless, relatively speaking. In my late 20s and early 30s a blowout was a catastrophic event. I was bored with life and I had an anger problem. The light of day was painful then and my furniture was never the same. I was a madman, the madman of 10th Street and any friends I still have from the Never Ending Summer of Evil Kanevil are true blue. Their love has been tested brother, believe me.
There is no limit to the amount of havoc&destruction you can cause with the single-pointed focus of dying before the age of 30. After 30 I had no excuse but by then Hostile City was closing in on me. Whether or not I escaped certain death by leaving Philly it is certain that I was born again by the time I stepped boot to Texas soil. There is my life before Austin and my life after. I probably drank around 9 beers last night, starting with lunch and ending with a nightcap after dinner. I was safe asleep, in bed before midnight and other than feeling a little crispy this morning, I’m fine. This wouldn’t even be the beginning of a blowout back then. Also, bourbon. And coke. And xanax. It’s comical what constitutes a blowout now but I ain’t laughing.

I’ve hired a life coach. Our overarching goal is to help me make the leap to becoming a full-time artist. We’ve broken it down into simple, everyday steps. First up are my beliefs and habits about productivity. I should mention that my life coach is more on the spiritual side then the business side. We don’t discuss personality types or business models; we don’t tangle with newage (pronounced sewage) or any douchey-corporate terms and strategies. For example, one of her suggestions to increase my productivity is to sit and do nothing for 5 minutes every day. It’s a very Zen approach-to do more, do less. What Taoists call “effortless action” and what I call taking the longview.
Taking the longview is accepting that the rest of my life will be devoted to creating art. It’s a forgiving view and useful, too. Instead of trying to be a journalist, poet and songwriter today, I instead schedule a little time to write this morning, with a break in-between, then attempt some research and promotion this afternoon, blow it out on the Epiphone and finally end the day with some poetry tonight.
Aho. The longview. It’s what was so roundly missed for all those years on the dayshift as a raging alcoholic when I felt like I had to get it all done and now. Plus, it’s hard to plan on days you don’t know you’ll live to see (or that you so dread living to see you get fucked up anyway). Of course there are many reasons to carry on the way I did for all those years but that’s another story for another time.
All I know is that a piece like this falls so short of my journalistic aspirations it may as well be a long, more thought out&better written Facebook post. Christ, the entirety of this blog could be viewed as such and maybe the bastard Doctor is right anyway, blogs are passé.
Whether or not blogs are useful tools of the new journalism or merely bloviating scrapbooks, there is no question-I’m ready to take the leap. But until I can push through these issues I’ll be delegated to the roof with Dylan’s first album blasting down Judge’s Hill and flanked on either side by a cup of Megadolo black and a pack of Nat Sherman MCDs. Baking sessions on the roof with the keys burning the skin off my fingers.
I’m not saying this blog is on hiatus. Just that I need to figure some things out. Like a way to get off the roof in 110 degree weather, for example. I’ve reached my goal with this blog anyway. I have systematically dismantled writer’s block and put that bad bitch to bed. I know that on any given day I can sit down and screw it on, smoke and cough and scream and squirm until I have 800 words, neat&fine.
I have contemplated the mountain. I’ve kicked, scraped and fucked my way to the top. Now it’s time to take the longview. Look around, up&down the chain. Sadly, my daily sessions smoking&coming up with a missive for you have come to a close. I just can’t bring myself to do it anymore. It’s no failure of myself as an Artist. I’m no less of a writer. I’m just making a different decision-one that has terrifies me when I think about giving up my 20-year-old crutch but exciting when I think of the Artist that I can be.
Here’s to hoping some new way will emerge and I’ll be able to devote more of my time and more of my life to the fucking beast of writing, without being delegated to the roof and smoking like an AA member.
Besides, I’m as bored as you are with these blogs about change and self-help. At the very least we’ll do away with the by now, oft-penned and most hated apology blog. Hell, maybe even write about stuff that interests us. Over 4,000 people marched on the Capitol on Monday and it makes me proud to live in a town where folks are exercising true democracy. Not only that, but I just got back from the hometown with enough love to shut down any idea of opposition and shred anything in the way of living the life I choose.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a kinghell fun. I’ve had a blast catching up with 20 years worth of neglect of the craft of writing. These long hours on the sinking throne are never boring. But as the temperature climbs into the triple-digits, the rooftop ain’t gonna cut it anymore, Brother.
Stay cool pretty babies. It’s time to go back inside.

We don’t need no water let the motherfucker burn
burn motherfucker burn!

roofisonfire

The Creative/Destructive Process of the Artist: No Help From Heroes

In Uncategorized on May 31, 2013 at 4:50 pm

sthira-sukham-āsanam
The practice of Yoga is the cultivation of the balance between effort and ease.

Greetings. Perhaps you are wondering, where has the author been? I’m proud to report that my absence from this blog had nothing to do with writer’s block. The practice of writing and posting on here has fine-tuned my outrage and given me focus. Even when I’m out of material I’m able to write about that and when all else fails I’ve always got 1-4 blogs in the chamber, ready to be posted. The goal was to develop the skills and habits of a columnist and come up with 800 words every day, neat and fine. I have had vague aspirations to find work as a columnist, to fly it up on their pole and reap the benefits of a syndicated readership. These things have not changed. I am confident that I can deliver on the daily, should I find such gainful employment as a journalist. The practice has paid off. It worked, and it’s been nothing but kinghigh fun and real adventure in the great indoors coming up with these missives to deliver to you all.
As a devoted (and cherished) reader
you’re also aware of my deeper desire to always find ways to serve my Art more efficiently. Ultimately I have been finding for a way to have my Art serve me.
Aho. I am after nothing but the complete realization of the Artist, that one day my work will sustain me. Differing from these catch-as-can hours stolen from the dayshift and the dayjob-on the hustle, I envision a time, perhaps 10 years from now or even tomorrow, when writing is the hustle.
Throughout the 190 posts written over the last 3 years a common thread has emerged and reemerged and it is one of health. Getting better. Getting effective. I envisioned that my health and well-being would ultimately only serve my Art, maybe even add some years to my life, years that I could devote to this grand vision I have been serving for 21 years now.
And what a grand vision it is. The fucking weight of it is, at times, debilitating. Or buggerall, I’m flying so high that even less gets done. Oh well I didn’t intend for this post to be about my insanity. Or maybe I did.

Where I’ve been-the reason Going For The Throat has been relegated to a weekly publishing schedule is because I’ve been taking it easy. Yup. I know, unheard of right? Lazy sod. Wrong motherfucker wrong. Aho. I’ve been taking it easy in the grandest sense. It’s not like I’ve been stuck in bed or chasing tail around town. I’ve been taking a break from the inner critic. The mechanic, the motherfucker behind the wheel who calls the shots and gets shit done around here. He’s such an asshole. I’ve dealt with him a few different ways over the years but mostly I’ve had to face him with one burning. That’s right, smoking. Nicotine motherfucker. But some shit went down in the mansion and my smoke-free method has failed. The approaching heat of summer has forced us to turn on the air, which of course has opened up the vents, which of course just blows smoke throughout the house and into all the high rooms, even into the ones of tenants who don’t smoke and don’t want to smell it in their apartment. It was a condition of my hire here that I could smoke out the window. But every 6 months or so I get a text from Camp, next door:
The cigarette smoke is getting out of hand.
All this is beside the point. Or maybe it is the point. The act of creation is coupled with the act of destruction. I’ve ratcheted my focus with the help of caffeine and nicotine. Then, when it’s all over, I start to drink. My heroes have taught me well. Not only have they left me with a body of work that I can sink my teeth into, they have shown me how to live. My heroes have shown me how to survive, how to get through and squeak through with the smallest bit of light coming in through the impassive slow corners of nights full of fucked, too-small life. I owe it all to them. But they can’t help me get where I’m going.

As for the weight and scope of this grand vision, shit. I’ve been pecking away at it for decades. But this much madness is too much sorrow. And I’m 38 and it’s time to get this show on the road. Simply put, you haven’t heard much from me these last few weeks because I couldn’t smoke while writing and worse, I couldn’t imagine writing without smoking. So I just smoked. Outside. That was me on the porch reading Phillip Levine with a Dunhill in hand. That was me on the roof smoking MCDs with Hater Blockers on.

The thing is, even when I was writing/posting every day and my golden hours of productivity were up and I was drunk in the afternoon or spooned out in the damp night looking for a way to murder the day, the real fuck in the ass is that this method did not serve the vision either. It’s mostly either perpetuated the blues or helped me deal with them. For true.
When you consider that my plans include owning and operating my own printing press, equipping myself with a home studio for podcasts and getting out on the road once or twice a month, lying around like a fuckall Hemingway and whiling away the afternoons won’t cut it. Aho. It just won’t do.

So here we are. Up on the plateau but at an impasse. Finding for a new way to make this dream real, hoping the new ideal and trying to break through, listless and without product-derelict and bored with no help from heroes but-it’s ok. I can see a different way and it makes sense to me now.

From up on the mountain I can suddenly see the chain.

mala