Jim Trainer

Posts Tagged ‘being a writer’

FLOWERS OF RAGE

In Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, day job, mid life, middle age, Poetry, Uncategorized, Writing, writing about writing, WRITING PROCESS on June 29, 2016 at 3:45 pm
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EUNUCH BLUES (18 of 30)

In Being A Poet, Being A Writer, National Poetry Month, poem, Poetry, THIRTY FOR THIRTY CHALLENGE, Writing, writing about writing on April 18, 2016 at 10:23 pm

The Perils of Sobriety

In alcoholism, anger, anxiety, Being An Artist, blogging, depression, getting sober, mental health, recovery, self-help, sober, sobriety, WRITER'S BLOCK, Writing, WRITING PROCESS on March 17, 2016 at 11:11 am

When will I end this bitter game?
When will I end this cruel charade?
Everything I write all sounds the same
Each record that I’m making is like a record that I’ve made
just not as good
I’m Dead (But I Don’t Know It), Randy Newman

Thirteen months without a drink.  81 days without a smoke.  I haven’t sworn off sex but I haven’t had any since Portland.  In my rip torn and agitated state that’s probably for the best.  But the hardest thing for me to quit was hash.  I might as well come clean and I might as well do it here.  Anytime I try and walk sideways around the truth, the blog suffers.  I get by with letters and poems because I’d rather not post anything that isn’t true.  We’ve come too far down the savage road together for me to hold back.  Conspicuous lulls at Going For The Throat have names, names I’ll never write.  There’s the 4 month lull in late ’13 and I miss her still.  There’s a lull in the terrible summer of 2014, and I will hate her for the rest of my life.  Rather than ingratiate anybody in reverie or venom I just disappear.  I opt to suffer all by myself and suffer I do, good reader.  Blogging clears the chamber, it’s a high wire act with the blues and it’s surgery without anesthesia.  I’m a transmission junkie and I’ll never kick.  Without the lifeline of this blog I gnash and isolate, I sink and writhe in utter rue.  As bad as it can get, it’s still better than her knowing that I think of her at all.  Spite wins the round.  I spite myself this holy release just so she can wither away, maybe scroll down the archives for awhile until she’s hooked some other sucker to wag her dog and feed her head.  My well documented success and failure with women isn’t the point, nor are my colossal oedipal issues and attraction to narcissistic bitches.  My point was about quitting hash and being honest with you, good reader.  Honesty is the rule.  I wasn’t heavy into the stuff, I never took more than one hit in a 24-hour period.  It always put me in a good mood or at least changed the channel in my mind.  I could blast off with it and there have been many afternoons at the writing desk bracing myself like an astronaut:
Phone:off  Coffee:iced Vaporizer:full Earplugs:in Sunglasses:on  FIRE!
It was instant inspiration and something different.  Something different goes a long way when the mind is full of the tired and repeating reel of failure and regret, doom and dread.  You could say it lifted my spirits but putting it that way makes it sound harmless and whimsical-2 things that my poetry will never be.  While high on hash, I also run the risk of encountering a tall blonde actress in the court, crunching down black heels and looking up to say hello to me, golem-like, on the roof, but, stoned to the gills I would have no clever retort and in fact only drop my cigarette, grunt and regret this moment for the rest of my life.  Hash took me outside myself, which isn’t a bad proposition when my mind is full of knives-but ultimately it disconnected me from myself and for the type of work I do that is heresy.  Writing and rock and roll connect me to the deep and innermost parts of myself.  Parts I’ve learned to gloss over when dealing with a cheap and fast world looking for soundbite size validation, nothing to deep or pestering, no heavy questions but only placid answers and cocktail conversation.  Whoops.  Sorry for the anger but not really.  The anger is what I uncovered as soon’s I stopped chasing the black dragon and burning that horrible, horrible wonderful drug.  Last we spoke it was bad anxiety on the dais but now it looks like I’ve gone nuclear.  Now it’s a sun of anger that never sets.  I should hope that underneath these maelstroms of emotion is energy, energy better served advancing the real work and fueling me on to the next plateau of a 20+ year career as a lion tamer, fire walker, acrobat, bullfighter and blue collar soldier-Writer.  Which is also the point.  Ain’t living long like this.  This caregiving gig’s been a godsend.  It gave me things like a bedtime and meals.  Christ, anything besides the movable feast my life had become when I got this job would’ve been welcomed, and it saved me.  It saved me from madness, from the ghastly depths of alcoholism and the wicked tyranny of sexual obsession.  It cut the drama way down and I really found out who my friends are.  My life now is on an even keel, there’s no high drama or conquest, nights are quiet and slow and the mornings are bright and clever.  I’ve nothing to hold on to when the monkey of my mind starts throwing knives.  When the heart starts roaring I get sucked in, I’m lost in the blast without a whisky or stockinged thigh to brace me.  I vacillate between volcanic states of anger and the terrible anxiety of the hunted hare.  I’m bored and boring all the time.  I’m dead but I don’t know it.  It’s everything I ever wanted.

Ugh

In Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, Jim Trainer, mental health, TOUR, travel, travel writing on February 2, 2016 at 5:04 pm

The present paints the past with gold.  The past paints the future with lead.
-Henry Rollins

Have a seat.  This could take awhile.  I write about things to understand them, get an edge on pain or clear a vista, high and wide, so I can take the grand view.  When I started writing in earnest I was a young man.  The channels were clear, my health was good and life hadn’t broke my heart yet.  With a CVS notebook I could tell the future.  As a writer and an artist I could study motif, could meld the physical world and I could self-realize.  But maybe I was just green.  Innocent.  The real challenge could be to try it now, prophesy at the stubborn age of 40, marked and beat by life, and some battles won-the argument could be made that only now can I self-realize and that’s because I’ve become who I am.

I believe in everything and nothing.  I believe in that angry, young man.  Looking back I think the kid really came through. I also believe that it was a young man’s thinking that I could somehow be whatever I wanted.  As much I never wanted to be like my old man I am him, and at the same time nothing like him at all.  I’ve heard that life doesn’t begin until your Father dies.  It made sense then and it makes sense now.  I am my old man, with his trappings, his strength, his aloofness and his bitter, black Irish loyalty.  My mother is still alive.  That’s a harder nut to crack.  If I could’ve been whatever I wanted, I would’ve done so without any of her support either.  Unless what I wanted was to stay in school for thirty years but only receive my PhD to retire in the sunny hills of Italy where I’d write part one of my memoir-I was on my own.

It’s hard not to be resentful.  Just as hard to do it too, and get overcome with an old and tyrannical anger.  When my dad left, she called the shots, and her shots amounted to sleeping in the park on Christmas Eve for not raking the leaves.  What a fucking quagmire-to feel it sting and simultaneously surmise how pointless and inane it all is.  My youth made me who I am.  As mentioned, the kid came through.  In fact he’s here with me and we shudder, and get struck by the lightning of anxiety when it’s time to get it on the books-that is, take it on the road and self-realize a dream of mine to be an artist full-time.  If I’d of took his example I’d be dead in 10 years.  If I took her example I’d of went to school on her dime and retire to a condo in the sky with two-thousand copies of my latest book in the closet, and plans to hit the big 5 by 2017.

Instead I sit here in the bright afternoon coughing up these words and performing surgery on myself.  I look back and read over this post and it’s a living, throbbing thing.  I’m caught between a torrential anger toward parents who never supported me and a crippling anxiety about the future.  One could argue that these are heads of the same monster-one looking back in disgust and the other looking ahead in dread.  There is no way out.  Only in and through.  As sure as these United States sprawling across the laminated map on the southern office wall.  As sure as the Great White Machine and copier/printer/scanner propped up beside the desk.  As sure as the Bose wireless dialed into 44 gigs, the half full SD card and the Tacoma Guild hanging on the wall.  Have iPad, will travel.  I’ll be stalking this dream awhile longer.  As if there could be any doubt.  Not from you, good Reader.  Never.  Wherever is your heart I call home

 

To Confront Junk

In alcoholism, journalism, music journalism, news media, punk rock, recovery, Writing on December 1, 2015 at 1:45 pm

Twenty years on the outside can seem like a lifetime.    I have fled the wreckage of family, hometown, God&Country.  I ‘ve never owned a tv and I’ve never listened to pop music.  I only sank deeper and deeper into a dream. I know what you’re thinking, no problem.  It ain’t lost on me that I’m the envy of every suburban warrior denizen who for whatever reason bought in to this cheap culture of patriarchy and bloodsport.  My aim was to never be like my Father who, for all his admissions to the Man, still found a way to live as far outside the madding crowd as the taxman would allow.  Point is, I’ve done it.  I’m never like him (besides the fact that I am him but, aho).  Mission Accomplished.  And in 11 short years I’ll have rivaled his lifetime, or go down like him, quick and young.  Whatever the fates hold in store, if I’m not like my father then the question becomes what now?
This morning, instead of going to Yoga, I laid in bed drinking coffee and reading Damien Echols.  I’ve been chain smoking Shag all day, never good, and drinking black roast.  I listen to Blind Pilot and Nick Drake on Spotify, which is the worst of all these.  Last night I took a trip down Resentment Lane, you know, just checking in.  Another upset.  Another rupture.  Another splinter of isolation.  I’m running out of people.  I’ve blocked more people than you have on your friends list, and, you know what they say.  If you encounter an asshole, they’re having a bad day.  If everyone you encounter is an asshole, then you’re the one with the problem Brother.  That axiom will do nothing for those of us who know we’re assholes, however.
I’m very aware that there is a fine layer separating me from the world at all times.  Sadly whenever you talk to me, I’m away.  In the past, the exception were those who I deemed true, whom I coveted, held court with, sometimes participating in an unspoken and co-dependent exchange.  Our deal.  They’d tolerate me, tempests of anger and ice-storms of isolation, battles over perceived slights and who knows what-the-fuck else, I wish I did, but drinking was part of the deal-and I’d suffer their flaws.  A vicious cycle.  Say what you will about alcohol but we needed it to scale our walls.  Whatever it took.    Some (most) of the best memories of my life involve alcohol, groundswells of emotion and passion that a Pisces like me thrives on.  But the mornings got darker and darker.  I got sick.  I would say I got further and further from my authentic self but there was no movement.  A whisky drunk can be fun when you’re young.  After 30 it’s just sad.
My quest for Refuge, combined with bitter droughts of alcohol and isolation, has found me right where I left off, my Father’s son and at the bottom of a rock&roll journalist dream.

I was doing it wrong but I’m not letting go of the dream. There’s something calling me back into the fray.  My eyes have been opened.  I have seen and will never unsee.  It’s not lost on me that as I sit here doing this Leonard Cohen bit, smoking by the window and writing lyrics, that just 15 blocks from here some of the wisest and most devoted practitioners of Yoga are gathered under one roof and answering the call to prayer.  I can’t keep turning a blind eye to world affairs, keep hoping you’ll join me in wishing them from existence.  I still believe we can do it but they’re all lazy offal.  Thinking for themselves causes them to panic.  It’s too much trouble but it ain’t no thing to defy the calls for peace and understanding and health care from an old punk rocking pacifist/iconoclast like me.  I need to keep an eye out.  I’m called to journalism.  I’m called to health.

they’re calling out for war here, Rose
and I hope you’re safe in Dublin

I won’t say I’m redoubled.  We’ve heard that before.  I like reborn better, cuz I know now, and I’ll never unknow.  I’m 40 and everything I ever wanted has come to me.  I had a limited scope though, when I first drafted this dream.  It’s up for review.  I know what I want and I’m gonna get it.  I’m reentering the fold.  I can only imagine what I will find there, but hopefully it’s some original thought, some understanding, something to help keep my feet planted on the savage road.  This health.  This dream.  This media and this journalism can be ours, you know.  Despite what they’ve told you your whole life, it’s our world.

May your dreams know the mountain and your troubles hit the dirt.

Sincerly, L.Cohen

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.

See A Grown Man Cry

In Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Jim Trainer, poem, Poetry, self-publishing, Writing, WRITING PROCESS on October 8, 2015 at 9:16 pm

“you know you get up there
and tell these stories about how
all these crazy bitches have
done you wrong…”

-Pauper’s Parade

Me and my therapist never talk about women. We always talk about my career. Dr. Jones came recommended from the good folks at SIMS. They said he was confrontational, not the kind to let you get away with anything. Sounded perfect, and 7 months on the good Dr. is asking all the right questions.

Shame I couldn’t keep up with you, good reader. Have you here with me up in the high rooms where it’s killing time. Thanks to Josh Britton, I got 36 poems taped to my kitchen wall. I’ve just stared at them for the last 2 hours and they aren’t ready to tell me what their final order should be. Half are good, solid pieces in a logical order. As mentioned it’s a shame we couldn’t be together, but you can ask Ms.Hawk or any number of good-intentioned people who reached out to me thinking a break might do me good. They were right but I didn’t listen. I just smoked more. Cursed out loud. Blasted the Dropkick Murphy’s and Lords of the Underground. Basically, I behaved like a teenager, in turns proud and utterly destitute about the life I chose over twenty years ago.

Sometimes I draw strange but irrefutable connections in my work. Some days I walk around with the same poem beginning and ending, getting stuck on … in my mind, driving me crazy until I can get in front of the PC and load up InDesign to take a look. The point I keep coming back to in this seemingly pointless post is I wish I could’ve maintained our connection and continued with all other creative endeavor. As it was I had to put off KO, suspend Letter Day until further notice, change my mind about playing at the Brunch show and just show up at the gig and hope it’s entertaining. It’s not lost on me that I enjoy my work. It’s everything I ever wanted. You’re not lost on me either, good reader. I see you in my stats bar and it’s everything. I’d like to think that someday soon I’ll have it all together and I’ll be sending word out while I’m interviewing great writers, writing songs and practicing the harmonica, and all of it hinging on a robust Yoga/meditation practice. At the very least I could’ve bided my time making a business plan for the book, instead of staring at 36 poems and chain smoking on the roof on the verge of tears for the last 14 days.

Your readership is not nothing. In fact it’s everything and so, the de facto business plan for September and Yellow Lark Press is to fly up to Portland in a couple weeks, run off 100 books on a letterpress, offset the cover and do some screen printed broadsides. I know I can sell 100 books. And I know I can because I know you. Preorder your copy of September and you’ll receive one of a hundred machine pressed and perfectly bound copies of my latest work.

The collection is largely about what we already know. Long hours on the sinking throne, writing poetry while staring at grackle and drinking iced coffee until I spot her coming up Judge’s Hill dressed business formal. The thrust of her hips is the prime mover of the universe, her boom swagger swagger boom boom swagger boom boom boom knocking some sense into me, believing in the dream again, setting the veins alight with the gamble of life, ripping the page out, loading the wheel and getting back to work.

Shrieks from Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#24

In Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, poem, Poetry, poetry submission, submitting poetry, Writing on September 29, 2015 at 2:25 pm

Hey Jim Trainer,

Congratulations! “Untitled (2)” has been accepted for publication at The Bookends Review. Please e-mail us with a brief biography, and if you’d like, a commentary on your work. We are under the assumption that you are not publishing these pieces elsewhere. If you ever do, please say that they were published with us first. If you agree to acceptance, you are granting us permission to post your work on our website, as well as include it in potential print editions (such as yearly anthologies).

Thanks again.

Sincerely,
The Bookends Review

Beacons

In Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Jim Trainer, Poetry, Writing, WRITING PROCESS on September 23, 2015 at 9:02 pm

I’m loving reading yr poems, man. Seriously. I’m excited to be a part of this project, and honored again. Autumn is coming right on time.

Roughly forty poems sent out to Josh Britton at Snakes Will Eat You. He’s giving them a read over to get a feel for the design of the new collection, and to give me a much needed shot in the arm. I trust him. The SWAMP EP wouldn’t have seen the public light of day were it not for him. When I sent him the final mix, I told him those songs would only be used for promotion and booking. He talked me out of that right quick. Because he’s a badass and possesses the rare talent to get through to me, speak a truth of praise that can be heard above the calamitous din of deathly doubt and self sabotage. My trust in him and our collaboration is priceless.
Truth is, it doesn’t take much for me to go from hero to zero and base my entire existence on a line break in a free verse poem. I can get crushed. Despondent. Perhaps it’s my critical nature that gives the work an edge. Perhaps the same vulnerability that opens me up to what feels like crushing failure is the same naivete and openness with which I approach the blank page. Creator Destroyer. Artist.

Either way, I’m on my own. Out in the wilderness without a clue as to why I should be rewarded for my efforts let alone a rhyme scheme. I’m forging my own language with poetry. My vision is based on the one-in-a-million shot at ubiquity (fame) of Hank Bukowski. My business model relies on the audacity of punk rockers like Hank Rollins. I’m forging my own language with poetry, which makes editing it slippery and harebrained. Poetry itself is largely unrecognized and incorrectly assumed to be cryptic, only for intellectuals. The whole thing is an exercise in complete and utter solitude coupled with a dumb hope in alchemy-forging the lead of loneliness into the gold of solitude or even a few shekels for reading it into a microphone under the hot lights somewhere out there in America …
I’m inches from calling it a day, working 60 hours a week caring for a quadriplegic, without a car or a prayer and a slate white IBM Selectric II on a broad oak table. Savage. And then there he is, my compatriot. Out there reading my stuff and giving me a glimpse of something other than my total failure as an artist and other old stories I’ve been telling myself since adolescence.  And there are all of you, why hello there good reader…how lucky, how fortunate we are to have each other like this.

Thank Christ for you. Breaking up the lonely long hours on the sinking throne, betting on the muse…it can get pretty desperate out here. Lonely. Alien. Outcast. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

FullSizeRender (1)

Shrieks from Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#22: PUBLISHED

In Austin, Being A Writer, Correspondence, going for the throat, Poetry, poetry submission, Submitting on August 27, 2015 at 12:55 pm

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