Jim Trainer

Posts Tagged ‘creative non-fiction’


In Austin, Jim Trainer, self-publishing, Uncategorized, Writing on May 24, 2018 at 2:24 pm

It starts like this.  One word after another.  I snag you from out the ether and I pull you in.  Now you’re three sentences deep–we’ll need no introduction, but you’re gonna need a payoff.   The risks can be steep working in the creative nonfiction business and wasting your time is never an option.  Time wasted is incremental murder.  Time is as serious as death itself and that’s because it’s the only thing standing in her way.  Time is the frontier on which she advances.  I clap my hands around a chigger and it has no more time.  I’m a pacifist but I kill.  I’ve a big heart but people are horrible.  I write 600 words every day sipping sweet espresso and I never have enough time to become who I am.  The risks of working in the creative nonfiction business can be greater than its boons.  You’ve total access and I never wanted to hide but now I’m weary and the enemy has won the round.

Just remember you are also a person, she writes, in response to my declaration that people are horrible.
I am horrible!  I respond, which is no revelation.
We are all horrible, she writes finally and almost sage-like if not for being utterly passive-aggressive and horrible.

There is so much I wish I could tell you that I’ll only regret later if this post should fall into the wrong hands.  The need to stay undercover is strong and could trump my resolution to bring you 600 words of the Real, from the life of a Writer, weekly annals mired both in the daily and dirty of it.  I need to rethink it and I’ll need some time away.  For every horrible person I’ve transacted with in the last 3 weeks there is one of you out there who is golden–a guru of friendship and compassion that can hold Lady Death at bay, for a spat of hard laughter from the gut and a gleaming look in your eye worth more to me than a diamond.  You know who you are and I love you.  I just need to get away to get this rig unwound.  I go live in the truest sense this Autumn and I’ll need to lay low and recharge.  You should have more than enough to go on next Friday, when I unleash Take To The Territory unto the world like a map into the wilds of my unction heart.

I’ll still be here, you know I will, but I’m going deeper–hiding out until you find me, and from what I build, you can bet they won’t be able to get to us there.  We’ll be free and in love, in the thrall of real work, across the borderline tilling the hungry land. When I come down from the mountain you won’t be alone. They will be cast aside. The enemy will join us at the table or learn to gnash on themselves.

Calling out to hungry hearts
everywhere through endless time
You who wander, you who thirst,
I offer you this heart of mine.
Calling out to hungry spirits
everywhere through endless time,
Calling out to hungry hearts
all the lost and the left behind.
Gather round and share this meal
your joy and your sorrow
I make them mine.
–Zen Buddhist Invocation

Join Jim Trainer next Friday June 1, at Malvern Books, in celebrating the release of Take To The Territory, his fourth full-length collection of poetry, through Yellow Lark Press.  Featuring Brown Thought and Christine Schiele.  7PM

Take Your Medicine

In alcoholism, recovery, Uncategorized on December 21, 2017 at 2:05 pm

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

I’ve really let myself go. I’m doing my best but my best is paltry and weak. Nights I fall out, days I do what I have to. What I know, in my mind, is fear. It’s fear keeping me in line, not taking any chances. What I don’t know, in my body, is trauma, or the memory of it, the abuse that continues, that’s changed me and keeps me on a dark and narrow track. I tried to disengage from this blog. I shared poetry and performances and I wrote about others. Writing about others came home to roost when they started taking notice. Not so much because they took notice but for the kind of attention they paid to being what I felt was a hack anyway. It’s all fine and well. Writing isn’t a perfect art. Guns need to be cleaned and even then you’ll breach wide and fire into the blue—instead of taking down the enemy you only alert them to your location. My explanations only dug me in deeper. To the uninitiated, the newsletter I sent out last week made me sound petty and worse. There’s no excuse. It’s not funny anymore. Asserting masculinity can no longer be at the expense of femininity. True power never seeks without but always comes from within. We know this, and the world going to pot? That’s no excuse either. Ultimately, the truth is a good medicine. It’s often bitter and harsh but that doesn’t make hiding out in the dark any easier or any more sense being afraid. The truth hurts but it’s trauma that keeps us hid and a memory of pain that’ll keep us suckling at a lie.

This is the blog I’ve been trying to write—for weeks, the diamond in the mire and sticky dross of gossip and vituperation. I can’t live down that it worked, for a while, that I felt like I was living Mencken’s life of kings slinging ‘em down week after week. There’s hardly anything more satisfying than taking down the Goliath in 600 words. Nothing feels better than a bourbon in the morning either, but the real problem ain’t the hangover. The truth is the truth. When the light of day finds you it can feel like it’s cutting you down your cold middle, especially if you’ve been hiding out stanchioned in the frozen night. The light ain’t wrong, the light is the light. It feels good on your back and bids you enter the sacred spaces of dusk and dawn. The night is ok for poets and soldiers advancing, and alcoholics and sex addicts—me, I’m peeling back the layers. I quit drinking to get to the Real and oh boy have I. The fireworks, Doc, have started. I’m confronting myself, it’s dank and musty in here and like the song says there’s too many skeletons in my room today.

I been trying to dig myself out. Hang up the gossip column and get to the hard stuff. I fell into a hall of mirrors. I was so busy trying to convince others what an artist I was, when the truth is I was only trying to prove it to myself and either way I haven’t been an artist, haven’t been writing—not in earnest, anyway. I wrote about chronic masturbation at the end of the world, burying horrible xs and practically day drinking cocktails of resentment and woe, leaning grim and perverted beneath the masthead of this column. I was getting by, which, for a co-dependent, alcoholic, anger addict is ok. It’s better than getting fucked up or shacked up or using precious bandwidth on folks who can’t even comprehend the problems you’re railing on. It’s fine and well, survival. It’s what we know but, to thrive? Like our heroes have done, to thrive is far from this day to day I’ve taken on—delivery shifts and YouTube marathons, sugar gorges and late, musty masturbatory mornings. As deplorable as the Gossip was, and as trite that I’d be focusing on someone else are the endings of these posts. They’re always wrapping it concisely, in a bow for bullshit. It’s contrite and positive and 20th Century Essay Writing 101. Don’t leave your readers behind in the mess and quagmire you’ve lead them down—lift them up Good Writer. I can’t anymore, Good Reader. I can’t lift you up. You’re on your own. We’re on our own. This is our world now. At least I’m not having to explain, though–backpedaling into sexist doublespeak that was somehow supposed to defend a heartbroken romantic on the edge of Empire.

Sometimes the best you can do is call it, a bad hand is a bad hand, as she used to say, and probably still does, in her happy married life far and away from me and my mawkish bullshit. See you next week, motherfucker?

The Problem With Creative Non-Fiction

In Being A Writer, blogging, Writing, WRITING PROCESS on December 25, 2014 at 8:16 pm

The blog is a bust because you’re afraid she’ll read it? You’re Jim Motherfucking Trainer! You’re a bad ass. You wouldn’t edit yourself for anyone!
You’re an artist-you take inspiration as it comes, its part of the process. Without sharing, you pretty much have a diary.
You’re promoting your work, it’s part of the business. This is your career. You gave her your heart, don’t give her your career.
Write. Publish. Blow the fuck up, and she can stay home and smoke pot and pretend she’s Anaïs Nin while you’re out there doing it.

-My good friend Red

Aho good reader. Been a minute. Only took me 13 false starts and a shit ton of self-flagellation but, here it is-a long overdue missive from the iconoclast. “False starts” is a bad way to put it and “13” is weak on the outside. I’ve penned allot more than 13 posts since the last time we met on here, but they’ve only sat in the draft folder. I’d love to try and bring it back for you-it’s good writing-but it’s out of context and, in some cases, months old. A diary indeed.

The Problem With Creative Non-Fiction is the very thing I have found it most useful for-its transparency, its immediacy and its honesty. These things assured that I would never run out of material and never have writer’s block again. As long’s I got up in the morning there would be something to write about. And it’s done wonders ridding me of the enemy, be it my own agony&blues or the myriad of unreasonable tyrannies thrust upon sensitive souls like we. Aho. Bosses have met their end here, and phony rock&rollers, goodtimers, pols, police, any and all comers but especially the Big Business of News Reporting and my ex-girlfriends. And therein lies the rub, good reader. ‘Cause sometimes I don’t want to be seen, and going to war with your enemies only esteems them.
Perhaps the Buddhists are right, the best living is done with compassion and the ultimate expression of the human heart is a flowering. Not a stonewall or with venom, but in love. That’s a fine vision and a noble path. One I hope to really be making tracks down someday. But in the meantime I couldn’t find anything equally true and suited for the public. And I was sunk in hatred. Pocked with it, tell you the truth. I had the blinds down for 90+ days of a hateful season. My cocoon swelled like a cyst with venom but I had no release. I wore out my friends and it rained all the time. The fiction didn’t stop, mind you. Neither the movable feast and parade of beautiful women passing through my life and my days here. Point is I was swoll with rejection. I had it streaking down the boulevard like a scavenger and striated on my abdomen, lying destitute on my big red bed. But I couldn’t report on it. I was fucked.

“You know, you get up there on stage and talk about how all these crazy bitches did you wrong, but you’re the one who’s crazy. You know that, right?”
-Madi Distefano, Co-Curator, PoTTy Mouth

Aho, betty. Ain’t lost on me. A couple things, though, sweetheart, and here they are:
I’m a Pisces, I’m squirrely. And I was born in the Year of the Wood Cat. We rabbits avoid confrontation at any cost. We’re always nosediving it back into our holes, and quickly. We’re he luckiest sign of the Chinese Zodiac, although, again, the rabbit’s luck is less his divine providence than his diligent and meticulous work ethic.
I’d rather be a rabbit than a snake-but I’ve shared more than a glorious summer with a fine woman born under that sign. She was svelte, naturally, and she had the ability to molt off the world and its petty concerns. She was a Gemini as well so she had that mutable magic working for her. Weekends with her are etched on my heart. I won’t be soon forgetting her as she is tied with Papa for number of poems written in tribute. Ah but I was so much older then. But I’m not 25 anymore. Christ I’m not even 35 anymore. And the summer is over.
The other thing is I never explain my work. I might talk about it, in the right context, such as with my Editor or good friend The Reverend. But I will never, ever, EVER explain my work. Why? Well, first and foremost, it’s writing, and it’s meant to be read. Now, if you hear me reading it on stage or on the air or whatever, then it’s the same thing except you have the benefit of nuance, and subtlety can be ascertained.  Basically there is no difference except you are entreated to an even better reading of my work if you see it performed live or on film. The key word here is reading. As mentioned, it is writing. And as such it is meant to be read. Not discussed with you or anyone else. I can’t think of anything more simultaneously gratifying and utterly insulting than someone asking me, about my work,
Did that really happen?
Of course it did. You read it, didn’t you? The other reason I will never explain my work is because. Motherfucking because. Keep in mind that this goes both ways. I’ll never explain my work but nor will I ever use my writing as a dishrag and be petty and with “computer balls”. I assure you, if we have a problem we will discuss it in person. Unless you’re not really worth my time-which is the real reason I haven’t been posting to Going For The Throat these last few months. It just wasn’t worth it.

Stay tuned to Going For The Throat for further installments of “The Problem With Creative Non-Fiction”, including Trainer’s contributions to RawPaw and its PLOG, his lecture at Texas State last June and missives from the Terrible Summer while out on the road in Hot Springs, AK, New Orleans, LA and Hostile City, USA this winter.