Jim Trainer

Posts Tagged ‘health’

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


“This much madness is too much sorrow.”

In Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, Poetry, recovery, self-publishing, sobriety, Writing, WRITING PROCESS on November 4, 2015 at 1:23 pm

…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.
Emotional Physics

come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

Lucille Clifton

Aho good reader. I have gone independent. Thanks to Rubina Martini and the Independent Publishing Resource Center, I have 83 poster pressed and perfectly bound, black on yellow copies of September, my latest collection of poetry. Sometime after Farewell to Armor was released, I came to the sad realization that a publisher isn’t required to do anything for you. Assuming it’s in their best interest to sell books is a mistake and grossly overlooks what a publisher actually does for your publication. I owe allot to WragsInk. They came along at just the right time. I just got off a 2 year unemployment jag/drunk. I had to leave the premises, I had a little over two grand in savings, $2,500 of which was owed to Gioconda Parker for Yoga Teacher Training, and I totaled my car on the onramp to Ben White one rainy night that spring. I was in trouble. It was the usual kind, nothing that couldn’t be beat with a few years of hard labor or shifts as a bartender-but my real work would suffer and I’d have to stay underground for the remainder of my 30s. Without the work, the sum total of my life would be a brutal and tiresome slog and succession of day labor, shit jobs and dysfunctional relationships. I’d have to consider all options including the great shame of going back home, with my tail between my legs and not even a college degree for all my trouble. In a last ditch effort I called up Maleka Fruean and booked a reading at Big Blue Marble Bookstore. It was at that reading I would meet Richard Okewole; and begin sifting through over 250 poems to come up with the final manuscript for Farewell (and fall in love with the editor in the process). That book kept me alive. Kept me current. Prompted me to reach out to great writers like Don Bajema and reconnect with great writers like Butch Wolfram. The rest is history except I wasn’t pleased. I wouldn’t be pleased until I published my own book and founded my own press. A heaping 2/3 of that goal has been completed. I’m back from the Pacific Northwest and I’ve got 25 days left to achieve my goal. Looks like another crash course and this time it’s business. But if the past 2 months are any indication of how this’ll go down, I’m gonna have to make some changes. Some much needed ones, long overdue. My psoas is cranked tighter than a clock spring. I’ve been smoking a pack of triple-nickels every day since the summer. I’ve got big ideas but most of the time I just sit in their thrall, daydreaming and smoking on the roof. I understand the importance of rest. And I know for sure I’m gonna need a partner in crime. It’s high time for me to finish my teacher training and get back on the path of health and happiness. We both know about the dirty decades I spent, living with my Art above all else. My goals seared through romance and contentment. My focus narrowed to the barrel of a gun. I was never sure if I could make it but was certain I would die if I didn’t. It’s time for some integration, some inclusion, something other than the madness of a dayworking poet, at odds against the fucking world. I quit drinking. And I can’t really see a reason to go back to that lifestyle. “No-chance” was a great myth.  It fueled me on but it’s just a myth.   As it is I feel like my days are squandered in a retroactive doubt, which is another blog post entirely.

It’s time to finish what I started. I’ve pulled myself up and out of the ashtray. The struggle to become an aritst is over. Now is this surrendering to being one. To go forth into this world I’ve made. The dream cracked wide. My chosen destiny.  

stick with me baby, anyhow
things should start to get interesting
right about now
-Bob Dylan, Mississippi

Join me.

On Writing

In Being A Writer, Writing on May 14, 2014 at 11:37 am


She wants to keep it light. Fuckin A. Hard to argue with that. I been up against it so long, I fight shadows in the dark and create problems for myself in Paradise. Yep. This old soldier’s plenty battle worn and more than a little loopy. Be nice to take it ease, as they say in South Philly. But it ain’t easy taking it easy. She can’t save me. Nobody can.
I don’t need to be forgiven.
-Young Widows
The only thing that will ever save me is my Art. You’ve heard me write it before. My art has been the salve, the anchor, the reason and the way out, again and again. The buddhists were right. The way out is the way in. And so it goes.

And so, at this juncture, with the bad blues whipped and PLENTY of time to git behind the great white machine, and my oft confessed desire to be something other than a beer-swilling Bukowski wannabe, I will now address writing.
That fucking beast!
Lately I have discovered that my modus operandi has very little, if anything at all, to do with it. I thought I needed to smoke to write. Turns out I was just writing so I could stay out on the roof and burn down another triple-nickel with a lizard eye trained on the beautiful women of Judge’s Hill paying visit the mansion. Turns out I smoke because I am out of my mind. Or perhaps Dr. Asare was right and cannot deal with the world otherwise.
Also, turns out that I can either change it all, get hip, or just take the plunge and go deeper: full-drunk and continue waking up with a headache and a hardon in a nest of typewritten pages. Aho those drunk pages have a flow! They’re far from brilliant and further from coherent, but-whuddiaygonnado?
The truth is, writing is such a battle for me, I sometimes wonder if I should just get a job and do something else.

The only lasting and final danger is this contentment. There’s not one goddamn thing wrong in my life right now. My health informs my Art but better, it sustains it. And shit. This much madness has been too much sorrow.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been performing at least twice a month since I got back from Philly in December, and the crowds are loving it. Performing my work has been a boon to my writing. A reason and a schedule. And let’s not forget the Great White Machine. The machine does all the work, as I was telling Georgia at the White Party on Saturday. The hardest part of writing is sitting down. And that’s it. That’s the gist of it. The nut. The hard 90% that once you win, sells the other 10. Buys the other 10, part&parcel motherfucker.
And so the problem becomes, good&cherished Reader, how do you sit down for the length of time to write 800 words at-a-time? Just like this…or, I mean, other than this? With some undying, burning artist’s credo to do it now, motherfucker-rail against the dayjob and the nightjob and hate the sun for the way it keeps moving on me and if I told you what I was doing today would you shut up and get out of my way? Caffeine Caffeine Caffeieeeeeeeeeeeeene motherfucker and than beer after beer after beer after-ya, you know. Have I rivaled my heroes? Will I ever? Is trying to catch up with them…attainable, or even sustainable?
I got a bead on me. I wake up more me than anyone will ever be for their whole life. Shit, I gotta be me, whoever that is. Keep stripping that old armor and stop trying to live down my working-class, Upper Fucking Darby karma. Do you see what just happened?
Just like that it snaps. My desire to be better has backslid into a slimy transgression of self-hatred or better-the unholy pressure I put on myself, some kinghell kind of pressure that amounts to nothing in the end except a pack a day habit, too many beers and an anger problem.

But I wrote that book already. In fact it was just last summer that I lost my adolescence. It couldn’t of happened at a better time, unless sleeping homeless in the cemetery of your hometown with an abscess and the teachers of your community college on strike for 2 more weeks of endless summer was the time. DCCC, 93.

Be great to get Zen with it. Breathe. Really chisel at the fucking thing-this “story of my life”. Certainly cut down on trips to the beer store and rule out anymore heavy telephone calls to the girl.
She’s a sweet one. A rare and precious jewel. With the hair of a raven and a smile warmer than the Texas sun. She inspires me to pay attention. Get some writing done and finished, if only to get out into the night, meet her at the dancehall and put my hands on those curves. Those curves are the best writing I’ll ever do. And so I’ve got some catching up to do. And she knows this. She’s right. Even a fool like me can see that.

And so the beast of writing has tamed the beast in me. Writing’s the real problem. Nothing wrong with Jimbo that some Yoga and meditation won’t fix. Or another Guinness and the Counting Crows at 12. Yep. Writing. That cruel Crew Boss, that endless cavern beneath the earth that leads to the sky. But in the coal mines of daylabor writing’s the canary that will never die. We of the Yellow Lark.

Viva la ficción.
Cheung Wai ain’t got nothin on me.
Never Forget The Workers of Upper Big Branch

See you in June.
Austin, TX



In Uncategorized on November 18, 2010 at 2:35 am

…lame duck Congressional decision whether to extend Unemployment Benefits…Yoga, smoking, why after more than two weeks of dragging it around I wake up today firing on all four cylinders…

On September 1st of this year I was laid off from my bartending job at the Whip In.  I was awarded Unemployment Compensation, just enough to pay my bills and nothing else.  I immediately got to work. 

I started building the promotions machinery for my music:  twitter, Facebook.  I set up a recording session with my friend Slim Bawb out at the Swamp, his studio in Cedar Creek.  I started attending shows and talking with other musicians.  I found out where they were playing and attended their shows with fliers in hand for mine.  I talked with venue owners, club owners.  I started looking into booking out-of-town gigs.

I got to work on the writing too.  I submitted my poetry for publication.  I contacted old zines who I used to write for, I contacted new ones to see if I could write for them.  I wrote a short story late one night, beer drunk.  I started about three other short stories that may never see the light of day.  I contacted friends of mine who were writers and poets

I looked into getting my website up to speed.  I want it to encompass all my endeavors from journalism, poetry, fiction and writing to my music, shows, tracks and appearances.  I talked with photographers about doing some photo shoots for the site.

Slowly but surely I am piecing enough work together to sustain me.  Congress has until November 30th to extend unemployment benefits.  I am hoping to have enough work together that ideally I won’t have to sign on to a job permanently or permanently full-time. 

I feel like a goddamn fool.  And it’s scary as hell out here.  I have a new friend and her name is Havilah.  She too is a singer/songwriter and has been practicing Yoga for many years.  She took me to my first class in over a decade.  She’s helping me realize that you’ve got to turn your mind off.  And don’t I know it.  Action is beyond thought.  Action is its own means and its own ends.  I need to get on a regimen with this.  Get back in touch with my body while I still have a chance to get healthy.

The old me likes to smoke many many cigarettes and get pensive about things.  Some underachiever/overachiever part of me thinks that in order for something to happen it must be at the forefront of all thought, all action, in order for it to be achieved.  This is a fallacy.  You just need to determine what it is, meditate on that and…ta-da! Let it Go.  For real.  Clutching onto something so tightly will not bring your dreams any closer.  In fact the opposite is true. 

So…Yoga.  Thinking about cutting down on smoking.  Meditation.  Action.  And enough freelance work to make it through the month.  External stability may not be achieved.  Inner stability is paramount.  I’ll keep you posted.