Jim Trainer

Posts Tagged ‘locked in the arms of a crazy life’

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.

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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