updates & such
I know, I haven’t sent you a message in four months. But I’m still here, and keeping busy. Here’s some stuff that’s been going on with me since I last wrote:
I’m still doing the Writer-in-Residence thing, for a few more days, at least. My most recent post is about my favorite albums and EPs of 2021, and the one before that is about the Tony Fitzpatrick exhibition currently at the Cleve Carney Museum of Art (& really about Tony’s art in general, plus hella Chicago feelings). I’ve written a lot of things for the WiR site since I last sent one of these missives, so if you haven’t been following along with those, you can catch up here.
One of the things I wrote for the site in October—“Halloween (The Devil’s Ball)”—ended up getting expanded into a zine, titled Every Day is Halloween (or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Being Goth). It’s available for sale via Etsy, but I’ve closed my Etsy shop until mid-January because I’m swamped with other stuff. If you want to order one before I re-open the shop, they’re $3 (shipping included within the U.S.) or trade. Send me a message if you want one. (Pssst, paid subscribers to this newsletter get a free .pdf of the zine.)
I have a track on the Hello America Stereo Cassette Fall Collection. I’m also now writing a column for Hello America’s website, excerpts from a longer work-in-progress (novel? novella? zine? all of the above?) which is all loosely connected by the music and existence of the World/Inferno Friendship Society. The first two installments are up now (1 & 2), the third should be up in January.
I’ve been interviewed on three different podcasts: A Brief Chat, Left the Hose On, and Textual Healing. So, if you wanna hear me ramble about things like zines & separating the art from the artist (or not) & punk rock & ghosts & Mary-as-dark-goddess & folk music & Gen X vs. Millenials &…check ‘em out.
In the next four days, I’ll be posting two final things on the Writer-in-Residence blog, the first of which will be the video I made about writing & publishing perzines. (I’ve been writing so much about zines that I’ve been having hella zinester nostalgia, and I remembered how this zine pal of mine & I used to have a running joke where we’d say: “Yeah, I’ve got issues…of my zine!” Sad trombone noise.)
One of my poems will be appearing in the next issue (#10) of Fine Print, which is pretty exciting.
Another exciting thing: about a year ago, I was contacted by Gregor Gall, who was working on a book about Joe Strummer’s politics & impact. He was looking for a variety of perspectives, including those of people from younger generations and/or from outside the UK. Somehow, he’d gotten my name from a mutual acquaintance who had spoken highly of my writing and my obsession with Joe/The Clash. So, Gregor contacted me and then asked me some questions. And now that book—The Punk Rock Politics of Joe Strummer—is available for preorder!
And speaking of punk books: I’m going to be rereleasing What We Talk About When We Talk About Punk in 2022. It will be an expanded edition, with some new pieces and new cover & interior art, and this time there will actually be print copies available! Recently, a few of my favorite YouTubers have done the “I entered a bunch of my video essay transcripts into a GPT-2 and had it generate a new one for me” thing, and the results are hilarious. I thought it would be fun to feed a GPT-2 a bunch of stories from WWTA and have it write a new one, which I will eventually be filming a dramatic reading of to post as a promo for the new edition. But I’ve already generated the piece, and it’s fucking ridiculous and I kinda love it—it’s very like my stuff, as filtered through Jack Kerouac & Kathy Acker. Here are a few excerpts:
Thinking that men with rough sex, hypermasculinity, and penchant for rock’n’roll might be ready for punk is like creating an angel finned diving suit.
Wherever she was, she was glad to see me and told me so as we shuffled our way out of Taco Bell together, smearing beans all over our fingertips, wasting away on crappy bags of cheddar jack crackers. We drank root beers from tiny plastic cups as we shared a cigarette at a rest stop in North Carolina. It was winter. As we entered Tennessee, I gave her the $50. She gave me a broken stanza of Aeschylus.
“Fuck fathers, they only have boobs and bullshit
They sure don’t know shit about living.
Trick is I wish some of ‘em were dead,
For I’d hate to sit through their awful wives bullshit.”
I listened to spooky pinball music and smoked my corn whiskey sour. We went out in the yard and peed in the junkyard. The light of dusk glowed pink above the yard. Purple-pussy weeds rose up on the ridge in the grass.
I know I am so full of myself because the moon looks so pissed all the time and as such I blame the moon for my shitty fucking luck because the moon is dirty and hates me.
Now, Thanks to Paddy O’s and Crimpshrine and the accompanying beers and cigarettes, things were starting to come together for me.
By the way, she’s also a leather chick and a train enthusiast. Andy is a train enthusiast, too.
What else? I’m tired of CoViD. Every day, more people I know test positive, and though I am not going out or hanging out with anyone, I’m scared. It doesn’t help that I have year-round allergy and sinus issues, so I frequently have a sniffle or post-nasal drip and a sore throat. Earlier this year there was a brief window of time when I was no longer as freaked about catching it, but now I’m back to having a CoViD scare about once a week. And I’m just tired. Tired of new variants and fear and stress and the fact that I’m now triple-vaxxed and still can’t see my friends.
I’ve been reading a lot. I just finished No Gods, No Monsters by Cadwell Turnbull, and I loved it. I’ve been writing a lot; I’m currently in Ariel Gore’s Winter Break Intensive online writing workshop, and I’ve generated a lot of stuff that I’m really excited about. Santa hooked me and my partner up with this sweet boombox:
Not only does it play cassettes, it’s also a cassette recorder, which means I’ll actually be able to make mix tapes again, for the first time in a decade. Speaking of music: I canceled my Spotify subscription, so I can no longer rely on the algorithm for recommendations. What have you been listening to, lately? Anything I should check out?
In four days, I’ll be the big 4-0.
That’s all, for now. See you in 2022