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The Collective Unconscious

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Collective Unconscious

It's not quite as heady as the subject title might suggest.  Camus, Objective Chance, even Chomsky, these are only things I only broach from the abstract these days, in theory.  Maybe I always did, since I can't seem to recall a damn thing this morning, high in the hills, where heavy, wet fog tarps the foliage like a goddamn tropical forest at dawn.  Not that I've seen a fucking tropical forest.  Except in pop culture. Which forms the basis for 99% of what I seethinkfeelbelieve.

Could go a lot of directions this morning, as the rain thumps angry on the skylights. Could talk about the crappy movie Justine and I saw last night, a mildly amusing romantic comedy (I refuse to say "rom com"--much like I refuse to watch American Idol or Jersey Shore.  And everywhere programming directors choke with bated breath.  Who gives a fuck what I think?  It's been 6 years since I was in a meaningful demographic.  Unless Matlock plans on making a return, no one gives a shit about my viewing tastes), only notable because it co-stars SI's luscious Brooklyn Decker, of whose my ogling almost precipitated a fight.  I could talk about my fat cat who keeps shitting in my new house because he is too scared to go through the fancy electronic cat door.  Instead, I'll tittilate with ruminations on the writing process.


Sorry, I fell asleep.

Rather, let's talk about the reading process.  Namely, my reading process, as in the reading series I produce, Lip Service West.  LSW has been doing great, landing top-notch talent like Alan Kaufman, David Corbett, Eddie Muller, Herb Gold, Joe Loya, Wendy Merrill, and a long list too long to mention.  And we've been getting press and drawing to capacity.  This is normally an East Bay event, sponsored by the San Pablo Arts District and Idan "the Machine" Levin, but lately we've been taking it over to Ed Ivey's place in the city, the Mason Social House.  In January, we had my buddy Matt and Wilson Gil (of Wilson Gil and the Willful Sinners' fame) and Jenner Davis and Ed Ivey, and Tony DuShane read (I just started Tony's Confessions of a Teenage Jesus Jerk.  Good shit).  

I bring this up because we have another reading at the Mason Social House in a couple weeks (4/2, 7pm, come on by).  A reader short, I am thinking of reading myself.  I haven't read at a Lip Service West event since I started it up out here, because reading at my own event is tantamount to that kid who used to dress up in his favorite baseball team's uniform every year for his birthday party.  Which I did. So I've established precedent.

So I have to read because we don't have enough readers.  And I don't know what to read.  Lip Service West is 1,500-word true stories.  Our tag line is "gritty, real, raw." Perfect for my memoir.  Except I'm not sure I can read from it.  I still think it's brilliant, and I would be reading with Tom Pitts, who is in the memoir, but there has been a strange backlash.

I am overly sensitive.  Anyone who knows me knows that.  Don't let the bulging biceps and tattoos fool you.  I am, at heart, a sensitive thug (heavy on the former). Even so, I feel this tide of public opinion overwhelming.  It was like we (believers in the book, my agent, et al) had this window of opportunity with Junkie Love, several publishers and editors nibbling.  Then one took a bite, held on, thrashed...but we lost her.  And everyone else.

It really does work like that. 

I was talking to Pete Ffrench, drummer for the Wandering Jews, one of my oldest friends, who we'd hired to paint Justine's other house that she is renting out.  Picking up supplies at the Home Despot, I explained this perceived backlash to Pete.  

"It's like what happened with my band [Pieces of Lisa] twenty years ago," Pete said. "Nobody knows what's 'good.'  You have these executives who think you might be good, because there was Nirvana and so every band with loud guitars and slightly off-key vocals might be the next big thing.  So they're circling your waters, waiting to see.  Then someone bites.  Or doesn't.  Then you're forgotten.  And no one wants to touch you because your moment's passed.  You were part of that thing that didn't catch.  So now you're damaged goods, a reminder of what failed."

The quiet desperation of the would-be artist.  Rocky if he wasn't Rocky...


At March 23, 2011 at 10:13 PM , Blogger Soybean said...

Once again, don't ever admit to reading and agreeing with Chomsky. You'll do yourself a disservice and people who can actually think will look down on you.

At March 23, 2011 at 10:17 PM , Blogger Joe Clifford said...

I said I DON'T read it anymore, Jimmy! Please don't look down on me! You're all I got!

At March 24, 2011 at 7:12 AM , Blogger dkaplowitz said...

@ soybean; "don't ever admit to reading and agreeing with logic, i guess is what you mean. soybean is anti-logic. but you know, that's cool. whatever.

At March 24, 2011 at 7:15 AM , Blogger dkaplowitz said...

joe i hadn't heard the story of junkie love & the publishers - what happened? i mean you said what happened above but what happened? a strong & crushingly honest book.

At March 24, 2011 at 7:22 AM , Blogger Joe Clifford said...

We had a publisher who was a very interested, an editor who read the book in one sitting, said it was the best thing she'd read in ages, etc., and I have the e-mail still and look at it often. This editor took it before the sales team but couldn't get the requisite support. (This process took two long and agonizing months.) So they passed. The weird thing is, with that pass, we lost all momentum, and there seemed to be this weird tide. Until that, there had been several publishers, from all over, at least mildly interested. And now nothing. Kinda of like getting that one shot with the hot girl, blowing it, and spending the rest of the high school sifting through scrambled porn (oh, those were the days).

But thanks for the kudos!

At March 24, 2011 at 11:29 AM , Blogger Soybean said...

@dkaplowitz - hmm, logic? yeah, ok. Making blanket statements about someone you don't even know seems pretty logical but yeah, whatever. I'm sure you're a nice enough fellow since your here reading Joe's blog and all so I will leave it at that.

At March 24, 2011 at 12:22 PM , Blogger Joe Clifford said...

Yes, Joe's Blog is the great equalizer, where all factions of life come together. Big, small, left, right, black, white. There is only ONE race on Joe's Blog. That's right, the HUMAN race. Shalom.

At March 24, 2011 at 1:13 PM , Blogger Soybean said...

Well, to be honest, I guess my first comment could be considered as blanket, too. It was meant in humor and was supposed to be directed specifically to Joe because he sometimes knows where I'm coming from. But humor doesn't always come across well on the internet so I extend my apologies if I ruffled any sensitive feathers. Cheers.

At March 31, 2011 at 9:58 AM , Blogger dkaplowitz said...

@soybean - yes, of course you're right about making blanket statements so apologies & apologies accepted. i thought this blog might let me know if there were any responses, but no, hence the delay.

anyway, i personally find chomsky's arguments inherently grounded in logic and reason, and have been personally affected by his writings through the years.

but i'm always up for the other side, so if you have particular problems with chomsky and his arguments/philosophy, i'd love to hear about them.

At March 31, 2011 at 9:59 AM , Blogger dkaplowitz said...

ah, and just subscribed. duh.

At March 31, 2011 at 10:44 AM , Blogger Joe Clifford said...

Subscribing doesn't help, Dave. This damn thing doesn't send alerts. Or if it does (can), then I'm not bright enough to figure it out. I plaster my FB page when I post something new, if that helps ;)


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