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...