Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Live, Baby, Live!

To be fair, I liberally borrowed the title of this post from an INXS live concert DVD but felt it was apropos since I'm here to talk about live music. This will be a rant, it may not be well constructed or well executed, but I felt like throwing this stuff down so...yeah.

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned how much I love live music and seeing bands in concert here before but it's kind of a big deal to me. Music is such a huge part of my life and that loud, sweaty, crowded experience is integral to my overall enjoyment of it. I've had my mind changed at concerts regarding how I feel about a song I previously disliked and I've had artists show themselves to me in a different light than I am accustomed to, bringing me around to appreciating their material where previously I did not. I've fallen in love at concerts and even proposed to my soon to be ex-wife at a concert. Sure, some shows are just shows, but some have served as genuine benchmarks or signposts in my life. Moments I can revisit every time I listen to an album or hear a song that means something special in a mall or in the car while driving to work.

I know I probably sound like a ridiculous, sentimental fool by this point but I own it. I know how goofy I sound, and that's okay. It's how I feel and that's just the way it is. I am prepared for you to judge me and stop reading right here if you haven't already.

The whole purpose of this post is to lament the fact that I haven't been to see a live show in quite some time. The last concert I saw was on March 29th and I went to see Stars with a friend. Amazing show, unforgettable night. Even got to meet Torq after the show and complete my Stars autograph collection so, yay me. I had tickets to see Passion Pit a few months ago but they cancelled and I've passed up or was forced to miss shows by M83, The XX, Phantogram, The National and a stupid amazing lineup at the Rock the Seine festival that I was a week late to see. Gah!!

I'm chomping at the bit, here.

Anyway, there are a couple of decent shows down the road that I'm looking forward to maybe going to in 2014 but I don't know if there is anything coming up before Christmas and that's not cool. Looks like Said the Whale is here in a week or so. Maybe that'll help take the edge off a bit. We'll see.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Paris Hotel Room, 4 a.m.

I was going through some stuff I had saved on my phone and was a little surprised to find something I had written while In Paris that I had forgotten about. It was either just before I left, or possibly by e-mail while I was there, that my friend Carly told me that while I was in Paris I should totally write something. In fact, she may have even said that I would be stupid to not at least make the attempt. A reasonable idea and expectation, sure, but with all the things that I was trying to cram into the single week I was there I didn't have a lot of time to sit in a café with my notebook and just write.

God knows I would have liked to. Especially when I was standing by, and could have grabbed a table at, Le Select, where Fitzgerald and Hemingway and their ilk all used to hang their hats and grab a drink. I was passing the place on the way to the Eiffel Tower. I had decided to walk there instead of using any public transportation and, though I knew Le Select was somewhere out there in Paris, had no idea that it would be on the way.

Something to do on the next trip, perchance.

Anyway, one night while lying in bed in my hotel room I was having a tremendous amount of trouble sleeping. It was well after three in the morning and I grabbed my phone which was nearby and started typing away some ideas into my ColorNote app. The goal was to write a poem capturing the moment, perhaps reign in some of the things swirling in my head and commit them to 'paper'. Once everything had been evacuated from my head onto the digital page I tried to muster a bit more and, failing that, found my way to sleep.

I've pretty much ignored that small piece of writing since returning figuring that there might be an idea or two that I can cannibalize for something else down the line, but looking at it again it actually holds up as its own thing. I might be projecting my own experience on it and giving it more body or meaning than it perhaps actually has, but maybe not. I'll probably vet the thing with a couple of people I trust and see what they think. There's an element of...it has a roughness to it that may work in its favour but leaves me uncertain.

What I do know is if I start to try and refine and manhandle what I write it loses all immediacy and starts feeling kind of disingenuous, so I don't really want to tinker with it beyond what it is.

I haven't really done any writing for a while, particularly poetry, and have been trying to step it up a little in these past few weeks. I have gone back to working on a short story that I set aside and have been trying to blog here whenever I have something I think is remotely bloggable. I am hoping that the discovery of this Paris poem may bring some of those inclinations back, as well.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Season 10 Underwhelms This X-Phile...So Far

As a huge X-Files fan I was elated at the announcement of a tenth season being created for comics. IDW has a decent track record with licensed properties and I had a lot of confidence in what they would produce based, primarily, on the X-Files/30 Days of Night cross-over book they published a couple of years ago. Hearing that Chris Carter was going to be involved, on any level, was more well than I could have imagined for an X-Files book. To have an 'official' continuation of the series that was being shepherded by its creator was the best thing that anybody who loved the show could hope for.

So, why am I not loving this series five issues in?

The story takes place post-I Want to Believe and does a decent job reintroducing the characters to the reader and setting the stage for the next chapter in the life of Mulder and Scully. The story quickly stops making much sense, however, when Joe Harris, the series' writer, tries to explain the motivations of the story's antagonists and clumsily brings back some characters from the show's past. Despite having five issues to flesh things out and ease the reader into this new scenario, things jump around endlessly from location to location and character to character, and I never quite glommed on to what the heck was going on other than the fact that Mulder and Scully were trying to stop The Acolytes from finding something while simultaneously trying to figure out what the big picture was.

Even at their worst and most convoluted, a mythology episode worked as a story that you were watching; self-contained with a beginning, middle, and end. Where it tended to get confusing was where it fit in the big picture, how it tied in to the web of conspiracies and lies that had been established on the show and what it possibly meant for the future. This story, "The Believers", has all of those elements except I'm not feeling it working as a self-contained thing. Sitting down and reading all five issues this afternoon I didn't feel the flow, and I'm still muddled on what the purpose of the whole caper was.

I am looking forward to the next few issues which, I'm told, will be creature-of-the-week stories. Maybe just having a simple case to solve and creature or weird happening to figure out will get my X-Files juices flowing. I'm also not giving up hope that later stories will shed more light on the events of "The Believers" but, for now, I'm not shouting from the rooftops about how much I'm loving this new iteration.

Also, for the record, I'm enjoying the poop out of Michael Walsh's artwork on the series whatever I may be saying about my level of enjoyment. He's doing some really good work on this book and I'm excited to see where he goes from here as he's only going to get better as time goes on and he becomes more and more familiar with this world and these characters.

So, on that note, carry on and the truth is out there!

Sunday, August 04, 2013


I've been writing a short story this past few weeks which I have more-or-less titled "Surprise Me". The title is fitting for the story itself, but it's also been an experience full of surprises throughout the whole writing process so it's kind of doubly apropos. The most surprising aspect of the whole thing is that I wrote a short story at all. I have started many but finished none in all the years that I've been writing and this one wasn't even planned. It just sort of spilled out whole cloth a couple of weeks ago and I've been massaging it ever since. Maybe that's the point. Maybe that's why it works. Had I set out to do it deliberately it might not have worked at all.

Having said that, the last few days have been a bit rough in terms of getting the work done.

I sat down last night like I've sat down many nights before that and just didn't get much writing done. I'm trying to do it on the computer now so that I can change things quickly and with less scribbling but I'm finding the process cold and...inefficient, weirdly enough. I've been scribbling in my Moleskine and just pounding the stuff out having a gay old time but you can't print that off or e-mail your notebook pages to someone to preview or proof. I do still want a handwritten copy of it in there (yeah, that's the romantic in me) but I need that digital copy.I also have a deadline of today to clean up a section which I promised to send to someone and I'm pulling my hair out trying to get that done in a timely manner.

The poetry I usually write is so immediate and rarely goes through this kind of rewriting process. Maybe a second draft to clean up an idea or two but, ultimately, if I rework a poem too much it breaks. Falls apart under its own weight. Feels manufactured and loses all immediacy and just feels...disingenuous.

This story is in its fourth and a half draft and it's only about 10 pages long. I really expected less, but maybe that's a fault of mine. Not having done a lot of prose work (as in so little it should be considered none) I guess I didn't anticipate what it would take. The need to back away from it for a while to let the dust settle before going in again, the major and minor tweaks that just keep coming every time I sit down with it.

Then, to top it off, there's my own overriding insecurity of whether or not it's any good. To put all this work into it and have it be absolute shite would be pretty heartbreaking. It's not, by any means, a great piece of fiction. I mean, call it what it is. It's a short erotica story. A blip of an encounter between two people done in such a way as to be provocative and sexy. But I still want it to be good, obviously.

So, I continue to toil away at it when I'm not fighting off sleep or dealing with the evil and weirdness in my everyday life.

Hopefully I'll be able to get a grasp on it today and work through the obstacles to get to a satisfactory endpoint.

Wish me luck.