OBSRVTNS: March 7th, 2016
Not much has been going on around these parts this week. After spending a week in NYC running around to bar shows I spent the week unwinding. I'm on a schedule with my graphic novel, but the more that writing becomes the focus of my work life, the more it becomes work. The last few days haven't been very inspired, I feel like I'm working my muscles more than anything. Whenever a piece of writing is finished though, it's hard to remember what parts came easily and which parts were a struggle. I've grown more as a writer in the last few months than I have since I left school because for the first time since school I've been sitting my ass in a chair and simply doing the work. It feels good to be back in the saddle. There's no substitute for putting in the hours and moving through the hard stuff instead of around it.
I finally dusted off my poetry thesis and had a look at it with my writing coach. The emotional intensity of that meeting was unexpected. I hadn't realized how much I had bound up in those poems. I wrote them from the time I was 16 until I was 21, and in that time frame I was documenting the end of an unrequited obsession, a sexual assault, and a descent into drug addiction. It's all there in the poems, though none of the poems deal directly with the subjects. I had forgotten. It was the first time I'd read through the poems since I wrote them. It was also humbling, though I was a gifted student, the latitude of life experience and just more experience as a writer allowed me to see the poems from a different point of view. I'm finally over myself enough to see that some of them need a lot of work, some are immature, some are downright embarrassing, and some hold up. I can feel both chagrin and pride when I read through them. I'm going to spend the next few months revising them, perhaps writing some new material and then sending them off through the usual rounds of presses and contests. That's kind of what writing is really, at least with poems. Revise, send off, wait six months, revise, send off again and on and on. Exciting stuff!
I've been doing a lot of stand up, trying to go up every night if I can. It's become the way I unwind after a day spent sitting in front of computer working on my novel. The process of writing an epic is solitary, insular, alienating at times. Going out to stand up, I have to put my brain in a different place, focus it outward, to think of things to say, to share up there, it's an adrenaline rush, but it's also unifying, validating, and connects me to the community of people that I'm slowly joining. It keeps me sane and overall lately I've been pretty happy.
My guest this week on OBSERVATIONS with Sovereign Syre (please subscribe on iTunes, rate and review!) is Jackie Kashian. Jackie started doing stand up back in 1986 and hasn't stopped since. I've always been a little in love with Jackie, at least the Jackie that I've seen in her performances. She embraces her specific infatuations and has an earnest delivery that greets you like a firm handshake. I first met Jack backstage at the live RISK! storytelling show at the Nerdmelt Showroom back in November. I'd never gone on stage to tell a story or do stand up before and ended up sitting next to Jackie in the green room, trying to absorb some of her confidence. Jackie has her own podcast The Dork Forest that's been around forever and that I was a guest on, she interviews people that are obsessed about their obsessions...I talked about the Spanish conquest of Florida.