Friday, October 16, 2015

Podcast FRIDAY!


T-t-t-time for another podcast Friday! In which I share individual episodes of podcasts I thought caught my ears.

I decided to same format like last time. I enjoy just displaying quotes because they serve a purpose of telling you what to expect while having an air of mystery, imo.
We got magazines, taped them to our bodies. So that hopefully our organs wouldn't get penetrated when we got stabbed. I got two socks and put two DD-batteries inside them; the big batteries. To use that as a cosh. To use that as a club.  

I could say, "Screw you all. Fuck you guys." I mean this society has brutalized me. They have hurt me, and I carry the wounds. But yet, I give to them every day. I give them all I got. Um. It's the way it is.
An American Life

Reported that her German Shepard have been killed during the night. The dog had been torn to pieces and dragged over twenty-five feet at the end of its chain. The only evidence authorities could find around the body were hoof prints.
The Devil on the Roof

One of the first things he said to me over the phone was, "Barry, your voices are real." And I'll never ever ever forget that feeling. It was the first time anybody had ever accepted that my voices were real.
Barrie's Mental Tempest

My favorite place in the whole world would have to be the Big Prawn. And I said where's that. And she said it's in Ballina. And she said it was her favorite place because I was conceived there. 
Big Prawn

Wanted each member to get a bomb shelter. So each family within the or each member within the cult had their own particular space. Or haven I guess. I think it's primarily she wanted more money for herself.
Dark Karma

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Art of the Lathe

Here are two grown men discussing "beauty"
seriously and with dignity as if they and the topic
were as normal as normal topics of discussion
between men such as soybean prices or why
the commodities market was a sucker's game
or Oklahoma football or Gimpy Neiderland
almost dying from his hemorrhoid operation.
They were discussing beauty and tossing around
allusions to Plato and Aristotle and someone
named Pater, and they might be homosexuals.
That would be a natural conclusion, of course,
since here were two grown men talking about "beauty"
instead of scratching their crotches and cursing
the goddamned government trying to run everybody's
I'm intensely in love with this book. I'm re-reading it for the third time and it still feels fresh and new to me. But before I continue I had a fight with myself

I fought with myself and wondered if I should add a poem from the book. Maybe just have one part of a poem, or the first part of a poem, or even a whole poem; I fought with myself and decided to just have one part of one of the poems. I decided on Beauty and you'll read why. 

I highly recommend you click on the link I have, Beauty (up top below the image), and read the entire poem before you continue reading. Beauty is one of many B.H. Fairchild's masterpieces in The Art of the Lathe.

Back, alright.

If you read the poem, you can pick up what type of people Fairchild is talking about. The type of people who've always worked with their hands and known almost nothing else. The type of people who don't open up didn't talk a lot, didn't have time to philosophize, just do and kept to themselves. Some are content with where they are, some are not, but they're all doing their best to make a living. The type of people that if the plant or mine or anything like it were to disappear, they would be ruined for generations. The type of people who wish they could live out their dreams, but because of their situation, social and economical, they can never can and have to make the best with what they have, find their own little niche in life.

They remind me of the people I came across and worked with in Cincinnati. They shaped who I am. They, for better or worse, made in guarded, making it hard for me to be vulnerable, to open up. Though that culture may have dampened me a bit, it also made me strong and able to stand anything to come my way; it's a give and take, like everything else in life.

Then there's the beautiful, rugged landscape of the Midwest. And like any good writer, the landscape, and its inhabitants are inextricably tied together. They reflect each other, each influencing each until they both look like each other.

As you can tell, I'm a sucker for books that bring me back home and its inhabitants. That's because, even though I've lived in California for five years, I will always be a Midwesterner. I'm so inextricably tied it.

And this is why I'm intensely in love with this book. Not because it opened my eyes to poetry but because it transports me back to that culture, those people, and that landscape. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Ron Rash's Short stories and Above the Waterfall

I became a fan of Ron Rash through his short stories. They were depressive and gritty little pieces that left me feeling like shit or like I was punched in the stomach; I loved it. They dealt with the meth epidemic and the economic downturn of the Appalachias, loss, displacement, desperation and a feeling of disconnect from the modern world and they hit close to home for me. 

Growing in the Rust Belt area I saw what heroin, uppers and downers, coke and alcohol did to my peers, and my peers' families.  I saw people I respected and loved slowly devolve into junkies: they self-harmed, shot-up before school, snorted coke during class, and in more extreme cases they would try to kill themselves during restroom breaks because life was too much for them.

I also saw and experienced what happens when the economy turns to shit: houses bein' taken away, jobs bein' taken away, depression and people struggling to survive and doing things they usually wouldn't do: robbing, stealing, hurting the ones they love.

This is what Rash brings to me, all these memories. I see my reflection in his characters and stories.

One would think that such things would push someone away: not me, I enjoy these memories, well, enjoy is not the right word, I don't have an allergy to them. The reason I don't is because they're who I am to an extent. These memories shaped me and made me who I am today. I don't want to forget them, no matter how painful they are.

I also remember them because I don't want to forget my peers. The peers who made me laugh, feed me, supported me, got me in trouble, got me into shady situations and who I saw destroy themselves through their addictions. These memories and pains are my memorial to them.

There's another reason I'm a fan of Rash: they propel me from the first sentence, from the first word. Once I start reading, I can't stop, can't put it down. There are very few writers that can do this and Rash is one of them.

So when I came into Above the Waterfall, I had high expectations. I wanted to feel like I felt when I read his short stories and wouldn't accept anything less. Should have I put that on an author? I don't know.

Luckily, I got what I expected.

From the first page of the first paragraph:
Though sunlight tinges the mountains, black leather-winged bodies swing low. First fireflies blink languidly. Beyond this meadow, cicadas rev and slow like sewing machines. All else ready for night except night itself. I watch last light lift off level land. Ground shadows seep and thicken. Circling trees form banks. The meadow itself becomes a pond filling, on its surface dozens of black-eyed susans.
What a hell of a way to start a novel; especially, a novel that revolves around meditation on the effects of violence, loneliness, and how the landscape and people are so inextricably tied together, that if one thing happens the other is affected.

Rash does do something different, yes, there is the grit and the meth and desperation and disconnect that litter his short stories, but there's something else: hope. This is one of the most hopeful stories I've read by him.

In Rash's stories, there's barely a chance for redemption or ends that neatly tied-up. In Above the Waterfall we can feel that there is an underlining sense of hope. That life will hopefully get better. That these pains and miseries happen--and they just happen, no rhythm or reason to them--to strengthen us and to hopefully get us closer together; to get us closer to ourselves and what we can take and give. That really got to me.

It got to me because it reminded me that I got out. That I got the hope that my peers didn't.

Now, I never did strong drugs like my peers, but we all dealt with severe to debilitating depression and suicide. But unlike my peers, and I found hope like the characters in Above the Waterfall. I was able to get out, not without scars, of course, but those scars left me with a new outlook on life.

Maybe this is why I remember. Not for a memorial for them, but to show me, there's always hope no matter how dark it gets.

Podcast Friday


Hey everyone, and welcome to the first podcast curating on Podcast Friday--a name in progress. 


I come across, I think, interesting content while web surfing and I want to share that content with as many people as possible. 

I don't know how I'm going to present the content. Will I do just a quote with a short review? Maybe a short review and synopsis? Or synopsis and quote? Or just some juicy quotes? For now quotes for podcasts and long-form. It'll change in the next one and it'll be interesting to see how it evolves.


"The view is magnificent... And just as sinister as it is magnificent. Sinister because this is the perfect terrain; the perfect country for mortar attacks."
The Vietnam Tapes of Lance Corporal Michael A. Baronowki 
"A Buddha...Because he's neutral. If we threw Christ up, he's controversial. Everyone's got a deal about him. Buddha, no one seems to be perturbed, in general, about a Buddha."
He's Neutral
"There are some people that write to Edith Piaf and ask her to help them cure themselves from rheumatism and arthritis. In their hearts and mind, she has become more than a legend. She has become a saint."
The Nights of Edif Piaf 
"That's the Catholic bus stop. This is where, this is where the Prots get on the bus, and this is where the Catholics get on the same bus. We actually had different bus stops, but we used the same bus. It is madness. But it's normal, and that's the really sad part."
Child of Ardoyne
"He's singing to me. And he takes my hand, and he puts it on his chest."
"Fuckin' A! Fuckin' A!. Fuckin'. A! Producer put that one in your book."
"By the end of the song, we're both crying."
"I got ya....I may be a pirate, but I am a big baby too."