It’s been a while! I’ve been busy with life things (South Side Weekly Radio and other life commitments), which I guess is good. But recently I’ve been wishing I wrote more and shared what I wrote more. And read more and shared what I read more. And shared the interesting music and podcasts I’ve been listening to. And concerts. And… And…
Saw two concerts recently and thought I should write about them since this blog is probably 75% music commentary at this point.
My friend Matt told me about this Joyce Manor show he was going to and I thought: why not?!?*
When I was in Taipei, I was a part of the Taipei Writers Group and wrote a story for their fourth anthology Twisted Fairy Tales for Adults. And since they’ve got the Taipei International Book Exhibition coming up and will be plugging their books, I figured I’d plug the book virtually on my blog!
I’ve been thinking about the story I wrote in that anthology a lot lately, perhaps because I’m stressed and the story is about stress and how our minds and bodies handle stress. Or perhaps because I’ve been thinking it would make a good audio fiction piece and I’m wondering how to go about doing that (write the script, find some actors, go record… it doesn’t seem that hard…).
“Heart / Clock” is about a woman who is overworked and letting the stress get to her. Then one morning she wakes up and sees her heart on her bedside table. Her alarm clock is ticking inside her chest. Check it out and the other fabulous modern fairy tales in the collection.
On the train home from an event at the Museum of Contemporary Art entitled “Self-Care as Warfare” I opened an email from the Princeton Club of Chicago entitled “Salute to Patriotism” inviting me to the 129th annual Washington’s Birthday gala with an alum/general as the keynote speaker. (First, let me say, serving in the military is an incredibly courageous act. I have deep respect for anyone who is willing to leverage their life for their country.) This email triggered in me a sensation, perhaps because I juxtaposed these two events together in my mind: a fancy gala celebrating America next to a talk on self-care and readying oneself for four years of having to fight every day to maintain a progress in what’s looking to be more and more like a McCarthy/Orwellian state.
And so my thought is this: why do all these Princeton Club events seem to reinforce an existing thing? Like the renovation of an already well-maintained road. I don’t think I’ve ever opened a Princeton Club of Chicago email and seen something radical. An idea challenging the norm. An event exploring a marginal environment or real of thought.
It feels like DECADES ago I saw these shows, but since I still think about them often, I thought I’d write up a little bit about these three shows I went to in the first week of November. Oh how things were so different then…
*Written several days ago, on the road to Chicago.
I think it’s because for miles (1,011 to be more precise, with the exception of the I-670 bypass in Kansas City), I’ve been driving through either garbage BLM land; hay fields; or barren, winter corn and soybean plots. But when the brown of upturned soil began to give way to the beige of concrete buildings/sidewalks, it al felt wrong. And when I stepped out of the hermetical seal of my car to pump gas just south of Joliet, I felt the strong wind, which is a natural component of Chicago weather, but which signalled to me now the abnormality of this city – Chicago – an aberration in this land that is supposed to be just fields, even though the windiness is probably an artifact of the jet stream and the Lake and has existed since well before the city.
Christmas 2016 is driving from Santa Cruz, California to Flagstaff, Arizona. The “why” doesn’t matter. It’s just a thing that needs to be done. Seven hundred and ninety miles needs to be driven. I fill my car with snacks purchased days before and a half dozen tap-filled water bottles of various sizes and construction (thin, plastic Ice Mountain-types and durable Nalgenes). I download an audiobook knowing I’ll get bored of the podcasts I normally listen to. Food and water are important but having done this sort of thing before, I know the most dangerous thing really is boredom. You can find water and food or be rescued on the interstate before you get to the point of dying. It is more difficult to pull yourself out of the depths of boredom when you still have 5+ hours of driving to do.