Monday, February 28, 2011

Stop Smoking Crack and Eat Bologna Sandwiches

My February 28th essay for Storytellers Unplugged.

Stop Smoking Crack and Eat Bologna Sandwiches
Sorry. Busy looking at my screen saver of Michelle Rodriguez. After three minutes of me in deep thought, the screen will revert back to a shot of her sitting in some sort of egg-type chair. And it almost happened again. I switched over to a photo of the Loop in the early 50s, when the Borders had been the Greyhound station instead. Enough of that. I’m stalling. See, last month Dave posted my piece on the 31st, I was going to tell him my tank was empty, then realized there is no February 31st, and let go with a son of a bitch that was drowned out by the thunder and hail and Natalie Portman’s acceptance speech at the Oscars.

This month was hellish, though I realize that other parts of the country certainly had worse. We had a mild winter through January. I donated $25 to Children’ Leukemia Society and our sexy meteorologist on NBC 5, Ginger Zee, rewarded me with a promo photo as well as a sexy black and white split shot front and back, tank top and jeans, and my name and the words sunny skies and other words I forget because they are written on her @$$. All legit, and its for the kids, right? And then we were hit by the blizzards the East coast had been getting for weeks. 22 inches in Alsip, just south of Burbank, put us in the record books. Right now its at 30 inches, the most snowfall on record for this month since, like, forever. OK, our records only go back to the Great Chicago Fire, 1871, but saying forever makes it sound much more ominous. We’ve had a few days near 40, but it was a month for watching my breath frost and have that same old thought about hearing Springsteen lyrics skittering under the wheels of cars along with the thin lines of snow. Coming back towards the Fullerton el station with Mike and Darci last Monday, Darci asked why I didn’t have my gloves on, and I said I had my fists clenched. Anticipating that she’d ask about the gloves again, I said that its better if I just jam my fingernails into my palms.

February was also an odd month for my writing career. Maybe this is my decade. After all, the world ends in, what, 22 months? Now the last few months, I’ve been blessed that Crossroad Press put a few of my works out there. Then I had my werewolf western story “High Moon” chosen for a book that is similar to Year’s Best Horror, only done by the decade. And I can finally announce that Gauntlet Press is releasing JN Williamson’s The Illustrated Masques, which collects a two comic series by Innovation in the early 90s. The artist for my story, “Rail Rider,” is Mike Tokamato, and the work is amazing. One version of the book will sell for $1500.00 because King & Barker signed it, but for those who want the tipsheet with us D-listers–I’m next to Flava Flav–the price is affordable. I loved Jerry Williamson. Not like my man-crush for Kurt Russell, or my affection for the unshaven jawline of Gordon Van Gelder. Jerry had gone from being a dentist to writing dozens of books. In the original edition of Masques, he changed my story title to “Third Rail” because the implication, to him, was that the man in my story had an erection. Nope. In fact, he gets frightened when a Polish bowling team passes by on the el platform. And, bless his soul, he gave The Best Blurb Ever for James Kisner’s STRANDS, back in the late 80s. I quote: “This is a novel that was written to be read.” This is true, I swear, my hand on Rahm Emmanuel’s nutsack. But when it’s the first hardcover sale, my name on the back cover, Jerry could have renamed it whatever the hell he wanted. To add to my forward moving news, there’s progress with my novel Proactive Contrition, but I’ll not jinx it. Oh, okay, I will. The guys who do that Nigerian lottery will publish it, but I need to send them only $437.22 for printing costs. (In all truth, the novel is not just gathering dust, and you all everybody will be the first to know.) And just yesterday, I heard from a guy I sent story to in 2008, a French fellow who now tells me the story will be in a French horror/fantasy magazine with the dubious name of Promenade. Again, with the train wreck that is my career, does it matter what the mag is called?

My good friend Bob Maddock sent me six CDs of The Holly Cole Trio, which is great, but it kinda sucks when I start singing “Girl Talk” while I’m in the shower at LA Fitness. Hey! The title of this piece, right? Earlier in the week, I headed downtown around 2 in the afternoon, took the 87th Street bus to the Red Line. Well, this black guy with one prominent tooth spent the next ten stops preaching about the evils of smoking crack and how the Lord demands us to eat bologna sandwiches to humble ourselves. This, as he waved around a Bible and a bag of Doritos. I have photos to prove it. Spring’s coming, but the meltdowns are here all year round. Take it from one who knows. Happy March, gang!