Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chapter 68: In Which I Discuss Small Press Things

Had this terrible nightmare the other day where Newt Gingrinch was a viable presidential candidate and the army had the right to indefinitely imprison US citizens, Guantanamo-style. It sucks having an overactive imagination. Must be something I read in a dystopian novel.

I'm in Pittsburgh right now. The holiday break at my school is very long, and I have a whole month with which to hang around my hometown and get work done. Also moved out of my hippie house in Oakland, so I'm looking for a new place. It got too crazy. Left behind some really stellar people who I plan on keeping in touch with. Also left behind a selfish douchebag or two who I'm leaving in the past. So it goes. I can say I am done with communal living situations for the time being. The one I lived in was not a good example, as it was incredibly disorganized and had an almost nonexistent interview process to weed out people who didn't fit. Still, there comes a time when dealing with community issues becomes a liability to personal security and desires, and even if a spot opened in the World's Best Co-op, I need personal space right now. Not ruling it out for the future: communal living seems ever more attractive as our whole "me first" society crashes in on itself. I don't have anywhere lined up, but I'm excited to find a new place, just like with any next step.

Working on the manuscript for Hard Times Blues. The other day I posted up at the library at Carnegie Mellon (yay for finals hours!) and had a successful writing session. A bit on my writing process: I can't just sit down and write. I can type a bit, but then I need to walk around, read something, eat, listen to music. And by music I mean dubstep. I listen to much dubstep these days. I set aside four hours to write, wrote for three hours, then spent an hour researching Haitians in Louisiana for a story that may or may not end up in the final draft. Sometimes I feel unproductive, but as I get older I learn to embrace my own process and own it.

So everything was going fine until...

My computer crashed.

I don't know how it happened. I was writing in Open Office on Sunday morning, working on a commission piece. Sunday afternoon I go to the library and can't open Audacity, Open Office, or anything I use with any frequency. I kept getting a bar saying I don't have the authorization to do this. The only thing I could access was Internet Explorer and all the explanations on how to fix it made my head explode. I'm afraid to fix it myself because I don't want to fuck it up worse. I know a few techno-savvy types, and plan on checking in with them before paying a thousand bucks to the Best Buy geek squad. Luckily, the most important files on there were backed up elsewhere, but I am looking at some that might be permanently lost because of this nonsense. And I really don't get how my computer got jacked up between that morning and taking it to the library. What is this, an airborne computer virus? I just got done re-typing everything I typed on Saturday on the family computer, using Microsoft Word. Life is all about the slings and arrows, as we all know. There are certainly advantages to writing stories entirely from scratch, looking at them from a whole new perspective instead of trying to fit new ideas into an old draft.

Recently checked up on my consignments. As the person who consigned with the stores, every once in a while I need to call and see if I sold any. I didn't. Though I did let one get paid out at a certain store because I forgot to check on it months ago. So it's in a used bookstore somewhere. It's cool that I sold two of three books that I consigned there, though if I'd been on the ball I could have picked up that unsold one and consigned it elsewhere. There are always little mistakes in the learning process when doing things by yourself. Like that time I made fliers for a reading in Pittsburgh and started passing them out, not knowing there was no date on them.

In the interest of promotion: these lovely establishments carry The Jack Daniels Sessions EP. They are independent stores full of beautiful people and always need the support:

Future Dreams (Portland, OR)
Quimby's (Chicago, IL)
Marcus Books (Oakland, CA)
Laurel Bookstore (Oakland, CA)
Boxcar Books (Bloomington, IN)
Blind Willow Bookstore (Emmaus, PA)
Rainbow Bookstore Collective (Madison, WI)

Buy a copy from them and you will get my eternal love. And speaking of bookstores...

Reading tonight!

It's a homecoming, baby. Six Gallery Press presents yours truly, Jason Baldinger, Bill Hughes and Don Wentworth for a night of the literary. Judging by next month's lineup, I'm guessing tonight is "Dude Nite." I assure you, though, that women are more than welcome to come. I'll probably be reading from "Assistant," as I've been growing interested in the last few chapters as performance material. It's good to be home.

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