Getting Published, Holidays, Mental Health, Mutants, Playlists, Poetry

Your Mutants Pre-Orders Are Here!

Yo yo!! I’ve been waiting for this day for like, forever, because what else is there to do when pretty much everything’s shut down and you’re sittin’ on promises of books to people? I’m happy to announce that the pre-orders for Mutants are finally here!

I would’ve had them a bit sooner, but they were delivered on Saturday; when packages that are too big to fit in my mailbox, they sit in the mail room and our building’s office staff (bless them…they’re wonderful ladies) puts a little note in your mailbox. But the office is closed on weekends, and with Monday being a holiday, I had to wait til today. But whatevs y’all…they’re here! A big lotta new book smell in the apartment right now!

I know I know…”So when am I getting my book?” That’s what I’m here to tell you. I know I said mid-May, but I didn’t anticipate shipping to take as long as it did (self-pubbed books aren’t eligible for Amazon Prime shipping if they’re sold to the author). Give me a few days to annotate them all; unfortunately I’m a kinda busy guy right now with physical therapy for my shoulder 2x a week, and tomorrow is another follow-up with my doc (things are going kickass, if you’re wondering…glad I had the work done and there’s no pain; now I’m in the stretch run, which is the strengthening part…grueling at times, but the results are there and it’s worth it). I’m hoping to mail them out by June 3rd or 4th, but please don’t be pissed at me if it takes me a few more days to get them out…believe me, I wanna be done with this and get this book in your hot little hands ASAP!!

Since these are quarantine/lockdown times, I don’t have much else to say. Let’s drop a shipping playlist and get on with our day. Sound good? I can almost hear y’all nodding your heads from here.

  • La Dispute, “A Letter”
  • Blink-182, “Here’s Your Letter”
  • The Tea Party, “The Messenger”
  • Atmosphere, “Postal Lady”
  • Joe Cocker, “The Letter”
  • American Football, “Letters And Packages”
  • Macy Gray, “The Letter”
  • Modest Mouse, “From Point A To Point B (∞)”
  • Cake, “Open Book”
  • Radiohead, “The Daily Mail”
  • Hail Mary Mallon, “Mailbox Baseball”
  • The Get Up Kids, “Red Letter Day”
  • The Postal Service, “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight”

Alright friends, enemies, lovers, and haters…that’s all I got for y’all today. Two weeks ago it was snowing with zero visibility; today it’s 88° and my 12″ oscillating fan has decided to die on me, so please have mercy on my soul if I sweat to death after making dinner and attempting a nap in this swamp-ass-inducing change in the world’s atmosphere. Stay strong friends; we’ll be able to get together soon, I hope. Peace, wear a mask and wash your hands, and know that I love you.

Getting Published, Mental Health, Mutants, Playlists, Poetry, support your locals

It’s ALIVE!! (And so am I.)

Hey friends!! I know I know, it’s been too long, but listen: I have good reasons and good news. Hear me out.

When we last left off way way too many months ago, Mutants had been pulled from Amazon because there were a lot of layout issues and one big copyright (or lack thereof) concern. It was being worked on and then I had to add content to make it big enough to be printable I guess; I don’t know how that works even though I’ve learned a lot in the last few months. I sent in what I thought was my final draft…and waited.

At the end of 2019, my publisher went ass-up and closed shop, leaving me and other authors in limbo. Not really a cool time to do it, but then again there’s never a good time for something like that I guess. I’ll forever be grateful to Sarah Fader and Eliezer Tristan Publishing for taking a chance on my poetry and other associated writings for sites like Stigma Fighters and The Good Man Project, but honestly I didn’t take the news very well and kinda hoped there’d be another solution to saving everything and helping out everyone who was in the middle of the publication process, like me. And there was not, unfortunately.

So I was on my own as far as what to do with not only Mutants, but 100, because they were eventually gonna get taken off Amazon and IngramSpark. I wasn’t ready for this at all, and it seemed very daunting to do it all myself…it took me baby steps to piece together what I was doing.

What complicated matters even more was having shoulder surgery in February…a torn rotator cuff. I’m still recovering and rehabbing it (and will be for a few more months), but I’m out of my sling for good. Needless to say, for a few weeks I didn’t wanna do a damn thing. I didn’t even wanna think about books or writing or blogs or what have you. Throw in this COVID-19 stuff, and holy hell it’s amazing how depressing everything’s become…you can’t even turn on the TV with every company under the sun blasting you with commercials about how it’s affecting them, and not you. Just one little slice of the bizarre times we’re living in these days.

But the good news is I finally started chipping away at Mutants, editing the bejeezus outta it, and figuring out self-publishing. My man Aaron J. Smith put up with me way too much trying to get the cover wrap dimensions right after the page count kept fluctuating with each little tweak and turn and I had to do to get the copy down to the right size (and throw in a font change as well; my bad!), but we got it fixed up proper and I’m hella grateful for that.

So, the best news is this: Mutants is now back up and ready for you!! In both Kindle (updated, with the new material) and in paperback!! I know…it’s about damn time!!

Here’s the deal: Everyone who pre-ordered it back in September or October or whatever, your annotated copies will be going out in the first week or two of May, depending on how long it takes me to get them and scrawl on the first bunch of pages. I haven’t forgotten about you and I’m mad sorry I haven’t kept you all up in the loop as much as I should’ve. Please forgive me; I promise, this book is worth the wait.

I’ll also be opening a new round of pre-orders very soon in my Shop here associated with this very blog. I’m gonna hafta fix a few things, and the price is gonna be a little higher because there’s more content and it’s a bigger book than originally planned, unfortunately. I don’t make the rules, y’all. KDP wants a certain amount of pages, so I try to do what works.

Sooooo….YAY!!! I’m officially a second-time author again!! Next on the docket is getting 100 back in circulation, but that’s gonna take some time I think; the manuscript has been fixed to take care of a couple layout issues I missed in editing, and I’ll need another cover for it (still mulling my options). Then getting set up on IngramSpark so I can reach libraries and the big (or pretty much only) bookstore again. From there on, who knows? This whole COVID-19 lockdown has everything in flux. My first wish is that you’re all safe and healthy. My second wish is that a tiny portion of your stimulus money goes toward purchasing my book!

Speaking of the Coronavirus, how about we end this celebration with a little quarantined playlist? Hold it now…hit it!

  • REM, “You’re In The Air”
  • Mudhoney, “Touch Me I’m Sick”
  • Deftones, “Dai The Flu”
  • Pearl Jam, “Wash”
  • Anti-Pop Consortium, “Dystopian Disco Force”
  • The Verve, “Drugs Don’t Work”
  • Pink Floyd, “Breathe”
  • Mudhoney, “Here Comes Sickness”
  • Anti-Pop Consortium, “We Kill Soap Scum”
  • Atmosphere, “Breathing”
  • Modest Mouse, “Bury Me With It”
  • Soul Coughing, “So Far I Have Not Found The Science”

Alright friends, ex-lovers, best friends with lovers, and so on and so forth…I have other things to do now while the nation figures out this whole pandemic situation. Time to get on with my bad self and start spreading the word about this new book thing I just birthed out into the universe. Peace y’all…stay well and stay safe!

 

Homies, Mutants, Playlists, Poetry, support your locals, Work In Progress

So what’s up with Mutants?

Hey friends! So here I am, again, begging forgiveness for not updating this fancy blog slice of internet cheesecake in a long time. I have good reason though, even if I’m the only one who understands it and isn’t critical of it. I’d planned on doing it once I got my author copies of Mutants, but that hasn’t happened yet. Instead, I’m left to tell you all the hows and whys. Put your shoes on and pay attention.

The e-book came out in September and you can get it here for your Kindle or other associated apps. I’m mad proud of it because it’s a short little mishmash of poems from the true 100 follow-up, Also Mutants, along with some newer items from my work in progress as well as an older poem or two. As a whole, this little book in my opinion is way better than 100, but who am I to judge?

Being the impatient bastard that I am, I bought a copy of the paperback once it hit Amazon because I couldn’t wait for author copies, and I wanted to see the finished product. I was antsy because unlike the first time I went through the publication process, there was no rush and no “You need to do this and this and this NOW!” atmosphere around it. I approved the cover wrap, but never got a chance to see the insides to make sure everything was ok. And therein lies the problems.

There are a couple pages where the title is there, but the poem is on the next page. And there are a couple poems that aren’t spaced the way I’d prefer, because of the size of the font or the book itself. I wish I’d known this before I started pimpin’ it.

So, my publisher pulled it from Amazon, obvs, since it’s not up to my specs (oh, and there’s also no Copyright disclaimer © in there!). I know Eliezer Tristan Publishing is going through some restructuring and change right now, so I’m still waiting on having the layout fixed and approved by me. Hopefully by this coming Friday I’ll have more answers.

To the people who have already ordered and paid for annotated copies, I’m really sorry for the holdup. I can assure you it’s not me, and I truly can’t wait to get this into your hands…but I also want it to be the flawless little chapbook I imagined when I was like “Hey, time for another book!”. So there’s that y’all.

In other news, I’m really excited for a couple other projects I’ve either taken part in or will be as soon as I can get my head put on in the right direction! I have a piece in the Leonard Cohen-inspired Avalanches in Poetry collection, and my name sits beside so many of my favorite indie poets who work a lot harder than I do. I’m honored to be in there along with them.

I’ve also been submitting to my friend Kristin Garth’s online collaboration, Pink Plastic House. I’m not ready to tell you what’s in there or why; all I can say is because.

So, I’m still working and still trying to be amazing, but now you know why I’m falling a little short. I’m confident things’ll turn around soon, because I can’t fathom going into Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday) having not satisfied the people who matter most (those who care enough to get the limited annotated copy of Mutants, along with family and close friends).

Whether I am or I am not a “big deal” (and believe me, I don’t think I am, or at least not so much as I think some of the others in the #WritingCommunity are), the work doesn’t end. With the Notre Dame game on in the background, let’s jam to a proper Mutants on-its-way playlist!

  • Our Lady Peace, “Waiting”
  • Deftones, “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want”
  • Coldplay, “The Hardest Part”
  • Spoon, “WhisperI’lllistentohearit”
  • INXS, “The One Thing”
  • Pearl Jam, “Don’t Gimme No Lip”
  • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, “Far From Me”
  • Jay-Z feat. Mary J. Blige, “Can’t Knock The Hustle”
  • Blur, “Trouble In The Message Centre”
  • Green Day, “Nice Guys Finish Last”
  • Money Mark, “Information Contraband”
  • My Bloody Valentine, “I Can See It (But I Can’t Feel It)”

Alright y’all…time to leave you alone so I can do my thing. Thanks for listening. I’ve got leftover pizza in the fridge and my appetite is getting strong. Peace, I appreciate the slack given, and don’t forget to support your locals and indies! Mad love my friends…I’ll catch you back up again soon.

100, Eliezer Tristan Publishing, Getting Published, Mutants, Playlists, Poetry

The year of 100…and more!

Yes yes y’all! I can’t believe I haven’t written a post here since May, and I’m ashamed, but I wanted to enjoy the summer and still keep busy some, so a few things got left behind, and that’s ok. Why? You’ll find out in a few seconds or so, depending on how fast you read.

When I left off in May, I’d just come home from an amazing trip to Hartford (and surrounding areas), CT. I’ve made friends that we barely go a day without talking to each other, and helping each other out when one of us needs it. Again, I’m very grateful for them. And I know I left off “Part 1” with the intention of following it up, but really all that would’ve entailed would be me bitching about traveling and NYC, and I’m kinda glad I didn’t because it would’ve been an angry rant and a slur on an otherwise awesome experience.

So, where are we now? Back in June, I celebrated the one-year anniversary of 100 coming out, and since then it’s been a journey of reminiscing many different experiences I otherwise may not have been able to share with so many excellent people along the way. I’m a published author! I still can’t believe it. And I can’t thank everyone who has supported me in this whole thing enough.

Also, if you haven’t heard, I recently had two poems published in an anthology: Fevers of the Mind, Issue 2: In Memoriam , which was a treat. “No And No” and “Everything Is Terrible And I Think You Know Why” are from the early stages of my current work-in-progress and might be some of the more accessible items from it. And intertwined with that, is this:

Yep…on September 1st I became a 2-time published author. You can’t become a doctor twice; just more of one. You can’t become a professional athlete twice (unless you play two sports). The point is, getting published once is hard enough; doing it twice means you’ve climbed that mountain again and stuck a brand new flag in it. And here’s the kicker: it’s already available for your Kindle, and when the paperbacks are ready I’ll be selling Limited Edition annotated copies for $15. Don’t worry…I’ll let you know when the sale goes live!

Mutants is only meant to be a teaser. The actual follow-up to 100 is titled Also Mutants, and it’s a direct continuation of where I was once 100 was finished. This time around, it was actually completed within a hundred days and also won Best Poetry Collection again at Writing.com’s Quill Awards. I imagine it’ll come out some time next spring, whenever I finish off my WIP. Even though there are a couple items from it in Mutants (and some older pre-100 ones as well), I like having a solid stash just so I can feel like I’m always working.

So, as maybe you can tell, although I’m occasionally bad at showing emotions, I’m stoked about this and what’s coming up. For now, besides the Kindle, you can get a dope bookmark in my shop (and props to my man Aaron J. Smith for rockin’ the cover images right)…

 

Ok, well, I think I explained most of everything I wanted to. Go out and buy some of the new stuff and some of the old stuff too at the shop button above this entry. It’s better than getting my book from Target or Walmart (which you actually can if you’re shopping online). If you buy my stuffs from me, your money goes right to me instead of a shitty corporation. Remember that!

Let’s end this joyride in a little celebratory Anniversary playlist, aight? Aight.

  • Boxstep, “Second Wedding Anniversary”
  • Deftones, “Anniversary Of An Uninteresting Event”
  • deM atlaS, “Bad Days Are Over (feat. Atmosphere)”
  • Pearl Jam, “Hail, Hail”
  • Oasis, “The Importance Of Being Idle”
  • The Get Up Kids, “Red Letter Day”
  • DMX, “Party Up”
  • The Roots, “The Next Movement”
  • My Bloody Valentine, “I Can See It (But I Can’t Feel It)”
  • Taking Back Sunday, “New American Classic”
  • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, “Do You Love Me?”
  • Braid, “Always Something There To Remind Me”

That’s all I got for you cats today. Stay tuned for more details as soon as I get them, and if you don’t hear from me for a bit just nudge me and I’ll have a sweet excuse lined up, I’m sure. Til then, stay safe and remember I love all y’all. Peace!

 

100, Eliezer Tristan Publishing, Homies, Mental Health, Playlists, Poetry, Readings, Road Trip!, Stigma Fighters

So here’s what went down…(Part 1)

Long time no see, folks! My bad…but it’s been a crazy couple of days and it’s time to fill y’all in on what’s been happenin’…

I tend to forget when I’m in this author blog that I’m also a Mental Health advocate. For some reason it never seems to get mentioned here, even though my publisher focuses on that. Let’s tie everything together today…buckle up, cuz it’s been a crazy ride.

On Friday, May 17th, Eliezer Tristan Publishing held a reading/book signing/Mental Health Seminar at a Barnes & Noble in Hartford, CT. A few of the presenters are from various parts of Connecticut; my publisher was coming from Portland, Oregon, another was coming from the Virginia area at the last minute, and I was taking a Greyhound in from the middle of New York state (I have to clarify it’s the state and not the city; an important distinction and you’ll find out why soon enough).

A couple days beforehand, our publisher determines she may need a small but possibly expensive miracle to make it. Commence widespread panic among the other attendees, spawning multiple Twitter conversations and separate Messenger threads about who’s gonna come in when and where, who’s gonna stay with who and where, and how we’re all supposed to pull this even off without her. I’m telling you this because it affected me directly…Sarah Fader (the CEO of ETP) and I were supposed to stay at an Air B&B barn in Fairfield (the first failure occurred when neither of us looked at a map to determine that Fairfield was nowhere close to where we were having the event and wasn’t near any of our online CT friends). This was a bit problematic.

Enter my new best friend ever, Stephanie Paige, who deserves a friggin’ Humanitarian Award of some sort for figuring half of our shit out. She was gonna pick me up at Union Station instead of me meeting up with Sarah, and was gonna let me stay with her for a night until we knew what was going on with more clarity.

Lemme tell ya, brothers and sisters: Clarity deserted us until the last fucking minute. Never rely on clarity, as that will fuck you in no way gently. You’re better off wingin’ it until it’s legit Go-Time!! and seeing what works and what doesn’t and adapting on the fly. I can’t tell you how many times the goalposts were moved before 7pm on Friday, and most of the time the goalposts we were kicking at were on a completely different field. To further illustrate, in all of the chaos and tweets and Messenger notifications, it was determined that Stephanie was going to meet me at Union Station. Sweet…one box checked; now let’s move on and get everyone else situated.

Now, by looking at a map (again, something we never considered doing), one can determine that Connecticut is a relatively small state. Why then, for the love of all things holy and sacred, does a tiny-ass fucking state like CT have not one, but two places travelers can be picked up that go by the identification of Union Station??

I was supposed to arrive around 7pm, but because New York motherfucking City is a disaster traffic-wise, I think I got in around 8. Not a problem; Stephanie was milling around the human rat puzzle known as IKEA. The IKEA in New Haven, right near Union Station. As I began rattling off places I was seeing while trippin’ down the freeway, it became abundantly clear that I was also heading toward Union Station…in Hartford. The Founding Fathers and City Planners in both Hartford and New Haven should be dug up from their graves so Stephanie and I can slap the shit outta ’em. So she’s going back home, and I’m gonna take a Lyft to her place. An unplanned expense.

I input all my info into the Lyft app and it quotes me $75. I take a deep breath, suck it up, and- holdupwaitaminute- I determine based on the app that I don’t think where I’m standing matches the address I’ve put in and what the map is telling me. I take a walk around the block, maybe 100 feet, to a bar on a corner with an address I know will be easier to find. Problem solved…and for some unknown reason, fate smiled down upon me and the price of the Lyft dropped down to $60. Fuck technology y’all…use your damn legs and save some of your hard-earned cash! That 100 feet of walking equals the price of my book! Thank me later when you’re telling me how much you enjoyed it.

Funny side note about the bar: When I walked in to ask for a proper address, right next to me was a man who looked familiar. He was a very good friend of mine about 20 years ago, and we had a ridiculous falling out over I don’t even know what the fuck, so I said his name. And I know he heard me, because I immediately recognized his mannerisms as he looked all around this tiny little bar everywhere but at me standing an arm’s length away. I walked out, chuckled to myself, and said “Fuck you, Chris Okal”. Of all the places to see someone though, right?

So anyway, I finally get to Stephanie’s place around 10-ish? And I’m not gonna lie (and this is what I love about true kick-ass cool people)…we picked up conversation like we’d known each other for, like, forever. No weirdness, stiffness, awkwardness. Just typical straight catchin’ up and figuring out what was goin’ on. After over probably an hour of talk we decided to go to bed (in separate rooms, mind you, ya filthpigs…that’s how rumors get started, and no one needs that). I went to put her WiFi password in my tablet, and right next to where I was standing, a paper caught my eye. A paper containing a typed-up list of several ways to legit get away with murder.

Turns out Stephanie is a True Crime fan and well, I’m here and she’s cool as hell, so I didn’t die and let’s just move on. This entry is already long enough and we’ve barely begun.

Meanwhile, Sarah has posted that she needs two grand to get a last-minute flight for her and her two small children. Before I go on, I need to stress that I love Sarah and she’s wonderful, so don’t misconstrue anything I say about her in a negative way. Every one of us is scrambling to retweet our pleas…it was like watching a fucking telethon on Twitter. Enter Tea Jay, who was instrumental in orchestrating donations to Sarah’s PayPal and ensuring her arrival at some point (and while you’re checking out Taylor [long for Tea], take a looksee at my guest post on her blog, Advice For Writers Who Want It, Or Don’t).

Sarah miraculously found not only a flight, but someone to watch her kids. We all laid our heads down for the night, eased by the knowledge our leader would indeed be present.

Then we woke up.

Stephanie managed to kick in a sizable chunk to the donation pot. I don’t remember what Sarah said when she called me around ten after eight in the morning, but all my sleepy ass knew was she was coming and renting a car. With going back to sleep not being an option, I laid in bed checking Twitter…and boom there’s Sarah, posing like a god damn 80’s rap star in front of this sick-ass vehicle. A bright-ass red Mini Cooper, all Bond…James Bondin’ on it like a pimp. I could not remember at first what kind of car it was; I just knew it was well beyond our pay grades and needs (and boy was I wrong, but you’ll find out why in a little bit…stick with me y’all). I, ummm, did not know how to break this to Stephanie. And then I did.

She thought it was a Fiat, which, hey, easy to mix up, right? All morning, “Red Fiat” was a term of endearment, an epitaph, and a functional source of several WTFs and confusion. Like, a red fucking ’93 Ford Tempo would’ve been sufficient. But hell no…let’s crash Hartford in mawfuggin’ style, yo. Combined with the fact that she flew into NYC (there’s that fuckin’ city again), let’s <insert my “moving the goalposts” metaphor here as well> and I’ll let you decide what to do with all of our eye-rolling wonderment about what exactly was going to happen in the ever-decreasing amount of time we were having. Was Sarah coming to Stephanie’s house? What time? What about everyone else? Sarah’s posting pics of her with her NYC friends in the pimpmobile rental. We still had to pick up Christa Marie somewhere…it’s all a jumbled blur of a blur at this point. One of the Union Stations in CT. Somehow we got her to take a shuttle or a train or a UFO or whatever to the only Union Station that matters, up in Hartford.

I don’t know if you’re confused, but I lived it and I’m still confused as fuck.

Anyway, Christa’s a sweet kid with a heart of gold. I think at one point Stephanie and I realized we’re old enough to have been her parents, and we’d have probably been shitty parents, but not nearly as bad as anything she’s lived through (but that’s her story to tell, and this is mine, so…whatevs, moving on). We scooped her up, said “Fuck it!” and told Sarah to just meet us at Barnes & Noble, and we chilled at Spot Coffee (holy shit, there’s a Spot in CT!! I thought that was a Buffalo thing!). That’s where Taylor was, and that’s where we told Katie to find us.

I think I forgot to mention that Christa finally corralled all of us into one group chat thing on Messenger, which did make things a little easier…until things began to settle and the steam started letting off some and the sarcasm began to bleed out of our confused brains and souls. We eventually found Sarah at B&N, and mad props to my man Rick for hooking us up with water, comfort and ease, high-fiving me for getting his REM reference about the “end of the world” (I feel fine) and a giant adult-sized cardboard standup of The Cat In The Hat, to replace Aaron (the designer of my postcards and some of the ETP covers). Barnes & Noble, you need to pay that man well and make him your straight-up Events Coordinator or some shit; whatever you corporate-speak it.

Personally, after Sarah read the children’s book she co-wrote with her son, Nobody (which you should all buy if you have kids, and if you’re a teacher or parent of kids with special needs, hit me up and I’ll tell you how to get a copy), I read four poems from 100: “Over, under, around, and through.”, “Sinspiration”, something else because my Post-It page tabs have betrayed me in my travels and I can’t remember shit anymore, and “Black Joker”. All were received well, with chants for an encore. With everything else going on, I had no idea what I was going to read, let alone pick something else. To me, it wasn’t my event and it wasn’t about me…it was a Connecticut thing and it was meant to shine the light on these other wonderful authors, with their blogs turned into books and them just being more local to the area than me. I have my own CT stories, but that’s neither here nor there.

As for all of us, we’ve known of each other for quite awhile; some more than others and some through different events, but not this particular group, all together at the same time. Once the eyes of the crowd and the onlookers were upon us, you’d have thought we were sitcom stars holding a panel for the beginning of our 8th season…our rapport was flawless and fun and so easygoing. The way we all got along and got on and meshed with each other, there’s no way you could tell there was so much chaos and behind-the-scenes fuckery it took to get us all in the same place.

These people…I have all the respect in the world for them, and to have finally met and interacted with them, they’re amazing. We all came from different backgrounds with various Mental Health diagnoses, which maybe is our common denominator I guess, but this is my family. I love them all, I’m super proud of them, and I love that I can fuck around with them and be me and they can be themselves and we can (most importantly) share our stories and help people with our words and voices. We fought so damn hard for ourselves, and we still fight every day, but now we can bring the fight to the masses. I miss them, I miss going through what we all had to go through to be together, and I can’t wait to see them again. I know that the next time I’m feeling shitty about life or writing or just myself, I practically have a virtual library on the side of things I can look at and reminisce over and think fondly of and say “Hey, we all did that, together, because we’re amazing fucking people”. I mean that, from the bottom of my heart (when it’s not dead and soulless). And I hope over time you can enjoy them all as much as I have.

My biggest regret is that we didn’t get our hands on one of the B&N event posters. With all that extra empty green space on them, it hit me well after I’d finally gotten home that it would’ve been a great memento for Sarah if we’d all signed it and gave it to her. She brought us all together; without her, there’s no way I’d know that Stephanie and I are alike in so many ways, or that Christa is so sweet and earnest and like many of us at her age (OMG we’re ollllllld now), or that Taylor and her hubby Jonesy and their boy Jack are so much more fucking adorable in person, or that Katie is a stupid-great amount of fun and everything I thought she’d be and more based on reading her book (which, by the way, again…read everyone’s books, because you can learn so much about how the regular people in your lives function with various mental illnesses you’d never otherwise know they have). But back to the posters…that would’ve been so cool and amazing. Fader, we all love you.

With that, I’d like to draw this long-ass first part to a close, because it’s way too much and yet there’s still more. Preview: In Part 2, I’ll talk about what transpired after the gig, and the god damn mess that was my journey back to Cortland…from the dope #barnaf in Fairfield w/Fader, to the bus station journey in CT, sitting in NYC for a legit ungodly amount of time, and then eventually getting home at five-o-stupid-a-fucking-m after a shitty bus ride. When Seuss wrote Oh, The Places You’ll Go, I don’t think he ever envisioned any sort of traffic at all that wasn’t cartoonish. I’ve been to some places…and I won’t go back until they put a dome over them. But enough about that. Let’s jam to some “catching up” beats before I have a great home-cooked sandwich, alright? Aiiiiiight.

  • The Dave Clark Five, “Catch Us If You Can”
  • Elliott Smith, “Let’s Get Lost”
  • The Get Up Kids, “I’ll Catch You”
  • Blur, “Avoid The Traffic”
  • Pearl Jam, “I Believe In Miracles (live)” (Ramones cover)
  • The Beach Boys, “Catch A Wave”
  • New Found Glory, “You’ve Got A Friend In Pennsylvania”
  • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, “We Call Upon The Author”
  • Public Enemy, “SOC MED Digital Heroin”
  • Busta Rhymes, “Do That Thing”
  • Wilco, “It’s Just That Simple”
  • Ours, “Medication”

Ok, that’s about all I have the patience for today. Sorry the playlist went a little skewed…music happens and if you don’t like it then you don’t like me. Stay tuned for Part 2, which’ll prolly come tomorrow afternoon and will be all kinds of differently entertaining than this might’ve been, if it was. In the meantime, rest up and stay kind to each other. You don’t know who’s going through what anymore…hell, I can barely keep up with myself some days. Peace, be on the lookout in your city for Christa Christa and the Full Force Cult Jam opening at corpse bride weddings for the Sarcastic Assholes as we perform our multi-platinum clusterfuck class-sick “Pour Some Moonshine On Me”, and this place is trying to close so let’s get outta here before they kick us out…just, uhhhh, I guess the apples are free, so take one on the way out. If they’re real.

100, Eliezer Tristan Publishing, Getting Published, Interview, Playlists, Poetry, Selfie-ishness, support your locals

Just your average Friday workday…

Hello again, friends! Second time this week I’m up in here…must be something goin’ on, right? Well, I teased only a little in the last entry and just now on the ol’ Instagram machine…

So yeah, shenanigans don’t stop just because St. Patrick’s Day has passed. That’s me, with the laptop I’m typing on right now open on this tab, with a copy of my book 100, only there are a flurry of pink Post-It flags sticking out of it (to go along with some of the blue ones I’ve used before). What’s going on?

Well, I’ve finally set up my own reading event with the Cortland Free Library! It’s literally taken me as long as the book’s been out to do it. I dropped off a copy there as soon as I had one, and I guess they had to send it to their “central processing area” for “verification” or something. After months of waiting, the Summer Of Norb ’18, and watching other Eliezer Tristan Publishing authors doing signings and newspaper interviews and whatnot, I reached out again to the library (only after I requested a book they didn’t have and had to get from another branch). One of the women (kinda cool that they know me when I walk in) mentioned my messaging them as I was checking out, and, well, check this out…

Wherever they shipped out my book to, turns out they still have it. Soooooo, they went the traditional route and ordered one for the library! And she said they’d be getting back to me soon about setting something up during April’s National Poetry Month!! Finally, boom goes the dynamite!

But here’s where I fucked up…she gave me two dates to choose from: one in early April, and one toward the end. And I knew Easter was super late this year, but I didn’t even think about looking at the calendar or anything…I just told her either one was great and I’m mad appreciative. She replied with Tuesday, April 23rd…great! I went to mark it down on my calendar and…ohhhhh shit, Easter is the Sunday right before. Usually I visit my mom in WNY that weekend, and we don’t usually know how long I’ll stay until we get closer to the date and it’s time for me to book the trip. It’s bad enough I missed her birthday last year because I was on my Pacific Northwest tour…but a holiday followed by Dyngus Day (the best Polish holiday of the year)? Hoping she’ll be ok with me having to go home either Easter morning or the following Monday. We’ll talk about it soon, I’m sure.

Anyway, I’ve got a public event coming up!! First one in Cortland! Cannot believe it and I cannot wait…it’ll be an excellent tune-up for my trip to Hartford, CT in May. It’s been quite awhile since I performed in public (not counting the karaoke I did during the holidays last year). Gotta shake the nerves off and sweep away the dust bunnies and get used to speaking out loud again. I’ll be fine. Wish you could be there! Being stoked about it is the best way to overcome the social anxiety that’ll set in and quell the nerves that will no doubt tell me to cancel. It’s a BFD, and I’m gonna rock it y’all!

In other news, I’m also a little worried. Funny story: I cancelled my doctor’s appointment for a checkup in January, because we got a metric shit-ton of snow and I wasn’t going out in that. Rescheduled it for February, but on that day it was super cold with 70+ MPH winds, and of course I wasn’t goin’ out in that either. So in one sense, it’s actually kinda a good thing that I’ve put this off…I woke up one day about two weeks ago and my right shoulder was stupid pissed at me and didn’t wanna comply with the rest of my body.

I tried a TENS unit. I tried a CBD rub on it. I tried arthritis aspirins and those heat patches with menthol or whatever’s in ’em. Nothing worked. I hadn’t done anything out of the ordinary to cause the pain and weakness I was experiencing, so I started to get a little concerned. I have a high tolerance for pain, yet this had me wondering if I should try to move up my appointment or complain at the ER.

A little background first: it’s the same shoulder I broke twice in high school. The first time was before a wrestling meet my junior year, and it was diagnosed as a minor rotator cuff tear. That summer after a football practice before my senior year, I couldn’t lift my arm again. I saw a sports doctor, and he revealed the crack in my socked that looked as if it was starting to fuse. Therefore, a 2x broken shoulder. Nice. And that was like 25+ years ago. My thinking was this is some scar tissue building up, or maybe a pinched nerve.

Nope. The direct quote from my doctor’s email: “Your x-ray shows some spurring in the joint that could be due to tendonitis.” Well, that sounds fantastic. My choice was to either see a specialist, or have him do a cortisone shot (and I opted for him doing the shot). Now I wait to get another appointment with him (he’s a good doc and has few openings, and the nurse I spoke with didn’t want to make me wait a month to see him). It’s not life-threatening or anything, but it’s certainly affecting me and makes being upright more painful than usual (the only time is doesn’t hurt so much is when I’m laying down, but that’s obvs no way to go through life). Let’s hope it doesn’t come to surgery, and let’s also hope this “spurring” thing doesn’t decide to start happening in my other joints as well. I don’t need that and neither do you need me telling you about it, ya hear?

Alright…let’s reel this back in and take back some of the excitement from earlier this entry, k? I’mma scour my iTunes library and hit you with a reading playlist for today to set your weekend up. You’re with me, and I’m with you…let’s do this!

  • Reggie & The Full Effect, “The Fellowship Of The Bling (Featuring Hungary Bear)”
  • Weezer, “El Scorcho (Live at Reading Festival, 1996)”
  • Atmosphere, “Hockey Hair”
  • Guns N’ Roses, “Catcher In The Rye”
  • Nirvana, “Lounge Act (Live At Reading)”
  • Beastie Boys, “Shake Your Rump (Reading Festival ’98)”
  • The Beatles, “Helter Skelter”
  • Blur, “On Your Own”
  • The White Stripes, “We’re Going To Be Friends”
  • Elvis Costello & The Attractions, “Everyday I Write The Book”
  • Son, Ambulance, “A Book Laid On Its Binding”
  • Blur, “Black Book”

Ok, well, I think that’s it for now…time to watch the UB Bulls in the NCAA tournament and figure out some dinner.  Remember, I’m ready and available to be hit up for your interviews, podcasts, general nonsense, and speakeasies. Us people who write gotta stick together, keep pushing everyone up, and keep doing them damn thangs we’re doin’. Have a kickass weekend y’all!

100, Eliezer Tristan Publishing, Homies, Mental Health, Playlists, Poetry, Road Trip!, Stigma Fighters, support your locals

Surprises! Good times!

Hey hey!! What’s up y’all? Just poppin’ in to share a bit of good news I’ve been slackin’ on. I’ve got some treats up my sleeve and I’m finally feeling comfortable and able to speak on them…

I’ve been asked to attend an Eliezer Tristan Publishing event on May 17th at the Barnes & Noble in W. Hartford…how dope is that? I get to meet some of the recently-published authors, hang out a bit with them, read a little from 100 for those in attendance, and hopefully sell/sign a few copies. And it’s worth noting that I have a history with Connecticut…I had an aunt that lived there and would fly my brother and I down every summer to stay for a week at her condo, until she died of cancer in the early 90’s. Her brother moved down there too at some point, and bought a small but cute little house, but he passed a few years ago and it was up to my mom, my brother, and I to clean out the place and get it ready to be sold (I don’t wanna go into detail, but it was a gory scene). And then I lost that same brother about 2-1/2 years ago. My head turns into a roller coaster rethinking all of these memories and details.

The point is: I’m seeking to recapture good Connecticut memories.

I don’t think that sounds unreasonable! I was going through and dealing with a lot of my own physical and MH-related shit at the time of my uncle’s passing. And I have so so so many great memories of my aunt, grandmother, and great aunt on road trips to CT. This time, however, will be different, and I’m proud and humbled to have been asked to be on the bill.

Now, lemme tell you about some of the other authors that I know’ll be along for the show. I honestly don’t know who is responsible and deserving of the headlining spot…I know it’s not me, because there are a few native CT’ers that are reading. So besides me, in no particular order…

That’s a lineup you can’t front on! I’m like the weakest link, the poetry guy who’s seen too much of the world’s ugliness and just bitches about it through free-verse…I don’t quite belong with these warriors (ok, maybe I’m selling myself a little bit short, having dealt with my own bullshit as far as MH goes). If you’re in the New England area, you should come! You’re gonna learn stuff, meet amazing people, and get signed copies of books that really mean something to you! May 17th, at the Blue Black Square B-to-the-and-to-the-mawfuggin’-N. Come get some!! 7-9pm!! Will we bring treats? I dunno. Maybe. Probably not, but that shouldn’t discourage you from coming anyway.

Speaking of which, what I need from a lot of all y’all is to buy some t-shirts and #NorbAF swag! Travelin’ ain’t cheap, and you know you’d look sweet-ass sweet in one of my t-shirts! When you’re done here, make sure you click on my shop so you can fill your Easter Baskets up with the incredibleness of signed books, t-shirts, pins & stickers, and more. Don’t be scared. It’s a shitty time to be alive in some respects, but there’s also been no better time in history to celebrate, stoke, and encourage the works of Creatives since we’ve (ok, most of us) have been alive and functioning.

Also, hey! I went to my local library today to pick up a book I reserved online and they were like “Hey, yeah, sorry we haven’t responded to you Facebook message yet, but we sent your book to our central processing location and they still have it, but we ordered another copy…are you still interested in having some event during April’s National Poetry Month?” Oh hell fucking yes, y’all! (I did not say that, as I am so much more publicly respectful.) Just waiting on the details.

And, speaking of appearances, my publisher is working on the B&N at the McKinley Mall for a reading or appearance of some sort. No details yet, but you know y’all will be the first to know! Can’t wait to have a sweet and proper homecoming where my mom can come by and my friends and family can get some signed books and we can hang out a little! Super excited about the possibility! Now I just need to set something up at the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library and I’ll feel all that much more legit. Let’s make something happen, BECPL!!

Ok, I think I’ve done what I set out to do. Let’s end this mumbo-jumbo with a playlist about talking and speaking and all that, so I can post this and take a nap, k?

  • Geto Boys, “Talkin’ Loud Ain’t Sayin’ Nothin'”
  • Wilco, “Speak Into The Rose”
  • Oasis, “Talk Tonight”
  • Beastie Boys, “Make Some Noise”
  • Finch, “Letters To You”
  • Jimmy Eat World, “What Would I Say To You Now”
  • John Lennon, “Nobody Told Me”
  • The Killers, “Somebody Told Me”
  • Geto Boys, “And My Word”
  • De La Soul, “Transmitting Live From Mars”
  • The Dave Clark Five, “Catch Us If You Can”

Alright you fun-ass people…I’ve got dinner goin’ and it’s about time I paid attention to it. You know I love all y’all, so please don’t hesitate to share this with your people (I know some of my people will, or at least I hope they do). Respect!

 

100, Eliezer Tristan Publishing, Getting Published, Interview, Mental Health, Playlists, support your locals

Let’s talk!

Hello all you fine purveyors of this wondrous wedge of fancy internet cheese! Today’s entry will be short, as it’s your from-time-to-time reminder that yes, I am available for print and web interviews, podcasts, appearances, and all forms of pimpin’ myself out to the general population for the sake of 100, talking about mental health, and generally being #NorbAF in a world that wants to cram everyone into certain boxes.

This morning greeted us with the arrival of an interview I did recently with Hawk & Young about precisely nearly everything I just mentioned in the previous paragraph. I really enjoyed doing it and I hope you feel the same when reading it…you can find it here at Interview of Norb Aikin.

Hope you don’t mind me being proud of or sharing my accomplishments. It’s a big deal to some and a bigger deal to me, because I honestly haven’t felt this good about practically anything in a long, long time before this happened. I made something tangible that is out and circulating around the world…something that isn’t just a website or a blog entry or a poem that sits in a notebook on my shelf. It’s real, and I have to support it. I know a lot of writers call their books their “baby” and I’m kinda not down with that analogy but whatever works for them is fine and I get it; I don’t have kids to be proud of and I’m not a pet owner but this is something I’ve done that’s become bigger and better beyond my wildest (and modest) expectations and you’re gott-damm right I’mma celebrate it as much as I can (without, hopefully, makin’ y’all sick of me). I’m just trying to make the best use of my time now with something I do better than mostly everything else I’ve done in life. Let me have this!! 

Ok, my mini-rant is over, so let’s break outta here on this beautiful Sunday with a little conversational playlist, aaa-iiight?

  • Mudhoney, “Between Me & You Kid”
  • The Flaming Lips, “Talkin’ ‘Bout The Smiling Deathporn Immortality Blues (Everyone Wants To Live Forever)”
  • Girlpope, “That’s A Good Question”
  • Elliott Smith, “I Can’t Answer You Anymore”
  • Moneen, “What Did You Say?…I’m Sorry, My Eyes Are On Fire”
  • The Tragically Hip, “Hot Mic”
  • Atmosphere, “Say Hey There”
  • The Get Up Kids, “Conversation”
  • A Tribe Called Quest, “Can I Kick It?”
  • Deftones, “When Girls Telephone Boys”
  • The Strokes, “Ask Me Anything”
  • Aesop Rock, “Kill The Messenger”

Ok y’all…and just so you know, that playlist is random based on the songs I can shuffle through my iTunes library (first come, first posted), so don’t read anything more into it than what it is, kay? Thanks. Now, there’s a Sabres game coming on soon so I’m gonna get away from here for a little bit. Remember: Please like and share the Hawk & Young interview on your social media vice(s) of choice and remember that I’m always here for you whenever/wherever you need me (physical and mental state willing)…your boy over here has a book to promote and can use all the help you can give! Thanks, and peace!!

100, Apparel, Eliezer Tristan Publishing, Photos, Playlists, support your locals

The Merch Update!

Holy crap…it’s been over a month since I last stopped by here? My bad y’all, but I’ve been kinda busy between the holidays and getting all this special goodness ready for you guys…I think the merch shop is about as complete as it can be for now.

So to recap, there are books and stickers and t-shirts and buttons and bracelets. All at affordable prices and under normal circumstances will ship ASAP. PayPal and most major credit/debit cards accepted! Sorry though; I don’t set any of the shipping charges or taxes…not my job unfortunately.

Other than all that, how’re things with you? Hope you’re well, and warm, or comfortable and cool, or whatever makes you feel good. Let’s party with a little merch playlist…

  • Public Enemy, “Politics Of The Sneaker Pimps”
  • Oasis, “The Girl In The Dirty Shirt”
  • Nirvana, “Radio Friendly Unit Shifter (live)”
  • NWA, “Express Yourself”
  • My Chemical Romance, “It’s Not A Fashion Statement, It’s A Death Wish”
  • Saves The Day, “Sell My Clothes, I’m Off To Heaven”
  • Atmosphere, “You Played Yourself”
  • The 1975, “Menswear”
  • Beck, “Mixed Bizness”
  • Radiohead, “Fake Plastic Trees (live)”

Ok, all you fine, fantastic people…check out the new and improved shop (which also features new lower prices on signed books yo!!). I promise I’ll try to say what’s up around here a little more often…til then, keep an eye out on the Instagram and Twitter feeds and just for fun, here’s my ma sportin’ the freshest t-shirt of 2019…

Miss you guys…peace!

100, Apparel, Eliezer Tristan Publishing, Holidays, Playlists

The Commercialization Has Begun!

Warm holiday greetings to you all! Woke up this morning and before I could even start the coffee pot I took a phone call from my publisher…and after discussing a wide variety of topics, we’ve got great news going into 2019! The #NorbAF campaign is pickin’ up steam, and soon we’ll have t-shirts and bracelets on sale in my shop, to go along with copies of 100…how friggin’ wild is that? 

Now you can be part of the movement and proudly sport my name on your chest, and it won’t even be weird! (Please, don’t make it weird.) Props to the Eliezer Tristan Publishing queen Sarah Fader for the design, and sorry I don’t have anymore info yet on them (like when they’ll be available or how much)…all I know is what they’ll look like. 

 

In addition to the shirts, we’ll also have black rubber ETP bracelets, and blue rubber #NorbAF ones as well, because ya gotta have accessories that match your dope new #NorbAF gear! 
 
What else is goin’ on? I’ve been layin’ low…taking a break from everything just to get through the holidays mentally intact, I figure. But I’m super-proud of the other ETP authors who are finalizing their books and gearing up for their works to be in print! 2019 is going to be a big year for a lot of people, and I can’t wait to read more about some of these wonderful individuals I’ve become friends with here and there through the extended ETP family. More cool stuff to look forward to…that’s how I look at it! 
 
So, that’s really it y’all. I’ve got a busy rest of the week ahead of me as I get ready to go back to Western New York for Christmas with mom (who’s already been up my ass a little about when she can get a t-shirt hahahahahaha…I love you ma, but I don’t even have one yet so don’t worry; as soon as they’re available you can get one!) and some friends and good times. Let’s drop a little Commercialized/Goin’ Home playlist on my way out…
 
  • Wilco, “I Love My Label”
  • Pearl Jam, “Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town”
  • Aesop Rock, “Lotta Years”
  • Bowling For Soup, “My Hometown”
  • Simon & Garfunkel, “My Little Town”
  • RZA feat, Method Man and Cappadonna, “Wu-Wear: The Garment Renaissance”
  • Miracle Of ’86, “Nice Shirt, Salvadore Dali”
  • Oasis, “The Girl In The Dirty Shirt”
  • Hawksley Workman, “Learn How To Knit”
  • Reel Big Fish, “Sell Out”
  • The Clash, “Career Opportunities” 
  • Reggie And The Full Effect, “Christmas In Hollis”

Ok…Merry Christmas ya filthy animals! Happy holidays and enjoy celebrating what it is you celebrate…family, fellowship, and joy. That’s all that really matters, right? So do it up right, however you choose to do it. I’ll see you guys in the new year, when I know more about the merch. Stay cool…peace!