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

Home is the new home.

What is UP y’all? Finally back home and spent a night in my own bed for the first time in what feels like forever. I’ve been gone so long that I forgot the channel number of some of the stations I put on for background noise while I’m doing other things…it’s hard to think and get back into a routine when you’ve been all over the country. I guess I’ve said this already (mostly), but this is what my itinerary was for the last 2+ weeks:

  • Cortland -> Syracuse, by bus
  • Syracuse -> Chicago (layover), by plane
  • Chicago -> Portland, OR, by plane
  • Portland -> Seattle, by car
  • Seattle -> Indianapolis, by plane
  • Indy -> Atlanta (layover), by plane
  • Atlanta -> Syracuse, by plane
  • ‘Cuse back home to Cortland, by Lyft

And my body’s exhausted even after crashing once I saw my bed. Good thing I leave a clean house when I travel, so I don’t have to wade through nonsense before I drop. Kinda not happy with myself now though for scheduling a visit with the therapist not even 24 hours after I was due back, but I know I’m a horrible scheduler and I’m trying to get better at it…but that’s another post for another time, my friends.

All I’m gonna say is that I’ve had a blast the last two weeks…being to places I’ve never been to before, eating at different restaurants that aren’t available in my areas locally, meeting and spending time with people I’ve known for years and years because of the internet and picking up just like long-lost friends doin’ their thang-thangs like they always do, and experiencing life in ways I haven’t in so long and/or ways I’d never thought of and may not be ever able to accomplish again. It was much-needed for my soul and my psyche…validation is a hell of a drug!

So now what? Besides remembering what channel ESPN is on and finishing unpacking like the procrastinating wad of jumbled genius brain cables I sometimes become)…I’ve still got some work to do. The hustler never quits on himself, so I’ve lined up a few appearances as a guest blogger and featured author on a few sites, as well as a podcast and more. I can’t give away the store y’all…you’ll just hafta keep posted and pay attention to this kid as he does his thing with the breaks he’s been given and the cracks he got to spring from. It’s gonna be a work week at home, finally, because I feel like I did more work on the West Coast and in Indy than I did the month prior (but to be fair, that month I was gearing up for this trip and allowed myself some unprecedented openness and accountability in my life for a change). Now, I gotta keep the train a-rollin’ while I still have some momentum, and prepare myself for a slowdown of sorts just in case. At least I have something (and many things really, like new friends with similar thoughts/feelings/outlooks/diagnoses) tangible from this chapter of my life where I can say that if it all goes away, this time I own more positive memories and experiences than typical relationships. Every memory is embedded without judgement or shame, and each detail has given me more strength and courage to push forward. How many of you can say the same after a string of broken relationships, ugly losses, or a life that felt overall like bad luck was your hair goo? This is something that can’t and won’t go away, and you want to keep…like a dope tattoo of a time in your life, on your life.

There’s also this, which I’m flat-fuck stoked about:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BoKN50mA3Zx/

You wanna signed book? Come get one here, from my website. There are both US and International shipping options, in case you forgot or were wondering.

So yeah, that’s what’s up. Let’s break into a home-themed playlist before I wreck some microwaved food and hit another stellar nap on my own terms, shall we? And if you’re not down with the selections, I suggest you start your own blog not to hate on me, but to show us your variety and eclectic tuneology. I won’t fight you, and I won’t judge you (even if it’s horrible). You tried, and for that I can thank you immensely enough. Rock your own dance party from time to time. Let it all out!

  • Atmosphere, “Always Coming Back Home To You (+ ‘Say Shh’)”
  • Supertramp, “Breakfast In America”
  • The New Amsterdams, “Hover Near Fame”
  • Motley Crue, “Home Sweet Home”
  • Mother Love Bone, “This Is Shangrila”
  • Herman’s Hermits, “I’m Into Something Good”
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Castles Made Of Sand (Jimi Hendrix cover)”
  • Nirvana, “Come As You Are”
  • Madness, “Our House”
  • Moby, “Now I Let It Go”
  • Blur, “Country House”
  • Blink-182, “This Is Home”

Let’s celebrate your home…if you got a roof over your head and the means to keep it, throw your hands up. If home means something entirely different than what you thought when you were a kid, throw them hands up. If home means your family now isn’t your real family, keep them damn hands up. And if home is in your heart, keep your hands to yourselves but put your arms around the people closest to you. Home doesn’t hafta be where you grew up, where you live now, or what you’re even imagining. Home is what you make it. Get settled and find a routine. Your life is your home, even if there ain’t no November turkeys (my favorite holiday, BTW) or Santa Clauses flyin’ around. Work on that, please…while I work on either more tidying up or a nap. My naps in Indy were few and far between, and in Seattle I barely took any (‘cept for that one morning, after walking around like a sodomized penguin). After visiting a few airports, I’ve come to the conclusion that all y’all need to chill in public or GTFO. Jus’ sayin’. Tourists do NOT give a fuck about you and your circle. We’ve got enough on our minds as it is (I’m lookin’ at you and your way too crowded and confined airport). Ok…mini-rant over.

Anyway, thanks for bein’ here and checkin’ this out today…time to get busy! Peace!

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

Live from Indianapolis: The Portland/Seattle Edition!

Hello there, fine people of the internet! It’s been awhile, but not because I’m lazy…I’m sittin’ here on the road in my first full day in Indianapolis, fresh from the West Coast (specifically Portland and Seattle). If you’ve been following my journey so far, you’ll remember that the company that was nice enough to publish my book had their launch party last weekend…what a super-fun time that was! The weekend in general was a blasty-blast…not only did I meet in person my team at Eliezer Tristan Publishing , but I got to hang with some new friends from all over the country promoting the brand and raising awareness.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bne_WW3HHmQ/?taken-by=officialsparkllerainne

I also read a few pieces from 100 to a live audience, and heard some incredible stories of self-awareness and resilience from other ETP authors. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I’m still thankful and in awe of the opportunity. I wish I had some video of the event, but all I’ve seen is just Facebook live posts which aren’t very loud.

From there it was on to Seattle to chill with a friend of mine in the Pacific Northwest, and take in many of the sights and whatnot the area has to offer. It was a week of many firsts: first time staying at an Air B&B, first concert I’ve attended in over six years (the Beatles tribute act RAIN at the Washington State Fair, during a torrential downpour no less), first time eating Chick-fil-A and Jack In The Box, and my first open mic experience. I read “Tattooed” and I can’t really explain how gratifying it felt to have complete strangers from my opposite coast applauding my work. It was definitely a new kind of rush for me.

And then all the touristy stuffs one does in the area: the Space Needle, the Fremont Troll under the bridge, and the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop), which had sweet-ass sweet Nirvana and Pearl Jam exhibits. Record stores, book stores, and Pike’s Place Market…where they will physically throw your fish to be wrapped up before you buy it. You know in NY the health department would be all over that like, ummm, scales on fish, tryin’ to shut that down in a hurry. There’d be laws and ordinances and signs up everywhere saying “Throwing Fish Is Punishable Up To A $500 Fine” or some shit. That’s just the way it is.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BnpBiU_Aeoc/?taken-by=fivesixer

Anyway, that’s where I’m at for now. Sittin’ back and relaxin’ in Indy, waitin’ to hear back on a few friends in the area to see what’s what with who and where. Let’s cap this post off like we always do in these parts…how about a performance and entertainment playlist? Somethin’ different, with that good ol’ groove shine on it!

  • Marc Bolan & T. Rex, “Cosmic Dancer”
  • Led Zeppelin, “Dancing Days”
  • KRS-One, “Out For Fame”
  • Mission Of Burma, “Fame And Fortune”
  • Eyedea & Abilities, “Sky Diver”
  • Supertramp, “Gone Hollywood”
  • Braid, “Perfect Pitch”
  • Atmosphere, “Feel Good Hit Of The Summer 2”
  • The Beatles, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Love Remix)”
  • Jack White, “Ezmerelda Steals The Show”
  • The Used, “Poetic Tragedy”
  • 10,000 Maniacs, “Stockton Gala Days”

And there you have it! All caught up for now, so I’m done here I think. Time to get this posted and figure out where I’mma head for dinner. Sounds like a plan…hope you’re all well! Peace!

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

All booked!!

Hey hey y’all! The World Tour Of Norb is all settled…plane and bus tickets booked, places to stay confirmed, friends on high alert. I’ve got a pocket full of Xanax to get me through the plane anxiety…here is the itinerary, with dates and times:

  • Portland, 9/6-9/10…6:30pm until my friend arrives on the 10th
  • Seattle, 9/10-9/16…when we get there and stop at the WA State Fair for RAIN, a Beatles cover band
  • Indianapolis, 9/16-9/24…6pm Sunday til a crazy early checkout time the following Monday

Hear that y’all? If you’re in those neighborhoods, give me a shout. I’ll read in your bookstores and libraries. I will pontificate in your coffee shops. I will pretend that my poetry heals the sick and curses demons in the living rooms of the frightened non-believers. I’m also available for napping on your couch, petting your animals, riling up your kids before bedtime, and talking all hours into the night while avoiding my own problems/issues/discretion. Fun times, yo!

And that’s my word y’all…straight from the publishing company’s CEO…

WHAT UP Y’ALL?! Come on out!! Go explore at the college named for explorers…find poets and writers you’ve never seen before. That’s what life’s about, right? New experiences! I’m fortunate to be able to do this, because it’s something I was only able to fantasize about for a long time. Now I can! And I’mma make the most of it…because it may never happen again. Unless…

I know after I get home and relax a bit, I’ll wanna hit some friends up along the east coast. I’ve got friends I’d love to see between NJ and FL, and this might be the time of year to do it before it gets too cold and gross outside with snow and whatnot. Also, while I’m in the travelin’ mood.

But let’s see what happens, ok? Haven’t had a door closed on me in awhile (besides the debacle in Seattle where there are three month waiting lists for authors to stop in and get books signed). And I’m still getting no love from Buffalo indie shops. What happened to the city of good neighbors? What’s up with the expat ignoring…ohhhhhh never mind. Didn’t realize Talking Leaves closed up. Dammit…who doesn’t have stories of the indie book shops or record shops they used to wander aimlessly through while spending half a paycheck at the end? *waves hand*

Alright, let’s stuff a playlist in here. Some sorta travel nonsense. Or just straight beloved nonsense, which is the best kinda nonsense ever.

  • Chris Cornell, “Mission 2000”
  • Beastie Boys, “What Comes Around”
  • Atmosphere, “7th Street Entry”
  • Ramones, “Outsider”
  • Lo-Fidelity Allstars, “How To Operate With A Blown Mind”
  • Buck 65, “1957”
  • Bob Dylan, “Going, Going, Gone (live at Budokan}”
  • Counting Crows, “American Girls”
  • Fun., “Carry On”
  • Billy Bragg & Wilco, “I’m Out To Get”
  • Felt, “Protagonists”
  • The Beatles, “We Can Work It Out”

Alright my peoples…that’s my word. One more time, I wanna ask you to help out Eliezer Tristan Publishing so we can confirm the surprise guest headliner…drop a few bucks in their digital PayPal bucket so we can get my man to do his thing after I do my thing. I don’t wanna give away the secrets of the industry, but this individual has a tremendous following and requires a fair amount of cash to spread his good vibes amongst the crowd. I will be in that same crowd across the country…let’s make it happen!!

Ok, I’m done here. I got stuff to answer to, food (a sandwich, with veggies) to eat, a nap to take, a Mets game to agonize over, and setting up priorities for packing and printing itineraries for the next couple weeks. Peace y’all…you know I love you!

100, Eliezer Tristan Publishing, Mental Health, Playlists, Poetry, Road Trip!

Less Than A Week!!

Greetings and salutations, party people…what’s up? Again, my sincerest apologies for not being around much lately. I’ve just had a lot going on and I’m happy to share some of that with you…but first:

The Eliezer Tristan Launch Party is less than a week away!!

And that means on Thursday I’ll be taking my first-ever cross-country flight from Syracuse, NY to Portland, OR. How friggin’ exciting is that? I still have so much to do to get ready for it, but I’m not stressing out about it. I’ve got a pocketful of Xanax waiting for me as I hop on a plane (I’m a terrible flyer) and I’ve got a head swimming with anticipation and wonder. I’m gonna be meeting people for the first time in person after speaking with them for so long over emails and phone convos…pretty freakin’ wild. I soooooo cannot wait y’all!

Ok let’s see…what else have I been up to? My friend Michelle from Seattle flew in to visit me last week, and that was a lot of fun! A big step for me, letting someone other than the maintenance workers and my mom in my apartment, let alone stay overnight. The big highlight of the visit was going down to the Cortland Repertory Theatre for The Rat Pack Lounge, a wonderfully entertaining play about Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. coming down from heaven to help a struggling bar owner. Don’t we look grand?

Anyway, it was good to have a nice break from worrying about life for awhile so I could spend it with someone so amazing, doing things you just can’t do when you’re by yourself. Not that I have a problem with dining out alone or going to certain places, but having such a fun and wonderful person accompanying me is something I hadn’t experienced in so long and lemme tell you, it still rocks!

And that brings me back to my upcoming travels. I’m not sure how long I’m gonna be in Portland (I arrive the evening of the 6th, and the launch party is Saturday the 8th). I do believe there may be a visit to Powell’s (a Portland bookstore) but I’m not sure when. And from there, Michelle is driving down from Seattle and we’re gonna roadtrip it back to her area for a few days. Again, no set timetable. I’ve got no agenda other than maybe hitting a few places for readings and whatnot, with tentative plans to see the greatest Beatles tribute band, RAIN, at the fairgrounds they’ve got over there. I’ve already seen them a few times in an indoor theatre setting, so it’ll be nice to see them in something different.

Let’s switch gears for a minute and pump some tires…Eliezer Tristan Publishing is doing and has been doing some amazing stuff the last couple weeks, as far as dropping new releases and hooking up different authors with plans to publish their works. That makes me hella excited for them, and to see the ETP family grow! Richard De Fino’s book just came out, and he now makes his home in my hometown of Buffalo…how cool is that, that a west coast publishing company was able to snag not one, but two Buffalonians? It’s another one of those wild unsolved mysteries, and all I can say is Buffalo is ripe for mining talent, yo. Get down there and just soak it all right in. We’re more than chicken wings, snow, and the Goo Goo Dolls.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BnJpmiVgM0N/?taken-by=fivesixer

And here’s a little somethin’ for you people who need some visualization…ETP now has a YouTube Channel which you should definitely be subscribing to, not only for more info on this amazing non-profit, but for dope videos like this:

And lastly, there’s the issue of fundraising…I can’t stress enough how much ETP is doing for the mental health community in general, as well as putting peoples’ stories out there in hopes of erasing all of the many stigmas surrounding mental illness. We’re not quote-unquote crazy. We’re not the human equivalent of Looney Tunes. We’re strong, accepting, caring, thoughtful people who have been through so much that dealing with it all is like trying to peel an onion without crying, but inside the onion is more onion and suddenly all of life is onions that you can keep peeling until you learn how to make an often socially unacceptable onion salad, which you need to buy into before you can convince your locals that it isn’t that bad because it’s still a vegetable and with the right dressing it’s rather palatable. That’s my life. That’s getting to know me when you think mental illness is some contrived psychologist bullshit. While I’m usually easy to get along with, getting me to that stage of meeting and trusting someone is downright hard. I feel like I’m constantly trying to convince people I’m ok, and I have to work at least 10x harder to gain reciprocal trust. But enough about me…my man Ricky will tell you why ETP is a great organization to spread some love to. And ETP is also on Patreon with some dope hauls for anyone/everyone who donates to the cause…check it out, because it’s worth your time and energy. That’s my word.

Ok, so while I’m doing some other nonsense that means nothing to you but almost everything to me, let’s crack out an excitement and scared and thrilled playlist via my iPod, ok? Got it? Let’s go!

  • The Tragically Hip, “Scared”
  • Gerry & The Pacemakers, “Ferry ‘Cross The Mersey”
  • Pearl Jam, “Fortunate Son (live, Buffalo 5/2/03)”
  • Regina Spektor, “Edit”
  • Blackpool Lights, “This Town’s Disaster”
  • Mudhoney, “Pokin’ Around”
  • Oasis, “Half The World Away”
  • Big D & The Kids Table, “Moment Without An End”
  • Tears For Fears, “Shout”
  • The Tragically Hip, “Freak Turbulence”
  • Arctic Monkeys, “Red Light Indicates Doors Are Secured”
  • Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, “Clap Your Hands!”

Ok you and your friends and your parents and their friends, I love you all but I have other stuff to do today and it’s not like I’m ignoring you but yeah, life’s a bit wild (I hate that I keep using that word) right now, and I’m trying to enjoy it while I can (before it goes away). Plus, I need to make a sandwich and eat the coldcuts that are in my fridge before I hafta leave. Peace, share me with your friends, thank you all for still being here, and, ummm, just, thanks.

100, Mental Health, Playlists, Poetry, Stigma Fighters

Let’s keep this machine goin’!

Hey! How are all of you doin’ today? I know (again) it’s been awhile…but I’ve been busy, and I’ve got the receipts to prove it!

Just a couple days ago, I wrote an article about my dealings with Fibromyalgia for Stigma Fighters that’s received an excellent response so far, My Roadmap To Fibromyalgia: Everything or Nothing; and sometimes both. Please take a look-see and feel free to share it with anyone else who’s living with this…spreading and sharing information is one of the best ways we have right now to not only combat this, but feel comfort.

Yesterday, I recorded a short promo clip for Eliezer Tristan Publishing in the hopes that they can find sponsors for our launch party in September, as well as investors to take the company to the next level and signal boost the messages to a bigger, wider audience. I just wanted to bang it out in one take, but as I started talking and saying what I really wanted to say, I looked down at the timer on my laptop’s recorder and I was well over 30 seconds yet halfway through the whole thing I’d been playing over in my head for hours. I guess not only do I think too much and babble on sometimes when I write, but I also take too long to say what needs to be said (especially under the duress of a timer).

And today, I took the bold step of adding two more videos to the ever-growing cult of 100…the first is a combination of two poems that really mean a lot to me. They were written shortly after my brother’s suicide at the age of 39, almost two years ago. I’ve written more about it since, but Sinspiration and Cometosis were a couple of the first I was able to do while still processing the grief and helping out mom handle his affairs, left-behinds, and the overall overwhelmingness of it all. It honestly took me some time before I was able to start processing it, let alone get the ability to start writing about it.

Unsure of what I wanted to record next (because I was totally into the mindset of recording), I flipped around and found one of the first ones I truly liked as I was beginning to get fully involved in the process of writing this “Give It 100” project. Not only was it one of my early favorites, but it was fairly well-received when I added it to my portfolio on Writing.com as part of the project. It’s called Major Bomb, and I remember entering it in my local library’s “National Poetry Month” contest…it lost to a very blah, cheerleading “yay America” flag piece that I guess the townsfolk here are all up into instead of my antithesis of that. But I’m not bitter about it…wellllll…no, I’m not. I’ve already gotten my validation several times over.

So that’s where I’ve been lately, friends and lovers and haters and everyone in-between. Once I get the motor runnin’ it doesn’t stop til I drop. Whaddya say we dip into a machine-oriented playlist, in hopes of keepin’ the gears turnin’ through my West Coast jaunt? And if you want me to show up in your city, drop a line…I’m still in the planning phase and and after the ETP launch party and my Seattle visit, I’m open!

  1. Rage Against The Machine, “Bulls On Parade”
  2. Pink Floyd, “Welcome To The Machine”
  3. The Tragically Hip, “Man Machine Poem”
  4. The Beatles, “The Long And Winding Road”
  5. Sponge, “Miles”
  6. Queens of the Stone Age, “…Like Clockwork”
  7. Soundgarden, “Never The Machine Forever”
  8. Regina Spektor, “Riot Gear”
  9. Bush, “Warm Machine”
  10. Radiohead, “Paranoid Android”
  11. Pixies, “Bone Machine”
  12. Our Lady Peace, “In Repair”

Alright y’all…you’re flush with my life up to today. Hope it makes you as happy as it’s made me over the course of a long time coming. Thanks for listenin’, and don’t forget to listen to others and take care of yourselves. Peace!