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, 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!

Eliezer Tristan Publishing, Getting Published, Mental Health, Playlists, Poetry, Work In Progress

“Politics” and More Good News!

What’s good homies? Here’s your reminder to (if you haven’t already) get out and VOTE!! In honor of Election Day in the US I posted yesterday a brand new video reading of “Politics”, which is from the current notebook I’m drawing words into, World By Design. I hope you’ll take the minute and a half required to check it out.

Of course, the big news lately around these parts has been Barnes & Noble picking up my book! Big thanks to the homies at Eliezer Tristan Publishing for getting that hooked up!! That’s one more venue for you to purchase your copy of 100 at (and here’s how)…

Yes, it’s still crazy…and no, it hasn’t really sunk in yet that at some point I’ll be on shelves possibly all over the place. If you’re in a B&N, ask for it by name. Make them order it. If you get it from Amazon, PLEASE, review it!! And if you’ve gotten it from me or ETP, let us know! Take a pic with it so we can share it on Instagram and Twitter, yo! We’re spreadin’ the word through word of mouth, ya know? And if ya got a podcast or access to a newspaper, my laptop is open for business via interviews and whatnot. Just let me know where to send the press release, k?

One more thing I’ve been up to…I just submitted another new article to a very prominent Mental Health Advocacy site (not gonna name it yet cuz I don’t wanna jinx it). Fingers crossed…may take a month or so to find out, but #ItsOKMan (there’s your hint, I suppose).

Alright y’all…let’s kick out a little “Get Out And Vote” (and other things) playlist then!

  • The Band, “When I Paint My Masterpiece”
  • The Smiths, “Shoplifters Of The World Unite”
  • Radiohead, “Electioneering”
  • My Chemical Romance, “Disenchanted”
  • Bob Dylan, “Masters Of War”
  • Rage Against The Machine, “Voice Of The Voiceless”
  • Bruce Springsteen, “The Ghost Of Tom Joad”
  • Anthrax, “I Am The Law”
  • Pearl Jam, “Do The Evolution”
  • Saul Williams, “List Of Demands (Reparations)”
  • The Replacements, “Unsatisfied”
  • Atmosphere, “Commodities”

Ok…I guess we’re done here. Remember: VOTE MOTHERFUCKERS! And when you’re done, send Amazon/B&N reviews…it’s important from a business stance I’m told. More reviews on Amazon get you better advertising and search results, or something. And after that, take a nap or reward yourself with something nice…you’ve been a good adult today! Peace…much love to you all.

100, Getting Published, Playlists, Road Trip!

NO SLEEP TIL…PORTLAND!!!

Yes yes y’all! What’s happenin’? The flight is booked, the couch has been made available, and come September 6th I’ll be in Portland, OR for the Eliezer Tristan Publishing launch party! The West Coast Summer Of Norb Tour is in full effect…don’t get a late pass; be on the go with me!

From Portland I’m heading to Seattle to sightsee and chill with a friend. I’d love the idea of swinging down to Vegas to meet some people I know there and then to Cali for a day or two or three, before trippin’ back with a stop at Indiana for more people, and then heading home before I plot the East Coast trip.

My life is mad wicked crazy right now.

You can’t front on that.

So hey, hook me up with your city and let’s hang out, West Coasters! Tell me where and when in September is good…I imagine I’ll spend a few days in Seattle after the 8th, so name your options and let’s see what happens!

In the meantime…let’s bang around to a little West Coast playlist, alright? Alright.

  • Interpol, “Heinrich Maneuver”
  • Modest Mouse, “The World At Large”
  • Nirvana, “Lounge Act”
  • Soundgarden, “Room A Thousand Years Wide”
  • Jawbox, “Breathe”
  • 7 Year Bitch, “You Smell Lonely”
  • Alice In Chains, “Grind”
  • Felt, “Bass For Your Truck”
  • Beastie Boys, “High Plains Drifter”
  • Pearl Jam, “Hard To Imagine”

That’s my word, individuals doing your own things. Peace, and don’t forget to get at me if you want me to read in your city yo. Much love…ttyl.

100 WIP, Getting Published, Playlists

#ItsHere …and what it means to me.

This is friggin’ amazing, y’all.

Got some copies of my book, which you can get here from Amazon on your Kindle or in print. Now the struggle has a name!

Poetry has kept me sane the last six years, if not the last 25 or so. It’s given me a voice against my mental health, coworkers, companies, and crazy situations I’ve found myself in…even if it wasn’t heard. It’s my art; putting words on a page like a painter uses paint. This is my skill, and this is how I document my reality. I’ve got notebooks full of poems that have been a crucial release point in terms of dealing with myself. Some are good, and some are trash…but the point is to always keep writing, and keep everything you write.

But I often struggle when asked what poetry means to me. Different writers have different answers and comparing one to another is ridiculous. We all write for different reasons, and in the long run this isn’t a competition…we need to support each other no matter what. And I don’t write for solutions necessarily…it’s just my way of dealing with the world that doesn’t always take kindly to strangers in it.

Can I share with you a short sample? Will Eliezer Tristan Publishing mind?

This is how I feel safe and how I feel like I’m contributing to society. It’s how I view the world and make it less awful for me in a corrosive era of our existence. Maybe I didn’t want to be on a team but they threw me a uniform and I had no choice but to be the best I can be, which turned into reaching the pinnacle of the conquest. Maybe this is what I was meant for all along, and my posturing of “good life” was just for show (like so many of you). All I wanted was to get in where I could fit in, and I’ve been able to do that often enough that I don’t hafta worry about who my friends are, even if I’m a shitty friend at times. My body is full of pain, but my heart knows no boundaries. And if that’s who I was born to be and have been lucky enough to survive and spit words, I’ll take it.

Let’s bang out to a published playlist, shall we? Let’s appreciate and support one another!

  • The Tragically Hip, “World Container”
  • Moneen, “The Passing Of America”
  • Faith No More, “Sweet Emotion”
  • Modest Mouse, “Sleepwalkin'”
  • Public Enemy, “He Got Game”
  • Beastie Boys, “Egg Raid On Mojo”
  • Dana Fuchs, “Don’t Let Me Down”
  • Street Sweeper Social Club, “Mama Said Knock You Out”
  • Reggie & The Full Effect, “Your Girlfriends Hate Me”
  • Temple Of The Dog, “Times Of Trouble”

Ok you guys…I’m waiting on a tech support call so I can get my website feeling right and the way I want it…I can only scratch that scab for so long til it becomes infected. Anyway, today’s been awesome and thank you all for joining in on the ride!

100 WIP, Getting Published, Playlists

The Nuts and Bolts!! (a 100 update)

Hey guys! Hope you all had lovely weekends, whether you were celebrating dads and grads or chillin’ at your pads. I have more exciting news that came in the form of text messages and tweets last night that have just kept my world turning at its current whirlwind pace.

So…let’s sort this all out:

  • Eliezer Tristan Publishing purchased 1,000 ISBNs…meaning books can be sold in retail, cataloged in libraries…it’s basically a book’s identity and barcode. One of those ISBNs is going to be 100. Hopefully another will be it’s immediate follow-up, and the one I’m working on now after that. But let’s go down one road at a time.
  • How cool is this cover, done by the amazing Michelle Hammer (who is also working on the layout of the inside of the book as I’m typing this): 100 Cover
  • Speaking of the layout…I just reviewed and sent back the edits for the insides. Meaning: I just saw what my book is gonna look like in print. I know it’s probably not the same thing and it’s a bad comparison, but this must be what it feels like when parents expecting a baby for the first time see the initial sonogram, or hear the heartbeat. Shit is getting real, and with the quickness.

So that’s where we stand today. Please excuse me for having a Holy shit!! moment (y’all know you’d do the same) and let’s blast some good-time celebratory tunes…

  • Queens Of The Stone Age, “Feel Good Hit Of The Summer”
  • Beck, “Readymade”
  • Run DMC, “Together Forever (Krush-Groove 4)”
  • Wellwater Conspiracy, “Of Dreams”
  • Jay-Z, “Moment Of Clarity”
  • Public Enemy, “Black Is Back”
  • Atmosphere, “Modern Man’s Hustle”
  • Stone Temple Pilots, “Glide”
  • 10,000 Maniacs, “Because The Night”
  • Kanye West, “Celebration”

That’s my word, friends and lovers of this. Tell your people, share share share, like and support the gott damm amazing team at Eliezer Tristan Publishing on Facebook, and keep on keepin’ on being your kickass awesome selves! Peace…#100 #ItsHappening

Getting Published, Playlists

Coming Clean

Hey y’all…have fun!It’s the weekend! Sorta slow day around here actually, compared to the rest of the week…got out of the house for a change and ran a few errands like I was on a waterslide to get nice and press my luck a little. But let’s get serious for a moment.

For those who haven’t figured it out yet, or felt like not giving a fuck about my passive/aggressive alluding, I’m in the process of getting a poetry collection published. So yeah, #itshappening and all that. I’m nervous, excited, stressed, panicky, and hellbent on this being fucking sweet…even if the material isn’t quite as up to par as I remembered it to be (even though it won a Writing.com Quill Award for Best Poetry Collection in 2016). I’ve got a second manuscript in the works as well, which upon reflection while getting into this process is buttloads better. So yeah homies…buy this first one and it’ll help finance the breakout sequel. Ain’t nothin’ but a party y’all…let’s get it on!

I’m hooked up with Eliezer Tristan Publishing and as soon as we get the cover settled and the results of my photo shoot in, we’ll have a mawfuggin’ book ready. Still tinkering with the actual website with the hope that you can buy it from there, get it on your Kindle from Amazon, or maybe show up at one of the functions I’m hoping will fall into place once I’ve got a book in my hand to sign and sell. Eliezer Tristan wants to put me out soon, and feature me on their website as well, which is sick and I’m eternally grateful for that opportunity.

I’m going to be a published author.

Just typing those words is surreal. An indie press wants to put me out, and they want my poetry. Years of battered self-confidence have led me to believe this can’t be happening, or accept that I’m good enough for this. I’m scared that it all might go away and leave me wondering how I fucked something up again. But I acknowledge that yes, this is real, and I need to start believing in it a hell of a lot more while I’m working at doing my part.

And make no mistake…I’m not harboring delusions of being some sort of “overnight success” where I’m suddenly famous in the large poetry world. I have meager goals, realistic expectations, and an honest mentality. I’m doing what I love and I now can expose it to a wider audience than I could with WDC (which I still love and support and you should too). And I get to do it with a company that’s artist-first and takes full interest in my thoughts and wishes for this book (at least I hope they still do…working on the cover has been a bit distressing but we can work through that). I was starting to consider self-pub days before I got the call from Sarah Fader that literally changed my damn life.

“We’re going to make this happen.”

Like, how do you even respond to that when you’re on the phone?? I hate talking on the phone as it is, so dammit…I had no one around to hi-5 or hug or just be like “Hey man, that’s awesome!”. And I suck sometimes at spontaneous conversation. Like, really suck. My phone specialty is a 30-second “I’m on my way” or “I’m here” or the automated calls from doctors’ offices reminding me of various appointments. When “Thank you!!” is all you can muster, how do you really feel, and how do you convey that over the phone? I get lost easily in that respect.

So anyway, let’s recap…I’m being published!!! Let’s get it out there for the world to see, so I can stop being shady and pretend-sneaky about it. There’s my info, there’s my things, and there’s my feelings. Let’s go full-blast into the weekend with a sunny June Saturday afternoon playlist supplied of course from my iTunes library, my friends…

  • The Get Up Kids, “Coming Clean”
  • Rick Derringer, “Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo”
  • Johnny Cash, “Cool Water”
  • Incubus, “The Warmth”
  • Anthrax, “Among The Living”
  • Helmet feat. David Yow, “Custard Pie”
  • Nirvana, “Big Long Now”
  • Moby, “Find My Baby”
  • Marvin Gaye, “Come Get To This”
  • OK Go, “What To Do” …mediocre people do exceptional things all the time!

Alright, that’s all I got for you cats today. I got other stuff to catch up on and do and make prettier than they are. Peace y’all…motherfuckin’ yeah, gonna be published bitches!

Homies, Playlists, support your locals

Let’s talk about people other than me.

What’s good, people? It occurred to me earlier today that I still have a lot to do both here and at norbaikin.com and I haven’t even filled out a bio or “About Me” section thingey here. And that’s mainly cuz I hate talking about myself, which is something I’ll need to get over with the quickness…basically you could legit say I need to get over myself.

Anyway, I want you to meet the wonderful Sarah Fader. Aside from the amazing work she does with Stigma Fighters, there’s the intriguing matter of Eliezer Publishing.

And I can’t say enough about Sarah, to be honest. She’s a wonderful woman, stronger than she knows, and she don’t just have a lot on her plate…she’s basically got a fancy china cabinet full of all sortsa great shit goin’ on. She’s a fighter and a dedicated mom; she’s savvy and smart and she’s always like one or two steps ahead of me in my journey, making things happen. I wanna long-distance high-5 her and hug her and hug her and hug her, because I do not know how to thank people. Saying “thank you” isn’t strong enough and it doesn’t convey the depth of my gratitude.

So hey y’all…give her a click and a shout and say what’s up to my homie from across the country. Support the causes, because they affect you and me and you and your friends more than you might be aware of in your day-to-days. I’m open like a screen door that won’t shut in a brutal windstorm when it comes to talking about Mental Health…and the more we all start and continue conversations about it, not only can we normalize and understand depression, but we can also shatter the stigmas surrounding lots of different types of MH topics. But yo…it’s gotta start somewhere, and Sarah’s made available an incredible avenue for that with her books and fancy special adult stickers for grown-up kids like me who need a special award some days for getting certain shit done without totally breaking down or losing it. (Ed. Note: Homeboy’s getting better about losing his shit because he has less reasons now to lose shit over. Thank you.)

Alright…let’s top this off with a short playlist of what I’m going through while I wait and anticipate the professional photo shoot I’ve got lined up tomorrow. Let’s hope the weather cooperates, as it’s planned to take place outside.

  • Beck, “Novacane”
  • Radiohead, “You”
  • Dollywatchers, “Lucy Leave”
  • Thursday, “Where The Circle Ends”
  • Metallica, “Escape”
  • Eyedea & Abilities, “Sky Diver”
  • Franz Ferdinand, “Take Me Out”
  • Atmosphere, “Party Over Here”
  • Boysetsfire, “Parasite Candy”
  • Death Cab For Cutie, “Soul Meets Body”

Let’s celebrate art of all kinds and those who create it…art comes in many forms, serious and topical to abstract and wandering in a mental desert. One thing I’ve learned from supporting local artists in Buffalo over time back in the day is please…don’t ask for free shit. These are your friends and neighbors, making a few bucks off their hard work/practice/suffering for their art. Most likely they put a lot of their own money into their projects, whether it’s buying their own instruments and self-financing a cd, or buying the laptop they type this very same shit on that you’re reading right now, or paintbrushes, or woodworking materials (which are not cheap). Support your friends. They’re not busting their asses to give their hard work, labor, and experiences away. And chances are, they’re making pennies on the dollar versus what you pay…so you get cool, quality material your homies dropped and maybe they’re grabbing a slice of pizza instead of wallowing in ramen noodles again. That full belly of goodness may lead to more incredible material…you never know.

Alright kids…let’s recap: Check out Sarah, and support your friends. I’d add in something like LOVE ME!! but if you’ve made it this far chances are you already do. And if that’s the case, you better know I love you back! Peace, stay tuned, and wow I really need to expand my base…not that y’all aren’t wonderful enough already, but stipulations in my head suggest I need not only you but your friends, relatives, neighbors, and that one dude at the office everyone avoids (probably because he reads my poems in a locked closet and comes to work early just to *wink wink* watch the ladies walk in). Share the fuck outta me…I really don’t mind. <3

And that’s all I got for today folks. Peace, sharing, and eventual relief. I love you ’til you no longer love me, and I’m determined to not let that happen. Ever. 

Playlists

Monday Maintenance Playlist

Hey everyone! Hope you’re all doin’ great…over here it’s another day of making appointments and tinkering with this WordPress site, my new personal site at norbaikin.com, and the other cool stuff I’m working on that I can’t wait to share with you all. In the meantime, here’s a short playlist of what’s pumpin’ through my speakers as I take care of business:

  • Blur, “Crazy Beat”
  • The Monkees, “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone”
  • Beastie Boys, “So What’Cha Want”
  • T. Rex, “Spaceball Ricochet”
  • Sammy Warm Hands, “Even Iller”
  • The Band, “Tears Of Rage”
  • The Flaming Lips, “Do You Realize??”
  • A Tribe Called Quest, “Stressed Out”
  • The Clash, “The Magnificent Seven”
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Gold Lion”

That’ll carry me through the afternoon…a little all over the place, just like me.

Stay fresh, stay productive, stay focused. Peace!