Monthly Archives: October 2014

Words From The Midwest XIV

Good afternoon, you tumultuous hangers-on; you plaid or plain. Welcome to another edition of Words From The Midwest.

It’s a beautiful day in Cleveland and I am, once again, writing to you from my back porch. The air is thin, the sky is blue, and the breeze is playing fervently across my skin. It’s almost November. Someone forgot to tell Mother Nature. But I’ll take it. I will. Because in a matter of weeks it will be so cold that even stepping outside for a cigarette will be a chore, or, at the very least, something I’d rather not do. Maybe that’s redundant.

I’ve had a hell of a bad time writing lately. It’s one of those periods of time I go through where lyrics aren’t penned and the two novels I’m working on sit dormant; unversed from my tepidly creative mind. And so I give you another Words: strange and stupid musings or just plain nothingness I will one day compile into yet another book no one will buy. But I don’t want to sound jaded. True that I don’t write for you, I write for me and the simple truth that if I don’t amass a body of work I will feel I have not done all that I can in this life. And fuck, I’m twenty-six years old and I already have a life’s worth of work and I’ve only been at it for three years. And perhaps much of what I’ve done is simply too esoteric for the layman to enjoy. But I continue in earnest. And smile the same.

I’m listening to The Shins for the first time in a long time, and, as “Kissing The Lipless” slips from my speakers, I recall how this band once caught me by surprise. The first time I heard them was right around the time Garden State made them explode in circles far removed from the indie chic and the musically inclined. That first song I – along with nearly everyone, I suppose – heard was New Slang. It was in my creative writing class my senior year of high school. It was chosen by one of my classmates – who, years later, I would date for a short time, oddly enough – for a project for which we were made to discuss the meaning of the lyrics, etcetera. My pick was Holiday by Green Day. Oh how times have changed. But I do love the Shins now. I really do. But not as much as most people who like them; maybe I don’t love them. At least not in the way I love Okkervil River or even Of Montreal or The New Pornographers.

I love pop music, though. And I think I’ve already discussed how Pop music is basically all music, or at least that music which begs to be remembered. Buddy Holly pretty much invented modern Pop music and The Beatles made it into an art form of its own accord. We should all agree that nearly every genre of music is derivative from that Pop music of the 50s and 60s. Even the shallowest of pop songs tend to have something I enjoy about them. Though I could speak at length about just why I don’t like Madonna or that crossover “Country” which reeks of the worst of Pop at its worst. Though I’m not entirely sure I even know why I like certain music and loathe other music which has so much in common with that which I celebrate. Who knows. But, generally speaking, I know whether a song is good or bad in the first fifteen seconds. Maybe that makes me a snob.

Probably does.

But I really don’t mind.

Either way, The Shins are still playing. It’s my favorite album by them, I think: Chutes Too Narrow. It contains my favorite Shins song, Young Pilgrims. Check it.

So what else is there to say at the moment? I’m not really sure. I played a show at a little coffee house in Lakewood this past Friday and it went well. Although my guitar chord, I guess, doesn’t work and I had to play unamplified. It seemed to be alright, though. Whatever. Sold a couple CDs. All was as it should’ve been.

I think I’ll leave you here. Watch for another edition in the coming week and a new novella and album in the coming months.



Words From The Midwest XIII

Good morning, all arbitrary lines; all pushed and pulled; all skinny loves. Welcome to another edition of Words From The Midwest.

Ebola. It’s a word, by now, that should cause shivers to run down your spine. Not because you have any chance of catching it, by the way, but because of its overexposure on Mass Media in this country. It’s a very real problem in West Africa. Sure. But that’s an ocean away. An entire ocean, you know? We should be doing all we can to help. But if you, the American Citizen who has never been anywhere near the bodily fluids of one with Ebola, is actually afraid of it like the goddamn plague…you’re a crazy person. Plain and simple.

But that’s not really what I want to write about. It dates this entry and I wouldn’t mind if these essays or journals or whatever these things are are as timeless as possible.

They will be a book, after all.

And so I will shift gears and talk about The Dirty Projectors, who I am currently listening to.

The album which is playing is Bitte Orca and I can’t say enough about it. It’s weird, I should say that first and foremost. But through its oddities, and beyond the strange time signatures, it is, at its core, just a pop record. The songs are infinitely accessible and they shouldn’t be. The lyrics are cryptic and yet direct. The opener, “Cannibal Resource” shimmers, and with the hook “I think you’re more than a terrified witness” it begs you to sing it in your head all day long, even if you’re not quite sure what it’s supposed to mean.

So go listen to it if you want. I don’t really care, I suppose. I just like to write.

That’s all for today.

Maybe next time it’ll be longer and I’ll say more.



Words From The Midwest XII

Good evening you ragged beauties; you carnival whimsical; you brazen or boarded up. Welcome to another edition of Words From The Midwest.

As I sit and listen to “Damn These Vampires” by The Mountain Goats, I reflect upon the last couple weeks in my life; or life in general, perhaps. I think it’s a fair assessment of the world we live in that history is being made even as I sit here typing. We are now involved in a War Without Borders; a wet dream cultivated by George W Bush in the aftermath of September the Eleventh and followed through by the could-have-been-a-great-President Obama. It is, as Hunter Thompson pointed out in the hours following the first attack on US soil since the bombing of Pearl Harbor, a sort of religious war. One that gleefully pits extremist against extremist; Christian versus Muslim. Our great country has now bombed seven Muslim majority countries, all in the name of fighting “terrorism” and all that word conjures. Now, this fighting is being done in sovereign nations without declaration. Unfortunately for the Nobel Peace Prize winning President, this is a war crime.

Now I’m not saying one thing or another is I sit here typing this and I am certainly not comparing the likes of Bush to Obama outright. George W Bush did things far and beyond what Obama has done. But as the final two years of his presidency are upon us, it is difficult to put either presidency into historical perspective beyond Crimes against Humanity. True that the question of what Barack Obama has done right is just as easily answered as what he’s done wrong. But I fear I will only remember predator drones…maybe also the fact that I now have health insurance.

So yes. We are at War again. Or still. And again Congress didn’t vote on whether or not to go to war so once again our rights as United States citizens have been shoved over to the side in the name of keeping us Safe from imminent threat. Although it is my belief that Isis is not a threat to United States. Neither is Ebola. And yet in a fight against death, America must participate. It is simply my belief our efforts should aid and not destroy.

But enough about some shit I don’t know much about. I have my own life to think about and I’m blessed enough to live on the side of the world without constant military threat (unless I should talk about the way the Police in this country have been acting recently) and so I can sit here and write and think about what I can do to make myself a better person.

I think I’ll begin – as Song Against Sex by Neutral Milk hotel starts spilling out of my speakers – by saying that I’m going to quit drinking. Maybe completely. The last couple times I’ve drank I haven’t been able to stop myself from blacking out. And that’s really not something I have the time to deal with and I don’t have three days to kill trying to remember how offensive or self-righteous I was this or that night. Not that I’m an alcoholic – because I know some of those people and I’m not anywhere close to that level, or any level, of dependency – but I just prefer to stay sharp and to allow the contrast between what I’m saying and what’s being said live a little louder. Plus, marijuana is an infinitely better drug than alcohol. It just is. And I enjoy it more. It’s better for you. Alcohol may actually be the worst drug there is, in a sense. What other drug raises your voice, lowers your inhibitions, and insights bombasticity? Cocaine, I suppose. But really.

So On Avery Island is on. I’m gonna roll with it until the noise gets to be too much.

I hope beyond hope that something in this world is beautiful tomorrow. Maybe a video of a dog climbing into a baby carriage or a new artist to listen to and become obsessed with.

Good night.

Stay frollicking.

Or whatever.



P.S. John Lennon would have been 74 today. I wish he were here to comment on the world we live in.