Gang stories calls it quits

· Storytelling

It’s easy to understand why the author of gangstories has found dredging up his past to be too painful to continue, but it’s sort of a shame. You don’t often get this kind of clear-eyed gripping depiction of life in poor neighborhoods, let alone honest portrayal of gangbanging without all the “gangsta” glamour shoveled on top by many popular movies, videos, and music.
Here’s an excerpt:

Dealers are respected for two basic reasons: dealing in cash makes them appear richer than they really are, and always packing heat makes them physically untouchable. The threat of robbery makes it hard for dealers to store much wealth. So they wear it, drive it, and stuff rolls of it in their pocket, and that makes them look like “ballers”. And always packing heat for protection means dealers never get their asses kicked, at least in public. That combination of apparent wealth and toughness was the holy grail of social status, and was something we all looked up to.

A hummer used to be a good thing

· Storytelling

Back from the Edge tells a little story about being trapped behind a Hummer in traffic.
Yesterday I was reading about Steve Wozniak’s new venture* with his Wheels of Zeus (WoZ) company, a GPS-chip based tracking system for children, pets, and other things that tend to go missing. Totally opt in, I’m sure, so no need to worry about Big Brother. Woz, as I understand it, was quite a stoner back in the day. The Times article I was reading, though, mentioned his Hummer parked outside his Silicon Valley startup. Made me want to retch. Even a bzillionnaire hardware genius legend needs a huge car to make his wee-wee ego feel big? Bah
Oh, and I posted this with the new QuickPost bookmarklet, which I think will lead to me posting more often. I’ll try to link to more other TypePad blogs using it whenever I read something interesting.
* NY Times link, username / password required (use mediajunkie / mediajunkie if you don’t have an account or don’t feel like setting one up).

Light posting…

· Storytelling

Been on a semivacation in New York and can barely keep up with one weblog let alone six.
I wish there were something like the MTrssfeed plugin available here so I could list headlines from my other blogs in my TypePad sidebar.
Just posted a little note about seeing Greg Osby at Birdland and encountering tourists in Times Square last night over at X-POLLEN. Also, the usual syndication bullshit over at Radio Free Blogistan.

Writers who inspire me today.

· Salon Bloggers, Storytelling

If my host (and hence MT server) weren’t down for maintenance and upgrade today, I’d post the following to (arts)flow or Infinite Work over at ezone.
Instead, I’ll save it here because damn I wish I had Susannah’s balls:

Why I Like to Smoke Crack.

Today, I wrote up a two-page proposal for my novel and sent it to a famous publisher. Why? Why not. I’ve got nothing to lose. Except my crack supply and my adult diapers. These are the important things in life. While we’re on the subject, remind me not to do yoga right before I blog. Clearly, it makes me dizzy. Anyhow, I was researching stuff online for my novel today. Fascinating. My novel takes place in Los Angeles, bien sur. LA. The City of Angels. Hell-Ay. A wack-ass town it is. These are some of the things I looked up: Big BinocularsEl Tarpits, Das Chemosphere, Los Donuts, The Tower, Angels Flight, Bougainvillea, and many other things. It was great because it was like being in LA but not leaving the house or moving at all. I also wished a lot of times I would start smoking cigarettes again. I smoked a lot when I was in graduate school. That was part of the whole “I’m A Complicated Graduate Student” vibe. Also, if you live in Chicago, you have to smoke. It’s the law. I went to graduate school there with the famous author Lily James. She is fun. You can buy her novel, High Drama in Fabulous Toledohere, and her short story collection, The Great Taste of Straight Peoplehere, and read a great article she wrote for BookSense about being a “PoMo Mama” here. G’wan. I’ll wait while you do it. OK. You’re back. Hello. Well, all I have to say is that life is hard, and that’s just tough shit. Word to my crack pipe. Wait. In closing, I want you to know I took the picture above on the way home from that god forsaken soul-killer of a BookShitzpo I went to last Saturday. Which, if you couldn’t gather by my intentionally vague blog post about it, sucked the life out of my asshole, and I hope to never ever return. Ever. Never. No. Fittingly enough, and only in Hellay, I was driving around through shit-filled downtown LA afterwards, trying to get home, and I was sitting at this redlight, thinking what a pot of mush my brain was becoming, and thinking what a pot of shit life sometimes can turn out to be, when this bus to the right of me started making this very slow moving right turn, and it just tapped, really, just a touch, this fire hydrant, and FOOMP!, off it went, and then there was this tower of water, straight up into the air. There was a small gasping huff of delight from the crackheads on the sidewalk, and the people boredly waiting in their cars, and maybe even from the sky up above. It was a wonderful thing to see exploding over all of us. A surprise for that day, in one’s life, indeed. Yes. It was. And how. That is all.

[the reverse cowgirl’s blog]

I was at the book release party for a friend of mine. The book is called 12 BLISS STREET and I’m reading it now in hard cover. It’s great. I forgot what a great writer Martha is and I used to be her agent (but I suck as a fiction agent because I like writing too much, so I’m glad she got a “real” literary agent and then a “real” publisher – St. Martin’s).
I’ve also been catching up with Jonathan Ames recently, who is finishing his latest novel, doing a one-man Eric Bogosian play in Brooklyn, appearing on Letterman, and headed for the Montreal Comedy Festival. I was tempted to suggest he do a blog (it would knock Neill Pollock out of the water), but he doesn’t really seem to need it with all the exposure he is already getting. Jonathan is an amazing storyteller, an incredible mimic, and the master of an at-times shockingly frank voice of unselfconscious self-revelation.
I vote him most likely to have already succeeded. I’ll stick some links in this thing when I get a minute. I’m coming to the tail end of my manuscript submission deadlines for the FrontPage book I’m cowriting, and I expect to get a little more free time, a little more creative time, a little more downtown, a little more writing time, a little more hammock time.
Also, I miss the Raven, who didn’t much care for the Kowgirl’s schtick let alone Nils Polchek’s.
Some good book news: a second edition of the Phish Companion (Backbeat Books) by the Mockingbird Foundation (ably represented by Ellis Godard) in the works, several exciting if nondisclosable upcoming titles from Peter Seebach (BSD, Unix, OS/X) and Kim Seefeld (bioinformatics, Java, R).

It's a simple matter

· Storytelling

“…a simple matter of implementing the algorithms,” said the British-accented voice on NPR as I turned my radio off. Sure, I said, “and of algomenting the implerithms.”