billfriday.com

fictionary… 8 megapixel artist… bloody awful poet.

Archive for the tag “That Writer Friday”

November Is No More

today pic

November is no more.

The frenzy.  The confusion.  The push to the finish.

(and that’s just when you’re sleeping)

Every day a panic where there need be none, all because of a looming, self-imposed midnight deadline that causes content anxiety in the most honored of bloggers.  And gives all wannabe bloggers the only reason they need to disengage from all social media until after the New Year.

So before I go off into blogging witness protection for the next month, here’s a little recap of the November that was.

NaBloPoMo 2016.

 

Where most of my good ideas came from…

urban-lumberjack

 

Where most of my bad ideas came from…

bed

 

My most favorite post…

There Must Be Something More

more

 

Your most favorite post…

Shitheap

 

img_1482

 

The reason I quit every year…

typewriter-bleed

 

The reason I don’t…

cheer-peppers

 

Thank you to the Cheer Peppers, and thank you to their creator, Ra Avis…

ra-avis

 

And as much as it pains me to say this here and now…

I’ll see all of you here again, next year.

 

© Copyright 2016 William S. Friday

Advertisements

Stuff and Things

stuff and things xI’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again,

“I am NOT a blogger.”

I know that’s confusing, for bloggers and non-bloggers alike, because… BLOG.  THIS BLOG.  THIS BLOG you are reading.  Right NOW.

So, for those who don’t know me well…and that would be most of you… here’s how I have navigated the phrase, “I am not a blogger”.

I am a writer.  First and foremost, beyond all other labels, I am and will always be, a writer.  Not a blogger.  Not a poet.  Not an author.  A writer.  Even though I maintain a blog, and I have a whole book of published poetry.  So what, for me, started out as a blog, then became a place to post what I’ll call, for lack of a better term “content”… like a podcast which ran its course in just 13 weeks, uncategorized things I had written in the past for two websites I was no longer current with, and finally, poetry… it all seemed out of place for the form known as blogging, or at least what I had come to know as “blogging” from a few of my fellow bloggers, most of whom I barely read.

Until this year.

This year, everything I knew changed.  All the stuff and all the things.  About life.  About writing.  About blogging.

I went from writer to author, seemingly overnight.  With the unforeseen help and tireless teaching, editing, and emotional hand-holding of a friend and genuine blogger, I finished and published my first book.  Then, over the remainder of the summer, without warning, I saw what blogging really could be.  Not for expanding my contacts list.  Not for sales and marketing.  Not even for the joy of having others read my words.

But for experiencing life through others, beyond my writer’s walls.

And, with this actual BLOG post, I’m ready to call myself a BLOGGER.  Finally.  Once and for all.  Without fanfare.  Just acceptance that what I’ve been told is true, and there’s an entire world of writers and authors, bloggers and humans, out there.  Beyond my walls.  Beyond their own walls.  Ready to say hello.

So, without knowing what I’m doing, today I am Bill Friday, blogger.  With no agenda, no axe to grind, and no idea what I’m doing.  All I’ve got is a title.  These posts, mixed in with the poems and podcasts, will be known as “Stuff and Things”.  Because, as my friend and genuine blogger has told me on more than one occasion, that’s all a blog, and life, is really about…

The stuff, and things.

POETRY: On the Edge

Okay, maybe this isn’t really a press release, but…

Come to MADE in Long BeachMADE

on Saturday, July 24th between 3:30 and 7:30 pm, for an early evening of books, poetry, stories about books and poetry, and special guests…

Ra Avis is the author of the book “Sack Nasty: Prison Poetry”.

Ra is a long-time WordPress blogger, SACK NASTY racurrently spending her nights (and most days) at rarasaur.com.  Sack Nasty is her first work to be published after 438 days of incarceration.  The poems and short stories she shares in the book are just the beginning of her story.

William S. Friday is the author of the book “A Death on Skunk Street”

Bill has been published both online and in print, billfridayYOUTUBEhosted an internet talk show, and is the keeper of his very own WordPress blog.  After 10 years of writing online for two citizen journals, as well as two long-running blogs, all those years and all those words became the basis for his first book.

Meet Ra, and Bill, at MADE in Long Beach, along with other incredibly talented guest artists, J.W. Gardner and Matthew Blashill.  All four of them will be reading excerpts from their most recently published works, and Ra and Bill will be signing copies of Sack Nasty and A Death on Skunk Street.

For additional info, click the MADE in Long Beach link at the top of the page.  See everybody there.

The Urgent Necessity of Words

type blood

I have grown to hate the urgent necessity of words…
poetic in their expression, as though they cannot be, any longer, spoken in something longer than short bursts of weak prose…

I have grown to hate the uselessness of words…
volumes of thought, stripped bare of all muscle and sinew, till all that’s left to show for it is the bleached bones of time…

I have grown to hate the feeble sounds of words…
their drone as repetitive as an infant’s vocabulary of need, never more expressive than I will, I want, I always I…

I have grown to hate the self-awareness of words…
knowledge without understanding, always one step behind, late for every good thing, yet right on time for eulogy…

I have grown to hate the hopefulness of words…
bright future in the shroud of history, always rising from within, like morning sun in the eyes of an all-night drunk…

I have grown to hate the efficacy of words…
healing souls that otherwise would die, mine being the first, as in physician heal thyself before you malpractice upon others…

I have grown to hate the eternality of words…
from the time before there was time, to the time when time is again no more, and how they have found me at my most lost…

I have grown to hate the urgent necessity of words…
complete in their ability, to hurt and to make whole, to damage and to comfort, and to seal their work with forever scars…

And my understanding of their purpose.

 

© Copyright 2016 William S. Friday

The Next Time

van gough CUT one

My childhood is the nightlight
of my waning years.
My dad died,
on the front porch of my childhood home,
at the age of 68.
His dog at his side.
Only God could tell you what he,
and the dog,
went through in that moment,
together,
like they spent most days of his retirement.
My mom still worked,
so she was not there when it all went down.
His final heart attack,
with Harry,
their next door neighbor,
finding him long after it was too late.
And Jo-Jo,
his little girl,
the Sheltie who kept him company.

Things we learn so late.
The hug.
The smile and nod.
The dismissal of anger
when anger’s escalation feels so much more natural.
And the acceptance of the flaws of history,
in the things that can never change.
Because the past dies before we do,
yet we hold onto it tighter that we do our own departed loves.

Three days before his passing on the porch,
I had my last dismissal,
in a dinner and a game
with the man whose whole existence would shape my own.
Weakened by years and a failing heart,
he was now not the man of my youth,
but merely the container.
A shell of clear glass,
incapable of concealing anything,
especially the truth.
He was almost dead that night,
but in him I saw only life.
We said goodnight,
not in any sort of dramatic understanding of what was to come,
but in the knowing way two people
of the same DNA hug,
then smile and nod,
expecting nothing more than to do it all again,
the next time.

Except the next time never came.

© 2016 William S. Friday

With This Muse You Lose

Chatterton-1765

 

(This post was originally written for the Citizen Journal, Broowaha.com.  While the style of my writing has changed over the years, the content of my message has not.  First published in 2007, here is “With This Muse You Lose)

Writers are freaks.

Capable of reaching deep into the creative void, searching for light, and, as if from nowhere they, seemingly, can pull entire worlds out whole. And sometimes in their search they, along with the worlds they’ve drawn from the darkness, bring back the very darkness itself.

And sometimes, writers are bullies.

A few days ago, I got an email from another writer inside the Los Angeles Edition. In the note were concerns about criticisms expressed in the comments section at the end of our articles for BrooWaha. One thought in particular stood out,

“I appreciate the fact that people can give feedback and constructive criticism, but I don’t think it should be condescending and pointlessly mean.” (emphasis mine).

After a few words from me (which I’m sure didn’t help), I got to thinking about these two sides of the writer, and about the fragile nature of each. Because even the schoolyard bully is just one good ass-beating away from having to embrace his own inner freak. What is it about staring deep into that empty, dark place where ideas take shape and then draw breath, which brings out the best, and worst, in the writer? I thought a little more, and my thoughts turned, well… dark.

Really dark.

In the film Wonder Boys, James, the budding, brilliant writer (played by Tobey Maguire), recites a list of celebrity suicides he’s memorized, in alphabetical order no less. At a very young age, James is a freak who gets it. He already sees what comes with the literary territory. It’s morbid. Funny morbid. But when the lights come up again in the theater, James is just a character in a movie. He isn’t real. Movies aren’t real.

Real is what happens between kids (the freaks and the bullies) on any playground, any day, between lunch and the 5th period bell. Real is what happens in the comments section at the end of the articles in BrooWaha, where the writer plays critic, and the rules of the playground still apply.

Writers search for light in the darkness of their own soul. And when that light can’t be found, other writers write about it.

Literary history is the story of writers – freaks – so damaged from staring into the black hole of their own inspiration, that they can no longer cope with what’s real.

The world loves a winner, and everyone loves a story about a thick-skinned writer. But in a world that’s real, thick skin is just a cover for the freak that lives inside. And only in a business where the workers must daily look into the void of darkness in their own souls, is insanity accepted as an occupational hazard.

Real.

“Paint me an angel, with wings, and a trumpet, to trumpet my name over the world.” – Thomas Chatterton.

Thomas Chatterton was real.

Born in England in 1752, Thomas Chatterton was a freak. Withdrawn as a young child, some thought he might even be mentally handicapped. Before the age of six, Thomas lived as a recluse in the home of his parents, sitting alone for hours and, at times, crying without a reason. When not staring into space or crying, he would tell family members of his desire to be famous.

By age eight, if given the chance, he would read and write all day. By age eleven, he was a published author.

However, during the next six years, Chatterton, while writing for various journals in England, also perpetrated an elaborate and ill-conceived series of “forgeries”. He claimed the documents were original poems by the 15th century writer Thomas Rowley. They were original poems, alright. Originally written by Chatterton on two-hundred-year-old parchment scraps he had taken from a chest inside his local parish church.

After the fall-out over the Rowley poems, Chatterton began writing political satire under various pen names, selling little and sinking deeper into depression. Finally, in 1770, at the age of seventeen, Thomas Chatterton wrote a rambling “Last Will and Testament” and moved on to the big city – London.

Two months later, unemployed, hungry and disgraced, Chatterton tore up any writings he had in his possession, drank arsenic, and died.

“Dance no more at holiday, like a running river be; My love is dead, gone to his death bed, all under the willow tree.” – TC.

Real.

“I must now prove that I even exist.” – Jerzy Kosinski.

Jerzy Kosinski was real.

An acclaimed author, Kosinski, was the survivor of a childhood spent hiding his Jewish identity from the Nazis who occupied his native Poland during World War II. As an adult, this period of his life was recounted in the 1965 novel The Painted Bird. Though Kosinski never claimed the book was a “biography” as such, he did say that the story was both a representation of his life at the time, as well as a retelling of a Polish folk tale about the dangers of non-conformity. Later in his career, Kosinski also wrote the 1972 novel Being There, and co-authored the screenplay for the 1979 film version starring Peter Sellers.

However, as early as 1969, with the publishing of the book Steps, whispers within the writing community began to be heard about possible plagiarism in the stories of Kosinski. Over the next dozen years, countless accusations, newspaper articles and broadcast stories pointed to the same thing.

Finally, in early May, 1991, ostracized by the literary world that had made him famous, Jerzy Kosinski, 58, committed suicide in his New York apartment.

“I need an internal light, as not to fall prey to the things which cause my spirits to sag. This is true water from the heavens.” – JK.

Real.

“That’s nice talk, Ben – keep drinking. Between the 101-proof breath and the occasional bits of drool, some interesting words come out.” – Sera to Ben in Leaving Las Vegas, from the novel by John O’Brien.

John O’Brien was real.

A Midwestern kid from a stable, two-parent home, John O’Brien was married just a year after graduating high school. Three years later John, and his wife Lisa, moved to Los Angeles. During the next few years, John wrote and worked various jobs around L.A.

According to his sister Erin, John became a heavy drinker in his mid-twenties when, she said,

“John’s drinking problem started as soon as he started drinking. By the time he was 20, he was taking a clandestine flask to work. By the time he was 26, he was chugging vodka directly from the bottle at morning’s first light in order to stave off the shakes. I know. I saw him do it.”

By 1990, O’Brien’s first novel, Leaving Las Vegas, was published. The next four years saw O’Brien complete just one more work, Stripper Lessons, and begin one other, The Assault on Tony’s.

In 1994, in the wake of the controversy surrounding the true origin of the Sheryl Crow song Leaving Las Vegas (a song Crow co-wrote with O’Brien’s friend, David Baerwald), O’Brien sank to the deepest depths of alcoholic depression.

On March 21, 1994 Crow appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, performing the song and answering questions about its origin. During the course of the interview, Crow took biographical credit for the lyrics.

A week after the Crow appearance, production began on the movie version of LLV, starring Nicolas Cage and Elisabeth Shue. Two weeks later, on April 10th, O’Brien was still upset about the Crow interview, complaining to his literary agent in a phone conversation.

Later that day, John O’Brien put a shotgun to his head and killed himself. Later, his father said that the novel, Leaving Las Vegas, was John’s suicide note.

The final paragraph of John O’Brien’s unfinished manuscript of The Assault on Tony’s summed up his life.

“For the first time in his life Rudd found himself wishing for death, hoping (praying?) that the walls came down before the liquor ran out, that they were stormed, bombed or shot in some truculent surprise attack, some irresistible force, divine intervention.” – J.O.

Writers are freaks.

And if you’re reading this, you’re probably a writer.

Real

Copyright © 2007-2010-2014, 2015 Bill Friday

The Dark Road Called Forward

photo c 2014 Bill Friday

photo c 2014 Bill Friday

 

[My world is lately upside-down. Its only direction is the road before me, and it is called, Forward.]

I have a past. We all do. Mine is dark behind me, and strewn with the debris of unchangeable regret. The burnt and mangled wreckage of unsuspecting lives, forfeit to the fog-wet highway, taken too lightly. Captured only in digital reminders of the worst ending, never imagined, and what must have been the better times before. Times of lies rightly told, and fears suppressed long enough to enjoy the promise of surroundings that would fade away, locked safe inside grief’s scrapbook.

The open road, at night, looks like life. There is only what’s in front of you, insufficiently lit. Just enough light to aim yourself, hurtling, into more dark. Behind you, there is nothing on which to dwell. A last stop, last road sign, last lane change. Or anything more than the shadows of what might be gaining on you. And in the distance, there are the cities, distant, shining. Waking dreams, miles away and full of the hope you foolishly still hold onto, silent, in your heart. Silent, because you know that, while they were once beautiful, they are now just the out-loud promises you weren’t meant to keep. Mystical, glowing, still drawing you like a vision of your own clever words. But up close, jagged, and beyond forgiveness. A blue neon cement-scape of lives crumbled, and nothing but dirt in the details.

So you accept only what you can see in the light right before you. You trust only that the destination ahead is there as you’ve been told, and that it waits for you. You let all there is, shining in the distance, go.

And you stay on the dark road called Forward.

 

 

Copyright © 2014 Bill Friday

Three Heartbeats in Eternity

three heartbeats x2

 

 

 

 

 

 

I spoke to a friend today,

much longer than I had the right to,

and learned that it was okay to just be.

I whined like a goddamned infant child,

and found a place to lay my head.

And for what seemed like

three heartbeats in eternity,

I saw things as they really were.

 

I spoke to a friend today,

not as long as I would have liked to,

but guilt held onto me.

I felt like a thief,

shoving goodness into pockets full of shit.

I felt worse, then better by the end.

And for what seemed like

three heartbeats in eternity,

I didn’t want to die.

 

And I kissed my fingers toward heaven.

 

© 2014 Bill Friday

One of These Things

photo credit uvalaw.typepad.com

photo credit uvalaw.typepad.com

Johnny Cash covers

will never be better than

covers sung by Johnny Cash.

 

A home run watched

from the fifth deck at Dodger Stadium

will always be better than

listening to Charley Steiner

call a home run

on my car radio

no offense Charley

you’re not Vin Scully.

 

Sex without love

makes you common

love without sex

makes you a fool

sex and love together

makes you a porn star.

 

 

 

Copyright © 2014 Bill Friday

Excuse me…

"Excuse me..."

“Excuse me…”

 

 

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: