Tag Archives: writing

narrative art

My do-it-yourself MFA consists of:

– formal and informal writing groups. with friends, and writing fellas, former co-workers, professors, and more. We read. We write. We speak our words, sometimes. It can be in a huge mansion or a intimate living room or a bookstore. It can involve treats. And tea. And coffee.

– my writing class with Minter. Always. It happens by scholarship, it is received with gratitude.

-Reading more books like what. Cut out the drivel, the fatty tv shows, and just read. It’s one of the best MFA’s not-money can buy you. I have read more than three books in the past month. Doesn’t sound like a lot until you understand that I also watched mad shows, took care of three kids, and didn’t clean my house.

– Writing hundreds of words on a semi-regular basis.

Writing plus reading plus community equals an MFA. According to DIY MFA, a rather charming website community and resource guide. Also recommended.

– doing research studies on narrative artists and writers that I am intrigued by and admire. This list includes many contemporary fiction writers, visual artists, and more. Also includes some classics. Much reading on all of them.

Stay classy, brain. Let’s get an education.


after this


After reading an elephant’s ton of writer’s blogs, online literary magazines, twitter feeds, Facebook messages, writer’s advice posts, celebrity gossip, and so much more, I realized some things.

1) I’m over-consuming media.

2) I’m on the computer way too much.

3) I’m not creating anything. The balance of input and “inspiration” to creative output is like 70,000 to 1.

4) I do want a blog. I do like putting thoughts out there , in a very specific manner. But I don’t like thinking about who is reading it, trying to figure out what my angle is, etc…. I want a public blog as a writer and explorer of human nature, as part of the documentation of this world and our stories. I like confessions, to a very fragile degree. I like reading writer processes. And I am in the midst of another do-it-yourself writing/narrative art MFA year. I am parenting, in not the best of stressed ways. I am stress eating. I am thunking my heart out on the floor.

So here. I’m just going to use this as my mental cabinet of fodder and cray cray. Writer-style. Narrative art style.

In some universe, I’ll put every goddamn site I signed up for in a big silly list on the side of one website and make it all real-like. In this universe, I will clean my pans, make the house smell like Nag Champa, and pray to the gods of all that is good that I just make it one more day. And the day after that. And the day after that.

the Heavy hand&the Circus

I was outfront the Fox Den, beneath the palms and sipping Herbsaint w/ Katinka, my European girl.  She’s a good one.  She doesn’t bother me w/text messages&other standard, girlfriend-bullshit fare.  She’s a woman.  She knows what its like to live in a country where the Government can come-a-knocking and take you away forever.  The sun had set.  It was quiet&warm on Judge’s Hill.  I was killing time&putting this off.  My flight was at 5:45am.  I was packed.  My ride to the airport had been arranged.  All I had to do was say goodnight to Katinka and write this blog. 

Oh how I have rued this day.  I’ve been putting this off for as long as I can remember and the joke just ain’t funny anymore.  In Yoga circles they call what I’m about to commit Satya, or, honesty.  Satya is pretty important to a Yogi.  Its just under non-violence and compassion on the list of helpers on the path of living right, the Yamas&Niyamas.  Here goes.

People say I’m lucky.  Livin’ the dream and all that.  To call me lucky is to discount all the broke&lean&mean years.  All the slipshot, balls-against-the-wall years when I was laying it on the line.  Going for broke-shit.  Sometimes they ain’t no goin’ you just is broke.

I figure if you’re gonna do something, you might as well have-at-it and fuck-the-rest.  

A young singer/songwriter, up Philly way, said as much to me once.  She said if all you care about is music, eventually it will be all you have left.

And it stuck.  It wasn’t easy-living back then and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Now I’m living in Paradise.  I play my rock n roll and I write my “journalism”.  I have spiritual discussions with gorgeous women over whiskeys on the veranda and by the time you read this, I will be in another country, on the beach&w/o shoes for 7 days.

Luck is the closest thing I have to God in my Life.  And grace is the closest I can come to faith.  We’ve been around, you&I.  We’ve gone a few rounds.  We’ve played their game, even though we knew it was rigged and we were born to Lose.

My point?  My point is about Luck.  And faith.  And death&spirituality.  

If fate fucks you will you curse your days&blame your God?
If luck deals you a good hand, will you have the courage to be kind, and accept it?
I don’t believe in God.  And I wouldn’t have spirituality were it not for death.
I’d probably still be swimming from glass to glass or eating shit in the lunch line at St.John’s.  Death has been the motivator, the teacher, the knower, the learner.  I know, a real pick-me-up, right?

For true.

I would not have taken my suitcase into town were it not for death&spirituality.  Death lays a heavy hand in every motion, every moment, every breath and every deal&con.
Death gives perspective.  I can see clearly.  Be it:  the Bad blues or trouble, lust&greed.  Any myriad of distraction that the circus of the mind can throw at me.  Death has been the vision, the means, the end.

It is with luck&grace that I have survived at all.  The bad blues&trouble have imbued in me a compassion for all things living, dying/otherwise.
I am here to serve.  A working-class Bodhisattva bringing presence to the light&dark.  I bear witness and remain all too human, here.  

It all began with a decision to not believe in God.

And it’s only b/c I’ve been there that I can visit sometimes, meet you there, in the light&dark.  I’ve stood on the side of the highway w/a sign and I’ve been “gainfully” employed enough to want to kill the man who signed the checks.  I would never proscribe or ascribe my spirituality to anyone.  But if I tell you something, or if I’m moved enough to write a blog about it, you better believe I fucking mean it.

It cost me the Earth.
-Maya Angelou

Be good babies, and be good to each other.  I’ll see you when I get back from the island.

Jim Trainer
Maya Talum, MEX