Monday, January 6, 2020

Do The Write Thing (An Artbitch Primer)


“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” - Benjamin Franklin

Hello Blogiteers!

I dare say that ol’ Benji was right on the nose with his observation, and I try to follow the first with some consistency whenever possible. Unfortunately, the latter can encompass a wide swath of questionable activities, and some of them aren’t necessarily the most virtuous paths that one should undertake. And due to both social and legal judgements that may be waiting for you at the end, the bitch that is Karma tends to show up with the biggest attitude-adjusting paddle it has, just before the random guests it invited watch the epic reckoning that is about to occur.

In other words, if I had the option to do specific things all over again, I’d definitely sleep with Elizabeth, but not Deborah, avoid at all costs getting engaged to she-who-will-not-be-named, tell at least two of my former employers to go anally pleasure themselves with a razor-studded pineapple, and open up a dialogue with God in order to strike a preemptive bargain not to hold my Mardi Gras trip back in 1993 against me. And if he eventually does, it would totally be worth the eternal damnation- one knows deep inside that you’ve set a personal best for morality stretching when Satan himself not only sends a letter of congratulations, but a fruit basket as well.

Interesting note, he’s still really into apples. Old school is the best school, and all that.

Getting back on track, I will be discussing if not dissecting in this screed, the process of how and why I write- this is actually an area of questioning that I get asked about quite frequently, as if I’m a practitioner of the blackest of linguistic voodoo. Granted I am, but not in the way that most people would ascribe to me. I’ve been told by more than a few people that if you’re going to have a voice, you’d better be damn careful what that voice says, a piece of advice that I tend to reference only occasionally when it suits me or the situation at hand. By way of example, I have a tendency to be much more cautious when I’m taking swipes at a multi-million-dollar corporation then when I’m going one-on-one with a person who proves by their very presence alone, just why it’s so vital to fund both birth control and public education in this country.

For fairly obvious reasons. I’m also a devotee of knowing what hills are worth dying on, and which ones should be avoided at all costs. Think of it as if your flight got grounded in New Jersey- the odds are that you’re going to be just fine, but why tempt cruel fate by eating the vending machine sushi in the first place? One of the best things (if you could say that) about being afflicted with a disease that’s nearly killed me twice, is that it offers up a unique perspective in regards to life, and the eventual tallying of your mortal accounts. When my card gets punched, I’d like to think that I would check out fighting on my feet, rather than begging for mercy on my knees.

And if all goes to plan, with my dignity intact as well. But one of the most prominent side effects that comes from knowing that your life path is shorter than most people, is that it really reinforces your tendency to not really give a f**k a about following the established rules of decorum as your hourglass runs out. It’s rare that I ever apologize for what I write, and I’ve never pulled a piece due to savage criticism, physical threats, or the fact it may not be the majority viewpoint at the time. If I could ever cash in all the free rent that certain individuals granted me in their heads when I was writing about the Phoenix Art Scene, not only would I have my own hollow volcano lair complete with jump-suited henchmen by now, but I’d also have at least one auditorium-sized bouncy castle room, complete with a fully stocked NERF-gun armory.

As far as my compiled literary output goes, between 2005 and now, [December, 2019] I’ve written fifty-nine My Space blogs when that was still a thing, one critical art review for the now-defunct website PhoenixArtSpace.com, eight articles for PHOENIX Magazine, seven that covered local art and one regarding Phoenix’s bike share program, produced one script for a fully-realized video collaboration project with noted filmmaker Douglas Proce, three recent articles for New Mexico’s ZIA Magazine, and at the moment, the Artbitch blog has an archive of eighty stand-alone pieces

As to what the full word count is in relation to all of this effort, I honestly have no idea. The last tally that was taken back in 2014 summed up as the equivalent of writing four full-length novels, which I find astounding to this day. To put this into a relatable perspective, a written piece of mine is remarkably similar to what being trapped in an elevator with me for two hours would be like, but with better seating and access to a good cup of Chai. It’s analogous to how every year a new Adam Sandler movie gets released- you and everyone else may not want it, but it’s going to happen anyway, so just relax, and it’ll all be over before you know it.

The ironic thing however, is that my developing into a writer wasn’t part of the game plan when I found myself released upon the world right after college. Albeit to a somewhat limited degree these days, I was then, and still am now, engaged in what my dad always enjoyed disparaging as not being a real job, that being the vocation of a professional artist. In a somewhat ironic twist, I had zero interest in writing, even going so far as to let other people craft my artists statements and my press releases, because let’s face it, I had far more important things to do. Like dressing all in black, picking up the random art groupie, going to parties, and occasionally, making some art to keep my chosen lifestyle going. You know. Like you do. And sometimes, when the coast was clear, I’d also sneak out plates of food from the refreshment table laid out at my art openings, because I was both starving and broke as f**k.

To this day, I still maintain that a stash of Tupperware in your trunk and a cheap roll of aluminum foil on your person, can be a total life saver. Not to mention, it really cuts down on the overall cost of your grocery shopping if you do it right, so that’s just a tip from me to you, free of charge. These days however, I find myself happily living the life of a suburbanite in the bucolic Zen that is Southern New Mexico, and despite all the changes that come with a major relocation, it was definitely a long-overdue move for the better. And while I miss certain aspects of my former life, such as my peeps, particular restaurants, and the retail conveniences that come with living in a major city, I definitely do not miss the pettiness, insipidness, and general marketing incompetence of the art scene that I left behind in my wake.

Now before anybody gets their palette twisted, if you’re familiar with my very public POV, whether that’s through a personal relationship or my previous writing, you’ll know exactly who and what I’m referencing when I say this. After 25 years+ in the arts & advocacy game, I’m enjoying not feeling like I’m pounding my head into a wall of detached ineptitude, and that position only gets more armored every time I see what’s currently going on in the so-called Phoenix Art Scene, (AKA: the PAS) a little over a year out from my departure. While it is uplifting to see some local stalwarts doing breathtakingly great work, it as equally annoying, if not outright pathetic, to see how many human speed bumps remain who are continually poisoning the metaphorical well of what could be an amazingly creative mecca. These pretentious dilettantes serve as the main evidence as to why a creative scene overseen by hobbyists with a nebulous agenda will never achieve any form of relevant critical mass, no matter how good the intentions behind it may be.

It’s bad enough that the PAS has suffered with a wide range of wholly impotent advocacy groups over the years, but the grave issues afflicting it are compounded when self-proclaimed creatives who can’t envision their way out of a circle drawn in chalk, are allowed to set the tone, pace and standards for the real professionals.

You know the type- the Instagram “influencers”, the I-phone “photographers”, the unqualified if not wholly clueless “art curators”, and my personal favorites, those being the visual artists who recycle other people’s truly innovative ideas, and remarket them as either “homage” or an attempt at “reinterpretation”, which is the most diplomatic path one can undertake as a means towards committing intellectual hypocrisy without actually admitting to it. Thankfully, this clusterf**k is no longer something I have to deal with, and its absence has not made my heart grow fonder. I still find if funny, if not ironic, that the very same people who used to criticize and mock me for addressing these issues publicly are now the ones who email me regularly, asking for an opinion an opinion regarding the scene I no longer serve, past the randomly occasional show of support for the people I still respect.

They know who they are, since it’s a by invitation only kind of club to begin with. But all of this drama is the main reason as to why I started writing in the first place… sort of.

When I first started blogging on the ol’ MySpace, it was really nothing more than a narcissist extending his normal day-to-day kvetching, and my personal take was that anyone who might bother to read my rants could take it or leave it. No worries, and with no real concerns regarding what people might think about what I was saying, one way or the other. In that regard, not much has changed- I write for myself as always, and hope that what I eventually craft triggers a feeling of amusement, entertainment, anger, enlightenment, joy, or introspection in whomever winds up perusing it. And it goes without saying, although I’ll say it anyway, that if they don’t like it, they’re cordially invited to take a brief pause and f**k off in whatever direction they feel might be the most advantageous. On those rare moments, when I dare look back upon that very early writing, circa 2005 or so, the glaring wretchedness of my literary inability is truly soul-crushing. It’s an almost impossible temptation that after close to 15 years of writing, to not go back and “fix” all the huge mistakes that I now can see within my past work.

Fortunately, I can also track my learning curve over the years, as I developed my own distinctive voice and style, and while it’s true that you can’t please everyone, as long as I’m happy, that’s really the only person that counts, so far as I’m concerned. Well, me and Milla Jovovich if she ever decides to read my stuff. As noted, I started scribbling down my thoughts starting in 2005, but even back then, the career path was about chasing art, and the idea of working with words in the same way I worked with paint and film, was as far removed from my thoughts as anything could have been at the time. So what changed? Easy answer. My Diabetes decided it needed to crank our relationship up to eleven, in a full-on attempt to flat out kill me. So in a lot of ways, it’s a lot like my ex-fiancé, minus the lying, blame-shifting, and adultery.

Come to think of it, that’s actually a pretty decent upgrade, so I guess I can’t really be mad about it in the end.

in 2009, I suffered a severe attack of *ketoacidosis, which put me into a diabetic coma for four days, and kept me in the ICU for a week and a half. When I left, I was thirty-five pounds lighter, and cursed with two additional free gifts- a severe case of **neuropathy, and extensive nerve damage in both my hands. The nerve pain as you can imagine sucked, but the nerve damage which over time has gotten worse, led to uncontrollable tremors and muscle weakness. This in turn, pretty much ended the drawing/painting aspect of my career. But if there is an upside to having hands that from time to time don’t work the way they should, it’s that at least nobody asks me to hold their screaming newborn anymore, so that’s an unforeseen plus. Ok, some people still do, but usually, once is all it takes for them never to do it again. On a related note, did you know that most babies have a natural ability to bounce like a Superball? Nature is truly fascinating, when it gets right down to it.
*[Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a life-threatening problem that affects diabetics. It occurs when the body starts breaking down fat at a rate that is much too fast. The liver alters the fat into a form called ketones, which causes the blood to become acidic.] **[Neuropathy is a result of damage to the peripheral nerves. It often causes weakness, numbness and pain, usually in your hands and feet. It can also affect other areas of your body.]

So, there I was, a few months after my hospitalization, attempting to downplay the destruction of the skillset I had spent twenty years plus perfecting, and wondering what the Hell I was going to do, if I couldn’t make art in the same way that I used to. That by the way, is a rough conversation to have with yourself, when your psyche has a really bad habit of playing Devil’s Advocate, and as a rule of thumb, tends to consistently take the wrong side. No inner monologue, I really don’t want to think about pursuing a career in the highly competitive and fairly lucrative field of veterinary medicine or big-rig driving, but thanks for your suggestions anyway. Sure, I could have always gone back to stripping, but nowadays that job market is exclusively dominated by single moms, and I really can’t compete against that. Plus, I have no idea what my stage name would be, since I’m also pretty sure “Dick Steele” is most likely being utilized as an avatar name by some anti-gay conservative preaching hypocrite for his Grindr profile.

That’s just a guess, of course. But the odds are probably on my side here, given how often that sort of thing seems to happen as of late. Originally, I started this new batch of personal writing as a means to silence an inner argument I was having with myself in regards to issues I was sick and tired of observing within the PAS. If you know my past work, I won’t rehash it here- if you don’t, go make a sandwich, slip into your coziest jammies, and hit up the archive in order. Trust me, you’ll feel so much better being in the loop like the rest of the cool kids. As my random narratives of thought disseminated into the art river slowly gaining fans and critics alike, it inspired the now former editor of the Phoenix New Times Amy Silverman, to target me with a pathetic and weakly transparent online “hit-piece” in retribution for my chronicling of her numerous editorial failures in reporting on the PAS, and her inability to competently pass for an actual functioning human.

In the one face to face and highly unpleasant meeting I had with her, I came away with the firm conviction that if boiling water was ever poured down her throat, she’d be spitting out ice cubes mere seconds later, for which I will give her some begrudging praise. After all, not everyone can chill a six-pack of Pepsi just by briefly holding it in their hands, and no matter how you slice it, that’s still a cool party trick, even if it’s unholy as Hell. Now, I don’t know what she was hoping to achieve with her gambit at yellow journalism, but I’m pretty sure her endgame wasn’t planned to give me an unintended audience literally overnight, which it ultimately did. I once had the notion of showing my appreciation for her inadvertently doing that with a really thoughtful gift, but had to reconsider when I realized it was going to be damn near impossible, if not costly, to acquire an entire basketful of puppies for her to eat.

I’m kidding of course, as I’ve been told she’s really more of a cat person, and there’s no way I’d ever spend my own money trying to make her feel valued. But even given this cravenly veiled attack, I was still undeterred from what I was trying to accomplish overall- that being real change within the scene itself. I wrote at length (of course) about seriously marketing both the artists and the scene itself proficiently, noted why consistent self-promotion was a vital key to one’s plan of long-term success, and publicly called out the people and organizations I believed were cutting the throat of artistic progress and financial stability within the scene itself. Looking back over that ten-year span, I have to ask myself, was it worth all the hate mail, the snidely delivered arrogant slurs, and the sense of limited, but still unswervingly focused ostracization I suffered?

Well… FUCK YES.

Let me type that again: FUCK YES. And once more for those who to this day, are still mad at me for my fittingly harsh and wholly valid assessment of their character and inherent worth to the hot-mess that was/is the PAS: FUCK YES. Other than the one and only time I have ever apologized to someone for getting it wrong, I can honestly say that I don’t regret one damn thing I’ve ever written about the PAS, humility and charity be darned. Concerning the numerous moments of personal confrontation, the fourth-hand whispered threats uttered behind my back, and the emails sent by curs of cowardice who wouldn’t or couldn’t, face me eyeball to eyeball, I will not offer any future apologies. No matter the vitriolic acid and venom directed at me for speaking my mind, it was still minus the one retraction, something I would do exactly the same way, note for note.

Sadly, most of what I’ve predicted has come to pass sooner than later, and a good chunk of it with almost no seriously organized resistance presented by the community it most directly affects. The process of Gentrification may not be a team sport, but you’d never know that from some of the crowd that so easily continues to go along with it. To be fair, there’s very little a community can do when it lacks capital and political power, but it’s not like there wasn’t the time or foresight to acquire both, and therein lies the seeds of the ultimate failure to protect what was once claimed as so important. The reason why I am beating this dead hoarse (misspelling intended) hopefully one last time is to reference what originally inspired me- the failures of the art scene that I had poured almost 25 years of my life in various incarnations.

In retrospect, that should probably be listed as 24, given the fact that for the last year before I left Phoenix, I was only intermittently participating within the scene. This was largely due to a growing sense of personal burnout mixed with a rising disgust for the direction that the PAS was quickly and seemingly going towards. I was done with hearing the same old complaints, seeing the same work retooled over and over, and I was most definitely finished withy observing the ineffective approaches regarding the marketing and promotion of the scene by agenda-driven carpetbaggers who cared for nothing, save for their own glorification. There’s truly nothing more maddening than those who seek your counsel, agree that the advice you’ve given is correct and on point, and then who right in front of you, do the exact thing that you advised against. And as they return to you, beaten and bloodied, rest assured that they will invariably ask with zero sense of irony, what they should have done differently. Repeat this cycle of inanity a few dozen times, and then you’ll understand why I now have a zero-tolerance policy in place for continuous idiocy. At the end of it all, I was more than happy to rid myself of what was starting to feel like a thankless, and pointless, never-ending job.

Don’t misunderstand, while it is nice at times to have a pot of spicy controversy a-bubbling on the metaphorical stove, eventually you’ll get sick and tired of eating it night after night. Plus, it’s also quite a caustic meal to begin with, and no amount of seasoning it with personal creativity can ever take the edge off of that. But two years prior to my leaving Phoenix, a literary exit-plan of sorts had presented itself, and it was a direct result of my Vonnegut meets Ricky Gervais approach to creative writing. A now-former editor at PHOENIX Magazine whom I knew from within my social circle, tapped me to write more than a few art-related articles for the publication after I asked them to review my work in regards towards a creative grant, and thus- a new career was born. Sadly, my newest vocation arc was temporarily sidetracked, when a middle-aged compulsive who runs a fan club for a Phoenix-based TV show that nobody save for him, gives a damn about anymore, wrote a wholly slanderous email which he then sent to all the editors claiming he had been mocked publicly on Facebook by yours truly.

Allegedly, I had made fun of a disability he claims he suffers from, but the reality however is that he also has had a long-established history of making public threats and stalking, and was banned from an artist community page I still co-administer for (surprise!) repeatedly harassing fellow members and abusing the “report violation” feature. Seriously. How pathetically hollow is your life when obsessing over a Facebook page ban and fan-girling over a defunct kids’ TV show forms the nucleus of your day-to-day activities? While this was annoyance was akin to the impotent buzz of a mosquito trapped inside a sealed tent, the real fury came from knowing that I was not informed of this activity by anyone at the magazine in the first place. Granted, while certain editors within this unknown to me loop of knowledge were clearly adept at structuring and presenting the best distillment of the lexicon, they seemingly didn’t know the true meaning of the descriptive noun “professionalism’.

It’s always nice to find out you’ve been delicately blacklisted due to the actions of someone who’s entire history of bizarre behavior could not only be found using the ol’ Google, but was also fairly well-known among several respected members of the local journalistic community as well. And after learning via a trusted back-channel source that ostensibly, no actual evidence supporting his fabrication was even asked to be presented, I’d suggest almost as an act of foresight, that none of those in-the-know individuals should openly brag about their keen investigative skills or sense of professional loyalty to their journalistic fellows at the next AZ Press Club Award dinner.

Just a thought.

There’s a quote I’ve always liked that states; “If you wait by the river long enough, the bodies of your enemies will float by.” This has been consistently (and erroneously) accredited as being found within the pages of The Art of War tome authored by the Chinese philosopher, general and military strategist Sun Tzu, but variations of the phrase have existed within the realms of modern pop culture for decades. Regardless of the actual source, I’ve always personally interpreted it as a statement urging patience during difficult and trying times. Truth will always carry the day in the end, no matter what may be thrown in its path. So, when I refer to something being water under the bridge, just know that the Karma that somebody earned has already been delivered, and I’m just sitting on the riverbank, enjoying the passing Schadenfreude. And there’s been plenty of that for me to sadly enjoy, let me tell you. What was once a gritty and interesting scene to write about in PHX, has willingly gone out of its way to self-castrate for no other reason than to seek the approval of people who buy art to match their couch or their man-bun-inspired décor.

To quote the bad-ass character of Dillon from Aliens 3: “You're all gonna die. Only question is how you check out. Do you want it on your feet...or on your fucking knees...begging? I ain't much for begging and nobody ever gave me nothin'. So I say, "Fuck that thing! Let's fight it!" This in essence, pretty much sums up how I feel when anyone assumes that my values can be had for a quick, yet hardly easy buck. Especially when it has to be grovelingly collected from the hands of people who regard what I do with the same disdain that they have for drinking an inexpensive nonvegan-kale-cherry smoothie that hasn’t been certified as GMO and cruelty-free first. And no, I’m not going to listen to your rant about how meat is murder either, since in fact, the odds are pretty good I’ll commit an act of one if you get between me and my bacon, whether it’s literal or metaphorical. As someone who makes his living as both an artist and a writer, let me just give you this cautionary advice: If you are rudely dismissive as to what I do and how I do it, your life options and sense of self are going to be truly and exceedingly damaged beyond repair when I get done responding to you.

Count on it.

That being said, while it was no longer my problem to face, it was still an issue when I relocated to New Mexico, as I found myself facing what for most critical writers might be considered a true nightmare, which is that almost everyone who lives where I do is so damned nice. And respectful. And damn friendly. And dependable. And are the type to occasionally pick up your Diet Coke tab at your local watering hole and regular writers garret, just because you complimented their truly adorable kids. It’s almost as if I live inside a Norman Rockwell calendar page these days.
You can’t continue to call yourself “Artbitch” if there’s truly nothing that causes you to bitch, now can you? I literally am surrounded by friendly dogs, cute kids, 49 Ford pick-ups, and saintly Grandmas who bake cookies, so naturally, I was at first, quite terrified I’d have nothing to write about. Mainly because up until that point, my raw material was wholly dependent on patiently waiting for the PAS poltroons to willingly offer up their throats for slicing.  

Fortunately, or not, depending on your POV, it was yet another unforeseen medical trauma that forced a shift in my writing once again. This time it was having to go through what the hipster medical kids call a “Minimum-incision metatarsal ray resection”, which is a super-fancy way of saying: “If you don’t mind, and even if you do… we’re going to amputate the little toe on your left foot, along with a section of the side of it.” By the way, I DID mind, and the next to craptastic part of it was that it occurred less than two weeks after moving here. But it was either that, or the sad option of facing Death (again) or worse- becoming a discount-bin *Oscar Pistorius.
*[Oscar Pistorius is a South African former professional sprinter. In 2015, he was convicted of the 2013 murder of his girlfriend. Both of Pistorius' feet had been amputated when he was 11 months old due to a congenital defect, so if this proves anything, it just highlights how little effort I put into trying to appear more impressive than I really am.]

So, after spending a week and a half in the hospital, I spent the next four months or so in a forced convalesce of sorts. Stuck on either my couch or in bed with my left leg elevated, I was stuck, as if encased in amber. I did all the usual stuff one does when you can’t leave the house- watched a ton of Netflix and Amazon Prime, caught up on my Summer reading, finally balanced my checkbook, organized the DVD rack, and my dead clown crawlspace, and finally settled all of my outstanding accounts with the infernal demon/fallen angel, known as Azazel.

Whom, according to the parable 8:1-3 which is to be found within the Book of Enoch, a tome that predates the Bible; “Azazel taught the men how to make swords, knives, shields and breastplates. He made known to men the metals of the earth and the art of working them and made bracelets, ornaments and the use of antimony (a brittle silvery metal used in alloys), the beautifying of eyelids, all kinds of precious stones and coloring tinctures. There arose much godlessness and the angels committed fornication. Men were led astray and became corrupt in all their ways.”

Obviously, you can see why he and I hit it off right from the start- access to knives, custom jewelry, and the chance to chronicle the multiple sordid stories of angels playing the ultimate game of halo ring-toss? Sign me up, el’ pronto.

There were three things I didn’t know at the time when I initially pledged my well-used soul to his dark cause, however. The first being that I shouldn’t sign legal documents while riding out a Ding Dong bender, the second is that when playing Monopoly, he cheats like a son-of-a-bitch, and the third was that apparently, my older and devout Christian sister is worth at least six of me when it comes to trade-in value. Sorry Denise, but the only other relatives to possibly exchange in my place were Mom and Dad, and they’ve been working for him since before we were born. But don’t fret, because I managed to close the deal on a reasonably-priced condo with an excellent view of the Lake of Fire for you. And no… you don’t have to thank me. Just knowing I won’t be eternally consigned to Satan’s middle-management team is reward enough.

Coming back to center, there’s only so much reading, movie watching, web-surfing, and darkly blasphemous spell casting you can do before you start feeling like you’re imprisoned inside a Beds Bath and Beyond store, albeit with better entertainment options. Combine this with the reality that every time you take a shower, you have to wrap your foot in a Wonder bread bag first, due to the fact your several-inche long surgical incision is still healing, and can’t get wet under any conditions. No matter how you slice it, there’s no way to write off the experience as being either pleasant or tolerable. But attempt to write it off I did. In the time I was flat on my back, I wrote no less than six new pieces, totaling 28,569 words. And some of my fans said I couldn’t make my amputation work for me? They stand corrected, methinks.

One person stands alone, however. The shallow jackleg who is representing both my former employer and their shady as f**k insurance carrier however, who at one point, and none too subtly either, opined that I  could have spent some of that time better, because as you might have guessed, my priorities should have been focused on soothing the Hartford’s grifters versus concentrating on getting better and back in tune with the Darkside of the Farce. But I’ll focus more on that in the next piece I’ll be writing, since it’s kind of involved. When I did manage to get back on my one and ¾ feet, I started compiling story ideas, which led to the subsequent publication of three separate articles for Zia Magazine back in October, and is currently fueling both my seeking out of possible future assignments, and the development of a short-story compendium.

Whether I want to admit it or not, stepping away from the bloated and impotent carcass that the PAS has devolved into was a career gambit I should have set in place quite some time ago. That’s the beauty of hindsight- it’s always 20/20, and confident that it’s take is the right one. So, what’s slowly overcooking inside the Artbitch Easy Bake oven? Well, I’m looking forward to being far outside my previous comfort zone, and I’m equally excited about having some of my more developed literary concepts being liberated from my overcrowded mental filing cabinets, and translated into legible and hopefully perused pixels. The metaphorical plan as noted above, will concentrate on not only getting accepted for assignments, but varying the type that they are in the first place. Will this new approach work? I have no idea, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, as my Dad always liked to say.

Okay, he might have actually been talking about his upcoming divorce from my Mom at the time, but it still translates into a definitive plan of action quite well, I think. The motivators that initially fueled me as a writer, that being a targeted mix of anger and acidic sarcasm, still come into play obviously, but it’s the need to feel that I’m producing good, if not relevant, work that truly drives the prose Pinto these days. People tell me I’m a good writer. My Editors have told me I’m a good writer. My critics call me an arrogant, self-righteous and over-opinionated son-of-a-bitch, which just goes to prove that sincere compliments can take many forms, and that my Mom’s reputation extends far beyond my own. And I wasn’t saying that editors aren’t people by the way. I’m just noting that they’re the type of people who will let you know as honestly as possible how much you are (or aren’t} sucking at the time. It’s like when you have close German relatives, the main difference being that they’ll be the ones who don’t want to ruin your life.

So here I find myself, at the beginning of a new decade, with a new chapter to still write. The challenge ahead is to make it worthwhile to do so. And in order to do that, I take to heart what lauded SciFi Author and personal writing hero Ray Bradbury once wrote in his book “Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You”. That being: “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” And Odin knows, if there one thing Reality has been doing consistently over the years, it’s attempting to destroy me whenever it can. But things could be worse in the long run.

After all… I could still be writing on MySpace.

“Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it's always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.”- Neil Gaiman




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