Within a few hours, barelyok.com will redirect to my new Tumblr blog. Since I’m not an avid blogger, paying $100 a year for web real estate I never use was a big waste.
In the coming months, I’ll be appearing at Scene Missing and other literary slams.
A couple of decades back, I used to perform live readings and storytelling events at open mics in Prague (Beef Stew) and around Tampa. However, one event I did the unthinkable, I performed sober. Without alcohol steeling my nerve, my voice shook, self-consciousness wrestled me to ground. I walked off the stage and never performed again.
Two years ago, I became sober. When a shy, introverted person uses alcohol or drugs to fake courage, the consequences is when they become sober, their social skills revert to remedial limp handshakes and show gazing. Like an atrophied muscle, there’s hardly any meat to build on. Now sober, I rediscovered my personality traits anew, and became content to be introverted, to leave the party early, and to just bow out of social events altogether. The social butterfly found it’s old cocoon and burritoed inside it.
Going clean saved my life, my marriage, everything. Yet, I had to learn to work a crowd, be cordial, and to fight stage fright. A year ago, I participated in a Write Club Atlanta bout, but I was so nervous, I only managed to croak out my piece. I lost, but I learned that it was time for public speaking boot camp.
I attended The Hangar’s Thursday night comedy open mic. I practiced my routines on my laptop webcam. Some of my routines earned laughs and applause, others were flat soda. I wasn’t there to become a stand up comic. Experienced actors often say that an accomplished actor is more comfortable on stage than in their own living room. The same goes for musicians. After a few weeks, I learned that great performances come with practice and no one gets 80’s video jokes.
So where does this blog come in? Why kind of douche still does self-interviews?
I’m not only camera shy, but criticism shy. I can take criticism but in private, safe rooms with people who gain nothing from giving it. Yet, I will blog anyway. I will perform anyway. I’ve found no other recipe for improvement other than add one heaping portion of repetition, repeat.
With 2013 being a year of loss, I’ve decided to shed things as well. I’m switching to Tumblr to Wordpress and taking a different approach to life and writing. We’ll see how it goes.
After a too long respite, I present my contribution to the latest Wendigo word nerd challenge
There’s nothing like it when the gods go at it.
I don’t know how it started. Maybe Zamthese did intentionally bump Dar’Ag’ Hoth with his ice chariot. Maybe Dar hurled a gas giant at Zamthese and nailed him on his second face in retaliation. But you’d think the End of all Things was happening ahead of schedule if you saw it.
I watched the action through my telescope at a safe distance five light years away, just chronicling every blow and slight onto my scroll.
So they’re squaring off in in some back alley solar system that ain’t even got a stable orbit. Zamy said something about Dar’s half hippogriff mom, and he just hurls a lightning bolt at Dar.
Dar split himself in two at the waist, and the bolt whizzed through the gap. He laughed at Zamy and said, “I shall use the Chalice of Tears as my chamber pot tonight.”
Zamy is really into holy bric-a-brac. Like all the stuff in his glass palace, it has sentimental value. So Zamy inhales the atmosphere a local ice planet no one’s gonna miss. His cheeks bubble and frost over and he coughed an ice blast in Dar’s direction.
Dar’s torso and bottom had just squished together when gets doused in a subzero hydrogen bath. His shouts of rage turn to shivers as his body froze over and formed a planet sized snowball. Zamy plucked a few asteroids from a nearby belt, and walked up to the frozen god. He put a pair of eyes and a smiling mouth where the godsicle’s face would be. He picked up the godsicle and kicked it and it shot through the solar system and disappeared into the distance.
Zamy rubbed his hands together. “That’ll teach him.”
Zamy, being mostly immortal, didn’t keep track of time. Ninety-seven years is not even heartbeat. Zamy turned to see the godsicle, now a comet worshiped in three systems, coming straight for him, asteroid smile mocking. It smashes into him, chucks of continent sized ice shards explode. He’s knocked into a large rocky planet with an ‘oof’ that sends shockwaves through the system.
Dar shook the ice and frost loose. “I’m back to tell you I shall wipe my buttocks with your mother’s burial shroud.”
The most sacred of Zamy’s relics. A whole temple carved out of a diamond asteroid to house it. Zamy is irrational with rage. He starts hurling asteroids, Dar’s former ice-god face, at Dar’s and he’s just dodging them like a light-sprite.
Dar teleports away. “Coward!” Zamy snarled.
However, in the corner of my eye I notice the blue-green-yellow Lotus nebula dim, and then shrink like a handkerchief through a hole. Dar returned. He smiled nonchalantly, hands in pocket. He removed on hand and he’s got something is his fist. He squeezed his fist and I see tendrils of gas sieve through his fingers and then a flash of light. He opened his hand and a fully formed star rested on his pal.
With a grunt, he hurled it at Dar. The plasmatic concert of simple atoms speed hurl toward him at light speed. He can barely gasp before it hits him right in the stomach like a medicine ball. He’s flies backward through the solar system, plasma trails flittering behind him. He traveled past the galaxy’s border into a mass of formless vapors just outside the galaxy.
Zamy is, as God’s go, out of breath. “I still didn’t get my apology,” he said and stormed out of the galaxy to find Dar limp and free floating among the vaporous mass.
“Before I slay you,” Zamy said, “I want my apology.”
He leaned over the massive body, but Dar’s eyes flicked open. “Do you know what the most plentiful element in the universe is?”
Zamy flinches at Dar’s sudden animation. Before he utters a curse, Dar said, “Alcohol”
Thin blue lasers shoot from Zamy’s eyes. Dar steps aside and the weak beam shoots past him. “Nice miss.”
A thin wisp of blue flame appeared, flickering for a few innocent moments. The flame spread through the gaseous mass as 180 proof pure alcohol alights in a purple rage and consumed the dueling gods. The entire 100 million mile wide cloud explodes into a blue and purple mass of beautiful, pillowy flame. I shut my eyes an instant before I’m blinded by the flash. I feel the wall of white heat behind my eyelids. When the flash dims, I see the flames shrink until the alcohol mass dims into a blue smear. Zamy and Dar are nowhere to be seen.
Gods don’t die, like we die. The explosion consumed their flesh, but released their energy, and their will. Even at their worst, a god can create life. A few of their stable elements remain intact and are pulled into each other’s gravity well and form larger elements.
Millennia later, I check back on the baby galaxy. It’s a milky spiral colored with pinpricks of stars and a highlight of green nebulae on its outermost arm. Worlds formed around the stars and on a handful, a few loose proteins will meet on a blind date, bond, and maybe start a family, or a whole race.
I witnessed the last of the god fights until there were no more gods left to quarrel. The gods destroyed more life than they created, and soon their worshipers vanished along with them. There’s no one to talk to here. I’m the last god, alone. Yet the milky galaxy pregnant with new life intrigued me. I packed up my telescope and went for a visit. No gods to quarrel with there.
In case you skidded into class too late and missed my Atlanta Fringe Audio piece, now’s your chance to hear it on Soundcloud. Big thanks to Chris Alonzo and the other Atlanta Fringe organizers, performers and volunteers who ran a stellar festival and gave this theater noobie a slot.
When I arrived at 7 Stages Theater to buy tickets, the volunteers mentioned they recognized my voice and a few attendees were asking I was doing a live show. I was swooning that I had a cozy fan base, but was this a sign that “Farting in Church” could be extended into a live, one-man show?
Aside from some children’s theater I did as a youth, I haven’t delved into drama. Recently, I’ve been performing stand up at The Hangar to sharpen my stage presence in preparation for my appearance at Scene Missing in July. I have no ambitions to become a stand up comedian, I do admire the craft in generating laughter at will. Getting on stage even to sweep the floor causes panic in many, but I have alwasy loved spoken word artists like Henry Rollins. What I liked about Rollins is that he was really lame when he began spoken word, but over time he improved. The words are innate, but projecting them with indomitable confidence is a talent built on the corpses of misfired punch lines and mic feedback.
I’ve got until October to think about it. Farting in Church is only one story about when reality, failure and faith collided and truths were learned, scars were made.
Hear my Fringe Atlanta Audio piece “Farting in Church” either at Soundcloud or at the Fringe Audio site. Hope you enjoy it.
[caption id=”” align=”aligncenter” width=”200”] Hear my Atl Fringe Piece[/caption]
Americans love appropriating other cultures’ holidays into excuses to get drunk and puke like a freshman at his first kegger. St. Patrick’s Day is March 17, which is on a Monday so expect a lot of call outs from work Tuesday morning. Shudder at the thought of embarrassing Brogue impressions and drunk office workers looking for their car keys instead of a pot of gold. And WTF would someone name a drink after something tragic - Irish Car Bomb? I don’t go into Iraqi bars and order a Baghdad Market Bomb. Hey, how about a few rounds of Bus Full of Disabled Kids Going Into the River. I’m buyin!
While we remember the day where a Medieval Priest rid the Irish Isle of snakes and convinced pagans that getting the stock predictions with your enemies entrails wasn’t good sport, let us remember the only other thing Americans know about Irish culture- U2.
Pre-Spittle and Bum U2 was a great band, but once they got indebted to the idea that music could change the world, they kinda turned into full-of-it demagogues. I feel bad about how bad Africa has it and so do you, but music shouldn’t make you want to party, not feel guilty about stuff that wasn’t your fault. Hey, Bono, I found what you’re looking for right here. Good bands should quit after ten years lest they become their own mediocre cover band. Right, Rolling Stones? Yet, their first three albums (Boy, October, War) made you want to go out and change the world or egg an Arthur Treacher’s.
Now for some U2 covers.