Saturday, March 31, 2018

Going Ape (For You)

Greetings from Gott Press Headquarters here in sunny Highland Square, Akron's hipsterest (and hippest) neighborhood -- home of PorchRokr, Annabell's Punk Night, and the Zub's girl.

Today is March 31st, or as I look to think of it, April Fools Eve. It's also the last day of my Akron Soul Train Fellowship. It went by extremely quickly, and I attribute that to the fact that it was extremely fucking fun and I enjoyed pretty much every moment of it. I would call it a success, at any rate. Here are my final numbers, as far as creative output, if you're curious:

Free Verse Poems: 18

Blackout Poems: 16

total: 34

That's right, I averaged more than a poem a day, which definitely meets the goal that I set for myself before I started. I have also designed the cover of the chapbook, and I have a solid draft of the interior. I am still working through selecting and editing the poems that I will include in the chapbook, but I hope to order a proof this week -- if everything goes according to plan.

There's a few people who I need to thank, for without whom this would not only not have been a success, but it wouldn't have happened at all.

First, I have to thank my wife, partner in crime, and muse, Sarah, who held me to my word and made me finish that application at 8 p.m. the night that it was due. I love you!

I would like to also thank the 2017-2018 Fellowship Selection Committee and everyone at Akron Soul Train, particularly Natalie Grieshammer, who went above and beyond in her role to make this a great experience. She made things possible that would have been impossible without her help. I would also like to thank Amy Mothersbaugh, Nancy Brennan, Danielle Thompson, and Arnold Tunstall, who have all been extremely supportive and helpful.

Finally, thank you Adam Searl, JT Barnett, Mila Susnjar, Toni Billick, Sheepy, Roxy & Marc, The Dreemers, Sage Lewis, Elly Dallas, Rubber City Prints, Chris Miller/The Akronist, Yoly Miller, everyone who came to my Happening, everyone who came to my Blackout Poetry workshop, Compass Coffee, and everyone who has supported me over the years. I could go on and on here, and my apologies to anyone who deserves credit who I may have forgotten, but I can't thank you all enough!

Be sure to mark your calendars for May 12, from 6-8 p.m. for my Idiot Parade book release party so you can see for yourself the end result of all of this hard work (and maybe buy a copy ;-)).

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Major Announcement, Complete with Fanfare

Hola mis amigos y amigas! Que tal? Es Sabado y estoy escribiendo un "blog post" para ustedes!

For those of you who don't speak Spanish: Hi friends! What's up? It's Saturday, and I'm writing a blog post for you!

And that's all for today's Espanol para Gringos, 101, brought to you by Sabado Gigante (RIP) and Medalla Light.

I'm in a good mood this morning for a few reasons. For one, I didn't have any obligations so I was able to sleep in past 9. Not to mention, it's shaping up to be a beautiful day weather-wise. However, the main reason I am just bubbling over with enthusiasm before noon on a Saturday is that I am ready to reveal the cover of my Akron Soul Train chapbook.

Drumroll, please. Spotlight ready... Curtains! Fanfare!

(front cover)

(back cover)
There you go. Hopefully not too underwhelming, or overwhelming. Hopefully just the right amount of whelming.

Yes, Idiot Parade is the title, and I want to ensure the PC Police that I don't mean that in a negative way. It's in reference to a line of one of the poems contained inside, "Expectations."

It will be approximately 50-60 pages of all free-verse and blackout poetry. My original intention was to also include flash fiction in it, but I instead plan on releasing another chapbook/short collection this summer that is exclusively fiction.

Anyways, this is also the first official publication of Gott Press, my own imprint. It seemed time to create more of a separation between myself and Createspace, and this was a great opportunity to do so with some of the stipend I received for being an Akron Soul Train Fellow. It is important to me to have complete creative and artistic independence so I can say what I want to say in the manner I want to say it, and this will ensure that I will continue to be able to do so. I have wanted to do this for a while, and I am excited about the future and the many books I plan on releasing on this label. More to come on this!

If you have been following my journey as an Akron Soul Train Fellow, you probably recognize the cover as a picture of the art that was created during my Happening at my Fellowship Kickoff party. I really liked how it turned out and it seemed like an appropriate use of this piece. The back cover, you might be able to tell, is the same picture, cropped slightly differently, and heavily edited with the photo editing software of my Samsung Galaxy S9.

Idiot Parade will be released on May 12 with a party here in Akron (more info TBA soon). I will be reading from it, as well as a few from my first poetry collection, Live Organ Transplants, and maybe some of my flash fiction, as well. There will also be live music and booze, and copies for sale. Stay tuned for more information!

I have one more official week left of my Fellowship. It has gone fast and I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. That being said, I have plenty of work to do before May 12th, so that is only the official end. Really, it's a beginning, too. All my hard work and struggling the past 15 or so years is really starting to pay off, and I am excited about what the future holds.

Now it's time to go out and enjoy this beautiful sunshine. It's a good day for a drive through the country, and I am feeling especially inspired to create more art. Hopefully, you take advantage of this gorgeous day, too!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Life-Affirming Shit

Photo by Sarah Gott. Taken at The Kurt Vonnegut Museum & Library in Indianapolis.
I'm not sure what happened. What keeps happening, or rather, not happening. I used to write blog posts constantly. There was a period there in grad school where I wrote nearly everyday. Of course, not exactly everyday, but consistently enough.

These days, I am not good about even doing it once a month, which is sad, because I used to get a lot of enjoyment out of writing these things. I guess, people change. Interests change. It became less important than other things. After all, I do have a real job now.

Having these first eleven days of my fellowship off from that real job, though, has reminded me of what I used to be like before everything got so fucking serious all the time. What it's like to make everyday life more fun. Doing things that I enjoy doing. I don't mean, like, content doing, but like, am really, really passionate about doing. Not the career, but the things that drive me.

That's one thing that I needed, I think, from this experience. Getting paid to write this thing (or these things, rather, might be more appropriate at this stage) has been a great experience. I only wish I could figure out how to do it more regularly. You know, not just make it a thing that I do, but the thing.

Hell, that might never happen. That doesn't mean I have to let the dream die, though.

My life is about to change in a big way, and I can't go into more detail than that right now, but I can assure you it's a good kind of change. The kind of thing that makes me evaluate what about myself I want to carry forward, and what is better off being left behind.

Suffice it to say, it's an on-going process.

Being a writer, and a musician, though, are things that I can never lose. They are the basic building blocks of my identity, at this point: I am an artist.

Honestly, I think the world needs more of us.