Some Thoughts as New York “Reopens”

 

The anger I’m feeling living through these catastrophic times is palpable but not consuming. The sadness I’ve felt has been enormous but not overwhelming. As New York prematurely “reopens,” I’m spending part of this morning reflecting about what happened over the past few months. While there has been and continues to be many things to be angry and sad about, to rebel against, etc., there are also many things to celebrate, praise, express gratitude for. To wit, all of the following happened during the lockdown, uprising, etc.:

My daughter and I started a singing duo, which we recently dubbed The Floating Bear. The past few weeks have found us recording covers of songs by Bob Dylan, David Ryan Harris, The Civil Wars, Chris Cornell, and more

We celebrated my girlfriend’s birthday with many of the birthday girl’s friends popping in virtually.

I hosted the inaugural Big Other Book Awards Ceremony, which featured readings by and conversation with Rae Armantrout, Norman Lock, Victoria Redel, and Arthur Sze.

I wrote a book of poems, which is less plague journal than plague itself, I hope. In any case, I also sent out a number of poems from this collection for publication consideration.

I made further progress on the YA novel I’m revising.

I made further progress on another novel and a smattering of short fictions.

I wrote a song, something I haven’t done in years.

I launched what eventually came to be called The Quentin Quarantino Report, which features largely satirical commentary on current events from a radical left perspective targeting conservatives, neoliberals, moderates, liberals, celebrities, and other slaves of the corporate death machine.

A literary agent has taken significant interest in my novel, which they called glorious, innovative, bold, brave, zany, comparing it favorably to work by Thomases Bernhard and Pynchon, and Joan Didion, and even in some ways to some of Bret Easton Ellis’s. I’m so rarely read, let alone so deeply, intelligently, and empathically, so you can imagine my delight. They haven’t signed me on as a client, yet, and I know it could still go either way, but things still look promising.

I wrote Big Other‘s first newsletter and sent it to about five thousand readers. Subscribe HERE.

I published work by the following writers in Big Other:
Will Alexander, Rosaire Appel, Rae Armantrout, Mike Corrao, Gillian Cummings, Tom De Beauchamp, Raymond de Borja, Andrew Joron, Hunter Liguore, Robert Lopez, Joe Milazzo, Lance Olsen, Elizabeth Robinson, Jacob Singer, Ken Sparling, Tyrone Williams, Peter Wortsman, and Carolyn Zaikowskii.

Peter Markus’s “This Boy’s Tongue,” which I published last year, was selected as a Best Small Fictions 2020 pick.

Tina May Hall’s “The Extinction Museum, Exhibits #357, 7, and 36″—which I published last year—was selected as one of Wigleaf‘s top 50 pieces of very short fiction on the web for 2020.

I produced four “Life During the Contagion” podcasts, which featured conversations with the following writers and/or musicians: Kurt Baumeister, Matthew Binder, Hieronymus A. Bogs, Rikki Ducornet, Carol Guess, Jeremiah Hosea, Hillary Leftwich, Robert Lopez, Brendan Lorber, Joe Milazzo, Antonio Nadal, Davis Schneiderman, Tony Trigilio, and Angela Woodward.

I expanded the scope of the podcast to include discussions about radical politics. My interview with renowned socialist economist Richard D. Wolff is the first step in this direction.

I made two playlists to help get you through the catastrophe(s):
Songs for the Contagion. And Songs for the Contagion 2.

I published a letter supporting the uprising against the white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.

In other words, I’m very fortunate to have experienced so much love, joy, and wonder. And I take none of this for granted.

 

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