Bummer Post: Market Street Window Gazing

The streets of San Francisco are filled with homeless people. Today, the first time in all my day trips to the city, I see a cluster of uniformed police officers roaming around Market Street and stopping wherever a homeless person is leaning against a building to tell them to move along. Force them to move along. Where? Where are they supposed to go?
I’m sitting in the window of a diner, staring out, killing time. The cluster of cops I passed a few blocks back make their way to the diner. All I can see is a set of feet sticking out from the side of the building on to the sidewalk. The four of them put on black and blue latex gloves in case the have to touch the man passed out against the diner.
They tell him to get up. They pull at him, a group effort to get him to wobble to his feet. They tell him that he’s soaked, in case he didn’t already know. One officer laughs openly at the man and whatever his slurred response was. The officer throws his head back with laughter and claps.

The manFullSizeRender stands but slumps against the wall.

The officers just stare at him and tell him again that he has to go. The man stumbles a few paces and stops directly in front of the window I’m facing out. He lurches, hunched over, pants around his knees and a blanket draped around his shoulders. An officer looks in at me as I take a sip of coffee. He gestures inside and I can see his mouth telling the man that I’m trying to eat and he has to get away from the window. The officer smiles at me and I stare back and shake my head, hoping he can read my expression: “Don’t bring me into this.”

The man is dropping things and picking them up again. Mouth open, oblivious, he wanders down the street away from the diner. The same officer who laughed throws his hands up in the air and hobbles around the sidewalk, mimicking the homeless man and laughing joyously, all teeth, I glare out the window until they move along.

12/1/14

Interview: Constance Ann on Ladybox & Ladybox Books at LitDemon.com

Constance Ann:

interview with me about Ladybox/Ladybox Books and a fantastic review of all seven Ladybox books!

Originally posted on ladyboxbooks.com:

Click HERE to read the interview with Ladybox curator/editor Constance Ann Fitzgerald at LitDemon.

LitDemon also posted a glowing review of Ladybox!

Ladybox has a lot of the same Riot Grrrl DIY sensibilities that you may remember from the punk scene in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, before webpages and blogs took over. These are punk zines in their truest form – handmade, Xeroxed, stapled, simple, straight-to-the-point, and honest. Each chapbook serves up a little something different, but what they all have in common is that there is a lot of heart in each and every sentence. And there’s not a bad one in the bunch.”

Click HERE to read the entire review!

plain_red_logo_1396754589__13195 (click the image to visit LitDemon.com)

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Ladybox on sale October 15th!

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Originally posted on ladyboxbooks.com:

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Ladybox is a box set collection of chapbook-style zines by seven kick ass female authors:

Laura Lee Bahr

Rios de la Luz

Rae Alexandra

Tiffany Scandal

Spike Marlowe

Violet LeVoit

Constance Ann Fitzgerald

When it’s time to purchase, this will be the place. Mark your calendars. No pre-orders available. Once they’re gone, they’re gone!

Each set will cost $40 (with free shipping in the U.S.) and will contain seven books and a few little extras, all packaged in a handy box to keep them safe and look fucking cool on your book shelf.

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Adventure Blog: East Bay Adventure Day

Wednesday I decided to take a break from Petaluma, work, and obsessing about the writing I am supposed to be doing, to go to a show with my friend Rachel in Oakland.
I say “the writing I am supposed to be doing” because, duh, a lot hasn’t gotten done. I started to yell at myself and then realized exactly what this month has been, besides my participation in a novella writing challenge.
I threw out my back like the vieja that I am, got super sick, and had to find a place to live, while working my regular shifts. Jesus. Fuck.
I HAVE finally cracked an outline and worked in some other characters and stories I’ve had in mind/notebooks into this. It’s progress.

I left the house too early for the bus I was supposed to catch I and decided to run some errands and have breakfast downtown. I waited to cross at the light and a guy swaggered up to the opposite corner. He tapped the signal and it changed instantly. I love it when that happens. I paused to appreciate magic touch moments for someone else and patted myself on the back for it. Good job not being totally into yourself for a second.

Springtime in California is in full effect. The sun was shining but it isn’t hot enough to be running around shirtless. You’d be surprised at how few dudes that matters to. I cut through the parking lot of the shopping center where I work and see giant bubble letter graffiti blasted across the side of the discount grocery store. Seems that guy was awfully busy, because his tag is all over downtown. Most of them half finished and poorly executed. I wish they ‘d leave art on the sides of buildings and not just a crude hieroglyph that translates to “ I WAS HERE!”

On the waterfront a group of old folks held a water color class, propping their paintings against the railing and sitting in camping chairs, critiquing their shaky brush strokes.

I have this problem where I am always early and the bus is always late. This day was the exception. I took it as a good omen for the day. Doubly so, when Rachel told me she was bringing me cupcakes from the bakery where she works. Then a girl sat in front of me on the bus wearing patchouli. My bus ride was terrible for the three stops until she got off and left her wallet. I laughed. I felt bad and walked it to the driver just as her boyfriend came back to retrieve it.

The bus ride from Petaluma to San Francisco is made for window gazing and headphones, getting day-dreamy on the scenery and thanking Golden Gate Transit for their epically sized bus windows.The right playlist is everything. I like to leave it up to the shuffle feature. Fate. This day all the tracks fall in to the right places, happen at just the right time.

“When I accelerate I remember why it feels good to be alive” I close my eyes to soak in the moment of that song, as I always do. The bus hit a curve and the driver accelerated through it, I smiled and opened my eyes and was met with the view of the SF skyline from across the bay, making that moment magic. Felt suddenly like this could be my last bus trip to the city. I wanted to take a photo but elected to soak it in with my own two eyes. Make that picture with my mind to cherish later. Because I see why people leave their hearts here. It’s so fucking easy to do. So easy to fall in love with.

Once we’re into the city, around Van Ness, I notice the back passenger window of fancy sports car has dried vomit streaked down the side. I’ve definitely been that guy. I didn’t leave it to crust over.

I get off the bus at the Civic Center Bart station and some dude who was talking loudly on his cell phone about facebook for the duration of our ride yells after me and hands me my scarf without saying more than “Hey!” and continues to argue with who I can only assume is his angry girlfriend.

I hit the Civic Center station and update Ray while I wait for my train. I pop my gum and watch people form lines at the platform that won’t do them any good once the nine car stops. I board and everything is good until that panicky part if the the train ride when my ears start to pop and I know it’s because I’m under the bay. What if something goes wrong and we’re trapped? We’ll run out of air, have to eat each other for survival. Or the tunnel could collapse and we’d all just drown in this electrified metal tube.

People in Oakland don’t give a fuck. Dude in a motorized wheelchair almost sideswipes Ray’s car as we enter the Wholefoods parking lot.

In Piedmont we sat in a pub booth where dozens of couples carved their initials into the wood. Name + name and I wonder how many of them are still together. Ghosts of their relationship etched into the walls for drunks to admire.

We parked around the corner from the Fox. Rachel took everything in her car and moved it to the trunk. There was a dude in an huge ugly denim skirt and smeared eyeliner wobbling around in the doorway of a closed shop. He stops everyone who walks by and asks for change.
“Sorry, we don’t have any cash.”
“Can I get a cigarette?”
“We don’t smoke.”
He’s wasted and he walks over to us, telling us about how it’s hard for him to live in transitional housing and to deal with his parole officer because he is transgendered. He flails his arms and won’t make eye contact. Rachel offers him a cupcake.
“Does it have weed in it?” S/he asks excitedly.
“No, but it’s delicious.”

Crossing the street, Rachel sees a dude who looks like one of her favorite djs. I’m too distracted by a dude who is not wearing shoes but whose socks were incredibly white.

I counted four dudes with their hair in a top knot. Unacceptable.

The show opened with an aerobics routine led by DJ Rapid Fire, who was somehow even gayer than Richard Simmons. We were in love.

The Knife turned out not to be playing a regular show, but rather presenting “The Habitual Experience.” It read like The Knife does cirque du soleil. Which was cool, but not quiet what we were expecting. In place of Karin’s elaborate costumes, was a jumpsuit and a lot of choreography. A short set, followed by a dance party in the GA section.
In the line for the bathroom some hipster girl with a haircut like she stuck her head in a blender and wearing some kind of holster that held nothing at all asked me “It wasn’t like corporate when they started synchronized dancing?”
Instead of hitting her with a dictionary I told her it wasn’t what we expected but it was cool to look at. She was up for debate, but the line was moving and I was grateful.

We walked out to the street and it smelled like grilled onions. I found the street vendor and ate a bacon wrapped hot dog on our way back to Rachel’s car, realizing that throughout the course of my day I had probably eaten an entire pig.

On Writer’s Block, Reasons/Excuses/Explainations, and Working It the Fuck Out

Nobody wants to hear another story about how you couldn’t write right”
– Circa Survive

It’s been a really long time since I’ve updated my blog.
It’s been a really long time since I even tried to get anything published.

So, let’s work it out.

I’m trying to write every day, like Henry told me to.

This seems just as good an excuse as any:

This morning I threw my hat in with a dozen or so Bizarro authors who are going to take Bradley Sands up on his offer to band together and do a novella in a month, a la NanoWriMo, for April.
People like Cameron Pierce and Carlton Mellick III can churn out a novel in three days. I am not one of those people.

At first I was hesitant because I don’t have anything substantial to work on. Then I realized how stupid that is, how long its been since I wrote anything longer than a page or two (of fiction) and that even if it sucks I ought to do it for practice’s sake.
And I should tell everyone about it so I have to follow through, or I’ll look like an idiot.

I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. Scribbling in journals about boys I had crushes on (hint: damn near every dude with a pulse) and wanting something more. Weird rants, bits of ideas for things I would never expand. But always writing.
Until the last couple of years.

A Brief History/ WTF Happened (some of which you may or may not already know)

In 2010 I went to a writer’s workshop that birthed the idea for my book Trashland A Go-Go. The book was put out by Eraserhead Press in 2011 and I sold the shit out of it for the chance to win a contract with EHP to write more books.

The year I wrote Trashland was fucked. My closest friendship was put to the test when my friend met a dude, not uncommon among lady friends. Then more so, when that dude’s best friend died while driving his car that we were all in, the day after I slept with him.

Any one out there keeping score: that’s two men I’ve slept with in the last 3-4 years who are now dead.

It was complicated to say the least. We all moved into my apartment, and it was my hope that we’d be a support system for each other during a fucked up grieving period. Things never really work out the way any of us plan.

During that time my friend/mentor Kevin Shamel told me to write the idea from the workshop for that years NBAS. He gave me two weeks to complete the story before we went into edits. I took three.

It was exactly what I needed to move forward. I still cried, I still thought about it, but I had something else to focus on. A reason to make myself stay home and work toward something instead of drinking my face off. Which I still did.

Rose and Kevin presented us with our books for the first time in Rose and Carlton’s room in the Ad House at the Edgefield and I started to cry the minute it was in my hands. Because I worked for it. Because it was there. The culmination of all the shitty feelings I’d had during that time, and a bunch of other times, but it was printed by someone who thought it was worth publishing.

I spent the next year focusing on sales, pushing my book to earn the chance to publish more books. I didn’t worry about new words. Those would come later. There would always be more words. I worked on some stories about the adult shop where I was working and not much else.

My parents were proud. Both readers. Both grossed out with what I put out into the world, but proud nonetheless. (My dad brags about me to the people in his biker organizations.)

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Adventure Blog: Sturgis, Mount Rushmore and Airport Creepin´

So many excuses, with laptop breakage, job loss and transition…but here ya go.

Better late than never?
_____________________

I woke up at 5am, gathered the last of my toiletries and walked to the airporter in the morning mist. I followed an elderly couple from the building to the bench at the center of the parking lot where the bus picks up the passengers. The man made two trips back and forth from the building to the bench, carrying their suitcases to where they needed to be . His wife stood under the awning, out of the wet air.
He told her there was coffee inside.

In the airport after security checks I still had time for bad coffee and a greasy breakfast sandwich. I checked my email and trip itinerary obsessively like I do when traveling. I eavesdropped on strangers and people-watch like I do when I’m alone in crowded places. The intercom sounded several times asking for Ja Rule.
Waiting for my connection in Denver, I was sitting at an airport bar when the intercom called out for Corey Haim to please pick up the white courtesy phone.
Either someone was messing with the folks at the information desk or I am a terrible listener.
I continued to watch people. What they carried with them, how they killed time between flights, their luck with finding available electrical outlets. I counted three women in neck braces between SFO and Denver.

The flight to Denver had been on a nicer plane. A beast with televisions installed on the back of each chair. The child next to me was ill mannered and kicked the back of the seat in front of him, crawled all over his mother and refused to sit still.
“No, James.” she’d say weakly, obviously annoyed but used to this type of thing. He’d smile at her and continue whatever he was doing that she had asked him to stop.

I’m a terrible flier so I slammed two glasses of wine in Denver before boarding my flight to Rapid City. I caught a nice mellow buzz and fell asleep just as the tiny plane hit turbulence.
My little brother Tommy and his fiance picked me up at the airport and drove me into Sturgis where my dad was falling in love with this years Indian in Journeymen blue.

I grew up going to motorcycle rallies and runs. My dad has been riding longer than I have been alive. I’ve never before seen so many motorcycles at once.
The sound never bothered me. It makes me feel warm and I think of home.

I’d never seen so many people trying so hard to be “bikers.” You can spot them by their squeaky clean tennis shoes and bare legged women who shouldn’t get on the back of a motorcycle if they value their own skin. Half the attendees posturing, imitating stupid television shows and trying to impress the old school, who just remember what it was like when it actually meant something to get to Sturgis.
“We spent half the week on the side of the road working on our bikes. Hell, I didn’t even make it all the way here the first couple times I set out.” said my dad.

Since the event is so large and so many people converge upon the area, the local hotels make it a point to make all the money they can. They raise all the prices because they know that out of towners won’t have a choice. I called around and found that most hotels were going for $200+ per night.

For a Comfort Inn. It ain’t the fucking Ritz.

Locals don’t seem to mind going out of town for the week. Some of them even rent out their homes to visitors. A club member’s wife knew someone who had recently purchased a house in Lead, just outside of Deadwood, a small mining town outside of Sturgis. They moved in a week prior and then moved back out to let twenty-something bikers squat in their house for a few days.

The house was on top of a hill with steep stairs and a driveway filled with motorcycles. There were three rooms with beds, plenty of air mattresses, sleeping bags and tents in the yard. The week before the trip my dad filled the house with air mattresses, checking for leaks. He claims efficiency, I’m pretty sure he was building a fort without me.
(He saved me one.) Tommy and Bree brought an extra tent and sleeping bag for me. One of the Journeymen blew up the mattress while my brother put up my tent. No one would let me do anything, so I cracked a beer, enjoyed it for a moment, and went to find Kim Bobo. We hugged and played catch up for a while, but she was badly dehydrated from the ride the day before and wasn’t feeling well. I needed another beer. I let Kim rest and went outside to talk to everyone else.
I threw my suit case in the corner of my tent and made sure my pajamas were on top so I could easily access them later in the dark. I stepped carefully through a yard filled with tent posts toward the porch where I found a bottle of Fire Ball which I grabbed excitedly before even bothering to ask who it belonged to.

Long Hair James came out of the house through the laundry room holding a crystal candle stick and a bottle of Casadores. He set both down on the table, poured one into the other and knocked back the shot.
I guess the residents of the house hadn’t unpacked their shot glasses. Sometimes you’ve got to improvise.

We sat on the porch and in the yard. Talking, catching up and enjoying the cool South Dakota evening. Ralo’s father was a professional wrestler. She told me about how the first time we met she was talking about growing up around a bunch of men with wacky nicknames like Tank and Beautiful Bobby Wolf.
“And you laughed and said ‘Me too.'”

The day I arrived was my brother’s 21st birthday. Ralo and Long Hair James wanted to make sure we did something to celebrate, which turned into taking a cab to town and going to see LA Guns at an old opera house that the taxi driver swore was abandoned until we arrived in front of it.
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