Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Okiedoke #2: That Zombie Guy

Years back, I taught kids at summer program on a college campus in Rhode Island. One weekend, a convention of horror writers rolled up in the vacant dorms across the way. Just scores of men and women decked out in black. I walked up the scene with a mic to see what the status was and was promptly kicked out.

On the way back I ran into a dude who was with the convention. He turned out to be a novelist who specialized in zombie fiction. I asked him about the metaphors that were at work in stories about vampires and zombies. This was before Trueblood and Twilight and Walking Dead, but I think his answers fit the current scene perfectly.

Philip Nutman is the author of Wet Work and Cities of the Night. Clive Barker says good things about his books.

Okiedoke #1: The Turn

I figure I will record some of my thoughts instead of writing them down. Here is the first of what I hope will be many. Music is courtesy of the Orange Ninja.

A note: The name of this series is Okiedoke. Not Okiedokie. An okiedoke is an unexpected trap or unfortunate occurrence that usually follows a promising beginning. Like "yo, the date was going well, but then she hit me with the okiedoke and told me she was vegan as we entered the steakhouse."

Okiedoke is also my nickname. It is most often used to greet and acknowledge me in place of a formal greeting. Like, "Okiedoke! How was class on Monday?"

Anyway. Hope you like it.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Audio Styles

Here are some tracks I have produced for WMNF, the gangster radio station here in Tampa. Well, except for the fifth track; it is a college throwback.

Somewhere, someone needs buttons pressed for a radio show or podcast or special event. You should tell these people to get at me.

A Room for One.

Travel is not the only cause of weariness for the person on the move. We take anguished flights to funerals and drive in despair to the weddings of men and women whose love we should have claimed. It doesn’t matter if it is just a few blocks; the walk home from the breakup is hell for leather. 

Like most of us, I have traveled in sorrow and anxiety. But I have noticed a place between here and my destination where those feelings don’t reach me, a place where both rest and respite seem absolute.

Recently, I returned to town from a long absence. But my house was not ready for me and I took refuge in the home of friends. I lay sick in a bare room with a sheet draped over a single window. I slept a weightless sleep, the sleep of those holding over, of those who can’t be touched.

The waystation is the layover that one endures alone. The apartment of a friend who is out of town or a motel in a valley to which one will ever return. It is a place that only a traveller can find, where the ghosts at your back cannot reach. A suspension; but always a place where you cannot stay. I am blissfully submerged but I must come up to stale air. To confront cold weather or death or oil changes. But the rest is like no other. In this purgatorial enclosure the roof doesn’t hide the stars.

Continuity can be sinful. Sometimes we need little slivers of limbo and the waystations between here and there are as close as we are going to get.

Sleep well.

Monday, January 17, 2011

"I have just received a letter from a white brother in Texas. He writes: "All Christians know that the colored people will receive equal rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great a religious hurry. It has taken Christianity almost two thousand years to accomplish what it has. The teachings of Christ take time to come to earth." Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity."

-Martin Luther King, Jr., "The Letter from Birmingham Jail."

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Stuyvesant Heights Oral History Project

There is much to miss in a world rich with information. For everything that is revealed, something else is covered over and something vital is lost. In reaching out for understanding, sometimes we reach past wellsprings of knowledge that sit peacefully in their living rooms next door. The citizens of the Styvesant Heights block association know this and have made moves to amplify the wise voices of history.

Some months ago I had the great honor of recording interviews with some of the pillars of Stuyvesant Heights. These are men and women who have seen the neighborhood transform over the decades, people who have made contributions that have improved the lives of their neighbors.

The produced audio was paired with photographs from the deeply awesome Deana Lawson and the whole setup was posted at MyStuy.org. Check it out.