My newest novel-in-the-works, Is the Bar Open Seating?, is going to be a crass, semi-autobiographical work with Bukowski influences. Below is an excerpt from the opening chapter, Nice to Fucking Meet You.
“I have finally done it. I’ve succumbed to the cliché. I’ve dug deep into the platitudes and situated myself in this coffee shop armchair to string words together and call myself a writer. The coffee itself is sub-par made palatable only by the healthy dose of whiskey I added to its caffeinated depths, but as I said before, I am not here for the coffee. I am here in hopes of embracing the banality and inspiring myself to spew some sort of literary substance.”
As always, comments and criticisms are appreciated. This work-in-progress is copyrighted, so don’t be a thief. Be original. Enjoy!
This past weekend I found myself engaged in a conversation with one of my former co-workers-turned-friends. She was expressing to me how thankful she was for Netflix and Desperate Housewives while I was supplying her with a running commentary on my ceaseless job search. I told her that I had just come across a position for a “Meme Creator” and didn’t know whether to be disappointed in the direction my field was taking or to embrace the humor of it all. I added that while I generally enjoyed the idea that somebody got paid to put clever words on a strategically comedic picture, perhaps humanity’s money was better spent curing cancer or researching a way to end world hunger.
Her reply was, “No, we got bored with that a while ago. Now we make people laugh.”
To which I riposted, “Ah, yes. Panem et circenses.”
After several minutes of digital silence, I received her confused “What??” in response.
I tried to explain the Roman concept to the friend in question, but the conversation soon faded as did some of my pride in my generation. Upon further reflection of this hollowing feeling, I found myself increasingly disappointed in the people I called peers. How is one supposed to carry on relatively stimulating conversation with a group of individuals who have formed the habit of expressing emotion and reaction with the use of gifs and emojis? How can we form basic human connections if we refuse to look away from our various screens for even the length of a meal?
In the past, I have Christened myself a “Defender of the Millennials” but not today. Today, the only word of which I can think to describe the majority of my generation is puerile, and I would wager that the same majority could not even define the word. Do not misunderstand me. In the ever-optimistic fashion of the Millennial, I have not lost complete faith in my generation. Yet for now I welcome the criticism from previous generations in hopes that some of my compeers will acknowledge our social responsibility to contribute more to humanity than text lingo and Grumpy Cat.
Having grown up with literary aspirations of my own, I have an inclination to gravitate towards entertainment centered around writers (i.e. Castle, Murder, She Wrote). I have a suspicion that Netflix caught on to this pattern because it recently suggested Showtime’s Californication to me.
Well played, Netflix.
Tom Kapinos’ creation is rapidly nudging its way to the top of my all-time favorite television shows list. There was a slight shock while adjusting to David Duchovny’s transition from the goofy yet lovable Fox Mulder (X-Files) to the rarely celibate and charmingly dysfunctional Hank Moody. Yet, the show’s writing and fast-paced dialogue offer a breath of fresh air from the stale haze of monotony that modern television so frequently emits.
The characters have layers, for God’s sake! Just like the non-fictional people of the real world. The actors do an outstanding job of conveying the depth of their respective characters despite the show’s deceptively shallow premise. Duchovny especially shines as he manages to take the potentially tired story arc of a writer struggling with content production and alcoholism and makes it a tale of edgy renaissance.
Be warned, though, it is not a show for those who are easily offended or have delicate sensibilities. Luckily I am neither a prude nor easily offended. My only regret with finding Californication is that I found it seven seasons too late. Needless to say, I will continue watching and appreciate the spark of television genius while it lasts.
Anyone who has grown up in the Midwest knows that surviving the harsh winters of the Heartland is worthy of a medal. It could be sunny and slightly warm one day only to have Snowpocalypse bearing down on you with the next sunrise. Free State Brewery’s Winterfest IPA perfectly embodies the grit it takes to make it through the unforgiving and unpredictable season.
The beer pleases the palate with citrusy hints atop a wheat base. It calls to mind a warm, fireside while a snowstorm blazes outside. Even the medium-dark coloring resembles a burning yule log. Winterfest pairs nicely with most soups, red meats, and chili. If you can find it near you, it is worth it.
Location: Free State Brewery in Lawrence, Kansas or find it near you here.