Last night, I celebrated my Independence Day and the beginning of my journey as a freelance writer with a trip to Chinatown to cover Matjames Metson’s assemblage show and read poetry with Slake. It was an amazing night. And not just because of the art show, but because the city was booming with people. Kids were banging on drums, and dragons were dancing in between the pedestrians. Check out the photos taken by my lady.
Really loved having the opportunity to read my poem, “Before the Week Ahead,” with Slake. It was a poem about the anxiety I felt driving to work on the 405 from Long Beach to Woodland Hills. Sort of felt like a moment of freedom to read this poem — almost a declaration of Independence. (Heard Craig Gaines use this phrase, and I borrowed it.)
Today is my last day of work as an academic coach. I’ve been working at a rehab center for drug and alcohol addicts and teaching creative writing, and it has been an incredible experience, which I will continue to write about and allow to change my life. And over the next couple of days, I will be chronicling this goodbye as I start my career as a freelance writer.
And as luck would have it, I’ll start this journey with a bang. On Saturday in Chinatown, I will be reading poetry at Matjames Metson’s Method Attic—a one-night event showcasing Metson’s art at Coagula. For the event, Slake: Los Angeles has set up a stellar lineup of poets, including one of my favorite LA poets, John Tottenham. I’m honored to be a part of it. Check the flyer below and come to Coagula if you’re in L.A. Plus, there will be live music and a festive atmosphere in Chinatown. Don’t miss it!
I Had Zero Interest in Celebrity Homes…Until I Went On One
On Thursday, I was excited to find my piece, “I Had Zero Interest in Celebrity Homes…Until I went on One,” in the LA Weekly. It’s the story of a celebrity homes tour in Beverly Hills, California, and our search for the famous. My lady convinced me to go — there’s was no way I could get out of it! — when her sister and her cousin from France came to visit. At first, I was uncomfortable and philosophically resistant to the experience, but after Mick, our tour guide from England, started taking us around the Hills and showing us celebrity homes, I discovered the real reason these tours are important to Los Angeles. So click the link below to find out.
I have been using Twitter for almost three years as a way to network, build an audience, and stay connected to a literary community. So, in those three years, I have found a few “tweeters” that are worth following, too. Here is a list of five. My list in no way tries to rank all of Twitter; I’m just trying to suggest people I enjoy following.
Dave Landsberger — @davelandsberger. Dave is a poet who lives in Chicago. He is one of my favorite poets under 30, and his tweets can make you stop and think like any great haiku or guffaw so hard you accidentally drop your computer and scare the crap out of your dog. Not only will you be granted access to Dave’s comic-book and Motley-Crue mind, you will see links to his poetry as well. Often, Dave tweets the poetry he writes for the Chicago Side Sports.
Megan Amram — @meganamram. I first found out about Megan Amram when I covered the Literary Death Match for the LA Weekly. Amram was one of the judges. Back then, she was billed as a Twitter phenomenon. So I followed her, and I was suddenly opened up to brief moments of hilarious awkwardness. Nothing is off limits for Amram. Some might not like her soft-core porn raunchiness, but I look forward to her observations and one-liners that are as witty and ironic as Mitch Hedberg
J. David Gonzalez — @MgrMoustachio. A connoisseur of all things Miami, Gonzo is the editor of Cabinet Beer Baseball Club–a blog on booze, baseball, and literature. He calls himself “a bartender with reading recommendations.” He loves sports, and he’s filled with witty insight and profound observations. Soon he’ll be moving to Los Angeles and tweeting about his transition from one coast to the other. He’s also a great avenue for drink and food recipes. Gonzo pretty much has it all. Plus, he wrote one of the best blog posts on Ozzie Guillen’s comments on Castro that I came across.
Carolyn Kellogg — @paperhaus. Well, this one is easy. Kellogg is a staff writer at the LA Times and writes about all things bookish. She’s hip to what’s new in literature. She’s also actually pretty funny and snarky on Twitter. You’ll never feel missed out of the literary conversation when you follow Kellogg.
Jeremy Radin — @bigradinmonster. So I first heard Jeremy Radin read at a festival in Silver Lake. He was reading poetry as part of the PEN Center USA Literary Stage. I walked away from one of the food trucks, and there was this goofy dude reading lines to a hypnotized crowd and waving his hands like a crazy man. His poems were phenomenal, and his readings were so passionate and compelling it was impossible to turn away. His Twitter feed has the same energy. I want to recommend following Radin on Twitter just because he’s such a bad-ass reader and poet, but he’s also a great 140-character writer, too. Strange little observations mixed with moments of sincerity. Give him a shot.
Well, I hope you’ll give these writers a shot. Poets, writers, and comics need to be heard.