Ebb of Year Report

Mindy told me I had an ebb year last year. She wasn't judging, she was reacting to my saying that I felt like I hadn't gotten much done in 2014. This was back in the fall, on the telephone. Mindy lives in Chicago.

She said that it was OK to have an ebb year, that everyone has them, but I didn't like the sound of it. I don't want an ebb year. I suppose it gave me a bit of a start.

Or a restart. It pushed me to finish two stories for my collection of holiday tales – one for Thanksgiving (simply called "That Thanksgiving") and one for St. Lucy's Day. I wanted there to be a name day story in the collection and St. Lucy's story is so great that she inspired me to write about my own Lucy, or Lucia, in "The Enculeation of Lucia."

OK, give me a second here. “Write a short story every week," Ray Bradbury once said. "It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.” I still haven't been that productive but having finished two more stories made me feel like a first draft of the collection is within grasp. I am working on a rather vulgar thing for St. Patrick's Day now and finally have an idea for a Mother's Day story and I think then I'll be nearly done.

That said, I'm in no way convinced that it's impossible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.

Anyway, what's your favorite holiday?

As for the stories, I've been continuing to make them available for limited times via Lulu and I've had occasion to read two of them out loud via the WFMU Literary Guild reading series, which happens once per quarter at KGB Bar in the East Village. You can see a video of me reading excerpts from one of them (a series of imagined letters to Prince) as well as my stand-up comedy debut and retirement here.

So yeah, that's something else I did this year. In keeping with my general policy of saying "yes" to whatever people ask me to do (this is not a binding rule so don't get any bright ideas), I accepted an offer from a fellow named Andrew Singer to do five minutes or so of stand-up. He runs a night at Sidewalk Cafe that is all people he invites who have never done stand-up comedy before.

Another thing I did was travel, which is my favorite thing to do. Was lucky enough to make another trip to my beloved Prague (where I saw Bob Dylan for the first time) and went back to Lisbon as well, while covering a couple of very nice music festivals. I would link to the articles but they were for publications that don't put stuff online. Funny, I used to prefer writing for publications that didn't put stuff online. And I spoke on a panel about the future of music at the Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium in Ontario which was kinda hilarious.

I was also – and this was exciting – asked to contribute a chapter to a book by the brilliantly mad Jon Rose. He was soliciting fake music criticism written prior to 1985, all of it to be published under pseudonyms. There is, of course, huge concept and backstory to the book, which I suggest you buy. I'm not telling anybody what I wrote but if you correctly guess which one is mine I'll tell you.

Other than that it was business as usual. I contintued to listen to and write about music I love. I continued to make music as well, if only occasionally, but Ecstasy Mule played a piece I conceived called "Wild Bill's Burro" at the WSB100 William S. Burroughs centennial festival in NYC. And I entered my 8th year of broadcasting at WFMU.

Speaking of WFMU, I am involved in a tribute to the Residents on January 31 at Art House Productions in Jersey City. It's kind of a jukebox musical spearheaded by Amedeo Turturro with musical direction by Scott Williams and a host of your favorite WFMU on-air personalities performing. You can find more information here.

I also wrote a profile of the Residents which will be in the upcoming issue of White Fungus.Oh, and I decided somewhere along the line that I should have a website, so I made one on one of those rinky-dink free services. It's imperfect but, hey, it exists.

Here's to mo flo in 2015!