Outrider Live: Words and Music No. 3

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-wqemz-bb11f2

In this live episode we feature poet Chandra E. A. Di Piazza and singer/songwriter and rock drummer Rhea Sewell. 

Chandra E.A. Di Piazza grew up in Wichita and got her BGS and MFA from Wichita State University. She’s published three collections of poetry and in 2013 won the Kansas New Voices Award for her collection A Short History of Our Love, which was published by Finishing Line Press. Her work has appeared in print and online in journals like The Cimarron Review, The Chiron Review, and Muzzle Magazine. Chandra is the founder and editor of the online journal Poetry for the Masses. Although the journal is dormant at the moment and not accepting work, she plans to start publishing new work from established and emerging poets in 2020. Currently she is working on a new collection that she hopes to complete before the end of the year. Recently married to Anthony Di Piazza, Chandra has a daughter, Lyric, plus some cats and dogs that she is constantly surprised that under her care, haven’t been lost or run away. 

Rhea Sewell is originally from Lindsborg, KS but was lured to Wichita by a music scholarship to WSU but mostly studied sociology, women’s studies, and English. On top of working full-time for the WSU Foundation, finishing a BA in 17 years with no student loan debt (what?), She’s been playing in rock bands of one stripe or another since 1994 including such acts as 1/2 Mad Poet, 7/8 Quick, JANET, Aoogah and most consistently False Flag ICT with Jeret Shisler, Tracy Sailer, and Pete Studtman. She played at the 1998 Lilith Fair show, and has opened for Joan Jett . . . twice. False Flag ICT is getting ready to record their fifth collection of songs, and you can get their EPs Rubber Blue Steam Fuck Punk, From the Inside, and Celestial Download on iTunes. 

Extra special thanks to my producer, Heather, for the new live show logo. 


First Saturday. . . nope wait . . . First Sunday Report

this is kind of how my year’s been going . . . always a little off.

Writing and Submitting
Still working my way through the ending of this novel I’ve been working on for the last year or more. It’s proving a challenge to wrap up. I may need to stop trying to finish it, and go back to the beginning and just read. I may have, with all the other distractions (day job travel, day job in general, all the other life BS that gets in the way), lost the thread.

Trying to finish up another essay for the next issue of Vautrin.

Reading
I started to read Praying Drunk by Kyle Minor, but I don’t think I’ll be finishing it any time soon. Sorry, the stories are finely done, but I’m not in the right frame of mind for the tone and subject matter.

My interests are more in line with Douglas Rushkoff’s Team Human, and The Government Lake: Last Poems by James Tate. Tate was the first poet I discovered on my own without being handed something in class or taking a class from a poet, and there was something in his sensibility that struck a chord. His sense of humor, masking something very serious felt like a language I’d always known but had never heard spoken. One of the few poems I seem to have permanently memorized is his poem “Teaching the Ape to Write Poems.” I tell people I always have that poem in mind when I write, especially when I write poems. It keeps me humble, and it still tickles me.

Tate died in 2015, and these last poems, including one that was still in his typewriter when he died, are wonderful and bittersweet.

PODCAST
Recently recorded a live show that will be out soon, and we’re getting ready to record another on in August. This will be the Cookout show.

The follow up to the Problematic Badass Female Tropes series is in the work-up phase. Jenn has a few of the essays finished, but because of publication delays for the future essays we’re actually going to do a number of the Toxic Masculinity Tropes off of outlines, which will be slightly different than the other episodes in the series. We hope to have them dropping once the temperatures start to drop.

Listening
I’ve been to see a lot of live music lately: Claypool Lennon Delirium and The Flaming Lips at Wave, and then some local acts, After Judo, Jordana, and Marrice Anthony at Ellis St. Moto.

The young people in town are really turning out some good music lately. I hope some of them get some good national exposure.

In the podcast world, I’ve been listing to This Land, hosted by Rebecca Nagle, a journalist and citizen of the Cherokee nation. There is so much in that podcast to think about and ponder. The biggest take-away I got from it is this: so much of what is wrong in America finds its nexus in how we treat indigenous peoples. Our treatment of minorities, our treatment of women and children, and our treatment of the environment is entirely perfectly and painfully reflected in how we treat indigenous people. If we’re going to survive as a nation, we have to do right by the indigenous people of this content. We must honor the treaties, we must respect the land set aside for them, we must respect their honor their heritage and respect their family bonds, and we must seek justice for missing and murdered indigenous women. I sometimes feel overwhelmed by all the issues and causes that demand my attention. I am beginning to think that devoting my time and energy to protecting indigenous people will have the most impact.

I am sorry it’s taken so long to realize this.

Watching
Still plowing through episodes of Star Trek TNG. No, I’ve not seen all of Stranger Things 3. Yes, I’ll have to restart my Netflix account.

Random Thoughts
yeah, I got nothing. Have a cat.
img_0412-2019-08-4-15-04.jpg


Special: Todd Robins & Vautrin

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-zmu94-b7387e

The inaugural issue of Vautrin is available now, and features pieces by Scott Phillips, Sylvia Maultash Warsh, Thomas Pluck, and many others. 

 

Vautrin is only available at Watermark Books. Follow this link. https://www.watermarkbooks.com/product/vautrin-volume-1-issue-1-spring-2019

 

Vautrin is old school. To correspond with editor and publisher Todd Robins, to make a donation to support the magazine, or get a two-issue subscription you’ll have to use the US Postal Service and write to him. For donations and a two-issue subscription, make checks payable to Vautrin. The mailing address is 3418 East English Wichita, KS 67218. 

Vautrin.jpg 


First Saturday Report: July

Writing & Submitting:
It is taking longer than I’d planned to finish the new project, but that might not be a bad thing. Diligence and fear playing off each other. What a flop if I get it wrong, if I’m not honest, fair, and even.

I’m also working on the follow-up essay to the one that appeared in issue one of Vautrin.

Reading:
Finished reading Alexs D. Pate’s Multi Culti Boho Sideshow. It’s out of print, so, if you’re looking for a copy, try Abebooks.com

Read Erika T. Wurth’s Buckskin Cocaine. This was published by Astrophil Press, which is run by an old grad school acquaintance, Duncan Barlow. Wurth’s book is excellent. I was especially taken by the capper story, Olivia James. It is a very graceful story about the sacrifices that all artistically driven people make in order to pursue their passion, but it was particularly poignant about the sacrifices that marginalized and impoverished people—especially women—have to make not only to continue to pursue their art, but to avoid the pitfalls and traps of poverty.

Ocean Vuong’s collection of poems, Night Sky with Exit Wounds. I also picked up, but haven’t starting reading, his novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. There were some fantastic poems in Night Sky. We’ll see how the it goes.

Podcast:
Coming soon will be a short conversation with Todd Robins about his new literary journal Vautrin. Later this month I’ll be recording a live show with the poet Chandra EA Di Piazza and musician Rhea Sewell.

I hope you all enjoyed the Problematic Badass Female Tropes series. I’m looking forward to Jenn finishing up her Toxic Masculinity tropes essays so we can talk about those.

Listening:
This section feels like it’s a broken record (ba-dum, bang crash). I’m pretty locked in to listening to the playlist I created for the novel project, and simply plopping that in here again wouldn’t work. Then I realized, I’ve been listening to podcasts for years and never talked about those here. My go-to standard is Marc Maron’s WTF. He’s like my spiritual older brother.

There are others that cycle through as reliably good. Douglas Rushkoff’s Team Human podcast, companion to his most recent book of the same name is excellent, especially if you’re interested in fighting against the dehumanization of this age, and big data’s attempt to predict and codify our behavior though algorithms in order to sell us things we don’t yet know we want—or even need.

The You Are Not So SmartPodcast is another one that I go to frequently. In fact, their most recent episode was disturbing and eye-opening. It looked at the concept of Pluralistic Ignorance, which is a situation where a majority of people privately reject a social norm, but go along with it anyway because they incorrectly assume they are in the minority. What’s especially interesting about this episode of YANSS is that they look at pluralistic ignorance through the lens of Jonestown mass suicide, and how even when someone speaks up against a norm that the majority of people would like to reject, the norm can still win out through what is called false enforcement. I feel like among Trump supporters and the Republican Party we’re witnessing false enforcement on a massive scale, fueled by Fox News, and propped up by people like Mitch McConnell.

There’s the always important Savage Lovecast by Dan Savage.

There are lots of other, but I’ll save them for a later report.

Watching:
Not much has caught my eye, although I may have watched the last Avengers movie. Lately, I’ve been watching old episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Random Thoughts:
I always struggle with the success of other writers. There’s some jealousy involved, some happiness, confusion, frustration, anger, and hopelessness.

Part of it is that I don’t know how we should define talent anymore. So many times I wander through the aisles in bookstores, pick up books with titles that catch my eye, read the first few paragraphs . . . and I’m disappointed. It’s rare that anything really sparks my interest. I have an entire bookcase at home dedicated to unread novels I’ve purchased. Some of them have been unread for over a decade, and there are other unread books, the non-fiction ones, scattered around the apartment on other bookcases. Some of these unread novels were gifts, some were picked up when I attended an author reading, some were recommended by trusted friends and fellow writers, and some, I think, must have been picked up with good intentions, or at least while I was in some kind of generous fugue state (why did I have a copy of Riptide Ultra-glide by Tim Dorsey sitting on my shelf for five years?). I go through the unread ones every now and then, read those first paragraphs again and . . . put them back on the shelf. Pretty much when I go into bookstores anymore, I’m looking to buy a book by someone I actually know, or have at least met and talked to about writing. What I find on the bookshelves in bookstores is . . . or feels . . . homogenized. The praise in the blurbs seems overblown, and when I have managed to read the book, sycophantic. The best example would be Ben Lerner’s Leaving The Atocha Station. Overall, it was a fine book, I enjoyed it, but the blurbs lead me to believe that I would be reading something transformative, or deeply moving, and it wasn’t. It was a solid first novel by a poet, but it could have been written by anyone, really. Most of the books I find are capably written, competent, but wholly lacking in any daring or risk. The writer’s imagination seems devoted to the creation of an exact simulacrum of the real world, and their skill with the craft of writing is focused on what I call “invisible prose” where the language is just evocative enough to engage a reader’s imagination in relation to the story, but not so evocative to make the reader marvel at the beauty our language can evoke.

Since everyone is working in “invisible prose” it might be best to offer examples of some writers who don’t. Here are some exceptions I’ve recently come across: Lindsay Drager in her book The Archive of Alternate Endings. Sharanya Manivannan in her story collection The High Priestess Never Marries. Heather Tucker in The Clay Girl.

Of those three, only one was published by one of the Big Five publishers (Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, Harpercollins, or Hachette), and that one was published by Harpercollins India, a division that has a very different editorial vision and aesthetic than Harpercollins, USA.

And that leads me to another part that is the source of all that angst. Some people are generous and simply call it a “workshop aesthetic” as if all writing workshops were guilty of creating the same blandness. I’m not so generous and will unapologetically point the finger where I think it needs to be pointed: it’s the Iowa Writers Workshop aesthetic. The style that comes out of there isn’t just “invisible,” it’s inoffensive and unchallenging. The people who argue against there being an Iowa aesthetic all went to the IWW, or accepted by the IWW worshipers and are hesitant to rock the boat because there’s no way to make it in publishing as a literary writer unless you play by Iowa’s unspoken, perhaps even unacknowledged, rules.

The only other way to have a life in books seems to be to come up with an easy-to-reproduce formula of some sort based on the “annual model upgrade” system created by the auto industry in the 1950s which has lead to the only real difference between a 2016 model and 2017 model being the shape of a headlight or tail light. This is what popular fiction is now. Get a recurring character, and write a new novel about that character every year and maybe you might have something. Maybe. If it can be made into a TV series.

Ok, so, I’m bitter. I can admit it. In the last decade, when I’ve gotten a rejection letter from an agent that wasn’t a form rejection, I’ve been told they think I’m talented, but not right for their list—which, of course, makes me question whether anyone has a good understanding of talent anymore, and whether I actually have any real talent or if I just got lucky the one time.

This is why I struggle with the success of other writers. When I was younger, I generally just disliked the writer simply for having a success, but except in certain cases (you know who you are Dan Brown), most writers are diligent, careful, and concerned about that awful, misunderstood, sneered at word—“craft.” Even ones with serialized characters and annual novel cycles. For a while, I was even angry directly at agents and editors, but I’ve come to have a gentler opinion of them as well.

I struggle with the success of other writers because I feel like we don’t talk enough about two or three things: 1) Luck. 2) the presence of identifiable formulas in so-called “literary fiction” that are just as restrictive and prone to abuse as formulas in genre fiction, and 3) the presence of pluralistic ignorance in the publishing world, especially in regards to the influence of the IWW and its adjacent programs.

Think about it for a while.


Problematic Badass Female Tropes EP 7: I’m Only Here For My Vagina

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-pcnwa-af3461

A seven part series on the way a lot of seemingly badass women in our stories are undermined and not as badass as they seem. 

 

The Outrider podcast is hosted by me, Jason Quinn Malott. I have a BA in English and an MFA in Writing and Poetics. My first novel, The Evolution of Shadows, was published in 2009, and I began hosting the Outrider Podcast in 2013.

 

My co-host for this miniseries is Jenn Zuko. 

 

Jenn is adjunct faculty at DU, MSU Denver, and Regis University. She teaches courses in writing; literature; visual, performing, and martial arts; body language; and stage combat. She is the author of Stage Combat: Fisticuffs, Stunts, and Swordplay for Theatre and Film, and “I Do My Own Stunts.” She can be seen performing on stage and in classrooms in the Boulder/Denver area, and online at Daily Cross-Swords and Writers’ HQ.

 

The music in the intro and outro is from the songs Choose an Adventure, and Break and Mend by Wichita based band, Cartwheel, off their new EP Best Days, and are used by permission of the copyright holder, Kristyn Chapman. You can get Cartwheel’s EP on Apple Music and Spotify. Visit them at www.cartwheel.band 


Problematic Badass Female Tropes EP 6: One of The Guys

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-m3sjj-af345d

A seven part series on the way a lot of seemingly badass women in our stories are undermined and not as badass as they seem. 

 

The Outrider podcast is hosted by me, Jason Quinn Malott. I have a BA in English and an MFA in Writing and Poetics. My first novel, The Evolution of Shadows, was published in 2009, and I began hosting the Outrider Podcast in 2013.

 

My co-host for this miniseries is Jenn Zuko. 

 

Jenn is adjunct faculty at DU, MSU Denver, and Regis University. She teaches courses in writing; literature; visual, performing, and martial arts; body language; and stage combat. She is the author of Stage Combat: Fisticuffs, Stunts, and Swordplay for Theatre and Film, and “I Do My Own Stunts.” She can be seen performing on stage and in classrooms in the Boulder/Denver area, and online at Daily Cross-Swords and Writers’ HQ.

 

The music in the intro and outro is from the songs Choose an Adventure, and Break and Mend by Wichita based band, Cartwheel, off their new EP Best Days, and are used by permission of the copyright holder, Kristyn Chapman. You can get Cartwheel’s EP on Apple Music and Spotify. Visit them at www.cartwheel.band 


First Saturday Report: June

Writing & Submitting
The latest manuscript is moving along, coming to a head. I’m a little behind schedule, but not worried about it. There are some large moves coming up for the characters, and some uncertainty about whether I can pull off the ending.

An essay I wrote is going to be published soon in a new journal being published by my Bad Business mini-series cohost Todd Robins. The journal is called Vautrin, and you can order it from Watermark books.

Reading
While I was in Colorado at the beginning of May, I hit the indy bookstores (Tattered Cover, The Book Bar, and The Boulder Bookstore). At the Book Bar (a nifty bookstore/Wine bar) I stumbled across The Archive of Alternate Endings by Lindsey Drager. It’s astoundingly good novel that thematically and structurally captivated me. I love it when writers take risks with their work, attempt something daring, and Drager’s threading together of different stories, set in different times and places by connecting them through the 75 year orbit of Halley’s comet was enlivening. It’s rare these days that writers I either don’t know, or who aren’t named Ondaatje, grab me quite as strongly as Drager did with this celestially informed story about the unique relationships of siblings. There were even some echoes, faint and distant, with my current celestial themed project. I look forward to hunting up Drager’s other books and reading them.

After starting, putting it down for some unremembered reason, and forgetting about it for a time (hey, it happens sometimes), I’m finally about to finish The Multi Culti Boho Sideshow by Alexs D. Pate. Sadly, it’s out of print, but if you can get your hands on it, it’s worth it. Published about twenty years ago, it’s still sharply relevant today, especially in post-Ferguson, Black Lives Matter America. Pate’s books should be brought back into print, and we should be reading him.

Podcast
There are two more episodes of Problematic Badass Female Tropeson the way. So far, it’s been very well received. Jenn, my co-host, is working on a companion series of articles onToxic Masculinity and when she’s got those done, we’ll do a companion mini-series.

In a few weeks, we’ll have a special interview with Todd Robins, one of my cohosts from the Bad Business mini-series. He’s the publisher, editor-in-chief of the a new literary journal called Vautrin.

We’re in the planning stages of a new live show scheduled for July 13th with musicianRhea Sewell and poet Chandra EA Di Piazza (formerly Dickson). Look for the event details.

Listening
Spent some time last month listening to a lot of Ani DiFranco. I’ll see her in concert June 2nd.
I’ve actually been getting out some for live music lately.

There was benefit show for local musician Jenny Wood, called Jenny Woodstock that featured local bands After Judo, Old News, Milkwave, The Travel Guide, Cartwheel, and The Cavves performed donating all proceeds to help Jenny Wood and her family after Jenny was injured in a horrific car accident that killed her mother and young niece.

I also got out and finally, officially, saw the great Wichita band Carrie Nation & the Speakeasy. They’ll get to open for Gogol Bordello at the Wichita RiverFest next week, then they’re off for a European tour.

Watching
On the recommendation of my producer, Heather, I started watching The Orville. Brannon Braga, who was a producer for Star Trek TNG, is a producer on this. More comedic than Trek, it still manages to tackle important social issues, just like Trek. I’ll keep watching.

Also watched the new Hulu series Catch-22. A fan of the book and of the original movie, this series is a pretty good re-imagining and with the series format it’s able to flesh out some more of the book.

Random Thoughts
I’ve been thinking a lot about men, violence, the threat of violence, and how that all functions to keep women, especially, uncertain and permanently on guard. One thing men need to come to terms with, and quit fighting, is that it doesn’t matter how non-threatening they think they are, women can’t afford to take them at their word. Once men admit that truth they have to then start thinking about the ways they may indirectly terrorize women. When we raise our voices, throw things, break things, pound our fists on the table, we men tend to think we’re ONLY expressing anger and that we not being “violent” toward a woman, but that’s not a correct assumption. That anger is like a terrorist threat, it’s a warning that, if pushed too far, the man may become violent.

We need to fix that in ourselves, but there’s something else that needs to be addressed: the fact that men rarely seem to stand up to other men when it comes to the issue of violence. Our patriarchal definition of courage often means the willingness to enact violence in the face of violence. This, I think, makes those sensitive, aware, empathetic men who are uncomfortable with violence feel incapable of confronting the more violent men they know. Some men run the same kind of threat assessment on other men that women do, and we worry that we won’t have the courage to confront another man being violent and that fear come from this masculine mis-definition of courage as the ability to enact violence.

Women have learned a very different definition of courage, it’s one where, for them, courage is the ability to endure and survive violence. All men are potential threats until proven otherwise, right? So imagine the courage it takes to navigate a world like that, and then to react in ways to preserve themselves when violence inevitably happens to them at the hands of men. The United Nations estimates that 35% of all women experience intimate partner violence, and in some studies, the rate climbs as high as 70%.

We can’t “fight” violence with violence, which sometimes seems the route men think they have to take. All that does is escalate the violence around us, just like abuse creates abusers. As frightening as it is, non-violence is the only antidote to our plague of violence. Those men, like me, who are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the violent potential we represent need to discover within ourselves the courage to endure the potential violence of other men. I’m not saying we need to put ourselves in the paths of mass shooters, those monsters are already beyond salvation, no, what I’m saying is that we need to put ourselves in the path of those innocuous aggressions other men create—the shouting, the fist pounding, the minor scuffles—and absorb that nascent rage before it gets out of control, before it escalates. We have to learn de-escalation, and that starts by learning self-control, by learning better ways to channel and express our anger so that when it does bubble up, it’s not presented to those around us as a display of our capacity for violence.


Problematic Badass Female Tropes EP 5: Mother Knows Best

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-5mx3q-af3453

A seven part series on the way a lot of seemingly badass women in our stories are undermined and not as badass as they seem. 

 

The Outrider podcast is hosted by me, Jason Quinn Malott. I have a BA in English and an MFA in Writing and Poetics. My first novel, The Evolution of Shadows, was published in 2009, and I began hosting the Outrider Podcast in 2013.

 

My co-host for this miniseries is Jenn Zuko. 

 

Jenn is adjunct faculty at DU, MSU Denver, and Regis University. She teaches courses in writing; literature; visual, performing, and martial arts; body language; and stage combat. She is the author of Stage Combat: Fisticuffs, Stunts, and Swordplay for Theatre and Film, and “I Do My Own Stunts.” She can be seen performing on stage and in classrooms in the Boulder/Denver area, and online at Daily Cross-Swords and Writers’ HQ.

 

The music in the intro and outro is from the songs Choose an Adventure, and Break and Mend by Wichita based band, Cartwheel, off their new EP Best Days, and are used by permission of the copyright holder, Kristyn Chapman. You can get Cartwheel’s EP on Apple Music and Spotify. Visit them at www.cartwheel.band 


Problematic Badass Female Tropes EP 4: The Meaning of (His) Life

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-iv2fx-af344d

A seven part series on the way a lot of seemingly badass women in our stories are undermined and not as badass as they seem. 

 

The Outrider podcast is hosted by me, Jason Quinn Malott. I have a BA in English and an MFA in Writing and Poetics. My first novel, The Evolution of Shadows, was published in 2009, and I began hosting the Outrider Podcast in 2013.

 

My co-host for this miniseries is Jenn Zuko. 

 

Jenn is adjunct faculty at DU, MSU Denver, and Regis University. She teaches courses in writing; literature; visual, performing, and martial arts; body language; and stage combat. She is the author of Stage Combat: Fisticuffs, Stunts, and Swordplay for Theatre and Film, and “I Do My Own Stunts.” She can be seen performing on stage and in classrooms in the Boulder/Denver area, and online at Daily Cross-Swords and Writers’ HQ.

 

The music in the intro and outro is from the songs Choose an Adventure, and Break and Mend by Wichita based band, Cartwheel, off their new EP Best Days, and are used by permission of the copyright holder, Kristyn Chapman. You can get Cartwheel’s EP on Apple Music and Spotify. Visit them at www.cartwheel.band 


Problematic Badass Female Tropes EP 3: Down The Rabbit Hole

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-eiajb-af343f

A seven part series on the way a lot of seemingly badass women in our stories are undermined and not as badass as they seem. 

 

The Outrider podcast is hosted by me, Jason Quinn Malott. I have a BA in English and an MFA in Writing and Poetics. My first novel, The Evolution of Shadows, was published in 2009, and I began hosting the Outrider Podcast in 2013.

 

My co-host for this miniseries is Jenn Zuko. 

 

Jenn is adjunct faculty at DU, MSU Denver, and Regis University. She teaches courses in writing; literature; visual, performing, and martial arts; body language; and stage combat. She is the author of Stage Combat: Fisticuffs, Stunts, and Swordplay for Theatre and Film, and “I Do My Own Stunts.” She can be seen performing on stage and in classrooms in the Boulder/Denver area, and online at Daily Cross-Swords and Writers’ HQ.

 

The music in the intro and outro is from the songs Choose an Adventure, and Break and Mend by Wichita based band, Cartwheel, off their new EP Best Days, and are used by permission of the copyright holder, Kristyn Chapman. You can get Cartwheel’s EP on Apple Music and Spotify. Visit them at www.cartwheel.band