Thursday, November 29, 2007

New Blog

Check it out at


I've never felt truly alive unless I'm facing a challenge. Back against the wall.

Too many writers-- zine people for instance-- allow themselves to become stuck in a mental box or niche, a cozy place from which they never progress. The years pass and they keep cranking out more issues of "Macaroni," #812. Which is fine if that's all you want.

To leave a mark your projects have to constantly mutate and grow, artistically. This is the task of the Underground Literary Alliance-- to keep our core attitude and message yet keep moving and changing. This is our challenge.

We have a great history but it's only that. New moves are required.

I look out from our tiny outpost of Truth and Integrity on the literary map and see us surrounded by opponents on all sides. Massed armies. Yet at the same time I see their weakness; paths through them to their cardboard fortresses standing like stage scenery within sight. I feel in some small way how Cortez nust've felt with his band of brigands in a golden city in an alien land, surrounded by a magnificent opposing army of many thousands yet knowing victory was his if he kept his head and met the awe-inspiring challenge.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Typical Lit Site

"The cat sits
in the rain
Fuck Matt Damon."
-by Glitzy

"Brilliant." -Trash Mouth
"Awesome!" -D.J.

"The dog
-by Trash Mouth

"Awesome." -Glitzy
"Brilliant!" -D.J.

"I am a baseball
-by D.J.

"I didn't know you wrote poetry!" -Glitzy
"Brilliant! Awesome!" -Trash Mouth

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


On the verge of dropping completely off the radar screen and vanishing into the muck of a beaten-down city I've become again what I used to be: a genuine underground writer.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Good News

The good news is that the Underground Literary Alliance is alive and well. Overall 2007 was a successful year for us. 2008 will be better.

The Truth Tellers

IN A LAND where literary Overdogs from the monied classes glory in their own duplicity; where literary bureaucrats beneath them, who I call Demi-Puppets, live insulated in their sinecured offices amazingly obtuse about the realities of America while obsessed not with art but with grammatical trivialities and editorial control over writers-- the bland-faced living definition of mediocrities-- where newspapers even the "alternative" kind in cities like Detroit suffering from economic depression and financial collapse are printed with large glowing Happy Faces on their covers; in this societally-mad situation only writers in the underground as represented in the ULA and elsewhere will give you an inkling of WHAT'S REALLY HAPPENING.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Why I Write

I write to change the culture. I believe in cultural revolution-- in writing as a vehicle to bring about change. Real change. Transformational change. I'm involved with the Underground Literary Alliance in order to change literature. Not just change literature-- transform it, from top to bottom. I believe literature can rescue this society but first we have to rescue literature.

I don't know why others write. They seem to be stuck in holding patterns, believing that if they write long enough something will magically drop from the sky for them. If they just keep writing someone will recognize them. But that's not life. You have to make the world recognize you-- have to grab it.

The time for change is now. Not some ill-defined unspecified never-mentioned time that will never arrive. The time is NOW.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


What I ask from the world is the freedom to write. I left the last decent job I had at the end of 1999 because I couldn't write. It was an always-on-call seven-day-a-week seventy-hour workweek position which left me no energy or time or space in my mind to write. I couldn't write! I was burning out brain cells processing stupefyingly dull paperwork submitting government-specified according-to-regulation entries for shipper clients and I never could write. As I worked I had many things in the back of my mind I wanted to write about. I created the ULA the spectre or first idea of the ULA back there, back in the untouched segments of my brain I wasn't using. Back in the tiny hectic riverfront office where I spent all my time.

Now I work shitty jobs part-time which don't pay my bills but I have some freedom. I write every day. I should be writing novels, could write some good ones but that's too draining when you still have to work but at least I'm writing, something. Even this. I yet have a little freedom.

I'm like the character I created Alex Skarski who just wanted to play her guitar the right way, except I'm not a guitarist, I'm a writer.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Manifesto of Writing

My manifesto: I believe in literature. I'm part of the cult of fanatic madness of reading and writing. I believe words can save people. They saved me. When I was working nights in a railroad yard in the Eighties a young man with no course in life I read the words of giants like Dickens and Hugo and Dumas and Tolstoy and they saved me. I opened books in a tower while waiting for trains and the universe expanded. It multiplied in front of me. The great books expanded my mind.

Other writers are my brothers and sisters, yea, truly. They understand-- some of them understand-- this fanatic creed we've adopted, this cult of reading and writing. Literature is a religion if it reaches down into your soul; if it expresses the soul of life you see around you; if it shapes and explains your world and gives voice to your yearnings, your thoughts, your existence, your meaning.

Monday, November 12, 2007


My take on Norman Mailer is still up at the Literary Mystery blog, in Chapter Four. (He appears near the end of the chapter.)

It can be found at

What's Wrong with This Picture?

All this fall at libraries around the country, the ALA ( had displays up about "Banned Books." One of the books depicted on the display poster was The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. Clearly visible on the cover of the book as shown on the poster were the words, "Nine Months on New York Times Best Seller List."

Thursday, November 01, 2007

About ULA Shows

I just saw this recent remark from Jackie Corley's blog ( )

"I like the ULA. I don’t agree with them all the time, but I like them. I did a ULA reading a couple years ago in this anarchist bar in Philly and it was probably the best lit event I’ve ever been to. All the readers varied in their writing and performance styles and that’s not something you see at most readings. Like, there were slam poets mixed in with short story writers, guys who were so sucked into their words that they spat and shouted their lines and guys who read in a straight monotone. There were just all different types of people. It felt very spontaneous, a little bit lunatic asylum. It was great."