Artists are the most arrogant, pathetic, and self-absorbed people to ever grace our presence.
My love for the artist does not blind me to their many terrible qualities I freely admit as their strength but also the fuel of my hate. I once wrote a bio that expressed my despise for writers quite eloquently, but this piece should include all artists to reflect a more accurate feeling. As long as I remember, artists of all varieties irked me, mainly due to their arrogant belief that any of their creations, wrought of their infinite wisdom, creativity, observation, or any other bullshit, should be viewed, listened to, read, etc. I had a roommate once who believed himself a poet and discussed his verse as though he were Socrates imparting for the ages vital wisdom of the craft but camouflaged in his orating was the desperation of a child wanting mommy to marvel over his finger painting.
My girlfriend at the time, appropriately called him an asshole.
Arrogance and self-absorption seem to be prerequisites for the successful artist but pathetic groveling for an audience is a terrible character flaw, even in a musician who needs a sizable audience to be successful. Once an aspiring author in a social media writing group said to me, "Greatness rises to the top."
He was an asshole also.
Many people never get recognition for their talent and many more never even hold awareness of their talent. The only thing artists can do is create and display their craft, through whatever means they can, but sitting in social media groups looking to get attention, publishing for friends on social journalism, or just asking people who show no interest degrades you and your craft. Go to the subway and play your instrument, paint in the park, read some poetry, or create a website. Don't worry; someone will listen and tell you if you are good or if you suck, but at least you won't be a pathetic asshole.
Table of Contents
- Lessons Every Artist Needs to Know
- Yee dang-it-all HAW mudderfuckers
- Poetry and the Propagation of the Species in Springtime
- Fixing Stuff...or Not
- Einstein & Me
- Splashy, Sexy, Noisy, Wild Perfection
- What We Need Is Truth and Justice and Orgasmic Indifference
- Dead Right (or Wrong)
- Walt Whitman
- Blending and Bending Our Best Creative Selves
Lessons Every Artist Needs to Know
On your way to becoming a guitar God(dess), remember…
Life’s rules often require harsh lessons, especially for the artist. In my late teens and early twenties, parties always seemed to attract guitar-playing assholes. While holding a deep affinity for good, studio-produced music, listening to an amateur fumble the chords to "Stairway to Heaven" lacked appeal, especially when a perfect-functioning stereo usually sat on the shelf ready to play the real Jimmy Page.
The guitar-guy narrative always unfolded the same way with an arrival at a party with friends, progressing into a fun night of beer, laughter, and music. On one of those fun-filled evenings, the mingling and conversations led to bantering with a captivating brunette, Amy, while the partiers played quarters and other drinking games in the dining room. Taking refuge in the living room on a large, empty sectional sofa, capable of fitting five or six people, Amy and I positioned where the corners met. She lounged in the sofa’s corner smiling and talking while Crosby, Stills, and Nash sang "Southern Cross" in the background. The night held much promise, exchanging lively quips and smiles until the guitar guy appeared before us. The grind of frustration shot through me as he sat next to me on the sofa and began polluting the air with a clunky cover of "You Better You Bet."
Motioning to Amy, we moved to the beanbag chairs in the opposing corner of the room, where she sank into one while laughing and waving an empty beer bottle at me. Taking the bottle to the kitchen and retrieving her a full one, I felt hope’s rise only to be dashed when the return to the living room revealed the Guitar Guy mutilating Van Halen while sitting in my beanbag next to a mortified Amy. Setting the beers down and helping Amy out of the beanbag, we left Guitar Guy and found our way to the patio. Sharing an outdoor lounge chair on the warm summer night fueled playful laughter before she smiled coyly and kissed me.
A shadowy figure appeared in my eye’s corner and turning revealed the Guitar Guy hovering over us, preparing to sit. “Oh my God!” Amy stood in annoyance. “I’m going to get us some beers.”
As she walked away, I turned to the Guitar Guy. “What the fuck are you doing, man?”
Guitar Guy shrugged like he didn’t understand, so I clarified the meaning. “Man, get the fuck out of here.”
Ignoring me, the amateur sat down and strummed the guitar in a pathetic, attention-starved, relentless pursuit of talent validation. There are rules in life that regulate needs and desires, even an obsessive need for recognition, and Guitar Guy broke the sacred rule: never interrupt a hook-up.
I stood as a catastrophe of Dylan’s "All Along the Watch Tower" unleashed, and Guitar guy looked up, playing and smiling, perhaps believing a new fan won. Rage and retaliation broke another rule (never fuck with a person’s guitar) when I grabbed the guitar’s neck and yanked. “Dude, you need to get the fuck away from me.”
Anger swept across his face as we vied for control of the instrument, and for an instant, the guitar dangled by its neck gripped in my right and his left hand until I yanked the neck and simultaneously punched him in the stomach with my left. Relinquishing the guitar and falling into the chair, appearing ready to puke, Guitar Guy watched as the guitar jackhammered the concrete cracking the body near the soundboard.
Leaving Guitar Guy with a sad, broken guitar and an unfulfilled desperation for fans might seem harsh, but rules exist for a reason. Entering the house, closing and locking the patio door as Amy appeared with our beers, I pointed to the living room, “Let’s go back and sit on the couch.”
Everyone hates this guy.
Yee dang-it-all HAW mudderfuckers
On writing lyrics for a country music song.
I can’t think of anything that I’d be worse at.
I hate country music and I can’t think of many people I know who enjoy it.
What could possibly go wrong?
Better question, what could possibly go right?
Poetry and the Propagation of the Species in Springtime
Poems are far less about the words and the way they are laid out on a page or jingle-jangle in your ears, than about how you see/feel/think about a moment/thing/memory (or at least they SHOULD be).
Poetry is words being used outside of sound and meaning to deliver meaning but if it doesn’t make you feel something why the fuck are you wasting your time (&Mine) with it?
Oh, to score with pretty, sad, sensitive girls and wipe away their tears?
Never mind, I get it.
Fixing Stuff...or Not
“Nothing you can do that can’t be done...” John Lennon
How come everything in our lives breaks, at the time we most need it to not break and to just work properly?
This is not a rhetorical question. I mean it! Why? Like: stapler, printer, computer, car, friendships, marriage, cell phone, Twitter, internet porn, the wi-fi signal from my router, my router generally, this poem, all my poems, an old flame, the scale in the bathroom, me you many humans, sunshine clouds, wind, rain… come to think of it, every-fucking thing?
How come when we need it most love is so elusive and joy is hiding, a petulant child throwing an ugly fit?
How come things break and we can sometimes fix them and sometimes, too often, we can NOT?
How come? How come? How come?
How come things break and we can or can’t fix them?
Come to think of it every-fucking thing?
Einstein & Me
“There is no God... and he is always with us.” (Paraphrase of a stolen line)
Enjoying the nervous laughter of my fellow famous artists at TBF before I was uninvited. So I think, I’m at the top of my famous writer’s game. Still making lots of $, still fulla myself.
I’m like a young Albert Einstein at a limbo dance party: “How low can you go?” (The only famous guy there wearing a Bukowski T-shirt.)
Years later, my speaking career was over by both choice and circumstance (“you can’t fire me, I quit! You can’t quit, we fire you!”), I left Y.A. novel writing and publishing to return to my first love, writing poems.
About 6 months into discovering Online Publishing, in August 2020, I wrote a blog as I approached the $3 per month earning levels, titling it Splashy, Sexy, Noisy, Wild Perfection in a desperate attempt to attract followers and readers. The piece got 50 claps from one reader and a total of one comment, 30 views, and $.05 total, lifetime earnings.
It apparently takes time to build up anything online publishing.
As of this morning, I am up to over 23K viewings of my stuff, most of it b/c I wrote pieces about the Beatles, their names in the titles, that have received thousands of clicks.
I started replaying and re-posting some of the content of that earlier article for all you fellow pilgrims who are searching for your first 100 followers and/or for any other reason to stay involved in this operation. Problem is duplicating content tends to make the algorithms fuck you in the butt with a red-hot poker.
For me/to me, publishing online is just now starting to be worth the trouble and effort.
But here’s part of what I said back in Aug. 2020 (fear not God’s a anger and rage of duplication, I’ve learned my lesson of Gods of rage and snits, I changed the below enough to hopefully NOT be a double down on the earlier version):
Splashy, Sexy, Noisy, Wild Perfection
Okay, in truth I have no idea what I’m up to in this posting; I have no idea what I’m going to write here, but...
Splashy, Sexy, Noisy Perfection this place ain’t.
Perspective my children, perspective, and sanity.
In my opinion, great writing always brings both smiles and tears. Hang in there fellow writers. To be read is to be and although God does not exist, he is always with us.
Just like Einstein postulated. Energy is equal to the speed of light squared, I mean come on, everybody knows that, do da limbo.
What We Need Is Truth and Justice and Orgasmic Indifference
Whatever the fuck that means???
We’re all readers and writers or at least writers who wanna be read as evergreen and the most eternal of flavorings we can find as we stroll a bullshit world where we will plant our seeds of living curation like a Johnny Appleseed of immortality and stuff.
In other words, it’s tough and as tuffy-tight as a too-small speedo swimsuit under our sweatpants lingering and lounging in a banana hammock of love to attract and hold an audience of writers pretending to be readers for very long — and you all know what I’m talking about even if you have no idea what I’m fuckin’ saying!
As writers pretending to be readers, so we can get other writers to pretend they read us so that we have half a chance with women we wish we’d seen- or better yet, known in the most biblical of ways and begettings even if we are living in an INCEL world the raptures of the ruthlessly unattractive.
Of course, I’m not talking to YOU, dear reader writer — just all those other guys.
Dead Right (or Wrong)
Philip Roth wrote Goodbye Columbus. and this book never did much for me.
Now he’s dead, Still, his books take up space on lots of library shelves right next to books by Whitman, Li Po, Bukowski, Shakespeare, and many other immortals who are also dead. And a few by me, so far, still alive.
Who knows? maybe one day I’ll pick one of Phillip’s books and read it and see what all the fuss was about.
Like what happened when I read Bellow’s Humboldt's Gift, a book I love and admire.
Which is not saying the same thing as this poem is saying, but close enough.
Because, what I’m saying is that the work we leave behind is not only what matters most but is pretty much the only thing that matters at all. As I get closer and closer to the end of my writing and my career and, come to think of it, every-fuckin’-thing including myself, I look at what I’ve done, the work I’ve made, and I’m happy, proud, and satisfied that at least some of it matters, or should and may.
I wonder if Phillip or any of the other dead writers had the same kind of ruminations as they felt time running out?
I guess we’ll never know.
But at least you know that I did and do, for all the good that’ll do you.
Laughing over the years
Walt Whitman sits across the room watching me type on this computer, thinking about continents and men’s strong muscles and Lincoln…
And wondering, “How can that machine do all those things it is doing? And how can you know what to say/feel/think spending as many hours as you spend sitting there?”
And I look up, smile at Uncle Walt.
And rather than speak he smiles back —
Yep, just two old men, chasing the same dreams and determined to settle happily for whatever part of it we get.
“But I’ll tell you somethin’ kid,” Uncle Walt says, softly breaking the silence, without malice but very secure in his tone and words, “If I’d had a machine like that little motherfucker yer typin’ on, I’d have written more poems than Shakespeare and Lao Tsu, combined.”
I smile and say, “I don’t doubt it Walt.”
Blending and Bending Our Best Creative Selves
At my age, after a lifetime of doing this work, we do
I am my favorite poet and novelist; Easy pick for me.
Yes, I have a lot of confidence, far too much confidence for my own good.
But here’s the deal, if I wasn’t my favorite poet I’d write the poems that other poets have written, or at least one’s that look, sound, and read exactly like someone else’s.
You must become your favorite poet to be the best you can be.
Same with playing guitar.
When I was 16 years old I was in a rock and roll band, The Remnants, we played other groups’ songs, The Rolling Stones, The Kingsmen, The Kinks lots of easy, three-chord tunes. It was great fun because teenage girls liked us. But we lacked the confidence and probably the skills to write our own songs, so, we rarely even tried.
Nine weeks ago, I bought a Fender acoustic guitar, despite not having played for 55 years or so.
I practice two times a day, as much as my sore fingertips will allow, and I play only to make sounds I like, learning new tricks and skills as I go along. some of what I play, I like, some of it, I love —
I don’t play other people’s songs any more than I would write other people’s poems.
But I gotta tell you, I’m getting really fuckin’ good —
You’ll never hear it, though, because after a decade and a half on the road reading and talking about my books and myself, I don’t and won’t perform for others (Exception here: I let my wife Patti listen because she says she loves it).
My music is mine, mine, and Patti’s and it’s great, really, you can take my word for it, I’m my favorite poet AND my favorite guitar player now.
Walt Whitman said, “I am America,” Jackson Pollock said, “I am nature.” Sir Paul McCartney said, “I play bass guitar,” George Harrison said, “I play solo guitar,” John Lennon said, “I play best guitar.” I say, “I am Terry Guitar” (But don’t call me that)
Still, Terry Guitar... Yeah, nice huh? My fav. guitar player.
We make the art we make because in the end, it’s the work itself that stands or falls, lives or dies by how it touches others — that’s especially true for written, published writing. For making music, and creating your own music, all that matters is the present moment. We must bend and blend our creative selves to live and die with the results.
Art is what it is and what it makes of us all.Copyright Vincent Triola & Terry Trueman