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January 3rd - 9th, 2005
January 7th, 2005
American Reviews: Now The Book Is Worthwhile

Some exciting news I thought I'd mention: The book received a review in The Iconoclast, a long-standing, well-respected, underground American magazine published out of the state of New York.

Maybe we're not dead yet.

I mean, if an American publication deigns to review the book, it must be important, right? Doesn't the old adage still hold for us Canucks? Doesn't a Canadian artist need to succeed in the States before he can be considered a success in his own country? And doesn't an American review hold twice the weight that a mere Canadian review would hold? I have to say, this review wasn't any longer than most, but it was insightful and it was intelligent. The reviewer brought something to the table - about the Beats, Bukowski and the lifestyle that spawns this kind of writing. Straight up, the guy's a good writer, and sounds like he actually knows what he's talking about, which is more than I can say for some reviewers in western Canada. Check it:

"For over 40 years cult-like followers of that Genet/de Sade fallen angel type, Charles Bukowski, have emulated him in life and letters. For most, the lifestyle eventually became too much to handle. Others were left with the empty hand of shock value. Some moved on to other idols, fads, styles, affectations. Who are the true heirs? Mingus Tourette must be one.

These poems feature sex and violence at its rawest. It's that old Beat road: running from love, running to death. Abasement as self-sacrifice. Obsession as worship. Passing out on the altar of the animal-headed god.

But if that's all it is, all it was, I'd write this book off as another failed audition for a show that left town a long time ago. The sum is greater than its hole (and 'ho's). There's artifice and there's art. If you've got the stomach to follow his twisted path, Mr. Tourette is making a point.

Is it possible for a Canadian to be an enfant terrible? Looks like."

Phil Wagner, The Iconoclast

January 6th, 2005
the nature of change:
part two

In the end, it is all about execution. Vision is nothing without the implementation. The world is full of dead dreamers who left nothing but a headstone.

Journals and blogs are brilliant places to vent, to keep in contact with your friends and families, to experiment with new writing styles and to relate the hidden, salacious details of a rancid life going quickly into the shitter.

They are, however, nothing resembling a finished work. And unless they are of great timely and political coincidence, like our Dear Anne Frank, or Raed, they are too ephemeral to have meaning, to have lasting importance. To make a clean, bitter statement. The issue is the inherent lack of editing, self-applied or otherwise, that the blog format takes. I have never seen a year's worth of blog re-cut, reworded, rewritten seventy-seven times, narratives added and subtracted, and finally, rereleased onto the web. Doesn't happen. And so, the blog may never reach past the news editorial / short story stage of cultural importance, because there is no hindstretching master narrative cast out over every word.

Unless, of course, the author is hideous liar with long-stretching malevolent plans. But that is another matter altogether.

And so, what are we doing by crushing five hundred words a day into the digital ether? There is a time for experimentation and self-reflection, but there is also a time for the attempt to crystallize what a person thinks into poetic form, essay, novel, or screenplay, in order to leave a mark behind. Because no one is going to read fifty years of unedited first-person diatribe. Not post-humously, in any case. Every writer, dead or alive, needs a manuscript to flog. He does not need a freeflowing IP address full of Bush rants, blatant advertisements, sex doll love stories and the occasional gut-wrenching tale of a beautiful fuck, had and lost.

But, as I've mentioned before, and if I'm repeating this, fuck off, I'm drunk: the brilliant thing about a daily blog is the mandatory daily writing requirement. The writer has to respect this and give it the time it needs. And, he can quite often judge the quality of the work by the response. So, daily published writing is good for the writer, good for the craft. Good for the yearly word count.

SO. If one thinks hard about this, and sees the flaws in the blog art form, and sees the value in it, and applies it to a different art form - novel or screenplay or retarded long form master narrative, it could be possible to make serious headway on the narratives, loosely workshop them, occasionally tell a couple of stories about the nude bureaucrat stacking the bookshelf and even advertise the odd friend's art show. And maintain precious community.

So. That's what I'm thinking of doing. Writing new material online, and possibly using the abhorrent third-person. All first draught material, which will get hauled down and reworked and deleted and rewritten seventy-seven times and hacked to pieces by an editor BUT it would be that all-important first slam at new stories and new work. Which is crucial, cause I'm melting myself by regurgitating the same old bile about the failings of my year and a limp, puritanical Canadian publishing industry.

So. What do you think, fellahs? This seems to me to be the most logical step in the evolution of the site, the Mingus, and writer's blogs in general. The next step in the evolution of the community, of course, would be a writer's forum. And that, too, may be soon unleashed.Thoughts on this one, appreciated.*

*Like the gods who salted Gommorah, so too did Mingus befoul himself. And he said to Judith, taketh thee, this bottle of mead, and insert it duly into thy womb. And I will drink, readily, from thine ass, and it will be good. And thus spake Tourette.

January 5th, 2005
Before We Go Any Further, Let's Take a Look at Where We've Been:
Part Two

The analysis of last year's resolutions:

1. Was 2004 the Year of Mingus? Not really. Did it have to be? Yes. Did I end up living in a box behind Dick's dumpster? No, though an ambulance is box-shaped and my publisher has asked about moving into it once the temperature rises a bit.

2. Did I work as hard as I could to ensure that when the book launch came, my parents didn't end up with 1500 copies in their basement? Absolutely. There were unique readings, unabashed media whoring, promotional copies like nobody's ever seen for a book of poetry and a cross-country tour that has never been done before. So - good for me. And, my parents didn't end up with 1500 copies in their basement. They ended up with about 1200 copies in their garage.

3. I don't think I drank 10 % less. Though I tried to black out less.

4. The folks and I had a nice long discussion about my poetry. Maybe this year they'll get to read the book.

5. I may have smoked a bit less. I doubt it. Certainly not during the tour. It was the only thing that kept me awake. Besides the pseudoephedrine and the pharmaceutical grade speed.

6. I did my part to try to keep George W. Bush from getting elected. But it didn't help Mr. Kerry, in the end. Fascism wins, for now. What can you do - 59 million people ARE that stupid.

7. I believe I fucked more. I don't think it made me any more sane. That would require a balanced lifestyle.

8. I was not intimidated by police. Maybe a bit by lawyers. And I did put on the gas mask occasionally, though not as often as I would have liked. I did, however, give some away in contests. That was fun.

9. I think I masturbated a bit less. But I don't have quantifiable records.

Not like I used to.

10. I did not finish that fucking movie. If you know what I mean, you know what I mean. I have never recovered from the devastating hard drive crash on that one.

11. I didn't smoke much more weed than the year before. This year seems like a good bet, though.

12. I did change my appearance. I look about six years older than I did 365 days ago.

13. I did not address my vigourous egoism or superiority complex. If anything, it has grown. The doppleganger complex remains rampant. Again, I have failed.

14. I did resolve the triage of Chloe, Colette and Nat, in a way. I don't much talk to any of them, at this point. Perhaps 'resolved' is too strong a word, because none of it is really finished. Some day, Nat will read the book and all hell will break loose. Someday, I will drink too much and get into a headbutting match with Chloe's accountant. Probably sooner than later. Someday, Colette will realize that she keeps putting off her wedding for a reason and show up for one final asspounding before moving to Switzerland. Alone.

15. LitSLAP went nowhere. One more failed resolution.

16. I did not write a new book, though I did work on 'The Book of Enoch' as a followup to the spectacular failure of Nunt. It's promising. It's not poetry.

17. Paul Martin. Who cares.

18. I did realize that time was ticking away and spent the entire year working like a man possessed and in the end, I wound up driving a pink ambulance with my name on it. I don't know if there was a single moment that will set me on the path to strangeness, but if there was, it must have happened on the Write The Nation Tour. Perhaps it can be found in the hallucinations during the 46 hour sprint from Montreal to Brandon.

19. I wrote haiku sephirot and seduced an engaged woman. And that ended strangely.

20. I didn't get a religious edict issued against my work, though there was that Pastor in Brandon who wrote a letter to the editor about the horribly offensive nature of my book, and the review on it. That made me feel pretty good. And I did receive a blistering review or two. Most of them I wrote off as ignorant, though one of them made me really fucking angry. And that anger remains dangerously unaddressed. It'll come out at some point, I'm sure.

21. And yes, I did some incredibly stupid things, risked pariah status, put on a big fucking show, brought something new to Canadian writing, and busted the year wide fucking open. I don't know if I got any farther, if I really laid that ghost to rest or had much to show for the bags under my eyes or the minus signs in my publisher's bank account. But I did hook up with old friends and have a drink and laugh about it, and whether I want to or not, I'm making more ridiculous plans for the new year.

2004. The Year of Mingus? Not really. Like watching a car wreck before your eyes? Sort of. More like an ambulance wreck. But a spectacular one, to be sure.

January 4th, 2005
Before We Go Any Further, Let's Take a Look at Where We've Been:
Part One

Again, a happy new year to all. May it be happier than the last.

I just read last year's resolutions. Always sobering. Before I get into the analysis of how I did (tune in tomorrow), allow me to take you back a year to....

January 2, 2004
Resolutions for The Year of Mingus

1. I resolve that 2004 will be The Year of Mingus. It has to be. If it ain't, I'll be living in a box behind Dick Castrati's van about the same time next year.

2 . I resolve to take the one and only shot that I'll ever be able to afford in terms of time and money at making a living as a writer. That means becoming a published poet and that means selling Nunt like a crackwhore sells crack. It means a lot o work and it means the possibility of making a fool of myself on a national level, but I see no other way to fulfil this dream. For more on my obsession of the year, check the mission statement. I resolve to work as hard as possible to ensure that when the book launch comes around in September, I don't fuck it up and that somebody doesn't end up with 1500 copies sitting in their basement. That means holding unique readings, it means hand-mailing copies of the book out and it means unabashed media whoring. Cause at some point, a fucking poet in this country has got to make a living writing.

3 . I resolve to drink 10 % less. Gotta start somewhere.

4 . I resolve to tell the Folks that I write poems and articles that might make them wish I had starred in a home movie with Paris Hilton instead.

5 . I resolve to smoke 50% less.

6 . I resolve to do my part to ensure that George W. Bush and Goebbels and the rest of the USS don't get back into power. Cause if you thought George did whatever the fuck he wanted in the first four years, wait till he don't care about getting reelected. Come on Clark, or come on Dean.

7 . I resolve to fuck 66.7 % more in an effort to become 66.7% more sane.

8 . I resolve to put on the gasmask and the American flag diaper yet again when it is called for. I resolve not to be intimidated by police or lawyers.

Don't Vote Bush, Vote Nunt.

9. I resolve to masturbate 18% less.

10 . I resolve to finish that fucking movie. If you know what I'm talking about, you know what I'm talking about.

11 . I resolve to smoke more weed. This seems like an intelligent substitute for cigarettes and alcohol.

12. I resolve to change my appearance in order to properly reinforce what Tourette says. Truly, I'm far too pleasant looking to be a drunk psychotic Canuck poet.

13. I resolve to address my superiority complex, my doppleganger complex and my hidden underground bunker complex. I resolve to address vigourous egoism and break myself on the Promethean wheel.

14. I resolve to resolve the triage of Chloe, Colette & Nat. I resolve to break this resolution often and with heated passion. Six tits in hand is worth two brown bush.

15. I resolve to see LitSLAP to a decent cut and cut it into a decent trailer and take a shot at turning it into a real show.

16. I resolve to write a new book, or at least lay down the hard structure of a new book, entitled The Book of Enoch. Gonna need something to follow up the blistering success or mind-numbing failure of Nunt.

17. I resolve to keep on top of what Paul Martin is doing, judge him in an intelligent way and offer constructive criticism.

18. I resolve to realize that time is ticking away. People who do interesting and amazing things with their lives often have a single moment early in their lives that sets them on the path they want. I resolve to believe that I have found a path to that single moment and I resolve to follow it as far as it goes.

19. I resolve to write a haiku sephirot and use my words to seduce an engaged woman.

20 . I resolve to get some sort of religious edict issued against my work. Or at least a blistering critique that starts out something like ... "Mr. Tourette has done for poetry what planes did for the World Trade Centre..."

21. I resolve to do some incredibly stupid things, to risk pariah status, to put on a big fucking show, to bring something new to Canadian writing, to bust the year wide fucking open, to shrug a lot, to start more fights, to piss in more faces, fuck more love more hate more live harder make a name shame a name sleep less earn something for these bags under my eyes get rid of that ghost forever get smarter, get harder get farther. And then, have a laugh and a drink and a smoke with old friends when it all caves in and the world hooks this site up with 'spectacular failure' and make bigger plans, more ridiculous plans, and follow them through again.

2004. The year of Mingus. Like watching a car wreck before your eyes.

No comments today. Tomorrow, we can reflect together. It will be bittersweet, but reaffirming. Perhaps.

But What Happened Last Week? By God, Find Out Here!