Just got back from listening to Reg E. Gaines preview his theater piece The Last Celebrity. He’s really good. I feel like I got a free pass for the $55 seats. Thank you San Diego Public Library! I was telling Librarian Bob that I hadn’t done a real featured poetry reading since SDSU’s “Avant Garde Festival.” I told him a little about how crazy the show was, but I didn’t realize, until just now, that it was in 2005. I haven’t done a real performance in 8 years. That’s crazy. I had told myself when I was still in my 30s that I was going to take a ten year hiatus, because who wants to see 40 year olds yammer on about their shit… but I thought I was joking… that’s one of my problems… I don’t even believe myself half the time because everything is a joke.
Reg E. Gaines is the kind of sincere, forthright, earnest poet who when he says something, you believe it. He could sell you anything, precisely because he’s not selling anything. He’s real. And the real thing. I would need photographic evidence.
The truth about why I stopped performing is difficult. My creative philosophy: read more than you write; write more than you share, has been in force. Been reading a lot, and after writing a 500-page book about books, I’ve struggled to get all my novels in print. The Cadillac Tramps and House of the Unwed Mother are in hand, so I’ve decided to try to read from them, even though it scares the shit out of me. But the real truth is that public performance is a horse I fell off. A rabid-wild-ass bucking horse that dragged me across the cobblestones. It’s like riding a bike, once you fall off, you never forget.
After putting so much energy into the Avant Garde Fest I felt like I had nothing left. I was spent, exhausted. The show killed a part of me. It nearly killed some of the poor people in the audience, and they loved it.
A minor epiphany put me on the road back to public life, curtesy of Slavoj Zizek who described the Marx Brothers in Freudian terms: Groucho, the ego, Chico, the superego and Harpo the unspeaking ID with its prurient energy. Continue reading “Jimmy Jazz ~~ Captain’s Blog 77”