Tag Archives: poetry

The Blarg No. 46: Ernesto Moncada Pt. 2

I find myself compelled to write about delusions this week. Generally speaking, we delude ourselves all the time. I know that I’ve uttered classics such as, “Everything’s fine,” “No worries,” and “I got this” on countless occasions. You may see a theme there—my self-deluded states tend to center themselves around ignoring, glossing over, or denying the existence of problems. They’re never big problems, because I’m also a realist. If there’s a big problem, I am much more likely to openly admit, “Oh, yeah, things are not cool, I am totally, completely, utterly fucked.” You’ve got to acknowledge the big issues immediately, because they have the tendency (read: absolute certainty) of rolling along and attracting other issues to the point where—to use one of my all-time favorite phrases—everything goes tits up and you find yourself hurtling through the jungle being chased by a huge fucking boulder, carrying a golden idol, and Alfred Molina says he’ll throw you the whip if you throw him the idol, but he’s a lying fuck and leaves you for dead. That is how things look to me right now. The government is both Alfred Molina and the boulder, and the yawning chasm across which we have to jump is highly representative of the one between the president’s ears. Oh, and the poisoned blow darts hurtling our way at high speed are really fucking stupid tweets. So, to answer the question you didn’t ask, yes, the opening sequence of Raiders of the Lost Ark is the perfect analogy for the straits we find ourselves in.

Some delusions probably serve a positive purpose, right? After all, as creative people, we have to shield ourselves with something, or we’d all just give up and go cry ourselves to sleep every night. Confidence, I think, is at least to some degree a delusion. You gotta fake it until you make it. At some point, if you’re lucky, through success—however one wants to measure that—the ratio of earned, experiential confidence to simply talking yourself up in order to put your work out there, or go for that job, or try out for that part, whatever, tips in the former’s favor, and “I got this” ceases being a functional delusion and becomes certainty, and you know which cup is the Grail, you choose wisely, you save Sean Connery and ride off into the sunset with your buddies. I figured I’d round things out with another Indiana Jones reference, and Last Crusade is unarguably the 2nd best film in the franchise.

This week’s show is part deux of my conversation with Ernesto Moncada. I’m sure I said something last week, but I really enjoyed talking to Ernesto, and I’m excited for you to hear the rest of our conversation. There is more on the notion of things lost in translation, we get to hear some about his experience transitioning from the Mexican literary scene to the arts and culture scene here in Phoenix, and much more.

Best,
Jared

Listen to LE 46 – Ernesto Moncada Pt.2

Leave a comment

Filed under Arts and Culture, Performance Art, Podcast, Poetry, The Blarg

The Blarg No.45: Ernesto Moncada Pt. 1

Success is something that has always been difficult for me to accept and recognize for what it is. It isn’t that I’m not proud of what I do, or that I think it isn’t good, I just don’t expect other people to enjoy or appreciate it, let alone champion it in any way. I am always so suspicious of any sort of praise or recognition that my artistic endeavors garner—whether that is Limited Engagement, any of my writing, or actual artwork (as I dip my pencil back into that realm)—that my knee jerk reaction is to first show gratitude (I like to think I’m not a rude individual), and then immediately begin dismissing it, brushing it off to the side, looking to see if the person behind it is working some angle, or whether there is a qualifying “but” or “if only” clinging to the underbelly. I am in a perpetual state of waiting for the other shoe to drop. In my mind, success is something that happens to other people.

Why am I bringing this up? Well, Limited Engagement was named Best Podcast in this year’s edition of PHOENIX Magazine‘s annual Best of the Valley issue, which is awesome! It means that people like the show. Even more important, people are listening! I’m not just some guy sitting in his office at home ranting out into the ether! I really do feel proud of this achievement, and I am thankful to the folks at PHOENIX Magazine for the recognition—it really does mean a lot to me. However, you read all that stuff in the first paragraph, right? I am trying really hard to simply enjoy the moment. It’s a struggle, but I think I’m getting there.

This week’s show is the first of another two-parter. I packed the recording gear into a bag, traveled down to Ernesto Moncada’s place, and we sat at his kitchen table discussing anything that came to mind. There was very good coffee involved. Ernesto pretty much does it all: he’s a writer, actor, teacher, comedian, artist, he just directed a wonderful version of Paul Auster’s Laurel and Hardy Go to Heaven, and he’s a wizard on the stilts. No, that’s not a typo. Ernesto’s got some amazing stories, and it was a great conversation.

Best,

Jared

Listen to LE 45 – Ernesto Moncada Pt. 1

Leave a comment

Filed under Arts and Culture, Performance Art, Podcast, Poetry, The Blarg, Theatre

The Blarg No. 44: Jake Friedman Part 2

Deadlines. I love ’em. There is something about the looming hour of 12 am that gets my creative juices flowing. I lost sight of that. Lately, I’ve looked at deadlines, then I’ve looked over at the pile of unfinished projects sitting next to them, and I have thought, there is no way I can have something ready in time. As a result, I have shied away from contests and submissions. Last week, I mentioned not having a process, and perhaps that’s not the case. Perhaps this is my process. Writing against deadlines. And writing to music. At the time of writing this, I know I have a submission deadline, and Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks is playing in the background, and my fingers are flying across the keyboard. Coincidence? I think not.

I am probably thinking of process too rigidly. What is your process? I’m curious. I want to know. Do you write to music? If so, what type? Does it need to be instrumental? Do you need silence? Let’s not limit this to writers, either. Artists, what do you do? Musicians, what gets your creative juices flowing? I want to do a whole show on this, and I don’t think I’m the only one who would be interested in hearing it. Send your thoughts on this to jared@ltdengagementpod.com, and I will piece them all together for a future episode of Limited Engagement. Tell me a little something about yourself as well. If you’d rather not be named on the podcast, let me know that, too. Let’s have a little artistic interaction, shall we?

This week, we’ve got part two of my conversation with Four Chambers founder, Jake Friedman. We talk more about writing in this one, specifically Jake as a writer, and how what he wants to do as a writer plays into what we’re looking to publish as a press. Which is timely, because Four Chambers is open for full length manuscript submissions through July 31st. Visit the FCP website for guidelines and a link to our Submittable page.

Best,

Jared

Listen to LE 44 – Jake Friedman…Part 2

Leave a comment

Filed under Podcast, Poetry, The Blarg, Writing About Writing

The Blarg No. 43: Jake Friedman Part 1

Let’s go ahead and talk about writing this week, shall we? Why not? It’s often a topic on the show, and this week’s and next week’s shows (spoiler alert!) deal with the subject very heavily. As someone who has never managed to have a process per se, I’m always fascinated by the processes of other writers—and even more interested when I find out that they likewise do not have one. I have always heard about the importance of process, how you must have a routine. At least that’s what I heard from John Updike, and Updike wrote a lot of books. How many have I written? Not as many as Updike. But what of the argument for quality over quantity? Woody Allen said, “It’s not the quantity of your sexual relations that count, it’s the quality. On the other hand, if the quantity drops below once every eight months, I would definitely look into it.” Not exactly the same thing, but I think it’s applicable, so if I start writing less than once every eight months, I’ll definitely look into it.

I’m knee deep in manuscripts right now. Four Chambers Press put out its first call for manuscripts, and I didn’t think we’d get that many. I was wrong. I was very, very wrong. The submission period doesn’t even close until July 31st. I’m not going to say exactly how many manuscripts we’ve received, but it’s a lot. (Deep breath.) Hey, speaking of Four Chambers Press…

This week I talk to the founder and editor-in-chief of Four Chambers Press, Jake Friedman. Jake’s been on the show a couple of times, but it was either as part of a panel, or as the guest host for the second anniversary show, so he came over, we hung out, then we got on the mics and talked—a lot. We talked for about two and a half hours, so this is a two-parter. We talk about publishing and writing, craft and process. If that’s your thing, these shows will be right up your alley.

Best,

Jared

Listen to LE 43 – Jake Friedman…Part 1

Leave a comment

Filed under Podcast, Writing About Writing

The Blarg No. 40: Clottee Hammons

Where does anyone find the time to do everything? Really, if anyone has any tips, I’d love to hear them. My plate is overflowing, and while I can’t discuss all the projects heaped up on it, nor would you want to hear it all, there are a lot of irons, and they’re all in the fire—including that annoying metaphor-mixing iron. Between the regular work week grind, the show, Four Chambers, writing, these other projects I’m trying to get off the ground, I feel like I haven’t had time to sit down and catch my breath, to relax for even a brief amount of time. Last night, I had a mild anxiety attack. I freaked the fuck out. Everything’s fine, don’t worry about it.

Normally, I can cope by taking a few moments to sit down and play guitar. For me, playing allows the stress to fall away—rather than looming deadlines, meetings, a never-ending to-do list, I’m concentrating on chord progressions, notes, my mind weaving in and out of the melody. I haven’t allowed myself enough time for that. I need to get back to it. I’m working on creating exclusive audio content for supporters of our Patreon account, and coming up with riffs to open/close those programs is easily the best part for me. The healing powers of music, etc…

On this week’s show, our 40th (another milestone!), I talk to artist, writer, activist, community organizer, and all around amazing person, Clottee Hammons. Clottee is the founder and director of Emancipation Arts, which “provides educational information and discussions relevant to American Chattel Slavery through collaboration and arts programs.” The 20th Annual Emancipation Marathon will take place on June 24th from 10 am to 5 pm at the Phoenix Changing Hands location, and prior to that, there is a meet and greet on June 18th at Copper Star Coffee from 10 am to 1 pm. Go to the Emancipation Arts Facebook page for details.

Best,

Jared

Listen to LE 40 – Clottee Hammons

Leave a comment

Filed under The Blarg

The Blarg No. 38: Second Anniversary Bash!

We just got back from Phoenix Comic Con. I want to say I’ve been going for the last four years—it might be five, but I am pretty sure it’s four, so let’s go with that, shall we? Anyway, where was I? Aw, yes, I’ve been going to Phoenix Comic Con for the last four years, and I think I’m finally starting to get the hang of it. I’ll let you know if I’ve actually got it next year. I will also let you know my thoughts on THIS year’s experience in an upcoming edition of the show. I had a great little chat with the panelists/judges of this year’s Nerd Slam—perhaps the most unique show from a recording perspective that I’ve ever done—and I’ll post that sometime soon. The whole reason I am even bringing it up right now is because one of the panelists, Ernesto Moncada, is part of a really cool show that will have finished its run before I post the interview, and I want to be sure to plug it. The show is a musical adaptation of the beloved film Labyrinth called The Goblin King’s City, and it has two remaining performances, June 3rd and 9th at Unexpected Gallery on 734 W Polk St. Please go and support your local artists.

The only other thing I’ll say about Phoenix Comic Con in this week’s Blarg is that I may have developed a little man-crush on the author Sam Sykes. I’m not sure yet. I have to read one of his books, and if I like it, then I’ll know. He’s a wise-cracking smart-ass, and I want to grab a beer with him. For some reason he reminds me of Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy—both physically and personality-wise. Hopefully I can convince him to be on the podcast. Again, I have to read one of his books first.

This week’s show is our second anniversary bash. Two years. TWO YEARS! For the 2nd anniversary, I asked Four Chambers Press founder and editor-in-chief Jake Friedman to interview me about the show, and the book we released covering every episode of the first two year, The ‘Arg’ in Blarg, which he sort of did. Really, Jake did a bang up job…of making me feel uncomfortable. Which means he did an all around bang up job. Thanks, Jake!

Listen to this week’s show: LE 38 – The Second Anniversary Show

Leave a comment

Filed under Podcast, Poetry, The Blarg

The Blarg No. 37: Andrea Scarpino

Well, it’s done. The Arg in Blarg, which covers the first two years of Limited Engagement, is now available. As of now, the only place to buy the book is in the shop on ltdengagementpod.com. I’m looking to get into some local bookstores and other retail establishments, and do some additional events to promote it, and of course I’ll let everyone know as things get confirmed. The book looks great—I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. Janell’s design was amazing as always, and the folks over at Biltmore Pro Print did a bang up job putting it together.

Friday was the launch for the book as well as the second anniversary of the show. It was great. I was pretty nervous about being the interviewee, but Jake Friedman did an excellent job, and we had a great conversation. With that one in the can, the live show is effectively on hiatus until the fall, but we will continue to post a new show every week, so please keep coming back.

This week’s show is a conversation I had with poet Andrea Scarpino just prior to the launch of her new collection, Once Upon Wing Lake. It’s a beautiful collection, and I highly recommend that you pick up a copy. We had a deep and open conversation about family, perception, and writing artfully about painful personal experience.

Listen to the show here: LE 37 – Andrea Scarpino

Leave a comment

Filed under The Blarg