Hello, hello, hello, all you rock ‘n’ rollers! Yours truly is in excellent spirits today. Why am I in such excellent spirits today? I’m glad you asked that question. Mr. Skin/Naked News will release a check by snail mail to me for $66.00 next month and the PittsburghFlash got 1,728 views yesterday. That’s the most views this magazine has gotten in one day since it went online February 2014. I must be doing something right. So far this month my little girlie magazine is averaging 929 views every day. Thank all of you for your support whether you’re a regular reader or just passing through, because a magazine ain’t shit if nobody reads it.
If you are not a regular reader, but you like what you see and read now would be a great time to bookmark the PittsburghFlash or to take out a free email subscription today. The PittsburghFlash has over 2,200 blog posts and the site is constantly undated with new posts and it features the videos of Naked News, the program with nothing to hide. The PittsburghFlash is an experiment in the art of the girlie magazine. The modern girlie magazine first appeared in the early 1900s. And my little girlie magazine is a part of that long tradition of magazines for adults only. The first girlie magazines were aimed at a male audience and were lifestyle magazines for men; but the PittsburghFlash is attempting to break that narrow focus by having a different focus: a focus on blogging, karaoke, movies, short stories, television while still offering the traditional lifestyle content (actually it’s my lifestyle: working class baby boomer chic) and the female nude. Plus this magazine is for men and women. It is a blog/magazine about writing published by a writer for other writers. And the PittsburghFlash is Pittsburgh-centric. So you see the PittsburghFlash is truly an experiment in online publishing.
The Beat Writers
Today when I Googled: “who were the beat writers…” I came up with the following list.
- Allen Ginsberg
- Jack Kerouac
- William S. Burroughs
- Gary Snyder
- Lawrence Ferlinghetti
- Neal Cassady
- Michael McClure
- Peter Orlovsky
- John Clellon
- Tom Wolfe
- Brion Gysin
- Charles Plymell
A couple of these writers I know nothing about. I’ve heard about most of them and I’ve read the works of several of them; but it is Jack Kerouac who has recently grabbed my attention. I find it interesting that the writers of the Beat Generation came right after WWII and the writers of the Lost Generation surfaced right after WWI.
I’ve read many of the best-known representative writers of both generations. I rather identify with them because I served in Vietnam and they were the heralds for the cultural and social changes that happened after their respective wars. The Counter Culture I grew up in as a young man and as a young writer took place during and immediately after the Vietnam War, but I can’t name you one well-known writer of the Counter Culture (not unless I Google them). I’m sure I read several of them when I was young or younger, but I didn’t study them. I’ve studied the writers of the Lost Generation and the Beat Generation for decades. Now I’m focused on Kerouac.
As far as my own fiction writing style, Hemingway has always been my go-to writer. I’ve spent my entire writing career since I was a young writer paring down my prose and using the objective viewpoint, letting the actions of my characters to reveal what is going on inside them, for exposing character. Don’t forget, dialogue is action, too.
I first got serious about writing fiction when I came back from Vietnam. I would use pencil and those long yellow legal pads to “print” out my short stories. And in those days I didn’t write flash fiction. I wrote regular-length short stories of 2,000 to 4,000 words long. First I would do an outline. Then I would print by hand as many as three drafts. And only then would I print the story. Then I would type it up, pay to have a copy made of it and then snail mail the copy to a publication that read unsolicited submissions…
When I became a blogger a little more than ten years or so ago, this method of producing content carried over to my blogging. Oh, I didn’t do outlines and drafts. I’m not that anal; but I did (and still do) print out the entire blog post in my pocket notebook and then I would transcribed what I had written to the post (like I did with this blog post). Then I began re-reading Kerouac. I’ve read his work several times, but it was only recently that his method of “spontaneous” writing clicked with me. To be able to sit down at my workstation and starting only with a title and then to write to that title without forethought or any other kind of preparation and to be able to turn out a blog post of between 500 to 700 words that actually made sense and might hold a reader’s attention almost seems like magic to me. I guess I was ready for spontaneous writing.
I’ve been liberated!
I’m not going to throw the baby out with the bath water. I’m not going to forget what I’ve learned from Hemingway and Raymond Carver and John O’Hara. They still speak to me about control, objective viewpoint and the precision of language. Those things will never go out of style; but when I blog on Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays I’m just going to slap on a title in the title box and then let the words flow.
Hail to Pitt!
This is Guy Hogan reporting for the PittsburghFlash, a new kind of girlie magazine. Today in Pittsburgh the forecast calls for a mix of clouds and sunshine, a high of 55 and a 40% chance of rain. All photos of Chelsea Handler were sampled from Egotastic All Stars.
Writing a good flash fiction story is easy. A writer puts in the right words in the right order without putting in one word too many. It’s an ideal I don’t always achieve. You can only try and work hard and hope for the best and sometimes you get lucky.–Guy Hogan
Two Baby Boomers Get Drunk by Guy Hogan
Two men sat up front near the big window at the long bar in Armand’s which is in the Bloomfield neighborhood of the City of Pittsburgh. Bloomfield is called Little Italy by the locals because of the large number of people of Italian heritage who live there. It was around 11:00 a.m. and these two men were the only customers in the bar. They had just met and since each had thrown back three shots and three beers and had just received a fourth round were already a little drunk, but unlike some people who get drunk and who get drunk quickly these two men were happy drunks. They had a sense of humor. The bartender, who was around the same age as his customers stood at the far end of the bar with his back to the two men. He was watching the television above the far end of the bar. He was not a very good bartender and in three weeks would get fired. Beyond the window at the near end of the bar Liberty Avenue was full of pedestrians and vehicular traffic and bright sunshine. It was early October in Pittsburgh.
“I use to be young, rich, powerful and handsome.”
“What do ya mean, what happened? Well what happened to you?”
“Oh I was never rich, powerful or handsome.”
The two men laughed.