Hello, you rock ‘n’ rollers! I am chomping at the bit to get back on my regular beat in Little Italy on Tuesday, but I’m putting this downtime to excellent use, too. For the first time since the magazine went online February 2014, the PittsburghFlash recorded at least 1,000 views the past five days in a row. And the average daily views so far for October 2016 are 955.
You know you can’t beat that with a stick!
I think my plan to publish a 1,000 to 1,200 word blog post every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and a 500 to 700 word blog post every Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday to achieve between 30,000 to 40,000 views every month is working. The question is, will I be able to sustain this output? It’s not easy to put up that much content when you basically have to depend on the mundane details of your own life for material. I’m just a retired working class baby boomer. If I were a high-flying jet-setter or some kind of celebrity leading an exciting lifestyle to draw from for content, I would have more faith in putting up blog posts that readers would want to read; but I think there are enough people on the Internet who can identify with my lifestyle and if they want content about people living a more glamorous lifestyle there are plenty of other publications that provide it.
Still, not to sell my little girlie magazine short it does cover things of interest like blogging, karaoke, movies, sexy stories, television and the female nude. There are plenty of readers who are interested in those subjects. Plus, the PittsburghFlash is Pittsburgh centric. It has a built-in audience.
The Experience Of Reading On The Road by Jack Kerouac
I’m all wrapped up in the reading of On The Road by Jack Kerouac. It was published in 1957 and I can see why it became such an overnight literary and cultural sensation. It still carries a wallop! The version of the novel I checked out of the public library is not the version that the public got in 1957. My version is rawer and closer to Kerouac’s actual experience on the road just the way he wrote it. There is more sex and drugs in the version that he initially submitted to his publisher; but the novel was still shocking to much of the reading public of the late 1950s. To the reader of 2016 the novel seems to be a brutally honest record of the excesses of the Beat Generation, excesses that we are all too familiar with in our own time.
There are no paragraph breaks in the version of the novel that I’m reading because that’s the way Kerouac typed it up. He initially typed the entire novel on one long roll of paper so that he didn’t have to break his train of thought. He typed the novel over a three week explosion of creative energy or so the story goes. It was not his first novel, but it became the novel that brought him instant fame and signaled what turned out to be his slow decline into alcoholism. All of my favorite authors (Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Raymond Carver, John O’Hara and Kerouac) were alcoholics. Sometimes I’m an alcoholic. What saves me is that I have a modest but secure income that I get the first three days of every month. When I get it I pay all my bills and buy enough groceries to last for a month and I buy all of the house hold supplies I need for a month; and what’s left over is officially declared fun money. I can only afford to be a part-time alcoholic. When the money runs out I stop drinking. Yes, I’m a flawed human being and I’ve accepted my flaws and have found a way to survive them so far. I think that’s all a lot of us can hope for…
So as you can imagine I’m looking forward to strolling into Little Italy Tuesday for that first beer at Armand’s. It’s such a peaceful environment at Armand’s when I usually get there and when the place open’s between 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. I sit up front near the window that gives me an excellent view of Liberty Avenue. Sunny days are the best. They’re always the best for people watching. And since I don’t have a television I actually get a kick out of watching the game shows the bartenders usually have on the television at my end of the bar.
Then there are the regulars and semi-regulars who come in that early in the morning: the self-employed, the people who work the night shift and other retirees like me. A couple of these regulars are Vietnam War veterans like I am. I always have two ink pens and a pocket notebook with me.
Then the first Sunday night of every month there’s karaoke at Sonny’s Tavern in Little Italy. I consider karaoke to be not only for fun but also an art form. I do my best to impersonate Jim Morrison which means memorizing the lyrics of the songs by The Doors that I plan to sing, studying his spoken words, poetry and body language and I try to present the theater of a Doors concert. I do deep breathing, flexibility and stretching exercises in the run up to karaoke. I’m in training now.
Well, in the meantime I’m going to finish reading On The Road and I’m probably going to check out another novel by Kerouac and patiently wait for Tuesday.
Hail to Pitt!
The Haiku Poem
If memory serves me I became interested in Haiku poetry while a grad student ( and a teaching assistant my last two years) at the University of Pittsburgh 2003 to 2006. I was obsessed with writing flash fiction and could really appreciate the conciseness of a poem with the scheme of 5 syllables, 7 syllables and 5 syllables. The haiku poem seemed to me to accomplish everything I was struggling to do with flash fiction: a short narrative written with a distilled, precision of language. I started to study and write haiku, but I didn’t stick with it. I had my hands full with flash fiction. I’m a better writer of flash fiction than I am of haiku; but every once in a while I like to write a little ditty for old times sake.
Some time before dawn
He sits at his workstation
While the city sleeps
This is Guy Hogan reporting for the PittsburghFlash. All photos of Emma Glover were sampled from Egotastic All Stars. Don’t forget that the PittsburghFlash features the videos of Naked News the program with nothing to hide. Just scan down the sidebar to Categories and the Naked News link is at the very top!