Hello, hello, hello, and welcome to the online publishing experiment that I call the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette, a lifestyle magazine of culture for adults only. The lifestyle that I blog about is mine such as it is which is not saying much. At least not in my opinion. I call my lifestyle working-class blogger baby boomer chic. I’ve been a struggling artist of one kind or another all my life so far and I don’t think that is going to change any time soon. So, I may as well sit back and enjoy the ride. I mean it’s not as if I’m going to change. It’s taken me decades to get to be this way. I’ve accepted the fact that I’ll never make it big. The vast majority of artists don’t make it big. There are any number of reasons for this. Not enough talent. Not enough discipline. Not enough perseverance. Not lucky enough or just not being in the right place at the right time. I’m doing what I want to do. I wish what I’m doing brought in more money, but hey, I’m just happy that after all these years I’m still healthy enough and sane enough to carry on. I’m a lucky man. I know I’m a lucky man. And I have lots of material.
I’ve been a soldier and a professional student. I’ve been an underground filmmaker and a paid contributor of flash fiction to a local print weekly. I’ve been the front man for several basement rock bands. I’ve been a truck driver for Bell Telephone and a bagger and a night stockperson in supermarkets. I’ve been an after-hours clean up man in bars and a grill man for a fast food chain and any other number of dead-end jobs. Why only dead-end jobs. As a young man I was convinced that if not rich and famous, I would make plenty of money as a writer. I’ve been on the dole and I’ve been homeless.
I have good material.
Unfortunately all this good material has not given me a comfortable old age. What’s the saying about the well laid plans of mice and men? But comfort was never my goal. I worked just enough dead-end jobs that now since I’m retired I have just enough income to take care of my needs with enough left over to allow for two weeks of fun the first half of every month. The important thing is my modest but secure income allows me to be a full-time blogger. And The Gazette does bring in something and as time goes on I’m sure it will bring in even more.
You know you can’t beat that with a stick!
I find a kindred spirit in the writer Charles Bukowski (1920-1994). Oh, he lived far more on the edge than I do or ever did; but he worked a lot of dead-end jobs, too, except for one long stint at the post office for several years. Yes he was working class. He wrote novels, poems and short stories about people down and often times out. I’ve been there.
And here’s another thing about the writing career of Charles Bukowski that inspires me. His earliest writings were first published in what was then called the underground press. These were presses that put out books and “free” papers with press runs of a few hundred to a few thousand copies in the Los Angeles area where he lived most of his life. He didn’t break big nationally until his first novel (Post Office) was published in 1971 when he was fifty-one years old. And it was published by one of the small presses that had first published him. He remained faithful to the small presses his entire writing career.
The first flash fiction I was paid ($30.00) for was published by a local print news weekly. And the weekly kept publishing my work for two years until new management took over and decided to take the publication in a different direction. I’ve always considered my breakout to be the fellowship valued at around $60,000 dollars that the University of Pittsburgh awarded me in 2003 to attend its graduate writing school because of the flash fiction stories I submitted along with my application for its MFA program. I was in my 50s.
So, yes as an artist I’ve found inspiration in the life and work of Charles Bukowski. An artist, especially a struggling artist which I will probably be to the bitter end, must find inspiration wherever he or she can get it.
Hail to Pitt!
The Autumn Rain
Today’s weather forecast for the Pittsburgh area calls for rain all day long. Light rain. Heavy rain. Misty rain. What a bummer. There will be no restorative walk through Schenley Plaza or around the Pitt campus today. I’m stuck indoors with my books and my computer.
Now if I had some fun money I’d either stroll (fuck the rain) or take a bus ride to Armand’s in Little Italy. Sitting on a high stool at the bar in Armand’s and sipping on a 16 ounce chilled beer can of Pabst Blue Ribbon and munching on peanuts or chips while gazing out on Liberty Avenue in the rain with my trusty ink pen and notepad on the bar top next to my beer and shooting the breeze with the bartender and a couple of the regulars and watching one of the game shows on the television at my end of the bar would make for a pleasant couple of hours or three of downtime on a gloomy day like today. It would sure make the day go faster. It’s around 8:30 a.m. It’s going to be a long day.
Oh, well, I’ll be back on my regular beat in Little Italy in 11 days.
Let the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette be your go to site for Naked News videos. Naked News, the program with nothing to hide, has it’s own category here at The Gazette. Just scan down the sidebar to Categories and the Naked News link is at the very top!
This is Guy Hogan reporting from North Oakland in Pittsburgh. All photos of Haley Nicole Permenter were sampled from Egotastic All Stars.
A flash fiction writer is a person who can write short on long subjects.–Guy Hogan
The Autumn Rain
Outside my window
The frightening overcast sky
Now begins to weep
I would have been a great writer, but the chairs in the library were too hard.–Anonymous