Another holiday season is upon us, bringing us its bounty of reminders of what’s important in life … and what’s not. And so, I would like to take a moment to offer up my less-than-humble thanks from the gutter of life. I am thankful for Donald J. Trump; it’s good to have a recognizable face to go with the definition of sub-human. Of course, his pockets are deep enough to buy my love, if he really, really, wanted to—and I could really, really use the money, right now—since, as Jim Morrison said, “Money beats soul, every time.”
“I am Anarcho-Instamatic! (Hail to the populist regime!) I am your law and disorder. Holy crypto-manic libertine!”
And with that absurd battle cry, my band, the Transmystic Blues Sniffers, released our long-awaited debut album, Seeds and Stems. The album is currently available digitally on music platforms like Spotify, YouTube Music, Bandcamp, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. See the links below to hear or purchase the album. Call your local radio station and demand the DJs to play it—yes, I said demand because civil disobedience demands nothing less!
Now, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows me that when I’m not writing poetry, prose and novels, I’m writing songs. In fact, my writing exploits really began with my writing music and lyrics, which to be honest, I had hoped other bands might cover one day. Life, however, has taken me down some strange paths—including this one with my bandmates, which I am very happy to have been on as they are also my dear friends.
As far as the album goes, there’s much to be said about hit and run art. “Leave the beholders stunned and confused,” I say. By the time they figure out what the absurd lyrics “Long live the leftist Hitler Youth” and “DEFCON: Defecation!” really mean, I’ll be long gone. In truth, I wanted to produce this album two years ago, but (as it always happens) life gets in the way. Now that it has finally been released, I am leaving Greece, my home, for better or for worse, for the last twenty-five years. It’s a shame that due to the coronavirus we won’t be able to perform the album live, but as they say, “that’s showbiz, kids.” I hope the band survives my departure one way or another because we are all friends and play-well with each other. Also, we have a lot of good music we have yet to record officially. Nevertheless, greener experiential pastures, new creative collaborations, regeneration, and even love await.
NOTE: The following is a transcript of the second part of a self-interview with Jay Leonard Schwartz, author of O Little Central Florida Town Of Bedlam. The interview is taken from a podcast to be released in the near future. The author—that’s me—discusses his new novel and its development. The first part of the interview can be found by clicking here:
Jay: OK, so now let’s move on and talk a bit about the process of your writing the novel. You said before that the book didn’t start out as a novel. Is that right?
Jay: Yes, as I mentioned, I began this book mainly as a writing experiment. Ultimately, it took on a life of its own as a novel—which was a pleasant surprise to me, to say the least, considering how it all began as sort of a bit of therapy.
Jay: Therapy? How so?
Jay: Initially, I began writing because I was recovering from an intestinal bug and became bored with an academic project I had originally started. Later, I returned to this material as a distraction from the local coronavirus-related lockdown. It’s often said that laughter is the best medicine—and I can ceertainly attest to having much fun writing this work.
NOTE: The following is a transcript of a self-interview with Jay Leonard Schwartz, author of O Little Central Florida Town Of Bedlam. The interview is taken from a podcast to be released in the near future. The author—that’s me—discusses his new novel and its development.
Jay: Hello and welcome to this podcast that champions independent authors of absurd fiction and non-fiction, as well as works of satire and dark humor. Also discussed are their creative approaches to writing, be they process or product in nature. Today, we have with us writer, musician, filmmaker and self-confessed Dadaist at large, Jay Leonard Schwartz, author of the absurd and social-satire novel, O Little Central Florida Town Of Bedlam. Jay, welcome to the show!
Jay: Thank you, Jay. I appreciate my being here. I’d just like to say that it’s really nice of me to have myself here, today.
Jay: So, Jay, what is this book about?
Jay: That’s a good question, Jay. You know, I always find that it’s much easier for me to write or develop a project, even a novel in this case, than summarize it in fifty words or less. Basically, however, the novel is the absurd saga of a soggy little Florida town in crisis. The town’s inane history is marred by natural disaster, social dysfunction and bureaucratic ineptitude. As a result, the quirky and eccentric locals of this quagmire of civil strife are forced to live with chronic flooding, political apathy, and societal decay—and eventually fight for their very existence when suddenly threatened by a cosmic collision of political corruption, vindictive weather patterns and supernatural forces.
It’s a shame that all relevance is lost
in the to-each-his-own,
taking for granted the lost-in-translation
and the solipsistic lies we tell ourselves.
And in a world desperate for a unified sense of belonging,
we stand alone and wax indifferent about love. Continue reading →
Oh, children! Where are you marching off to today?
Oh, children! Where are you stomping off to today?
Are you going down to St. James Infirmary?
– (No, Lord, I’m staying home today.)
Will you go down to Maggie’s Farm?
– (No Ma, I’m staying put today.)
Let me tell you ’bout social editing
in the new math of justifying
the survival of the populist regime.
One soul dying … but it’s only one.
Ten souls dying … but not in my home.
A hundred souls dying …
– (Well, they were already gone.)
A thousand souls dying …
– (Didn’t know ’em. Save the other ones!)
Ten thousand souls dying …
– (Not in my constituency. Come on!)
A hundred thousand souls dying …
– (Gotta keep moving on …)
A million souls dying …
And it goes on and on … Continue reading →