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Rock and Roll Lifestyle
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iTunes is asking me, in the guise of a song by Cake, how I afford my rock and roll lifestyle. So here's a little rundown of said lifestyle, at least as it is today, my once-fortnightly midweek day off. (I was supposed to be off work yesterday, Wednesday, but some things came up at work, so I shifted the day off to Thursday.)

First, shortly after climbing out of bed in a bewildered and sleep-addled fashion, I made coffee, then took my beautiful fiancée to the train station so she could go to work. I drove home, sat on the couch, and called the City of Oakland Department of Blah Blah Parking Whatever. After twenty minutes on hold, I talked to a surprisingly nice and competent person, and told her we'd gotten a delinquent payment notice for a parking ticket from last December. I explained that our car had been stolen, and was found parked illegally. The police told us we had to pay for the car to be towed away, but that we didn't have to pay for the parking ticket. I expected a sort of Kafka-esque or Heller-esque Catch-22 situation to result, or at the very least I thought they'd demand I come down to the courthouse and deal with things in person, but, no, they just told me to fax over the police report with the recovery information, and they'd take care of it. So, score! This is how I afford my rock and roll lifestyle: by not paying $91.00 parking tickets.

Then I called one of the two credit card companies to which I've long been indentured, and closed my account, because last week, I paid off the card, and now it's been cut up into plastic confetti and tossed into the garbage can. This is how I afford my rock and roll lifestyle: by tearing off one of the money-sucking credit card leeches. Though, admittedly, it was the smaller of the two leeches. There's still a much larger leech sucking on my financial arteries, but, still -- it's progress, and $50 a month or so I won't be paying anymore.

Then I printed and signed contracts for the Dean Koontz career-overview essay I've been commissioned to write, which will pay me more than working two weeks at the day job does, for a mere 7,000 words. (Very well-researched words, admittedly -- this isn't the same as banging out 7K of fiction. But it works out to a very good hourly rate, if I break it down that way.) I have a deadline of April 30, which should be doable. This is how I afford my rock and roll lifestyle: Freelance, baby!

And for the rest of the day? First I finish reading a collection by Peter Crowther, and write a review of it, and also write a small-press poetry round-up review, both for A Certain Magazine. More rock and roll freelancing! Then I mainline vast quantities of literary criticism about Dean Koontz (I've read almost all his fiction already, probably about 45 of his 60+ books, including some of the early SF and caper novels). I'm not even making many specific notes for the essay yet, just trying to get a sense of his whole (rather vast) career-to-date. That's the way I always used to do it in college. Give myself a massive dose of info, and think about things for a while, let a thesis and rough structure develop in my mind, then get down to writing, making citations, etc. The actual writing is usually fairly easy, and I've always been good at lit-crit.

Now, what does all the hard work get me? What kind of fun goes into living my rock and roll lifestyle? Well, I get to do some cool stuff in preparation for Flytrap #3 today. I've been toying with the idea of having a "featured poet," running four or five poems by a single author in one issue, to try to give a better sense of the poet's work as a whole. I didn't get many submissions for Flytrap #3, and two of the ones I did get, and liked, came from a single poet. So I decided to start the featured-poet thing in #3. I don't know if it'll happen every issue -- probably not, because we still like variety -- but maybe every other issue, or every third one. Our first featured poet is Sonya Taaffe, who I've published often in Star*Line, and in Flytrap #1. She sent me a bunch of poems, which I'll read today, and choose from. That's totally fun. Producing Flytrap is a big part of the rock and roll lifestyle for me.

The biggest and best part of my rock and roll lifestyle comes next week, though, when I set off for the Hidden City workshop for a week of writing, reading, hot-tubbing, hiking, drinking, critiquing, and generally having the best damn time I can.

Rock on, y'all. Rock on completely.

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