Let Christmas Expectations Fall Like Snow

Christmas Trees Snow

Have you heard this one already? Three clinically depressed highjumpers walk into a bar. They lower it.

I’m kidding of course.

Then again, I’m not kidding, (as always), because if there is anything that will help today’s mentally ill individual survive the three-ring-circus of psychological torment and emotional Armageddon known by that deceptively sweet euphemism – the holidays – it is lowered expectations.

Why? With every layer of tinsel, every rehashed Christmas chestnut mangled by Beyoncé, every eggnog-infused martini, every promise of no money down and no payments for the first seventeen months, every drug-addled midnight greeter at Walmart scratching his most recent tattoo, every ill-considered fax at every office party, and every other cliché of Christmas cacophony and tintinnabulation comes the rising tide of truly ho-ho-horrible inevitability – the hopes, the joys, the fears of all the years, reindeer and pain dear – that Grinch-ish thief of all that is merry; expectations.

Those of us who have mucked out a foxhole or two after the elves have returned to their elf-help groups, leaving only ripped wrapping paper and the unnerving sound of gnashing teeth, know only too well that – an expectation is merely a resentment that has been booked in advance.

We watch the lemming-like inevitability of shoppers who resemble nothing more closely than poor Charlie Brown looking far across the yard at the relentlessly malevolent Lucy finger pointing down at the poised and ready football, believing deep within that dimwitted, soft-boiled egg of a head he has that this time it will be different.

Sadly, it never is. Fellow Whackadoomians, examine the terrible trap we must sidestep. Because it is the Santa-bag of expectations we bring with us – not the event itself – that causes our undoing.

Week after week, the entire culture conspires to deceive; is it any wonder we question reality itself and struggle to differentiate between what is, what might be, and what could be if only we had been less naughty and more nice throughout the year?

The entire communications infrastructure which now extends to gas pumps, check out lines in supermarkets, phones, rented movies, in short, everything we encounter in our daily lives, stokes the id until it roars like a voracious furnace – wanting, craving, needing and hungering for a mountain of flashy, splashy landfill-food made in China and destined for a useful life so short it would inspire pity in a drosophila before vanishing out the back end of our consumer economy. It all happens in the bat of an eye.

It was the redoubtable Taz Mopula who warned, “If I could give you just one piece of advice it would be this; do not, under any circumstances, take my advice.” In this spirit I will say that I would not presume to give you advice and if I did you would almost certainly not take it but if I did and if you did this is what it would be:

Want to enjoy your holiday? Do some Christmas triage. Ratchet down the level of your expectations to zero and start there.

Poetry: Too Important To Be Left To The Sane

Poetry Is Far Too Important For Sane

As an insecure, fear-driven youth I relied exclusively on intellect. Lacking faith in social institutions, other people, or myself, I steadfastly trusted my mind’s ability to predict and manage life’s challenges. It made for a chilly, detached existence I found satisfactory.

“Poetry is far too important to be left to the sane.” Taz Mopula

Manic Depression (Bipolar Disorder) changed all that for me. It was obvious that even my most faithful ally, my mind, was untrustworthy.

When I sat down to write Invisible Driving, my bipolar memoir, I knew I was taking a risk – remembering my mania to write about it might easily have sparked another episode. Revisiting my terrors was the very last thing I felt like doing.

Ultimately it became clear that, unless I faced my demon down, it would keep coming back and my next encounter with it might well be my last. So, I went sailing head first into darkness, I unwrapped the gift of desperation.

“Great soldiers are brave; great poets are reckless.” Taz Mopula

My rational mind dearly desired to control, to soar above events and manipulate them like a puppeteer with marionettes. But the task at hand took precedence over my ego, and because it did, I trusted the process itself. After so many years of being a shoemaker, doing piecework for nickels and dimes, I became a real writer not because I thought my way into it but because I surrendered to it.

“We write to discover who we are, and in the process, become somebody else.” Taz Mopula

I do not deny the importance of craft, if one wants to be a guitarist one must learn how to play the guitar. But it is not the fingers on strings that make you an artist; it is the story they tell, and the way it reaches, and moves, others. You don’t play music; you find it. It isn’t in a curvy wooden box; it passes through you like wind through a canyon, coming out of nowhere, on its way to parts unknown.

“Writing great poetry becomes much easier when you’re willing to die for it.” Taz Mopula

My dive into darkness replaced fear with faith, not just faith in myself, but faith in the unknown, and unknowable. I embraced chaos without judgment or disappointment; I understood I could rely upon uncertainty.

“Without life, poetry itself would be meaningless.” Taz Mopula

In the end a writer is merely a man in a room with a typewriter. He arranges words like a Byzantine artisan laying tiles into a mosaic which gradually reveals an illustrative pattern quite possibly unknown even to him until the very moment of completion.

“It’s always darkest before the movie starts.” Taz Mopula

Armchair Activism: Effetes Don’t Fail Me Now

Disneyland

After 9/11, President Bush urged a horrified nation to visit Disneyland. This, he explained, would show terrorists that Americans couldn’t be deterred from their God-given right to pursue happiness.

“Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door. However, the mice will switch all of your street signs.” Taz Mopula

Since then, consumerism-as-political-statement has gained widespread acceptance. This notion seems uniquely American, an odd kluge of our actual religion, Capitalism, and Christianity, the religion we talk about and pretend to respect.

“The only constant is change; well, that and the resistance to change. So, actually, there are two constants.” Taz Mopula

The old sales incentive of – “the more you shop the more you save” – has been cleverly adjusted to mean – “the more stuff you buy for yourself the more giant pandas you save” – as lovely a bit of self-serving pretzel logic as you will ever find.

“New app enables users to bravely condemn global injustice and insult authority figures without budging from Barcalounger.” Taz Mopula

The idea of making social activism a convenient, spectator sport really hit high gear with the ubiquitous acceptance of so-called social networking websites. Strolling their busy, digital boulevards you are constantly assaulted by the bizarre promise that – all you need to do is “click here” and you will cure [insert social evil]. Though certain that it’s facile, cheap, lazy, and too good to be true; you just do it.

“Humans can repair mechanical problems; but machines cannot repair human problems, only manifest them in new forms.” Taz Mopula

A while back I realized something truly dreadful: people don’t have problems, people are the problem. We fall in love with technology and believe it will cure, or at least compensate for, our faults – at best all it ever does is echo them.

“The main difference between changing a mind and changing a diaper is that changing a diaper is possible.” Taz Mopula

As a rule, real change is almost always frightening, painful, difficult, and exhausting. I never changed because I wanted to, or because I thought it would make me a better person. All my growth was driven by necessity, because the choice was simple – change or die.

Anyone who believes that one nimble mouse click will save the rain forest should probably be made to wear mittens.

“Leave only footprints in the snow; their eloquent silence shows the way.” Taz Mopula

Rather than pretending to remedy the world’s ills, why not work on the tiny corner of it where you can actually make a difference?

I Sing Because I’m Happy, I Sing Because I’m Free

North Philly

I felt as though the air had grown thick; I navigated it laboriously, as one walks through knee-deep water. Sweetness and flavor were gone; colors had faded into a thousand gray variations. I was 26 and thoroughly adrift. In need of employment I followed a path worn smooth by thousands of over-educated lost souls before me, complete immersion in a dead-end, service sector job.

Penn Radio Cab was a poorly managed, independently owned taxi company that prospered by transporting Philadelphia’s under-served population throughout its most distressed neighborhoods. We were not Yellow, parked in front of swish hotels, on our way to the airport, oh no. Our days and nights were spent prowling the forbidding landscapes of North and West Philadelphia where money was scarce and life was cheap.

The management at Penn Radio exploited its drivers mercilessly – 12-hour shifts, 6-days a week, weekends mandatory, no exceptions. Saturdays were okay, but Sundays were useless, no fares, no money. Rolling the desolate, trash-lined streets, awash in post-apocalyptic rubble, cars on cinderblocks, hookers, junkies, cops, and newspaper delivery trucks, we ate donuts, drank coffee, and smoked cigarettes.

Early one Sunday morning in April, gritty city trees in graffiti-smeared planters bravely pushing buds out into the carbon-monoxide, I answered a radio call in North Philly. It was a slim brick row house in a block of identical dwellings distinguished by the presence of bright green Astro-turf on the front steps. Out of the house, moving with precise determination; came a distinguished, buttoned-up black nurse. She got in the cab.

Philadelphia is known for its hospitals, so when she gave me the address of a Baptist Church I was confused. In my innocence I asked her if she was attending church on her way to work. She said no, she worked at the church. More curious still I asked her why a church would need to have a nurse on hand.

She said, “You know, in case somebody gets too happy.”

Then it all came to me, like a wave. Being a choirboy at St. Martin’s in the Fields, my mom driving me and my friends to the service on Sunday, listening to the live feed on WHAT from The Cornerstone Baptist Church at 33rd & Diamond Streets and the way the entire congregation sang with a completely unqualified euphoria of jubilee shout halleluiah until we couldn’t figure out why the building was still standing and even then I ached for that kind of belief, that faith, that mad commitment and wondered how it must feel to give yourself up to the divine and surrender and then we would go to St. Martin’s in the Fields and sing and men in tweed with their women in mink would fall asleep and I thought this can’t be what religion is.

And so I drove the nurse to her church.

The Great Epigram Quiz

epigram taz

The use and abuse of quotes, aphorisms, and bromides has grown to epidemic proportions; today the Internet is awash in frequently misattributed, pithy sentiments. Who really said the following?

1.“Why pay to exercise in a gym when you can enjoy an exercise in futility for free whenever you like?”
a.) Cicero
b.) Snooki
c.) Sisyphus
d.) Taz Mopula

2. “You have the right to remain silent, and listen. Might be advisable to exercise it before they take that one away, too.”
a.) Marcel Marceau
b.) Lao Tzu
c.) Boxcar Willie
d.) Taz Mopula

3. “Don’t honk if you love auditory hallucinations.”
a.) Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
b.) Sylvia Plath
c.) His Holiness the Dalai Lama
d.) Taz Mopula

4. “Laughter is the best medicine; except when it comes to poisonous snakebites, then it’s the second-best medicine.”
a.) Albert Schweitzer
b.) Baron Rochefoucauld
c.) Kim Kardashian
d.) Taz Mopula

5. “The real tragedy of political correctness is that it has given lying a bad name.”
a.) Pliny The Elder
b.) Pliny The Younger
c.) Regular Pliny
d.) Taz Mopula

6. “Think twice before burning bridges; you never know when you might want to jump off one of them.”
a.) Zig Zigler
b.) Pema Chödrön
c.) Reverend Ike
d.) Taz Mopula

7. “Looking for self-worth in someone else’s eyes is like trying to breathe with someone else’s lungs.”
a.) Maya Angelou
b.) Charlie Sheen
c.) Gertrude Stein
d.) Taz Mopula

8. “It’s not that I don’t love you, I do love you; I just don’t love you enough to lie to you.”
a.) Dante
b.) Paris Hilton
c.) Shakespeare
d.) Taz Mopula

9. “Should you meet someone who claims that visualizing a thing makes it so; tell them to visualize being flattened by a bus.”
a.) Tom Waits
b.) James Dean
c.) Hunter Thompson
d.) Taz Mopula

10. “Life is good! Death is poopy!”
a.) Dr. Wayne Dyer
b.) Oprah Winfrey
c.) Tony Robbins
d.) Taz Mopula

11. “You can’t fool all of the people all of the time; but why would you even try when they’re so eager to do the job for you?”
a.) Abraham Lincoln
b.) Will Rogers
c.) Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli
d.) Taz Mopula

12. “Why raise the bridge when you can lower your expectations of the river?”
a.) Albert Camus
b.) Søren Kierkegaard
c.) Jean Paul Sartre
d.) Taz Mopula

13. “Ultimately it’s not what you don’t say that matters most so much as how you don’t say it.”
a.) Harpo Marx
b.) Tomás de Torquemada
c.) Oscar Wilde
d.) Taz Mopula

14. “Be nice to your enemies; you just might be one of them.”
a.) Pogo
b.) Socrates
c.) Ozzy Osbourne
d.) Taz Mopula

15. “The best things in life aren’t free, the worst things in life aren’t free, and the cost of mediocrity is hidden.”
a.) John Lennon
b.) Jack Lemmon
c.) Blind Lemon Jefferson
d.) Taz Mopula

16. “Dying is easy, they say, but comedy is hard. So cheer up. Even if you fail at comedy you’re almost certain to die successfully.”
a.) Andrew “Dice” Clay
b.) Sam Kinison
c.) Carrot Top
d.) Taz Mopula

17. “American liberals, celebrated for their tolerance, stalwartly defend the right of wretched refuse to agree with them.”
a.) Noam Chomsky
b.) Pete Seeger
c.) Christopher Hitchens
d.) Taz Mopula

18. “Political Correctness: An experiment in social engineering which holds that renaming dung mousse au chocolat makes it edible.”
a.) Reverend Al Sharpton
b.) Julia Child
c.) Che Guevara
d.) Taz Mopula

19. “If technology makes our lives any more convenient, even breathing will become too much of an effort.”
a.) Steven Jobs
b.) Bill Gates
c.) Larry Page
d.) Taz Mopula

20. “Artificial intelligence will soon be the only kind remaining; thus conclusively proving the failure of human intelligence.”
a.) Isaac Asimov
b.) Ray Bradbury
c.) Michel de Nostredame
d.) Taz Mopula

What’s Wrong With Being Not Right For Everyone?

The Audience Is  Never Wrong Wrong Theater

My father leveraged his iconoclastic, condescending personality into an asset; and rode it to celebrity. Only much later did I come to see that he craved approval, even adulation, the way an addict craves narcotics. Like an addict, his hunger was insatiable; the more validation he received the more he needed. Watching in terrified awe, I grew up believing that mass acceptance is highly desirable, and a reliable barometer of value.

“Never confuse fame with artistic quality, or wealth with value. Society gets what it wants, not what it needs.” Taz Mopula

He lived in the spotlight; I lived in the shadow. Growing up in the dark taught me to love the cool, quiet of oblivion, where I was safe from the horrors of accomplishment and the judgment that went with it. If I wasn’t known to anyone, (the logic went), I couldn’t disappoint. The death of a thousand (self-administered) cuts was well underway.

“Looking for self-worth in someone else’s eyes is like trying to breathe with someone else’s lungs.” Taz Mopula

Manic Depression (Bipolar Disorder) stole the anonymity that cloaked me; fits of mania splattered my once secret torment across the front page, I soon became a nasty joke everyone had heard. For years I labored to understand and remedy what madness had revealed – learning to love the real me. In time I came to understand that honesty is the very bedrock of all recovery.

“It’s not that I don’t love you, I do love you; I just don’t love you enough to lie to you.” Taz Mopula

That is precisely when I ceased being a dilettante and began taking myself seriously as a creative artist. I wrote my bipolar memoir, applying a searching, fearless honesty which some regard as brutal. From then on the die was cast, in subsequent books, poems, cartoons – even Taz Mopulisms – truth, in other words – what I understand to be the truth – trumped all.

“The audience is never wrong; that said, one does occasionally wander into the wrong theater.” Taz Mopula

Everything about my experience is eccentric, and so, as you might expect, I have many unorthodox beliefs and opinions which I share freely. I certainly don’t set out to upset or offend, it’s merely an unintended consequence. There is no alternative. I don’t expect universal acceptance – honestly, that would almost be a bad sign – I am merely offering freely to all and looking for my audience.

“There is only one truly authentic way to enjoy success; that is by remaining indifferent to it.” Taz Mopula

Nocturnal Missions And Disappearing Acts

Moonlit Tours Cover

In 1976 I returned to Philadelphia after three years in Louisville where I worked for a newspaper and got an advanced degree. (I discovered later that an M.A. in creative writing virtually assures unemployability.) My mother had died, my father had taken up with a student of his, and I was well into a prolonged clinical depression. I had no family, no job prospects, and more importantly, no will; so I got a job as a cab driver.

There was an existential purity to that job; it was sublimely meaningless, which was deeply appealing.

For 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, a river of unimportant people flowed through the back seat of my cab. I can honestly say I didn’t care about them at all. Some were beautiful, some were ugly, some were entertaining, some were annoying – it didn’t make a difference. They all had one thing in common, the only important thing; they needed to go somewhere and they were willing to give me money if I took them.

One fine spring morning I was dispatched to a Pennsylvania State Liquor Store where I was to collect a fare and proceed to The Alden Park Manor, a stately red brick apartment complex abutting Fairmount Park. I pulled up to the curb and there, holding a brown paper bag and waiting patiently, was an attractive, middle-aged black woman with a wooden leg. (She was wearing a skirt and no stockings; the device was in plain sight.) Neatly dressed and perhaps a bit too thin to be healthy, she looked road-weary and yet oddly serene.

It was a short drive and conversation was minimal. She leaned forward to pay me and whispered.

“Would you like to come upstairs?”
“I really should be going.”
“I’ll give you a drink.” She wiggled the brown paper bag.
“Thanks a lot, but, I can’t drink on the job.”
“I’ll take off my leg,” her voice danced musically, “you can have a look.”
“Um. Well. Well. Um.” I simply could not think of anything appropriate to say.
“I’ll let you touch my stump.” Her smile was warm and generous.
“Yeah, I really do have to go.”
“I’ll pay you, I’ll give you $20.”
“That’s all right, thanks all the same.”
“The other drivers like it.” This was offered with a whiff of bitterness. She opened the door and got out.

I had been living in depression for a very long time, my own pain had become alpha and omega. For that instant she had forced me out of my prison and into hers. I felt the wreckage, the doom, the longing – the strange hunger that would cause a person to abandon all shame and propriety in order to be fed.

The world is larger than you know, I thought to myself.

To Order Moonlit Tours – my dark, comedic novel – Click HERE

Let’s Eliminate Wretched Writing

Learn To Speak The Truth Foreign Language

I’ve been a professional writer for 30 years and in that time I’ve learned a few things. So, with the help of with my old friend Taz, I’m going to toss out some pointers guaranteed to make you a better writer.

“Technology has democratized the tools of creativity, resulting in a tsunami even more cretinous and loathsome than anticipated.” Taz Mopula

Today, everyone can instantly transmit shabby, incomprehensible phrases around the world. We are awash in a tidal wave of staggeringly poor writing. The good news for you is that it is easier than ever to stand out – good spelling alone puts you in the top 5%.

“Writing is the easiest part of being a writer; the most difficult part is becoming a writer.” Taz Mopula

Arranging words is the very last step of the writing process. Great writing begins with great thinking; your writing will improve immeasurably if your thinking and motives are clear.

“On the Internet, all statements are true; including this one.” Taz Mopula

The Internet is like a broad boulevard where idiocy, divinity, and evil stroll hand in hand. The poor reader must learn to separate cheese from Cheez Whiz. Your writing will either exploit and exacerbate this problem or help repair it.

“Learn to speak the truth; it is helpful to be fluent in a foreign language.” Taz Mopula

Truth is the hallmark of great writing. Most people purposely avoid telling the truth. Most of those who try, fail, since they habitually deceive themselves. While there is no such thing as absolute truth, understanding and sharing your personal truth catapults you into the top 1% of all writers.

“We write to discover who we are, and in the process, become somebody else.” Taz Mopula

Writing well requires a reckless disregard for comfort and safety. Be Columbus, sail off the edge of a flat ocean and you and your readers will be rewarded beyond your wildest dreams. Personal evolution is an almost inescapable byproduct of great writing.

“Ultimately it’s not what you don’t say that matters most so much as how you don’t say it.” Taz Mopula

Here is an exercise for you – listen to the music of Thelonious Monk for a day. Listen to the spaces in-between the notes. The confident writer says more by saying less, but when you do say something, make it count.

“Even the greatest paintings are flat; they only become three-dimensional in the eyes of those who behold them.” Taz Mopula

As a rule, writers are arrogant, narcissistic, impatient, self-indulgent and drunk. You’ll find over time that these qualities work against you and must be mastered. The finish line is the realization that you are a craftsman and a servant – without your audience you are merely a mime performing at a school for the blind.

The Great Art Quote Quiz

Thomas Kinkade meets Godzilla

Match The Pithy Quote With Who Really Said It

1. “Poetry is far too important to be left to the sane.”
a.) Rod McKuen
b.) Richard Bach
c.) Erich Segal
d.) Taz Mopula

2. “Mediocre art misrepresents reality; great art obliterates it.”
a.) Grandma Moses
b.) Norman Rockwell
c.) Andrew Wyeth
d.) Taz Mopula

3. “If you need mania to be creative, then maybe creativity isn’t for you.”
a.) Lord Byron
b.) Ernest Hemingway
c.) Terry Gilliam
d.) Taz Mopula

4. “Without life, poetry itself would be meaningless.”
a.) Nipsey Russell
b.) Mark Russell
c.) Tom Lehrer
d.) Taz Mopula

5. “No artist, however prodigious his talents, can create a great audience.”
a.) P.T. Barnum
b.) Cecil B. DeMille
c.) Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus
d.) Taz Mopula

6. “Great soldiers are brave; great poets are reckless.”
a.) General George S. Patton
b.) Audie Murphy
c.) Hannibal
d.) Taz Mopula

7. “Writing great poetry becomes much easier when you’re willing to die for it.”
a.) Dylan Thomas
b.) Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade
c.) Wayland Flowers & Madame
d.) Taz Mopula

8. “The audience is never wrong; that said, one does occasionally wander into the wrong theater.”
a.) Abraham Lincoln
b.) Ronald Reagan
c.) Gerald Ford
d.) Taz Mopula

9. “Art is the shortest distance between two points, when one of the points has no known, or knowable, location.”
a.) Albert Einstein
b.) Stephen Hawking
c.) Carl Sagan
d.) Taz Mopula

10. “Even the greatest paintings are flat; they only become three-dimensional in the eyes of those who behold them.”
a.) Clarence Fountain
b.) Art Tatum
c.) Andrea Bocelli
d.) Taz Mopula

11. “Never confuse fame with artistic quality, or wealth with value. Society gets what it wants, not what it needs.”
a.) Liberace
b.) Aaron Spelling
c.) Steven Jobs
d.) Taz Mopula

12. “The only thing worse than obsessing over your press clippings is believing the ones you wrote yourself.”
a.) Madonna
b.) Quentin Tarantino
c.) Norman Mailer
d.) Taz Mopula

13. “Propaganda is to art as prostitution is to mambo lessons for the blind, in France.”
a.) Woody Guthrie
b.) Diego Rivera
c.) Jean Paul Sartre
d.) Taz Mopula

14. “I’m looking for someone to ghost-write my upcoming self-help book.”
a.) Deepak Chopra
b.) Wayne Dyer
c.) Pema Chödrön
d.) Taz Mopula

15. “A picture is worth a thousand lies.”
a.) Dorothea Lange
b.) Frank Capra
c.) Diane Arbus
d.) Taz Mopula

16. “Artists are typically motivated by twin passions; fear of anonymity and the desire to create feelings of inferiority in others.”
a.) Pablo Picasso
b.) Oscar Wilde
c.) Blind Lemon Jefferson
d.) Taz Mopula

17. “Art is what we have instead of answers.”
a.) Hieronymus Bosch
b.) Søren Kierkegaard
c.) Albert Ayler
d.) Taz Mopula

18. “That the camera cannot lie is axiomatic. But digital technology has enabled manufacturers to correct this deficiency.”
a.) Annie Leibovitz
b.) Henri Cartier-Bresson
c.) Mathew Brady
d.) Taz Mopula

19. “No one goes to school to become an artist; you go to school to avoid becoming an artist.”
a.) Moms Mabley
b.) Isadora Duncan
c.) Jean Cocteau
d.) Taz Mopula

20. “Writing poetry, playing the violin, and tossing dwarfs; when these pursuits are entrusted to amateurs, tragedy ensues.”
a.) Charles Bukowski
b.) Stéphane Grappelli
c.) Tom Thumb
d.) Taz Mopula

Contact me for answers.

The Heartbreak Of Terminal Hipness

hip cat with beret

Despite exciting progress in the world of mental health, millions of Americans still suffer the ravages of Terminal Hipness, a debilitating mental, emotional and spiritual disorder preventing them from experiencing life. Symptoms include:

· Chronic cynicism
· Faux fin de siècle ennui
· Delusions of superiority
· Black clothing
· Obsession with irony
· Devotion to sunglasses
· Mirthless sarcasm

For Terminal Hipsters, caring is the final frontier; revealing raw emotion is the summit of K2. Despite being subjugated by a chronic illness, to them the cure is worse than the disease; they cannot make the scene, man, because negativity is comfortable armor hiding fear.
I know. I was once counted in their ranks – and I have the Albert Ayler records to prove it.

“Cynicism: When you’re clever enough to see life as it is but not emotionally strong enough to accept it.” Taz Mopula

My creative renaissance began over 20 years ago, when I wrote the first draft of Invisible Driving. At that time I also returned to my first artistic love – poetry.

“Writing great poetry becomes much easier when you’re willing to die for it.” Taz Mopula

Surprisingly, my work became a regular feature of the Internet’s weirdest, darkest, and most prestigious literary magazine – Exquisite Corpse – published by celebrated poet and Count Dracula impersonator – Andrei Codrescu.

“Celebrity: A state of being where one is not known by a large number of people.” Taz Mopula 

Codrescu is a creature of the night, and he liked my subterranean stuff. But one day I decided to submit something unapologetically poignant – a poem which had reduced several grown men to tears when I performed it at hipster flipster finger poppin’ daddy poetry readings at snoochy poochy art galleries in Philadelphia.

“Great soldiers are brave; great poets are reckless.” Taz Mopula

He wrote me back and said, “It’s a lovely poem, Alistair, but we are into darker music at the moment.” I let it go, wondering if my hep cat card had been pulled.

To my surprise, he published it anyway.

I know so little, but along the way I have learned a few things. Among them: there is a rather disheartening linkage between fear, cowardice, and cynicism. For so many of us – unvarnished love and honesty are unimaginably terrible.