J. Bradley

Writer/Performer/Producer

Tag: poetry

July Update

If you followed my Instagram feed from mid-February from late May, you may have noticed that I was posting about 500 or so words of content every day for 98 days. I’ve been depressed about the current presidential administration and I needed do something to cope with this depression and with this coping mechanism, I ended up writing a second novel, which I didn’t plan or expect to do this year, let alone any year, but as if all of my projects, the ideas are stumbled upon.

When I set out to start this project, I remember something Ben Tanzer told me or said on a podcast about how he wrote anywhere (typically during his commutes to and from work) and I took that method to heart when I started down the path of writing this novel, using Google Docs to write on my iPad, even my iPhone. Instagram kept me accountable about making sure I got my 500+ words in daily. Writing in this way was out of my comfort zone but it was worth doing, and I think that’s important for any creative person is to do things that makes them uncomfortable.

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Here are some excerpts of the novel (I’m calling it Teenage Wasteland: An American Love Story until an editor suggests otherwise.)

I also have some other flash fiction over in Flash Flood, which you can read here.

Also FIVE:2:ONE published some of my ribcage poems, which you can read here.

On Re-Evaluation

At the beginning of There Will Be Words (May 2011), there wasn’t anything like it. There were prose readings happening either on local college campuses that weren’t well advertised or occurring amongst insular writing groups but prose didn’t really have a public perception in Orlando. Prior to this, I ran a poetry slam from January 2001 to April 2011. In 2001, there was an open mic or two that was dedicated to poetry/spoken word, or events that happened on local college campuses, but most of the open mics were dedicated to music of the singer/songwriter variety. Over the ten years of running a slam, spoken word/poetry emerged and there was a spoken word/poetry show almost every night of the week in Orlando. Towards the end of the poetry slam, less people became interested in it, and I felt there were two factors behind it:

  1. Frequency: the slam was weekly and that’s a high demand from your audience to keep coming week in and week out. Some slams are able to do this based on their location and fanbase. There were some weeks that we had a very lean turnout and other weeks that we had a good turnout. I was stubborn and thought that the show needed to happen every week, too, not knowing any better.
  2. Saturation: the slam started out being something special early on, something new, and it attracted attention. We hit our initial peak when we sent our first team to the National Poetry Slam and then people lost interest because the team didn’t do well. We worked our way back up to getting a dedicated base that stuck around for awhile. As the years went on, more spoken word/poetry shows emerged, and they provided an alternative venue for performers who didn’t want to compete in slam, who felt more comfortable in the safety of an open mic, and they didn’t need the slam. We also hit our second peak from 2009-2010 when the 2009 team went to the semifinals for the first time at the National Poetry Slam. When the 2010 team didn’t match the previous team’s progress, people lost interest again. I tried switching the show from weekly to monthly and it struggled with attendance. I should have known when hardly anyone came to the tenth anniversary show that the slam was officially dead. Two months later, when no one came to the monthly slam (partially because it took place on St. Patrick’s Day), I decided it was time to end it and move on.

I embraced these lessons learned when I started There Will Be Words, doing a monthly show, curating the readings, making it something special. But even with the monthly frequency, saturation came back. More reading series and pop-up literary events have happened over the last six years and There Will Be Words has been struggling with attendance for awhile. It’s a great problem that Orlando has evolved from a literary perspective where we have a wide array of literary events that are actually known by the general public.

I’ve been revitalized as of late running the occasional poetry slam, partially because of the audience-as-judges element, partially because I’m not sending teams or individuals to national competitions. I’ve made it fun by introducing a title belt component and taking a three-ring circus approach. I’m moving There Will Be Words towards a direction that integrates the poetry and the prose into it, and where I do it three or four times a year, rather than doing this show monthly. I need to make this event special again so I can get people to come out, to support it.

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Here’s what I’ve had come out as of late

Fiction

Poetry

Reviews

Podcasts

 

I Fought The Site Admins (And The Site Admins Won)

I need to stop using the word “never” whenever I say that I won’t ever do a project again. I’ve done this with running a poetry slam (which I started doing on and off again in 2015), writing new Jesus Christ, Boy Detective stories (I’ve written a one-act and a three-act play) and my Yelp review project.

Some background: from September 2013 until early 2015, I wrote prose poems disguised as Yelp reviews and posted them on Yelp. I also submitted them to literary journals. As literary journals published them, I took them down. Yelp started catching on and took them down as well for violating their Terms of Service (ToS). Once they took down over 40 of them in a great purge around late 2014, I knew it was time for me to stop. I said then I wouldn’t ever do them again. Then a couple of things happened.

First, I got into Art in Odd Places – Orlando last year because of my Yelp review project and I started writing Yelp reviews reviewing each project. There were over 40 projects to review but I only got to about half of them. Overall, they were well received.

Second, we elected someone not qualified to be president and I started writing Yelp reviews reviewing the various properties that our president (still) owns, and then moved onto government buildings that his (incompetent) cabinet members would inhabit. After the site admins took down more of my Yelp reviews, they emailed me this.

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After that, I posted two more reviews, one on Yelp’s HQ building and the other on Melbourne International Airport. Those were the last straw for the site admins.

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I have no regrets doing what I did. I only wish the site admins had a better sense of humor about it, a sense of artistry. There are a lot of shitty Yelp reviews out there that, while they may confirm to the ToS, don’t necessarily have anything to do about the place that they reviewed.

I have a favor to ask: if you enjoyed this iteration of the Yelp review project, please pick up a copy of my book, Pick How You Will Revise A Memory, which contains some of the Yelp reviews from 2013-2015. Also, reviews about it for Goodreads would be helpful (which you can add over here.)

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Refer below to some recently published work that I have either been too lazy or too depressed about the current state of affairs to properly promote.

It’s Finished

I’ve been quiet here lately. I was on the homestretch towards finishing my MFA program and as of Monday, I’m officially graduating with a 4.0 GPA. This is a huge personal accomplishment as the highest GPA I ever maintained was back in elementary school (mostly Bs).

My MFA experience was good. I found a program that was online only, which didn’t require any travel on my part. I was able to take workshops and classes outside of my comfort zone or expertise, such as narrative journalism, magical realism, the literature of war and the apocalypse, and playwriting. I had professors who encouraged my weirdness throughout the experience. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

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I have a new piece of flash fiction over in Microfiction Monday, which you can read here.

I have a new Yelp review poem over at New Verse News, which you can read here.

My Yelp review prose poem collection could use some love over on Goodreads. You can go here to add it to your shelf. You can also buy a copy over here.

Art is Hard

I’m currently recovering from my first Art in Odd Places as an artist. This was the first time I crossed over into public art and I learned a couple of things:

  1. Don’t have a project that relies on power. I didn’t realize the limitations that power requirements would cause in terms of where I could have my digital frame showing my Yelp reviews. I also didn’t realize the role the sun played in terms of people being able to see said project.
  2. Set a performance schedule. It’s challenging to be with your project for the duration of the festival. I underestimated the endurance that it required (and overestimated my own endurance, which is a personal issue I have to deal with). It would have been easier on me physically if I set times that I would be there.

Would I do this again? Absolutely. It allowed me to engage people who typically don’t read poetry or literature in general. I have an idea on what I would do for next year if the curators are willing to have me back again.

Click here to watch the project.I also wrote new Yelp reviews reviewing projects at Art in Odd Places (there were 41 and I could only write 21). You can check out the ones posted on AiOP Orlando’s Instagram feed here.

My Yelp review collection, Pick How You Will Revise a Memory, is still available for pre-order. Go here to pre-order a copy. You should be able to use the code NEWTITLESFALL2016 to get $3.00 off until Friday, November 18.

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A ton has happened as well on the flash fiction front/Jesus Christ, Boy Detective front.

First, I talked about the musical DNA of Jesus Christ, Boy Detective over at Largehearted Boy. You can read about it (and listen to the playlist) over here.

I have new flash fiction over in the following places:

I also interviewed John Jodizo for Maudlin House, which you can read here.

Also, I recommend heading on over to this article to see what organizations you can donate to. They will need all the help they can get to fight against the incoming sexist, racist, xenophobic Trump administration.

Jesus Christ (Boy Detective) Is Coming

July is going to be a really busy month, so let’s get right down to it.

Artborne Magazine was kind enough to interview me about Orlando’s literary history and about The Adventures of Jesus Christ, Boy Detective. You can check out the interview here.

You have until July 6 to enter a Goodreads giveaway to win a free copy of Jesus Christ, Boy Detective. Click here to enter it. You can also pre-order a copy here if you don’t get picked for a free copy or if you just want to order a copy.

On July 9, I am facilitating a webinar on what poetry has taught me about writing flash fiction through the Florida Writers Association. You can read about how I discovered flash fiction over here. If you are interested in attending the webinar, click here (It’s $15 for non-FWA members, $10 for FWA members). I’m really excited that I get to facilitate this webinar and have some fun surprises in store.

On July 12, I am hosting Clash of the Word Titans III. This is an event I invented that pits four poets against four prose writers in a head-to-head elimination slam until only one team is left standing. This has been a really great show the last two times and I don’t expect anything different this go around. More information about the event is here.

On July 15, I’m reading at Culture Pop: Untold Stories. Click here for more information about the event.

On July 26, I’m holding my release party for Jesus Christ, Boy Detective but not in the traditional way of author reads his/her/their work and hopes people buy it. I’ve curated some kick ass readers for a special event called A Religious Experience. Readers will read work regarding religion and I’m looking forward to seeing what they have come up with. You can check out more details about the event here.

I have some dates in August that I’ll share a bit later.

Whew!

New Work in Rocky Mountain Revival

I read some excerpts of my novella-in-flash for Rocky Mountain Revival. You can listen to the entire episode here (I come in around 9:00).

I wrote a response to the Pulse shootings, which you can read over at Drunk In A Midnight Choir. I encourage you to send donations to the Zebra Coalition.

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