Saturday, March 30, 2019




Ppigpenn Interview 9
Name?
Ryan Quinn Flanagan
Age? (Feel free to ignore this question completely)
40 years old.  But I feel more like a 300 year old man most days.

Location and occupation?
Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada.  I write and perform menial labour.  And tons of shovelling of late.

How long have you been writing? Do you play an instrument as well?
About 25 years I’d say.  Always wrote from a young age and through my teens even though most of that was very bad but we all have to start somewhere.  Probably became more serious about writing in my mid-twenties and on.  I do not play any instruments although I did try to learn to play guitar.  I tried but never had a knack for it honestly.  I love music and think it is the finest of the arts but I can’t play it personally.

Do you have a specific writing style? Hobbies?
I personally don’t have any specific writing style because I like to jump around a bit.  Many writes are straight narrative, others are concrete poetry or experimentation.  Some poems just wander, I call them the wandering poems and some of them are probably the most enjoyable to write.  But no single writing style for me.

Do you write full-time?
I can’t write full-time, but I do write whenever I can.  Life is just a reality for us all but whenever you can sit down and carve out that time it feels good.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer?
Not a personal thing for me, but probably to meet and becomes friends with so many cool writers that I truly respect.  I guess that’s not really an accomplishment or anything, but it is one of things I take the most pleasure from.  Meeting cool brothers and sisters that can write the hands off a clock.  I enjoy both their work and their company even if the latter is almost completely over the interwebs.

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?
For me it’s probably to stay focussed on a single task for any period of time.  I get distracted easily and go off and start new projects.  It’s why I have been reticent to try writing a novel to date.  To stay focussed in that single mindset without wandering a bit is very tough for me.

What projects of yours have been recently published? Books or Magazines?
Most recently, I have published a full length book of poetry with Rust Belt Press titled Ambient Savage.  As well as two from Marathon Books titled Baseline Reading and Skin Music and a chapbook with Analog Submission Press titled Zamboni Heartland.
Links: http://www.lulu.com/shop/ryan-quinn-flanagan/ambient-savage/paperback/product-23998229.html
https://www.amazon.com/Baseline-Reading-Ryan-Quinn-Flanagan/dp/1725934221/ref=sr_1_46?crid=UBZNMCLYFNNP&keywords=ryan+quinn+flanagan&qid=1552506054&s=books&sprefix=ryan+quinn%2Cstripbooks-intl-ship%2C191&sr=1-46
https://www.amazon.com/Skin-Music-Ryan-Quinn-Flanagan/dp/1726065707/ref=sr_1_9?crid=UBZNMCLYFNNP&keywords=ryan+quinn+flanagan&qid=1552506160&s=books&sprefix=ryan+quinn%2Cstripbooks-intl-ship%2C191&sr=1-9
https://www.analogsubmission.com/product/zamboni-heartland-by-ryan-quinn-flanagan

What are you currently working on and what inspired this work?
I am currently working on a book of poetry for Whiskey City Press.  It is almost finished being written.  As well as two other poetry books for different publishers that are also in the late writing stages.  There are other books that are assembled and now in the editing stage with publishers such as Pski’s Porch, Kung Fu Treachery Press, Svensk Apache, New York Quarterly Books, Dark Heart Press, Marathon Books etc.  As well as chapbooks with Concrete Meat and Holy & Intoxicated Press.  Always good to stay busy!  I don’t know if anything single thing inspired the work other than sitting down to the simple enjoyment of writing.

Where can we find your work?
I have a personal website: http://ryanquinnflanagan.yolasite.com/
Though I must admit it is woefully out of date which I hope to rectify in the coming months.  Most the other books can be found on Amazon or Lulu or Barnes & Noble or similar retailers.  As well as on the sites of the individual publishers of course.

How do you react to rejections?
Pretty well I think.  I’ve received so many over the years that it just becomes part of the daily routine.  We all get ‘em and we move on.

How do you react when one of your submissions is accepted for publication?
I am always happy when that happens.  Not like I used to be I must admit.  When just starting out, those first acceptances were better than any drug.  I guess that feeling wanes a bit with time, but it still feels good for sure.

What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer?
It is important to keep busy, but also to have that down time to recover.  If you don’t take that down time to function as a normal human being you will likely burn out fast.  Recovery time is very important to me.

What is your favorite book?
The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over The Hills

Who is your favorite author?
Bukowski.  Although I have many authors that I enjoy a lot.
If you could have dinner with one fictional character, who would it be and why?
I’d have to go with Randall McMurphy from Cuckoo’s Nest.  Seems like my type of dude and a much better conversationalist than the big Indian.  I’d also love to sit down to dinner with Mae West’s character Tira from I’m No Angel.  She definitely seems like my type of gal!

What is the greatest occupational hazard for a writer?
Probably the mental and physical toll it can take as you drink and write whenever you can, the way you can just feel wiped in every way after.  And the hangovers can be awful too.  I know that for me personally it takes a bit to recover before you sit down to do it all over again.  The years end up on your face and in your bones.

What makes you laugh?
Many things:  Good friends, sarcastic bastards with a great dark humour, real corny jokes, cat videos, mushrooms, tequila, Bill Hicks, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, people that think too highly of themselves etc.

What makes you cry?
Not too much.  I prefer to laugh whenever I can.

What is your preferred drink while you write?
On down time it’s beer and tequila, but for writing I prefer red wine.  Frontera Cab Sauv. from Chile to be exact.  When I don’t have that it’s beer.  Can’t really write to hard liquor and I hate white wine.  It’s red for me.  The fine people of Chile make an even finer wine.

Beach or Mountains?
The beach for me.  Nothing against mountains, I enjoy them as well and the solitude they can provide.  But I like to be at the water and listen to the crashing waves, dig my feet in the sand and relax.  It’s like a personal reset that calms the mind and soul.

Cats or Dogs?
Cats hands down.  There is a reason the Egyptians worshipped them.  I strive to make our cat overlords proud.  They’re like furry little Marlon Brandos strutting around on four legs.  Full of style and sass and spirit.

The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?
I have heard the argument many times that the Stones have more soul because they come from a blues base (I love the blues), but I prefer the Beatles personally.  Especially their willingness to experiment with Rubber Soul and beyond.

Jimi Hendrix or Frank Sinatra?
Jimi for me.  Loaded with soul and the best damn guitar player to ever live.  I wish I could have seen him live!

Shakespeare or Bukowski?
Bukowski all the way!  The Buk relates to every part of daily life, I can hardly say the same for Shakespeare in a modern sense.  There are overarching lessons for humanity, but not so applicable to the daily minutia of the modern experience.  Buk digs right in with both hands and doesn’t look back.

Please provide as much or as little of the following information as you’d like. We want to hear about your country, please. Any dangerous wild animals or fish? Why would people like to visit your country?
I live way up in the north of Canada.  So right now it is arctic cold and covered in about ten feet of snow.  Plenty of wild animals up here as the city of Elliot Lake is a dying mining town cut right out of the woods.  Bears walk down the streets and have to be scared back into the woods by the police who shoot off bear bangers.  We also have moose, lynx, deer, wolf packs, hawks, eagles, giant northern pike, wolf spiders (that can jump six feet through the air), cougars, rattlesnakes etc.  The main reason to visit would be the great hunting and fishing and scenery; the outdoors life that is provided up here.  I don’t hunt or fish, but most do up here.  Along with off-roading and ice fishing in season.  The people here and in Canada more generally are very nice so that would be another reason to visit.  It’s certainly not the price of gas and the insane taxes that draw people here.

Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born writer living in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and walls of snow so high you would think the cartels were storing cocaine here.  He enjoys discount tequila, dragonflies, listening to the blues and cruising down the TransCanada in his big blacked out truck.  He does not enjoy shovelling said snow.  His work can be found both in print and online at such joints as:  The New York Quarterly, ppigpenn, Evergreen Review, Ramingo's Porch, The Rye Whiskey Review, Cultural Weekly and The Dope Fiend Daily.  His personal website is: http://ryanquinnflanagan.yolasite.com/



Friday, March 22, 2019


Ppigpenn Interview 9
Name?
Daryl Scroggins
Age? (Feel free to ignore this question completely)
66

Location and occupation?
Marfa, Texas. I’m retired. More than half of my working life was spent in blue-collar jobs (seventeen years running a printing press, for instance), and much of the second half was spent teaching at universities. I don’t plan to retire from writing until I can’t remember where I am.

How long have you been writing? Do you play an instrument as well?
I started writing as a child and never stopped. I used to play the piano some, but a long time ago and never very well.

Do you have a specific writing style? Hobbies?
I always like to surprise myself with what appears on the page, and I’m always wary of the feeling that I am repeating myself. I don’t want to find one productive vein and mine it forever. Also, I have always thought that the capacity to appreciate a wide range of approaches to writing (found in the works of others), means that I should be able to imaginatively enter a wide range of approaches myself. Of course regularities are going to surface even within an aim to keep things fresh. I tend to favor brief prose forms. I am also drawn to creating voices that are not my own; think Jonathan Winters picking up a suitcase or a birdcage in a prop room and launching into the speech of a runaway kid or an old lady. I return often, it seems, to characters on the margins of the wisdom they sorely need, perhaps because of the rich opportunities for dramatic irony, humor, and tragedy found there so readily. As for hobbies: I like the smell of dirt when I dig in the garden. And I like to collect pebbles and rocks—selected on the basis of interesting color and shape, as opposed to reasons of geologic taxonomy.

Do you write full-time?
Now that I’m retired I do.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer?
Impressing my wife with some of the things I have written. Also—reaching the point of loving the practice of writing, to the point that I have never had to make myself do it. I’m always ready to scribble or type.

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?
Before I retired, my greatest challenge was balancing the need to make a living with finding enough writing time. This is probably the case with many or even most writers. After retirement, the problem is that I can easily slip into being more and more reclusive, doing nothing but writing. I’m sure this is not good for me, but it’s a hard impulse to break.

What projects of yours have been recently published?  Books or Magazines?
Since I retired in 2013, I have had writings appear in several dozen different magazines and anthologies, and I have won or placed in a number of contests. I have always been slow to gather things into book form, so I now have enough work on hand (90% of it published) to make two or three full-length books or a dozen or so chapbooks. At my age, given that I don’t care about making money from such things or becoming famous, I’m thinking of just dumping it all into a cheap Kindle or CreateSpace edition and moving on to more writing.

What are you currently working on and what inspired this work?
As far as specific projects go, I’m working on a hybrid book I’m thinking of calling Religious Abrasions. I’m sure there are some fine Evangelicals out there, but my painful experience with them, as a child in particular, is something I have struggled to put behind me throughout my life. I don’t think one has to look very hard these days to see examples of zealots happily promoting the opposite of what their religion directly prompts them to do.   

Where can we find your work?
A browser search will bring up recent magazine publication; some books are available on Amazon and from Ravenna press; also, this chapbook was put up in the late ‘90s:

 How do you react to rejections?
I generally experience about one second of something that feels like fatigue, and then I move on. If it’s from a contest I didn’t win, I feel a moment’s guilt about having used money for the entry fee (kind of like—Didn’t win the lotto, again). In some cases I consider whether I need to recalibrate my sense of what a particular editor or editing team tends to look for.

How do you react when one of your submissions is accepted for publication?
I usually feel one or two minutes of lifted spirits, and a sense of gratitude if editors have said something nice about what they have selected. And then I go back to writing. If I have won a contest and some extra money will be coming my way, I think about what I might get with it—a load of compost for the garden, for instance—although the funds usually just disappear into the regular household revenue stream.

What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer?
Think hard about this question: What do I hope my writing will do for me and for others? Think about this often, because you might not have been as honest as you needed to be when you previously considered the question. Ask yourself: Why am I avid to acquire the admiration of strangers? (Hat tip to my wife for posing this question for me long ago.) Always remember that your writing is never going to please everybody, and there are often many reasons for its rejection that have nothing to do with an assertion regarding its quality. And finally, recognize that you don’t have to be a writer if you don’t have to be a writer. If you don’t like to write, for god’s sake head for something that will own your constant excitement.

What is your favorite book?
This has always been a very hard question for me. Once I decide to hedge and go beyond one title I can’t stop. There are so many realms of writing and so many reasons to have favorites in each of them. For instance, in the realm of specific collections of short stories, I might say Eudora Welty’s A Curtain of Green and Mark Richard’s The Ice At the Bottom of the World….

Who is your favorite author?
The author whose books represent the highest percentage of favorites would be Cormac McCarthy. In the realm of the brief prose forms that I pursue, I would say Lydia Davis, Amy Hempel, and Russell Edson.

If you could have dinner with one fictional character, who would it be and why?
Suttree, from Cormac McCarthy’s novel Suttree. Maybe we could also get Gene Harrogate to step out of that book to join us. The abundance of their casually told stories would no doubt supply me with material for years.

What is the greatest occupational hazard for a writer?
Seeing writing as an occupation, to the point that one starts to call in sick. I don’t write for money and never have, which is not to say I turn it down when it comes. I have just never wanted to depend on it for income, lest writing start to seem like a dreaded job. Also, I never want to be tempted to make requested changes in a work that I can’t see the need for, for the sake of holding onto payment.  

What makes you laugh?
Delightfully accurate observations, improvised characters that suddenly take on a life of their own, compellingly mimicked voices….  

What makes you cry?
Beauty. Kindness and bravery shown by people who are themselves suffering. But these are easy answers. I would say injustice, but the truth is that injustice mostly makes me angry, to the point of having an anger problem about it. There are particular stories and movies that always open the floodgates for me. Stories: James Joyce’s “The Dead” / Tillie Olsen’s “I Stand Here Ironing” / Katherine Anne Porter’s “He” / James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues” / Dagoberto Gilb’s “Romero’s Shirt” / Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” / Leslie Marmon Silko’s “Lullaby” / …. Movies:  The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, The Hours, The Dead, and, currently, the Coen Brothers’ Ballad of Buster Scruggs….

What is your preferred drink while you write?
Coffee or bourbon—although not bourbon if I am working intently on something as opposed to just scribbling bits.

Beach or Mountains?
Mountains

Cats or Dogs?
Both, although I have had more cats than dogs, probably because dogs require a lot more attention.

The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?
Stones

Jimi Hendrix or Frank Sinatra?
Hendrix, by a much wider margin than Beatles/Stones.

Shakespeare or Bukowski?
This is difficult. I don’t think any writer in history had a richer perception of the human condition than Shakespeare, and all through my reading life I have gone back to him for a kind of archetypal fix. That fire of perception arising from achingly beautiful language. “Imperious Caesar, dead and turned to clay, / Might stop a hole to keep the wind away.” But in the context of day to day life in my time, I surely admire Bukowski’s kind of precision brought to the pain and humor of existence.

Please provide as much or as little of the following information as you’d like. We want to hear about your country, please. Any dangerous wild animals or fish? Why would people like to visit your country?
Marfa, Texas, is high desert land about 200 miles southeast of El Paso and 60 miles from Presidio, on the Mexican border. It’s also not far (by Texas standards) from Big Bend National Park. The landscape features vast grassland and mountains. If you have seen the movie No Country for Old Men, much of it was filmed out here. My writer friend Joshua Edwards once wrote that “Marfa is a place that reminds you that you live on a planet.” Amazing clouds, and for people who have never understood why the Milky Way is called that, this is the place to find out (the McDonald Observatory is on a mountain about 15 miles from my house). Lots of great wildlife out here: javelin, deer, pronghorns, aoudad sheep (looks much like a big horn sheep), coyotes, many wonderful birds like ravens, hawks, owls, roadrunners, hummingbirds…. And if you go to the Big Bend area, and a few other places, mountain lions, black bears, and elk. I have had many of these creatures come to my back yard. Many tourists flock to Marfa, primarily for the art scene (the Chinati foundation is here, along with inspiring works by Donald Judd, who started the whole art connection in Marfa). Some come simply because the place is so often written about and filmed by people who are intrigued by “The West.” For people who live here, Marfa can sometimes start to feel like living in a Six Flags amusement part, with scads of tourists all around and standing in the middle of streets to take pictures of the courthouse (one block from my house), like it might forever go unnoticed unless recorded. I still like it though, and don’t plan to leave.




Wednesday, March 13, 2019


Outreach     

Owen sits in a nylon-slatted lawn chair on his driveway, trimming his trees with a shotgun.  Mary wants me to go next door and get him to stop. She’s from San Francisco. She looks at me until I get up. “Say no if he offers you a beer,” she says.
I get him to switch to his .22 so it won’t be so loud, but I have to drink four beers before he will listen to reason. I see Mary looking out a bay window shadowed by the eaves. She looks like a painting that needs to be cleaned.
Finally we are into the touch-up phase of the project. Owen is a really good shot. Empty bottles and spent shell casings lie all around us, and I have to work at getting my eyes right before I can tell the difference. “Try it,” Owen says, handing me the rifle. “That last twig sticking up there like a cowlick on the back of a little kid’s head.”
I think I nick it a little on my third shot, and I’m about to nail it when Owen’s wife comes out. She has a tall pink drink in one hand and a brisket-turning fork in the other. “That’s it,” she says, glaring at Owen. “I know you’ve hit your limit when you let college man here take over.”

Daryl Scroggins




Don’t Try, He Said

by Bradley Mason Hamlin



his shadow ghost
haunting
us all

as the monster
screams
from Hell’s icy fire

inside the beast
a scared little boy
weeping at the whip

wanting to be alone
while reaching out
from typewritten soul

they heard you
they hear you now
your damnation choir

to give you the love
you never knew
you were capable of


The Final Frontal Lobotomy

by Bradley Mason Hamlin



In 1984
we
learned

to tell
Big Brother
to fuck
off

in 1999
we lived

on
Moonbase Alpha
& partied with Prince

in 2001
we
found

the
Star Child

and
in the space
age
year
of

2019

we
stare

at
our phones.



This Could Be L.A.

by Bradley Mason Hamlin



I
grew up in Los Angeles
and sometimes
yeah,
I miss the ocean waves
seaweed wind
and Tommy’s chili burgers

but
as I relax in Central California
watching the palm trees rock
the summer breeze
like they did back home
I wonder

as the kids
play with the garden hose
and we talk of cutting in a pool
I look at my lady looking good
in a lime bikini …

and you know what, I think
if I ain’t going to the beach
today

hell,
this could be L.A.

I keep a giant cooler nearby
iced water gets so cold
like swimming in winter
just to get a beer
from Chico, California

and when the wind’s just right
blowing gently through her
blonde-blonde hair

you know what,
if I ain’t going to Ocean Boulevard
this day

hell,
this could be L.A.

we’ve got a backyard
barbecue
green grass
Popsicles
squirt guns
Frisbees
Duncan Yo-Yos
comic books
and the root beer gets just
as cold as the brew …

If I were in L.A.
maybe I’d be shopping
at the local market
for taco supplies
& iced coffee
just like I did this morning
and walking to my car
watching the palm
sway-sway in the parking lot

and thinking …

if I ain’t going to Disneyland
today

this could be L.A.

but you know what,
I can’t wait
to tell the kids
to get in the damn car
cuz we’re heading south

to visit
Uncle Mickey

and if we’re not going
to the beach today

well,
fuck it.


Ppigpenn Interview
Name?

Alcoholman

Age? (Feel free to ignore this question completely)

55

Location and occupation?

Brad Hamlin, USA, publisher

How long have you been writing? Do you play an instrument as well?

I’ve been writing stories on paper since 1988, but most likely all my life inside my head. I’ve done quite a bit of music journalism, wrote/screamed for a few punk bands in the 80s, and sometimes when I listen to music I like to bang my knuckles on the tabletop, but it’s problematic.

Do you have a specific writing style? Hobbies?

I write to the best of my ability. That’s my style. However, that bravura is directly informed by my hobbies of wine, woman, and song. And comic books. I read strips every day of my life.

Do you write full-time?

I’m on overtime, but when you’re the boss, nobody gives you a raise.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer?

The blonde that married me.

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

Staying married to the blonde.

What projects of yours have been recently published?  Books or Magazines?

Intoxicated Detective Digest No. 1

What are you currently working on and what inspired this work?

My primary focus at the moment is the Intoxicated Detective series. We’re just about to launch a Kickstarter in support of this project. Throw all your extra beer money at this one. The series is inspired by the question: What would happen if an alcoholic gained super powers when he drinks?

Where can we find your work? 

MYSTERY ISLAND PUBLICATIONS
http://mysteryisland.net

 How do you react to rejections?

As long as the blonde doesn’t reject me, I honestly don’t care.

How do you react when one of your submissions is accepted for publication?

Does it come with a paycheck?
  
What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer?

If you’re seeking sanity you’re probably doing it wrong.

 What is your favorite book? 

The October Country

   Who is your favorite author?

Ray Bradbury

   If you could have dinner with one fictional character, who would it be and why?

Lucy Hell, Devilgirl. She’s the hottest chick I know of, and she has a real life counterpart.

 What is the greatest occupational hazard for a writer?  

Drinking alcohol can be both the greatest way to loosen the wheels of creativity and the quickest way to run off the road.

What makes you laugh?

When Moe hits someone with a hammer on the Three Stooges, that’s pretty good stuff.

What makes you cry?

Tears directly depend on how many drinks are creating ghosts inside my body talking to my skeleton.

What is your preferred drink while you write?

I like California beer. I like California red wine. I like California vodka.

Beach or Mountains?

As a Californian, we have both great beaches and great mountains, and sometimes the mountains surround the beaches, but being on the cracker edge of the planet dissolving – looking out into the impossible blue of the mother ocean’s rages is right up there with fucking.

Cats or Dogs?

Fuck dogs. Cats are everything. If you want to be a great writer you have to have wild cats surrounding you with their claws.

The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?

The Rolling Stones are like a dirty cigarette one of the Beatles accidentally tossed on the sidewalk.

Jimi Hendrix or Frank Sinatra?

One is superlative and the other is not. Jimi is in the top six-pack of guitarists, but Frank is the greatest singer this world has ever known.

Shakespeare or Bukowski?

There’s a good deal of fake news in Shakespeare, but when he turns the magic on, he’s hard to beat. Yet, both men drew from different parts of the space time continuum. Shakespeare had the benefit of not having so much competition, therefore, his writing is less tainted and he spoke directly to the human condition. Whereas, Bukowski could draw on the energy of not only Shakey, but everyone Shakes inspired and still teach us something new. We know very little of the man who wrote Hamlet, but almost too much of the man who wrote Ham on Rye.

 Please provide as much or as little of the following information as you’d like. We want to hear about your country, please. Any dangerous wild animals or fish? Why would people like to visit your country?

Brad lives in the United States of America. We’re still pretty much all wild animals here. Visit at your own peril.

Mendes Baratti

Mendes Baratti in Prisoner of War Camp in WW 2