26 June 2021

How to Return To Writing

After some time away, I am trying to figure out how to be a writer again.

Because last summer’s writing didn’t yield ample harvest, I questioned the practice -- is there not a better way to spend my limited free time?

Do I like to write -- if so, why?

The best part of writing is the initial creation, bringing to life something from nothing. That is, for me, the true singular joy of this profession.

If I am to take an example from something I know intimately well, it’s writing songs. Do I like to write song drafts and then come back to them several months or years later and revise them into a better song? Not really.

What I truly love is creating spontaneous songs that speak to the moment that they’re being written. These moments, the singular artistic explosion, are what feed me.

But I must avoid self-deception. I used to release songs instantly & without revision. This is because song writing is one of the few places in my life where I can get away with no revision. Creation and spontaneity were the skills I practiced.

These days, I take more time on songs. I might return to a song after months away and find that a finished track is really just a demo. I see the song writing process as one that need not be rushed.

This is similar to what I must do with writing. The problem is I can revise a song in a day, but I don’t have the time or energy to spend weeks or months revising large pieces of writing. Not when my writing output during the school year rarely exceeds zero.

If the limiting factor is time, the answer lies in what I write.

In the past 5 years, my published writing has either been excerpted from stalled novel drafts, or born as flash fiction pieces. Meaning, I’ve either salvaged them from very long works or I’ve created them anew. I rarely go back to old short stories and revise them to current standards.

Look away from the novel. The novel might be what agents want, but is it what I want? I don't enjoy writing them, & I'm not in this for money or fame, so why write what I don't want to write? 

What about old story drafts? I have hundreds of starts & half writes. Must I salvage them all?

No.

Think of previous drafts as practice. I am not beholden to them. I owe them nothing.

If I learn how to build a house, am I required to fix every old crooked structure I practiced building before I knew how to do it right? No. Then why would I want to return to old works of fiction and make their shitty structure sound?

Why not start by building a sound structure that is easy to revise because it’s on good footing to begin with?

What kind of sound structures do I like to build? 

Very short stories.

Like songs, I can crank out very short stories in a short amount of time. The revision process is fast, too.

Okay, but how do I, you know, return to writing? 

The best way, I tell both students and colleagues, is to sit down and start.

The writing might not look good at first. I might not do anything. But I have to commit to the process, which means I must spend an hour with a blank page piece of paper.

Get off the computer if you have to.

This summer, I've written two dozen songs & I am building a shed in the backyard. These things are not done on the computer, and they are not reminders of nine months of Sisyphean endurance (zoom meetings, work memos, student conferences, etc.).

When I’m on the computer, it’s hard to see through the muck & distractions to the blank page I want to fill.

If the way to start writing again is to commit one hour of time each day to the active sitting, what if no great ideas emerge?

If I can’t think of anything, or if when I think about writing I think about all the projects that I haven’t finished, or the novels I need to revise, or the stories I told myself I want to write but then find the process excruciating, just sit and stare at the blank page.

The act of sitting and staring at the blank page creates the conditions for writing to happen. The writing doesn’t need to be planned beforehand. It is the opposite of my other work. My other work requires so much damn thinking and planning. The idea that I might sit down and generate new material from nothing feels intellectually contrary. Accept it.

Get the shit bird off your shoulder. Don’t psych yourself out. Sit and stare and make shapes with your fingers and see what happens. If you can’t do this on the computer, use a journal. If you can’t do it in a journal, print out a stack of white sheets and slide them onto a clipboard.

I might come into a writing session with an idea for a story and that’s great, but if having to commit to an idea scares me off, I let it go. These are ideas that excite me in the moment, but they’re not contractual obligations.

And that’s the thing about a writing career. I am not currently contractually obliged to do anything. So don't act like I am. All of this is my whim. Embrace it.

What moves me now? What makes me want to write?

Do that.

18 June 2021

New fuguers cove record -- A BALM FROM TROPICAL NATURE


52 minutes of Tropical Psych.


Think garage rock
Think reggae
Think punk rock
Think cumbia
Think Liberationist movements of Latin America
Think Echo-o-o-O-O-o-o-o

1 Tropicalia
2 Vampires
3 Magicians of the Sea
4 Honk Honk, I'm a Communist
5 Sun Circle
6 All Spice Dub
7 Rifles Out
8 Drumz/Black Walls
9 Longshoremen and their Rope Coils
10 Black Bear Dub
11 Nutmeg Boy
12 Army of Light
13 Yo Se Que
14 Cumbia de Los Fuguers
15 Mariners' Chant
16 Worm in the Beak
17 Blowdogs
18 Bead Necklace/Tropicalia (Reprise)




11 April 2021

PRESS RELEASE April 12, 2021

PRESS RELEASE

April 12, 2021

Albuquerque indie rock stalwarts fuguers cove perform on the moon, release album about love in the post-apocalypse


Fresh off their one-off performance on the Earth’s lone lunar satellite, Albuquerque's fuguers cove release moon, a 14 track soft rock meditation on love & death.

fuguers cove is a one-man indie-garage-psych-punk project founded in 1995 by music weirdo & UNM professor Justin Bendell. Since 2015, fuguers cove has released 27 full length albums and E.Ps.

In Summer 2020, fuguers cove released its first live record, performs The Marshmen live on the fuckin' moon. This recording captures fuguers cove performing songs by doppelganger The Marshmen in an air-sealed bubble to several thousand moon people. To the uninitiated, The Marshmen are a Bendell rock project


that one writer referred to as “communist John Cougar Mellencamp.”

Moon, released on April 24, 2021, is a quieter affair. Written & recorded during the pandemic, this acoustic-centered record looks at love at mid-life and imagines what happens to love after death in the post-apocalypse.

If you would like to review either album, the links to the Bandcamp pages are below. I am happy to provide a free download link by request.

fuguers cove, performs The Marshmen live on the fuckin’ moon (2020)

fuguers cove’s moon (2021)

Send all queries / interview requests to Justin at fuguers.cove@gmail.com




09 April 2021

Figured out the end to a story

The woman shoots Bear in the gut when they’re down in the desert after they’ve run away and she says I’ll see you at that Burger King in the sky and it ends noir style with him looking out in the desert bleeding to death.

29 March 2021

Moon will be released on 24 April 2021

New record comes out on 24 April 2021.

It's a soft, pretty, reflective record about love & death.

Here it is, including the final track listing:
https://fuguerscove1.bandcamp.com/album/moon

Pre-order a digital copy for $5 (or u can stream it for free on spotify)

Track List

1. Soda Water Waltz
2. Anything You Want
3. The Cinnamon Trees
4. In Your Van, Clementine
5. Bluff Moon
6. In the Trees
7. Son of a Gun (Vaselines)
8. Trailer Waltz
9. No Luck At All
10. I Really Hope That
11. Organs
12. Moon Above
13. Waltz Interlude
14. Wooden Floors



17 January 2021

Shit, I forgot

 I forgot about this blog. 

Here I am, pajamaed & half lit on seltzer bubbles watching a Norwegian dude on PBS show me how to prep smoked lamb shanks. 

A day before school starts again, I remember the blog.

I'll forget about it soon.

After I forget, I'll need to remind myself to remember again.

19 October 2020

Excerpt from novel-in-progress



Excerpt:

Maybe I can start writing again??

I sit in a chair in the dusted silence and watched how the sun casts a warm pale light in the room and I get on my knees like I did as a kid--though it hurts to do it now--and I talk to my God, telling him all the things I did wrong and I tell him how I did it, and I tell him that my pants don’t feel right, and how I miss my sister. I cry. I blubber. I speak in tongues.