Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Last Post of 2015

It's no secret, I've really checked out of this blog and when it comes down to it, the greater part of the internet in 2015.

I'd taken a six month digital fast earlier in the year and I never fully recovered from it. Admittedly, during that 6 month digital fast, I missed Umbrella Factory Magazine. I didn't really miss Facebook or email or the flashy popup ads everywhere else.

I suppose when it comes down to it, I am just as happy, if not more, without this digital anit-world.

I've slowly crept back to my computer. I've slowly looked at email and Facebook and this blog again.

My email is as empty as it's always been. It's what I consider a work address and most of my correspondence is related to my magazine. Any of that personal, social, or frivolous communication comes to me via Facebook.

Facebook is fascinating. I'm floored by how many people see the world through the Facebook periscope. I'm also floored by the various Facebook personas people have. I'm not sure if Facebook personas have always been there or if they're more prevalent now that Janice has pointed them out to me. My Facebook persona? Writer.

When it come right down to it, I feel like there was a bit of an imbalance in my life going into 2015. I felt like too much of my time was at the computer staring into the mesmerizing screen and clicking off mentally. It goes without saying that this is not exactly true, and hyperbole is a great thing. Yet, my days are packed with family obligations and housework and then my evenings out of the house are at work. When did I really have that online time?

I feel reset.

A big part of the digital fast was to get back to my pen and notebooks, which I did. I did not write much in 2014, nor in 2013. 2015 was a much more lucrative year. And I feel like 2016 will be especially prolific.

All said, I wrote more in 2015 and I spent less time on the internet. I took two issues of UFM off. I wrote a great deal. But I missed this blog.

Even though I have a big interest in starting up my blog in 2016, I'm curious to see how difficult it's going to be. After all, I took a year break from it. For years I was fanatical about a weekly blog post and in 2015 I didn't even average a monthly post. The questions are: will a weekly frequency prove too much, or will I even have the effort to begin anew? I suppose the real question is: will the blog mean as much to me as it once did?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Reading list for Miranda

The following is a project for my friend Miranda. As an experiment, I thought I'd see if I could make a download button for this pdf.

Monday, October 5, 2015

My New Chapbook Available Now

Announcing Cockroaches and Geese
Available here

It's the ferocious animals
we want as spirits guides
bears and lions and eagles
but the best spirit guides
are often small
cockroaches and geese
one tells us to purge
the other to persevere

This short chapbook of about 2 dozen poems was originally part of The Sofia Ballou Project. Cockroaches and Geese is a three part narration based geographically in New Orleans, Denver and Tucson.

Monday, July 27, 2015

An Interview with Lou Gaglia

An Interview with Lou Gaglia, author of Poor Advice, and other stories.

AFI: First, congratulations on the publication of Poor Advice Second, thank you for participating in this interview.

LG: Thank you very much, Anthony. I feel honored.

AFI: As we get started, I have to ask: how do you feel about Poor Advice now that it's a finished product? This is a short story collection, but in many ways it reads like one single narrative. Did you write the short stories with the overall product in mind? Do you have favorites among these short stories?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Poor Advice, a review

See the links below
Poor Advice is a collection of about two dozen short stories by Lou Gaglia. Poor Advice came to my Kindle in a flash following a short email exchange with the author a few weeks back. I first became acquainted with Lou Gaglia when my magazine Umbrella Factory Magazine ran his short story “Little Leagues” in December of 2011.

It has been my experience in the years I've worked as an editor for a small literary magazine that the writers who succeed are the prolific ones. It's also been my experience that writers who are unafraid of the process of publication are the writers we get to read. In Lou Gaglia case, every short story in his Poor Advice has appeared in a literary magazine first. If there is a lesson to take from this writer and this book, it is this: write good fiction, send it out to magazine editors, get rejected, rewrite this good fiction for a better product and repeat the process. This entire collection warrants respect because it is well written, well arranged and it's downright fun.

I get the impression from many of the short stories that locale or settings are very real. Mr. Gaglia uses the well known places such as Carnegie Hall or Long Island trains as backdrops in his stories. It feels like his New York, and places within it, are oftentimes characters themselves. Those who live in New York, or those who even have a perfunctory familiarization with it will no doubt love this collection.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Beguiled Allegory

There are more opportunities for publication than you might think. As a writer, I know this. As an editor, I know this. I know that even a very small and humble publication like Umbrella Factory Magazine is adding to this opportunity for publication. I say this because UFM generally published about 16 writers a year. This isn't much, but when you consider that there are thousands of publications like UFM the amount of space for writers is astonishing.

It's been my experience that to be published is very important to many writers. It was and in many ways still is important to me. I also think with most writers, the pursuit of publication is not a priority. I have met many writers who want publication but they are waiting for an editor or an agent or a magazine to come to them. This never happens. And so, these writers never get published.

Friday, June 12, 2015

“To Better Days” a director's statement

The short film “To Better Days” is comprised of 5 separate scenes. As I wrote the scenes, I knew the brevity of scene, the vagueness of set direction and the simple, if not tacit dialogue would appeal to the filmmakers at Rocket House Pictures. Here, they would have a manageable script to work and endless possibilities in the shoot. What I didn't realize at the time of writing, February 2013, Portland, OR is that I would be directing this film, I would be a filmmaker. These five scenes for me were an experiment in writing of short screenplays and it was a sort of catharsis for a younger time. I thought about all the missed opportunities, lost loves, scary close calls and an uncertainty of self that I knew at a much younger age.

Marion, as a character came to me relatively quickly. I was walking to work, in the rain, one night when I thought about her. I love to write women. Women are the onion skins of possibility. One layer then the next then the next then the next. Women can be heroic, subtle, tragic and nearly godlike. Women can pull triggers of the guns of war and women can birth the generations to come. I feel like the act of writing women is just as dimensional as the women we all know. With Marion, I really wrote three separate 'women' or in Marion's case, three different times of her life. Initially, I saw a playful Marion who can carry more weight than Atlas. If Atlas can hold the weight of the world on his shoulders, I saw Marion able to hold Earth and Mars and Venus. As I began to sketch the first scene, I saw a young woman who balanced perfectly strength and vulnerability. I saw a woman who was at once too wise beyond her years and as playful as a child. I saw a character who was capable of love and kindness but also capable of terrible, spiteful things.

Film is a tedious process. The medium itself warrants this sort of tedium. It can be no other way. To tell a story on film you want the biggest impact from the script, from the actors, from the scene. It has to be done again and again and again. The real magic, in all reality, happens in the editing room. If you want to compare this process to a piece of 'film' without this process, compare the best movie you've seen this year with any fucking trite piece of shit reality TV that goes on morning noon and night on nearly every channel on your TV. Believe me, the tedium of setting up a shot, the shooting of a shot and the editing of a shot is well worth the end product. I would think the shooting of reality TV is probably pretty exciting and the lack of art in it creates a tedium for the viewer. Anything you see on reality TV you've seen over and over again since MTV's Real World.

Rocket House Pictures is a small film and media company located in Denver. There are four members on staff at Rocket House Pictures. There is no payroll department. The crew for “To Better Days” was the above mention four member staff and four additional crew members. The cast of the film is a startling five members.

We spent four days shooting this five scene short film. Our locations: a taxi, a outside bench, Kilgore Books, a patio and a hotel room. We paid nothing for sets.

I feel a certain level of commitment to the film itself. We've made this movie from page to screen. Any film that gets made deserves an audience if only to witness the miracle that a film can be completed. I believe in Gio Toninelo as cinematographer, and I believe that he has created a visually stunning movie. He and I have worked together for years and, all willing, we will continue to work together for many more.

I feel a very resounding responsibility to the cast of this film. I have every intention to further the careers of each and every one of the actors of “To Better Days.” I think Andrew Katers is one of the most talented and professional actors a director can find. He worked tireless on character development, he choreographed the fight scene, he helped rewrite bad parts of the script. Anyone who needs a leading man, a handsome devil, dedicated worker, an insightful actor and a martial arts fighter, give Andrew Katers a job. And Aeon Cruz. Aeon Cruz is enigma. Aeon is a musician, actor, model, and artist. Aeon is a quick study. She gains a quick master of character and scene. She's the kind of person to simply “own it.” Aside from all professional attributes I can give about Aeon, let me just say, she's a joy to be around. She's funny, she's considerate and she's quick to laughter. Of the other three actors: Alicia Barreti, Alfred Ferraris and Mathias Leppistch, I hope to work with them again, and in the meantime, I hope they find more work too.

Anthony ILacqua, writer/director of “To Better Days”

Monday, June 8, 2015

Michael Lightbody, my friend Foot

I went to Denver today, something I'm just so loathed to do. I don't know what happened to Denver, but I don't care for the place anymore. I did, once, love the place. There was a time when I thought there was no other place on Earth better than Denver. It's really funny because I never really wanted to be in Denver, it was just a place I kept landing in. The first time, in 1992, was awesome. I've belabored Denver 1992 too much. I've probably belabored 1992 Anthony too much too. Denver 2001 after Portland via New Orleans was awesome too. Denver in the early 2000s was fun, and as I was in my early 30s, I was pretty awesome too. I returned to Denver in 2005 after a year of travel, and again in 2013 after a few more years in Portland. But it was that 2001 return that was so wonderful.

Monday, June 1, 2015

A.A. Milne, Benjamin Hoff and Lao Tzu

Late last December, I read A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh books. I did this because, well, I thought that I should. I figured since I have a son of my own I should have these books in the family library and at the very least I should read them. Up until I read these books, I had only a vague idea of what they were and only through the same Walt Disney lens that most of us have at the mention of Winnie-the-Pooh. Of the four books, two of them are Pooh stories and two are straight poetry. I found all of it to be somewhat quaint and very charming in a mid-1920s rural English sort of way. I also found that I could read these books to my then 2 ½ year old son and he stayed interested, thanks in part to Ernest H. Shepard's illustrations.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Six Month Digital Fast

Outside the rain falls. It's been falling pretty much since mid-April. This is unusual weather for Colorado, especially the Front Range. It's been raining and that's a good thing. People in Colorado become very moody if it's cloudy for two consecutive days. That's right, it's sunny here nearly everyday. But this spring has been wet. The rain has created two colors here: gray and green. These are very different colors than the blue and brown we're accustomed to seeing.

I've recently completed a large project. I had it in my mind last December that I was just going to write. I was just going to write in my 9.75” x 7.5” composition notebooks for a while. It was just that I wanted to write some short stories, maybe some poems, whatever, whatever I wanted to write at the time. In short, I was going to do what it took to do just that, me and the composition notebook.