Billy Barnum was one of the first features ever at The Cantab Lounge in 1991. He was also the opening act for the NPS finals when Boston hosted in 1992.
While there are several reasons to fondly remember his performances, which were interweaved with ballet and mime, he also inspired some really cool writing ideas in me.
Billy had a bound collection of his work that was sold at a local bookstore/coffeehouse in Boston. He would go there every week with his caretaker and some friends, and he would take his own book off the shelves, and rewrite at least one poem in the margins. Vast edits. He would end up with a completely different poem. And if you were fortunate to buy one of those books, you had two separate amazing drafts of that poem (or those poems, usually), for the price of one. Each book became a collector's item.
Print out or handwrite a copy of one of your poems that you, at one time, thought was finished, and rewrite the poem in its margins. And if you're feeling particularly Billy Barnum ephemeral, you can then give that new hybrid away to someone (or sell it, if you're also feeling particularly capitalist) so that they have a one-of-a-kind piece of your art.
Overthrowing a government, a corrupt boss, the patriarchy, or the record industry is hard work. You deserve a break from that emotional upheaval, but, let's be honest, you're going to have a hard time thinking about anything else, because a revolution seems completely necessary.
Try and imagine a revolution that will almost definitely fail: overthrowing fascists via arts and crafts, toppling the patriarchy with counter-clockwise lawn mowing. Paint us a vivid portrait of a very sad revolution.
We've all had a job at some point that wasn't going very well, looked around us and thought "I can do better than this."
But sometimes we're wrong.
I'm sure you, personally, have never had an experience like this, so feel free to make one up: Write about a time when your job went horribly awry, and it was 100% your fault.
It's a rough time to be an American with a sense of human decency. We all hope it will get better, but ooooof. There are a variety of ways you could be involved in a political revolution, but that's a taxing thing to think about right now, so clear your conscience, and instead, try and imagine a revolution that's doomed from the start: The Arts & Craft Revolution, The Counter-Clockwise Lawn Mowing Revolution, The Revolution Where You Just Sit At Home And Cry Into A Bag Of Oreos.
Tell us why those revolutions are never going to evoke real change.
Tell us about your best night of sleep. No, I'm not talking about your dirty sexual business. I mean what day did you wake up most refreshed from sleeping the night before. Why do you think that was?
Also, tell us about an absolute disaster of a time you had falling asleep. What was going on there?
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