Aug 29

The Point and Purpose of “Your Mother’s Medicine Cabinet”

The Point and Purpose of “Your Mother’s Medicine Cabinet”
from Frank Reardon

I’ve tried to explain the purpose of this series—live on the show—several times, but i failed. As we approach season two, I will explain my reasons for hosting this series.

Those who know me very well, know I tend to shy away from doing such things.  I am not a big fan of hearing my own voice, hence why I have not listened to one of the shows in archive other than the first one, so I could make sure it came out good.  I’m also not a fan of seeing myself on youtube reading poetry, etc.  That being said, a while back I read “Voices of the Lady” by an old Venice Beach poet named Stuart Perkoff.  Perkoff eventually became one of my favorite dead poets.

The voice of the lady, being ‘muse’, made me start to think of how I could give back to the muse.  Maybe that sounds dumb to some people, but I really wanted to give back to it, not because I see it as something spiritual or religious or philosophical, but because it has some sort of odd and deep meaning to me.

I buy the books of the living writers when I can afford to, and I still asked myself how I could give back, to put something in and find something positive.  Because let’s face it, in the art world there are a lot of double dealings, drama, and back-handed conversation, though, that has and never will keep me from doing my own work.  People will be people, I guess, whether with art, in the line at the post office, or working for McDonalds.

Then I started to look at my bookshelf, the stacks of books on my tables, under tables, etc.  I thought to myself damn, I really like a lot of different writers and styles.  I seem to like language writers like Berryman, Hart Crane, Creeley, and Olson as much as I like narrative writers like Bukowski, Fante, or Celine.  The same could be said with my liking of Kerouac, Li Po, Jeffers, London, Muir, and Gary Snyder.  It is the same for a lot of the living writers that I know personally, or know through the internet, or have had the pleasure of reading with… people like John Dorsey, Will Crawford, Jason Hardung, Rob Plath, Scott Wannberg, Iris Appelquist, and April Michelle Bratten, etc. I have found myself equally blown away by them all, but I still thought how could I give back to the muse?

Since times are hard, I tend to read dead and living poets online first to see if I like four or five pieces before I ever purchase a book.  If it clicks, I buy something.  I still see the debates flame on in the realm of the internet world.  I guess they’ll still be debating the shit one million years from now—who’s good versus who’s bad.  Even though I agree there is bad writing (a lot of it), it’s still art, and it’s a personal choice, is it not?

Anyhow, I started talking with some of the people from The Literary Underground and “Your Mother’s Medicine Cabinet” was born.  The purpose of it is not to showcase one writing style or philosophy (like my bookcase).  The purpose of it is to bring together all the different styles of writing.  My only prerequisite was that the writer has books, or a book from a publisher other than themselves, or the publisher had a name going for them in the small press world.

The title of the series, “Your Mother’s Medicine Cabinet” is a lot like my bookcase, a lot of different things to pull off the shelf, a lot of different highs, different adventures.  Anyone who has ever done drugs, knows that moms have an excellent ‘bookcase’ of highs in the bathroom cabinet.

This show is the only way I can give back to the muse.  People helped me a lot when I was struggling to find my voice.  People gave me a chance to publish in their journals or publishing house.  People bought my books, set me up at readings all over the country.  People gave me couches and food at their homes while I was in their towns giving readings.  So, I figured if I can help connect some of these people to other people, help them sell books, help their name grow, even if by a fan or two, then, I have helped the muse grow, even if just a little bit. Sure, this all might sound corny, and like I said I don’t expect some sort of “blessing” from the muse, but what I do and always have believed in is the old saying “What goes around comes around.”  I don’t think I have a sense of duty, or a sense of entitlement.  I’m not delusional—I know it is blogtalk radio.  But, the funny thing is, we have only two to four shows a week running at the moment, and yet we have had over 3,000 listeners this month.  People are listening.  People are connecting.  For what it’s worth, that makes me happy.  Whether it’s language, haiku, narrative, truths, etc. is of no concern to me.  Connecting and growing beyond the “me, me, me” and putting out good writing is what concerns me.  Moving this culture away from “stupid is cool” is what concerns me.  It’s not the books they’re reading, or not reading, it’s that they’re reading, again.