Friday, July 31, 2015

Exercising Demons Zine, Issue Two And A Review Of Issue One

In case you missed it, and you would have had to unless you were at the Tulsa Zine Fest two months ago,  issue two of my zine Exercising Demons is out. The only way to get it is from me or at Holy Mountain here in Tulsa at the extra low, low price of FREE! You heard me right. At some point I'll get around to dropping a few copies off at other places like Boulevard Trash. Eventually.

Yeah I was so focused on getting it ready in time for the zine fest that I forgot to announce it on here. There's lots of cool true stuff in this one plus a fiction piece and it's grown too. Twenty whole pages this go around and I did the artwork. I haven't drawn in over twenty years and it shows. These first few issues are teaching me important lessons about what to do (and not do in some cases) while I try and find my focus for the zine. Issue three is now in the planning stage, I just need to decide what stories I'm actually going to write or re-write in some cases..

Also, I sent issue one to the fine folks at Razorcake (zine, website, record label and more) to be reviewed and they did so online. You can follow the link to give them some traffic for their website by clicking here or look below where I've copied and pasted it. Do both, it only takes a few minutes. I pretty much agree with what Kurt says too for what it's worth. He knows what he's talking about.

trade/2 stamps, 5 ½” x 8 ½”, copied, 8 pgs.

By Kurt Morris
Monday, July 27 2015

This is a short zine with some personal accounts of family as well as some lyrics/poetry. While poetry has never done much for me, I felt like I was being teased with the personal material. There are foundations for some great longer pieces in this material. Don mentions offhandedly his time in the military in places like Germany and Saudi Arabia—there are probably some cool stories there. He also mentions moving around a lot and ponders why we say we’re “from” some place even when we haven’t lived there for years, which would be an interesting thought to explore further. There is also a piece on his father’s eight (?!) wives. I would’ve loved to hear more about that! For a first issue, this shows a lot of promise. Some more extrapolating would’ve been great. Don seems unsure with what he’s doing in Exercising Demons, but I would encourage him to keep going. There’s some good potential here.-Kurt Morris (Don Leach, 1546 S. 79th E. Ave., Tulsa, OK 74112,

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

What's Wrong With My Brain?

Don’t tell my wife I said this but there’s a lot of things I don’t remember. I listen to a lot of podcasts and hear people speak about remembering where and on what day they saw a particular movie from over a decade ago. They can supply numerous details about the weather on that day, the theater and where they stopped to eat before or afterwards. They have a rich tapestry of memories to draw upon it seems.

It doesn’t work that way for me. I can’t tell you what day of the week or the month and probably not the year (without looking it up) that I first saw Star Wars, or Aliens or any of literally thousands of other movies I’ve seen in my life. I can’t give tell you if I had popcorn or candy. My brain just doesn’t work that way.

It’s not just movies though. I also can’t recall a great many details of concerts I’ve seen other than the year (maybe) and the general period within that year (Summer? Fall?) that it occurred in. If you ask me about the set list I’m at a loss. I know I enjoyed it and I probably could tell you who I went with and perhaps I generally can remember the opening bands or if there were any. Then again, I’ve seen a lot of shows.

I am almost always reading a book but if you ask me about it a month afterwards I doubt I could tell you a great many details about it. By that point I’ve more than likely already read at least three more. If it’s in a series by the time the next one comes out I almost have to go back and read the previous one all over again if I want any sense of continuity.

The thing I’ve come to realize over my life is that I consume these things (books, movies, music) and other experiences very much in the minute and then I move on to the next. If I don’t retain anything I can always read or watch it again. That doesn’t really work for concerts of course. My only recourse at this point is to research it and write it all down as best I can.

The way I have come to feel about is that there is nothing wrong with the way my mind works. It is what it is and it does how it does. I don’t expect to be normal or like everybody else is because that use of terminology is just an illusion. There is no right or wrong way to be. I am the way I was created. It would be a rather horrid world to live in if everybody thought the same way, processed information the same way, expected the world to behave the way they thought was correct.

Wait a minute, aren’t we already on that road to intolerance of difference? Don’t we already expect others to think the normal, correct way and chastise others if they don’t agree? Shouldn’t I have a right to think the way I do and say what I want to say even if it’s different than your way and your opinion?

Of course we all have those rights. Just don’t expect to actually be able to use them.

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ten For Tuesday Episode 079: No Really

Finally I got around to doing another episode, of course at the last minute. Too much has been going on and sometimes the podcast suffers as a result. We'll see how long it takes to get the next one done, no promises. This episode features two blocks of music and what's significant about the 2nd one is all of the artists live in or around Tulsa and I've seen all but Merlin Mason (soon I will correct that) and Stationary Nomads (because that's me and I can't see myself performing now can I?). Listen for the details. Or don't. Your choice. Make the smart one (that means listen).

Toys That Kill - Safe & Warm
Freedom Club - Death Satchel
The Public - The Dogs
Banda Muerte - La Sangre de la Muerto
Behaviour - Bad Times For Heroes
Merlin Mason - Social Anxiety
Riot Waves - Enemies
Colourful Hill - Selfless
Lizard Police - Swearing In Spanish
Stationary Nomads - Ladrones

Ten For Tuesday is a podcast dedicated to playing the music I couldn't find anywhere else. The music I like varies from style to style, genre to genre and era to era. You will hear punk, ska, rock, Americana, metal, country, rockabilly and more from all over the world. It doesn't matter if it's a major label or indie as long as I like it then it gets played. The motto is Less Talk More Music which means you won't hear me waxing poetic for fifteen minutes between songs. At TFT its all about the music...and me of course.

Email: Twitter:@notmovingpics

Old Episodes can be found by going to and searching for Ten For Tuesday

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Small Press Books To The Rescue

I haven't been writing very much lately, for the blog or otherwise, but I have been reading. My mind is full of ideas but sometimes the problem is getting them out of my brain. One thing that helps though are the very books that I've been reading. They have mostly been from small press companies but don't think for an instant that impacts the quality of the writing. The few remaining large companies for the most part won't touch these kind of authors. Instead of playing it safe with their content and writing style they carve out their own niche and usually when they make a fan it's someone who fiercely believes in the content they put out. I'm going to list three authors and the book I read from them and then talk about the overall impact it's had on me.

Sean Carswell - Barney's Crew  (Gorsky Press)
John Sheppard - Small Town Punk (Ig Pub)
Kevin Sampsell - A Common Pornography (Harper Perennial)

All three writers have different styles of writing but all three made me re-think about the so called rules of writing. They tend to keep the chapters short and always end them in a way to make me want to read just a few pages more. Eventually when I come up for air those few pages more have easily turned into fifty or sixty. Sampsell in particular writes small vignettes that are sometimes less than a page in length. They all write about characters who are at their best flawed people. Some are drunks or always on the lookout to obtain drugs, just going from one high to another. Some refuse to look life realistically. Some are only fooling themselves.

None of this would hold my interest though if the quality of the writing wasn't so high. The stories drew me in and kept my attention. The resulting effect was that I started to rethink the so called rules of writing. About what was acceptable, what qualified and once I started down that path I found myself awash in new ideas, things I never before would have considered. Now that I have found the challenge the only thing holding me back (besides time) is me. I am my own worst critic. Sometimes the criticism is warranted, sometimes not. It's okay to question yourself if your intention is to do the best that you can do, to a degree that is.

Another thing I have discovered is that it's okay to be yourself and by that I mean accepting yourself flaws and all. Coincidentally that means you have to accept others as they are as well. No matter how well intentioned you may be you need to stop judging others for failing to live up to the lofty standards that you hold dear, no matter how much you want to see them succeed. In the end it is up to the individual. Positive criticism is so much harder to give then negative criticism isn't it? Stp trying to convince others that things would be better if they did it your way instead of theirs. They will either choose to do something or they won't. It's that simple.

Sean Carswell, John Sheppard and Kevin Sampsell have all inspired and in a way challenged me. The only thing I have to do is answer that challenge and meet their creativity in my own manner. I have the ideas, now I just need to tell the stories. Either I will or I won't. It's up to me and whatever the result it's all okay. I'm going to do the best that I can. How's that for an idea?

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.