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THIS IS NOT A TEST with Michael Phillips

New Mexico author & artist Hosho McCreesh – THIS IS NOT A TEST #39 (transcript)

Published September 19, 2015

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Well hello there. It’s me, Michael Phillips and look where you’ve found yourself – smack dab in the middle of another THIS IS NOT A TEST. If this isn’t where you meant to be, sorry, it’s too late to back out now. It would be rude. So just keep listening. Remember telephones? I don’t mean that thing in your pocket, I’m talking about those cumbersome things wired to the wall. Remember talking on those? It was good. You could hear the other person, they could hear you, yes, even if you both spoke at the same time. Imagine that. And the person you were speaking to wasn’t driving a car or shopping for groceries, they were there paying attention to the conversation. Okay, maybe once in a while they’d have the phone cradled against their shoulder while they folded laundry or cooked a Hot Pocket, but for the most part the conversation was why you were sitting there holding that thing. And because the sound quality was relatively good, it made for intimate conversations. You could be lying on your couch late at night and hear the other person sigh or scratch their nose. It was really something. Ask your grandfather what it was like.

Anyway, when the Internet came along, the pre-Skype, typing-as-communication Internet, that made for a whole new, but equally intimate form of communication. Add a layer of semi-anonymity to that, and you could get some very intimate conversations where it seemed people would tell you anything, because there was somehow less fear of rejection. And hey, if you said something that freaked the other person out, you didn’t necessarily have to talk to them again, and you certainly didn’t have to see them. But since the conversations were so intimate you could really form a bond with someone, and since you were mainly typing, you formed a bond with their personality and their ideas, rather than an image of them or an impression of them. I know a lot of people that way, through the Internet, and once in a while the opportunity to meet them face to face presents itself, and that’s always interesting. I had that opportunity last weekend when Hosho McCreesh and his wife and son came by the house.

Hosho is a badlands poet and artist, living and working in New Mexico. He’s prolific and tenacious so he’s published a lot of poetry, fiction and non-fiction – a small mountain of books – and he even writes a column reviewing beer and food called “A Drinkable Feast” for alibi.com. His latest book is a major poetry collection called “A Deep and Gorgeous Thirst,” which you can get on Amazon, or better still, buy it directly from the man on his website. I’ll put a link on the THIS IS NOT A TEST site. Now I’d seen Hosho’s name around, but didn’t really get to know him until I joined up with the Guerilla Poetics Project in the summer of 2006.

If you’ve never heard of GPP, it was a genius project started by Hosho, Bill Roberts, Justin Barrett and Chris Cunningham – and maybe one or two other people who kind of fell by the wayside once they realized the project might require them to do some actual work. GPP was started to spread the work of small press or underground poets to a more mainstream audience. The genius part was how they did it – by letterpress printing short poems on cards and sticking them into literary-type books in bookstores or libraries all over the world. That’s pretty good, right? But the really genius part was making it interactive. Every poem broadside had a unique number printed on it. So if you found one of the broadsides, the back of the card had the website address and once you got there you could register the find and read all of the broadsides. And maybe buy some work from some of the poets. That was a great idea back then, and it’s still a great idea, one that no one has been able to replicate – or even tried to replicate, as far as I know. I’ll put a link to the GPP site on the site too to so you can go check it out.

But back to meeting Hosho last weekend – there’s a pre-established familiarity at work in face to face meetings with people you only know from the Internet that can be pretty amazing, and Hosho and I went right into what seemed like an already ongoing conversation the minute they walked in. Actually the minute they walked in he wanted to go outside and hear the neighbors alarms chirp. Maybe he thought I was making that up. The neighbors didn’t disappoint though, and as soon as we stepped into the driveway he heard the first chirp and started counting. He only got to three, because there’s a second alarm that’s chirping, don’t know if I told you guys about that. Anyway, we sat around and talked and drank for a while, then I waylayed him and stuck him in front of a microphone, and you’re about to hear the result of that.

It was a quick and dirty setup, so it’s not technically marvelous, like what you’re hearing right now. Right. I didn’t properly EQ his microphone, there’s noise from the other room, noise from the air conditioning and a kind of annoying buzz from a light dimmer that I usually turn off, but it captures a moment in time, so I give it to you now without further apology or explanation. And bear in mind that even though I might think the sound isn’t great, I’m hard to please, so it’s still better than 99% of the other podcasts you could be listening to right now. Okay. I guess that was more apology and explanation. I’ve lied to you again. Forgive me. Here we go.

Transcript of the interview unavailable.

See there, I didn’t even give him a chance to say goodbye. I’d like to have more conversations with Hosho, about publishing, the Guerilla Poetics Project and a lot of other things, things that I would have remembered to talk about if I hadn’t been driving the bourbon train down the rickety tracks to fuzzytown. But I’m sure we’ll get another opportunity somewhere down the road. At which point we’ll probably also have bellies full of liquor, but I’ll remember to make some notes beforehand so I don’t forget what I’m doing. Like a professional. In my defense I didn’t plan to record him while he was here, so there was no preparation. Now you get to see what this would be like every week if I didn’t prepare. Not pretty, is it? Or maybe it’s better, I don’t know. I’m not a position to judge these things. I just do them and put them out there and then start thinking about what I’m going to say next week. So be sure to tune in next week to see what that is, because right now I have no idea. Tune in? Do you tune in to a podcast? No, I don’t think you do. Though we’re on tunein.com now, and maybe you’re listening there, so you are tuned in. The rest of you – click in next week, I guess. However you get here, I appreciate it. And I drink a toast to you.