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Archive for October, 2021

Polite Society

Posted by Scott Holstad on October 20, 2021

An interesting first blog post from aginggenxer. I tend to agree with most of this & often think if people would just STFU & we could magically go back to much of the late 1960s, the ’70s & part of the ’80s when it was not only not cool to bring up politics & religion in most places but certainly with strangers & certainly not to flame the hell outta them pre-Internet — cause people weren’t that big of an asshole yet, or at least in person — well, yeah maybe this is idealistically naïve but it’s hard for me not to think things would HAVE to better to whatever degree. The last place I lived was very one-party to an extreme degree & for some reason everyone there assumed everyone else — you, me — shared the same political/spiritual beliefs so you’d be standing next to a total stranger & they’d start spewing venom, hate, BS, unwanted religious garbage, etc., expecting you to join them in their hate fests, but if you ever got a word in to tell them no offense, but I disagree with nearly everything you say, the look of shock, betrayal & hatred was borderline shocking, & if in a crowd for something like a community celebration & these morons started spreading the word about troublemakers like US around, it was then wise to start edging toward wherever you left the car. Cause no one had your back when tens of thousands of gun packing people want your scalp for daring to be their neighbor who doesn’t agree with their personal beliefs! They never stop to think, what if the tables were turned? More proof that they’re morons. But the point is, I think agingggenxer makes a good point because like them, when I was younger, you knew enough not to bring those things up & most employers usually had a written policy that those were not workplace topics that would be acceptable. After working with a ton of otherwise likeable people over much of this century & hearing everything from rude jokes to wanting to exterminate fellow citizens who did not see their way — WTH did THAT become acceptable??? — I’ve spent much time coming to hate both major political parties & wishing I were in Finland or Denmark or freaking anywhere but here! Anyway, I thought this was worth sharing. Comments are welcome. Cheers!

aginggenxer

When I was a girl, my father always told me that it was considered impolite to talk about religion and politics. My parents were always secretive about their political leanings. We didn’t practice any religion in my home and we also didn’t talk about anyone else’s religion. I had friends who went to church weekly and that was cool; that’s what their family did. They never talked to us about it unless my brother or I asked.

As I observe our country, now divided in the worst possible way, I long for the days when strangers didn’t ask you about your most deeply held beliefs. We have a new neighbor. A few weeks ago, my husband and this new neighbor met for the first time. This neighbor asked my husband about his religious beliefs and tried to get him to talk about his political beliefs. I see no reason for…

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An Intro to the Finnish Readers of Rendezvous’ssa re US Writer Scott C. Holstad, Circa 1993

Posted by Scott Holstad on October 13, 2021

When I started getting published in 1988-89, somehow — I no longer remember how — I came into contact with some Finnish writers, editors, publishers & magazines by at least 1990. At the time, Bukowski was very popular in Finland (& with me as well) & I’m afraid that like many, I emulated him just a tad too much for my first couple of years. But I started to branch out, set my own tone & feel, & develop my own reputation (never close to Bukowski’s, of course). In the meantime, I started getting published in small magazines in Finland, typically in English but sometimes in Finnish — which I didn’t read at the time. One editor really liked me, solicited stuff from me constantly, was a great guy & eventually asked if he could publish a small booklet of my poems, which kind of blew my mind (as it would be my first international book; I had already had something published in the US). My first poetry collection came out in the Spring 1991. I agreed to Jounni’s request & my 2nd collection, Industrial Madness, came out in December 1991. Other editors & magazines started soliciting work from me, I got to know quite a few good people over there & elsewhere in other countries that would strongly support me for years, such as Belgium, the UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, etc., & I started working with some Finnish friends & colleagues in L.A., where I was living at the time. (This helped me realize I wanted to move to Finland.) That first magazine, & the publishing company, was named Sivullinen. Published me a lot. But soon Sivullinen was joined by Sieto Kukka, Solinar, Talvipaivanseisaus & others. I also started getting fan mail. Now as strange it must seem to those of you who never knew me or heard of me as a writer, I actually did go through a 15+/- year period of massive productivity & was sometimes referred to as the most prolific man in the world at the time! (“Man” because no one could beat the late Lyn Lifshin, though I competed well for awhile. “Queen of the Small Press?” How many hundreds of books, many thousands of magazines? Every single literary one I ever saw, it often seemed like. But I was the male Lifshin “Lite,” so had some standing in that literary world.) So I started receiving fan mail from all over the world. And lots of requests, solicitations, offers to publish my books, & the occasional bra in a package from some sweet but delusional girl in a few different places. I had been getting published with Buk in many of the same mags since 1990, started corresponding with him then, would later go over to his house in San Pedro when I moved to Long Beach and he was nice enough to sign a few books for/to me, as well as a Bukowski t-shirt. This made me seem cooler to those that didn’t realize I wasn’t worth shit compared to the big boys. Nonetheless, Buk and I went from being published in a lot of the same magazines (with Gerry Locklin) to being put on the cover of a Finnish magazine, the name of which I no longer recall, which made it appear that we were standing side by side when in fact, it was just a slick Photoshop job of getting a photo of each of us to look, oh, like we were actually literally beside each other. But in a sense, we were at that moment. And even better, the cover screamed “Bukowski and Holstad!” Awesome. I actually don’t know why I was THAT excited because as the former editor of Caffeine magazine noted, for much of the 1990s, Caffeine was literally the biggest poetry magazine in America and since I started out with Rob in issue 1 and since he wanted to start off with a bang, among those he published were Ginsberg and Bukowski. On the cover. With me. And Buk and I appeared on many future covers of Caffeine and of some various other publications while he was still alive, but I’m not actually trying to brag so much as simply describe what it was like back then.

Which brings me to this collage I made this morning. And I do apologize for the state of the little article on the left. It’s barely readable, but I ran across it recently, hadn’t seen it in years/decades and couldn’t contain my enthusiasm, because it’s been a long time. So this little barely readable article is obviously in Finnish and it’s by the editor of what was a new-to-me Finnish magazine that would go on to publish me often: Rendezvous’ssa, or shortened in English, Rendezvous, It’s a little Introduction about me to the magazine’s readers. Appeared around the beginning of 1993. Since I was once so active in Finland (not only in writing/publishing, but in business as well, in other areas), I had various Finnish friends & colleagues & a couple would translate things like this, or longer, for me, but that was a long time ago & even though I learned to read & speak several languages, I’m beyond rusty now. And I no longer have access to translator friends. I can recall the person who translated this for me back in ’94, but I lost whatever the content was many years ago, so while I generally remembered what this said, I wanted to be able to read it fairly accurately again, so I decided to make an attempt to translate it myself. Which I did. Despite being rusty by many years. But with the admission that I had to refer to some sources a few times, the two more prominent being Google Translate & Translate.com. I frankly felt neither of them (or any others) did a perfect job & a couple of clauses virtually contradicted each other, so I basically just loosely translated it as reasonably accurately as I felt I could/should & the primary reason it may appear to a Fin to not be perfectly accurate is likely because of grammatical differences in the two languages, such as subject/object placement, etc. I moved a few things around but didn’t consciously try to add or eliminate anything of note. You’ll notice there were two or three words that I simply could not figure out, even within the context, so I guessed as best I could. I actually have hundreds of Finnish contacts and connections these days, many of them in the FDF, so if any of them were to see this & wish to correct me, improve this or comment, I’m open. So here’s my little goofy collage, which will mean little to most, but brings back good memories for me. Cheers!

Finnish introduction of US writer Scott C. Holstad to the readers of Rendezvous’ssa, followed by an English translation of my own

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