More Scott C. Holstad Quotes Found in Pop Culture During 2022

Before diving into the topic at hand, I just wanted to mention a couple of things. A) I “had” to change this site’s theme, look and feel as the theme I’ve been using for far too long is basically dead. I finally went through with it today and I’m pleased at how seamless it was, but I haven’t had time to test everything. It was not an easy choice, but I’m honestly pretty pleased with this — I wanted a “cleaner” look and feel for one thing and I think I have that. Easier to read. B) I haven’t posted anything anywhere in a very long time. I couldn’t begin to offer all of the zillions of reasons, but we’ve been really swamped with emergencies, responsibilities, issues, travel (for necessity), etc. I hope to resume writing and posting things here and there quite soon.

Okay. So my last post was published on August 11 and was about a short quote of mine being placed on a list of the 65 best Halloween quotes on a TODAY show special. That ended up getting picked up by other markets and was then followed by blogs, so it appeared everywhere from Yahoo to Good Housekeeping to all sorts of places. I wrote about it because it was a bit unusual and I hadn’t known about it in advance — just found out early that morning. However, many excerpts of poems or statements or various things I’ve uttered have been appearing around places for several years, but especially over the past couple of years. Seems to be a fad right now, though I’m not sure why. However, in addition to the mounds of quotes gathered at quote-centric places like Quotes.net, Goodreads and others, I’ve just stumbled across some unique topics, lists and sites that aren’t necessarily quote-centric but have some interesting things just the same. I decided to put a few together for a new blog post which I’ve done. The irony is I completed it a few weeks ago and since then have encountered more (which I’ve not included). I started out with the TODAY piece and added four more to it, so I’m just going to do that here. Hope you find it interesting and comments are welcome!

  1. TODAY.  
    • The TODAY SHOW’s August 8, 2022 full show Halloween celebration spilled into other areas not on the television program. In my case, they published an article on their TODAY.com website originally titled 65 Halloween Quotes That Are Sure To Send Chills Down Your Spine (later changed to 70 quotes) that was picked up and published by other places like Yahoo and more. Yahoo even appended a phrase to the end of the piece and later simply modified the title while still giving TODAY credit. Yahoo’s read 70 Best Halloween Quotes – Short Halloween Quotes From Movies. (Not sure why that title because while some of the quotes came from movies, I’d say more came from books – like mine.
    • As stated, originally there were 65 quotes and there were many famous quotes and people found on the list. In addition to quotes from “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Beetlejuice,” “Ghostbusters” and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” the list included quotes from Poe, King, Shakespeare, Bradbury, Grafton, HP Lovecraft and Anne Rice among others. But as I hadn’t known about this, I was surprised to see the 13th quote was a short excerpt of a poem called “Halloween 1998” from my “horror poetry” book Shadows Before the Maiming (Gothic Press, 1999). It wasn’t the best, but I actually thought it did fit in. It read,


2. Quotement.com.

Quotement published an interesting list titled 150 Relatable I Hate Myself Quotes To Express Self- hatred. Five “levels” of “I Hate Myself” quotes. The final section/level is simply titled “Self-Hatred Quotes” and described as the “I Hate Myself quotes that really hit hard[est].” In the list of 30 quotes, the #12 quote is an excerpt of a poem called “girl” from my 1993 collection, Grungy Ass Swaying. Others quoted in this section included W. Somerset Maugham, Don DeLillo, Marilyn Manson and Jack Kerouac. Here is the excerpt:

“Do you hate yourself I wonder? You can’t expect others to accept you until you’ve been able to accept yourself. Sometimes I think I can really feel the pain. I’ve been there, I live there. But if you can make it through, nothing will beat you. You know the madhouses are full of emotional suicides. Let’s just take it day by day.” ― Scott C. Holstad


3. Nichequotes.com.

  1. A site I know nothing about appeared in search query results for a different topic I was researching. I was intrigued by the title of the result and wondered what I had to do with it if anything. Many results are for other Holstads I never knew about until the past few years. Some are definitely mine though and this turned out to be one. This website apparently does exactly what the domain name says – provide quotes for niche topics ranging from Beavis and Butthead to Rimbaud to luddite to Neil Gaiman to Ludwig von Mises and on and on. Definitely odd and niche. There was a webpage titled “Love Junction Quotes” (which literally means nothing to me, other than it’s the title of a fairly popular Indian film from around 2014). Beneath the title is states they “searched databases for all quotes and captions related to Love Junction and here are all 35 of them.” [Still clueless.]
  2. I went down the list trying to make sense of something, anything. Some quotes were from Helen Fielding in Bridget Jones’s Diary, Victor Hugo in Les Mis and JG Ballard in The Atrocity Exhibition. Still clueless. But then I saw my name and another of my quotes, so I guess that’s kind of cool and with some good company. This quote is an excerpt of a poem titled “Dirty” found in my 1993 book, Junction CityHere it is:

she wants to be loved for a few hours at least. I look away, people need peace. it’s raining hard outside; lives are breaking in the storm. Scott C. Holstad (Junction City)


4. Dreamachine vol 4, no. 1. “Notes” section.  “A synthetic nature” section. No. 54.

54, the waiting room: first appeared on nicole’s old praxis website, and then s.l.f. circa fall ’00. line 57: “ending is better than mending”…from a. huxley’s “brave new world”, i have copied that line a thousand times without shame. the last few lines might have been indirectly inspired by scott holstad’s “breakfast machine”.

I literally have no idea who or what this huge list is. The account no longer exists (domain), so this is an archive. There are no links to anyplace, most notably to anywhere else on the site that might be a homepage, provide the author’s name, any date, etc. I went back to the issue number in the URL: “v4-1” but there is an index of what appears to be poem titles and nothing further. Nonetheless, this person must have known my work, because while “breakfast machine” was actually a bit notorious and infamous, that would have been in a niche circle of “small press” writers and poets. Nonetheless if the writer of this page were part of or a fan of that small press community, there were any number of ways he or she could have been exposed to “breakfast machine.” First, it was published in an academic literary journal, which just stunned me. I had a publishing submission strategy because I enjoyed challenges and enjoyed seeing if any editor would ever take the one “crazy” submission in the batch. Usually, I’d send one I thought was very high quality, two above average or better but more MY style, perhaps, than the first one, and then nearly always, a poem I liked but never expected to be accepted by any of the mainstream literary journals. And they rarely were, but sometimes I’d get a surprise acceptance. This was probably the first of such surprises. It would not be the most “prestigious” such publications, but it was one and it counted. Thus “breakfast machine” was published (along with some more “serious” works of mine) in The Coe Review vol. 23, 1993 (Coe College). It was a shock because it was a long crass poem about my obsession with this girl who had a huge rack and whose TITS got me turned on. I emphasize the word “TITS” because to my horror, the much used and esteemed WorldCat database includes a rare description of the poetry collection this would later be published in that reads “Summary: Features poetry about coffee houses, girls with big tits, Jesus and more!” I think it’s my only book and publication in that huge database to have the distinction of a Summary, and this one’s it.

In any event, it was the first poem to appear in what became probably my first best-looking, high-quality book (in terms of production, design, etc.). It was titled Junction City, published by Sister Moon Press in Phoenix AZ during 1993. It was an immediate hit (the book) and that poem got some press, most good but not all. Nonetheless, I was especially honored to find that Marvin Malone, editor of the legendary Wormwood Review (Charles Bukowski’s favorite literary journal and this magazine that published him more than any other, along with other friends of mine like Gerry Locklin and Lyn Lifshin) published in issue 135 (I think) the following: “Scott Holstad’s Junction City [Sister Moon Press] – HIGHLY Recommended.” Such praise from him was often reserved for Bukowski, Edward Field, Gerry and some others.

Thus, whoever created this webpage could have found the poem upon original publication as it made the rounds in the journal. More likely they would have found it in Junction City directly or heard of it somewhere and contacted the publisher or indie bookstores for a copy. As for these lines in #54 of “a synthetic nature,” I literally have no clue except that the author is cataloging a number of his/her poems for whomever/whatever and as the webpage’s title suggests, these are Notes. Nonetheless, it appears that very few of the hundreds listed here refer to anyone in any context by name, so I guess this means something, but I’m not exactly sure. The fact that the author refers to A. Huxley’s Brave New World in a positive way is a good sign, so I suppose that writing that “the last few lines might have been indirectly inspired by Scott Holstad’s “breakfast machine” I take to also be pretty positive and considering the hundreds of poems cataloged here and the near total lack of references to any poets, authors or people in general should make it a bit of an honor. A mysterious surprise, but an honor to whatever degree, nonetheless. (BTW, note the reference to the poem – not the book.)


5. Unlikely Stories.

“Unlikely Stories Presents…” Unlikely Stories is an online literary magazine that’s been around for a long time and the publisher has moved a few times during this century and has done so well, there’s now an Unlikely Stories 2.0 and I think his company has been bought out while retaining him as publisher. That’s my guess, as the publisher and I haven’t spoken in a long time.

The old archived website for Unlikely Stories, seemingly abandoned before 2010: https://www.unlikelystories.org/old/index.html

The current version of Unlikely Stories [Mark V]. It looks like they’ve really branched out and are doing well, so I’m happy for them: https://www.unlikelystories.org/

The publisher and other staff members were busy setting up their own publishing company right after the turn of the century which came to be called Sick Puppy Press. I don’t recall how I came across Jonathan, or more likely he came across me. It was in the late 1990s when I was going through a too-long very dark period in my life and most of my writing reflected that then. Some early fans didn’t like it, but it attracted a whole new set of other fans, something I addressed in an interview long ago that one can find online. Simply put, many people either could relate to me yet had never had an outlet to express their negative emotions and I seemed to give them one. Others seemed to be drawn to very dark material and they read my material with fasciation while trying not to get sick or pass out. Serious. A reviewer of one of my books published in 1999 wrote that their stomach became twisted and they became nauseous less than halfway into the book and yet couldn’t put it down. When finished the only thing they could think of was the book, American Psycho. There were many more such comments, and for me they’re neither here nor there. I’ve come a long way baby. But Jonathan Penton, the publisher, seemed really drawn to my work and we became long-distance friends, a common occurrence among writers and other artists likely prior to easy access to the Internet. Jonothan published a number of people I knew or knew of and he liked to stick with writers he personally enjoyed. He also liked to do something many small press publishers and editors did – provide a short introduction to a writer new to their audience. He did so under the heading “Unlikely Stories Presents.” So at some point – and sadly I literally don’t know when, but he conducted an interview with me in 2000, so it probably was right before that – he wrote such an introduction for me to any of his readers who may not be familiar with me and I must admit with all of the reviews, comments, observations, articles, quotes, interviews, etc., over several decades, this short two-paragraph intro remains one of my all-time favorites. That may say something about me.

What does this have to do with the topic of this article you ask? Fair question. As I’ve related, I’ve been inadvertently finding all sorts of stuff quoting me, referring to me, allegedly (and doubtfully) written by me, mentions of me in terms of honors or put on lists or in various directories and indexes. And these example in this article are some recent examples and since they share some things in common, that’s the reason I’m sharing these and not a few other things.

So, I’m finding stuff that goes back 10, 20, 30+ years that has been published or online or whatnot all this time, yet I never knew about many-to-most of all of this! It’s damned odd to find reviews of your books from the entire 1990s and you never knew about them.

Quickly, Jonathan and his partner set up Sick Puppy Press and asked to publish a small collection of mine, which we did in 2002. A small poetry collection titled Artifacts which sold pretty well, has been out of print for awhile, usually well above its new retail value if one could find any used copies, and now seems to have disappeared from the market. I don’t even have a copy myself! Additionally, a Special Edition version was scheduled for release in 2003. During this time, I traveled to Atlanta so I could finally meet them all in person. All of the time I’d “known” them, I’d been out in Los Angeles. So we had dinner, talked shop, they seemed pretty excited about the release of the new book and I headed back. Not long after however I heard from his partner, who’d I’d gotten to know pretty well, and he told me that with no warning, Jonathan had packed all of his stuff up – including all of the press’s stuff – and moved to El Paso, of all places. Where he seemed to ditch everyone and I guess start a new life. I can relate to that as I’ve done that a couple of times myself. Still, very odd. I had a longtime writer friend there who he became friends with and she’d occasionally keep me posted on the El Paso scene. I don’t think I heard from him again; if I did, it was long ago and infrequent. We eventually lost contact and last I heard, he’d moved to Ohio some time ago.

SO … the point of ALL of that likely wasted text was to enable any interested readers to understand what I’m about to show you because I only recently discovered this, and while it’s not exactly the same as the other examples in this article, it IS about writing and I have no idea how I stumbled upon this, nor most anything else, like some of the other things preceding this section. I ran across another “Unlikely Stories Presents” which would appear to have taken place circa 2001 and in this case, Jonathan didn’t write it so much as quoted the poet/writer who I literally have never heard of in my life. Doesn’t mean he’s not a good poet; he seems to be quite good. It’s just there’s a comment in here that really took me by surprise, because while I used to see such things in the late 1980s through the mid-1990s, I’d not really heard this since, nor too often from a complete stranger (not counting reviews). So this is a quote by Terrance Leightner and the second sentence from the bottom of the second paragraph has a little very kind piece referencing me that had somehow been online for two decades, yet I only just found it this year, in 2022. Also, I was interested in the other writer he references, because he’s also one of my favorites and biggest influences and I was lucky enough to be published with him frequently, to actually have a book in omnibus form published with each of us sharing a large section, and who I was lucky enough to get to know briefly before he died and whose books, shirts, etc., that he autographed for/to me remain among my most prized possessions. Very cool. I don’t know if this will “impress” you as much as some others, but I thought it was pretty awesome to find over two decades after it had been published and from a complete stranger.  I’m going to try to squish the incredibly lengthy horizontal screenshot in below.

“…I rarely have enough time to read anymore, but when I do, it is either Bukowski or the best novelists. Buk is simply the only poet thus far (although a shout goes out to Scott C. Holstad) that really speaks my languages…”

Cool!

I guess that’s all for now, even if it seems like an abrupt ending. I’ve been working on this all night and I’m tired and hungry and frankly I’ve probably written too much as it is, so hopefully this will be of interest or entertainment or something to someone and if you see this, thanks for looking at it. Cheers!

Scott Holstad

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