Sorry, No Sympathy

WARNING: Read this blog wearing ear protection–the long ear plugs, not the short ones.

Sorry, No Sympathy (check out their website, here) is defined as a “metal, melodic/hardcore” rock band, based out of Laramie, Wyoming. Their members are:

Chace Corrigan (vocals)

Josh Kirchhefer (guitar)

Trevor Kuma (guitar)

Sean McGee (bass)

Blaise Turcato (drums)

If the “melodic” part confuses you, because you’re not used to the metal rock scene, then just go with “hardcore metal,” because they are.  But here’s a Wiki link to the breakdown of various kinds of rock music (check out heavy metal). Like novel writing, there are a myriad of genres. Take a look a them; if you’re at all interested in rock music, it’s quite interesting. I don’t pretend to be hip to all the sub-genres, but I am a fan of rock music in general, love the energy associated with it, even heavy metal.

I only know of Sorry, No Sympathy because one of their guitar players (Trevor Kuma) is the son of a friend of ours. They’re on tour, and played at The Zodiac, a Colorado Springs venue, this past Tuesday, St. Patty’s Day. It was my first time seeing them play live, though I’ve seen several of their videos over the years. Wow. Such power, such raw (twenty-something?) emotion in the vocals, barked out by Chace Corrigan. To be honest, I don’t know how Chace does it, night after night…it is such an outpouring of energy, it seems to me to have to be exhausting at some level, but he shook it off afterward as if it were nothing.

Which, of course, it’s not.

Which brings me to the kinds of guys these dudes are. What you see up on stage and what you shake hands with before and after are, well, kinda different.

These guys are polite and gracious. They know they’re performing for you, and they acknowledge it. They know you could be out watching some other bands or doing something else (like sleeping), but that you came to see them, and they thank you for that if not so much in words, in actions…how they relate and interact with you. When I approached their “Merch table” (selling their T-shirts), Sean was sitting behind it and immediately stuck out a hand and introduced himself. Josh and Blaise were outgoing and, well, happy. Trevor—a giant of a man—was a little more reserved, but nonetheless friendly. Chace seemed really glad to see me, though we’d never met.  In fact, when I first met Chace and mentioned that I was looking forward to finally seeing them perform live, he said something that actually took me aback—that I hadn’t expected: he said he looked forward to playing for me.

Chace Corrigan and ERO, The Zodiac, Colorado Springs, CO, March 17, 2015

Chace Corrigan and ERO, The Zodiac, Colorado Springs, CO, March 17, 2015

Wow.

Did not see that coming.

To be truthful, I didn’t really have any expectation of what was gonna come out of his mouth on a greeting level (though I’ve seen the band’s videos), never gave it any thought, I was just stating a fact—I really wanted to see these guys play live. And earlier that day my wife and her friend (Trevor’s mom) had taken the band out to eat, and my wife was telling me what absolutely cool guys they were, and it further intrigued me, though I had already seen their interview. My wife also told me Chace was a philosophical kinda guy and was actually interested in reading one of my novels, ERO. So, I brought him a copy and autographed it for him at The Zodiac.

As I met and talked with the rest of the band members I was impressed with all of them. They were not wired and unapproachable, but all had a ready smile and outstretched hands. Easygoing, the lot of them. Not standoffish, not rude. Just a couple of regular guys, plying their trade. So, at the Merch table, I had to get one of the T-shirts.

Now, once up on stage, they went into their “mode,” and became one with their music…and Chace transforms to an unstoppable emotive force. The technique (I recently learned) is called screamo. It is a flat-out demonic-sounding, barking out of distorted vocals that can blister your soul and frighten the uninitiated, and usually trucks in forms of emotional pain, fucked up politics, or the right to be human and one’s own expression of being human. And the music…guitars, percussion…the energy…is simply kick-ass.

But…a weird and curious thing happened to me as I experienced these bands (there were four of them) that night…and it kind of surprised me…but I felt a “coming home“…is how I even noted and described it silently to myself. Admittedly, I am not a “screamo” kinda guy in that I typically don’t listen to a lot of hardcore metal like this…but I’m not above taking some in now and then…but as I stood there rockin to the four bands that performed that night, I realized I loved the raw, youthful creative energy I was experiencing. The feel and kind of energy that radiates from humans expressing themselves early in their careers…uncaring for what the rest of the world might think of them…just explosively expressing themselves for who they are and how they see themselves. You—hell, the performers themselves—might not even totally understand why they do what they do (is it past life anger/angst…current life anger/angst?), but they know, they feel this “stuff” emanating out of them…out from their souls in such powerful, emotive explosions…and this is how…this is the only way they know that they can express themselves…express the unbridled energy that bursts forth from every pore….

This…is who they are.

Take em or leave em…this is what they do.

From what I know of them, from what I’d experienced, I didn’t see them (or any of the other bands’ members) parading about the joint breaking and smashing things like you might see so much on TV, getting stinking drunk and acting like idiots…these members behaved respectfully, hell, they stayed to listen to the other bands late into the night! But within each of them is this powerful, undeniable energy that craves release…and this is their creative vehicle for it. So what that not everyone “gets it”…those that do they welcome and perform for. And they are grateful for their fans. For their outlet.

It was interesting as I stood there and took in the night, the performances, because I did see a definite tie-in to writing. The apparent “duality of being.” These guys were great guys in every sense of the word—Chace was even a good sport about posing with my novel when I asked him to (I was egged on into the photo, by the way, I wasn’t gonna get in it…) after their performance—but, up on stage they take on a different kind of “greatness”: they turn into performers giving up their lives to their creative forces. Yelling like demons, whirling around and smacking into each does not make them bad people, neither does wearing body ink and sporting piercings. All the things those without typically associate with “non-nominal behavior.” “Bad” behavior. But that’s faulty reasoning. Dismissive of the mind behind the body. The energy of the soul behind the flesh. Plain and simply it is their energy that drives them to do this…to become “a different kind of greatness”…to express themselves in the way they want to express themselves, just like when I write my novels and people ask me, “Geeze, why do you have to write about violence and weird shit?” Or with my soon-to-be-released work-in-progress, “Why do you have to write such graphic sexual acts? You a pervert?

It’s about the energy.

My work is about telling a story that needs to be told, whether or not it embarrasses me or is good or bad, and I have to be true to the energy of the story. I am the vessel for my stories (likes these guys are for their music) and I have to be me in the expression of those stories through the energy of my being. I have to bark out my own “duality” demon voice when the story necessitates it. That doesn’t mean I walk around acting out my novels anymore than it means the band walks around offstage acting out their music…it just means that we’re being true to the energy of our work.

In short:

We have to be ourselves.

And this was what Chace also belted out during one of his sets that night, “Be yourself! Be true to yourself and don’t worry about what others think!” Of course, the standard caveats apply about not hurting others, etc., I add, but the point is made.

We have to be true to the stories we’re telling…these guys have to be true to themselves…to the stories they’re telling, because, make no mistake about it, they are telling stories.

We all are.

It’s in our every move, our every thought, our every action.

It’s the story of our lives.

So, is there really a duality?

I think not. I think it’s really just another aspect—another part—of the gestalt called Josh or Trevor or Sean or Blaise or Chace.  And we—each and every one of us—have to be true to that. Be true to our lives.

So, in the end…you are who you are…sorry, no sympathy.

*****

Sorry, No Sympathy’s first full-length album “EGALITARIA” will be released early this year. Their single “Ignite,” however (the video at the top) is now available on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play music.

Tonight, Sorry, No Sympathy plays at 8 p.m., at Jazzy’s Rock N’ Roll Grill, in St. George, UT.

Sorry, No Sympathy photos

Sorry, No Sympathy website

Sorry, No Sympathy Facebook

Sorry, No Sympathy Twitter: @SorryNoSympathy

 

I Spy Melissa McCarthy…

Okay, I wanna see this!  A Melissa McCarthy action flick!

If You Could Say ONE Thing to a Young Person…

My advice: be the best, most kind person you can be…no matter what you do.

The Nitty Gritty!

Yeaaah, baby! I LOVE this!

Thanks for pointing this out, Avi!

Righting Erotica

This Novel's Got Legs---And, Well, A Few Other Things.... (By Jean-Christophe Destailleur [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

This Novel’s Got Legs—And, Well, A Few Other Things…. (By Jean-Christophe Destailleur [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons)

As I work on the my current work-in-progress (WIP)—the sex scenes—I realized that once I got past what I was actually writing (graphic as they are), that they were all “words.” And as such, I was (am) trying to put the best words forward. I am trying to make the best scenes possible—as I do with any of my work.

Words are words.

Yeah, some of this stuff is unnerving…but that’s what I want them to be.

Unsettling.

I want you all unsettled by what you read.

I want a little squirming going on.

That is what these scenes are about…on a “mechanical” level. They’re about “in-the-dark” behavior from everyday people. About behavior we might only think about…or do in the dark corners of our lives.

Admittedly, it’s one thing to think about some of this stuff, and (for some) an entirely different matter once written.

After all, writing something gives it permanence, right? Like voicing a thought?

Thoughts are hidden, our own. But once we voice them…write them out…its like they take on a whole new meaning. The phrase “Think before you speak,” comes to mind. And how we look at someone differently once they’ve spoken…the unspeakable….

Actions we only do in private are known only to ourselves…unless voiced or written. This is the kind of ground I’m treading.

I don’t read erotica, so I don’t know what’s acceptable, so maybe I’m really off base, here, with my thoughts. And those who do read erotica may think nothing of what I’ve done.  I’m sure my efforts are most likely quite tame in today’s erotica world…and that’s okay (though I consider what I’ve written not-so-tame at all to me….). Once I got into the writing of this novel, I liked that the erotica became what I thought of as “a different kind of erotica.” Granted, when I’d first written this novel, back in 1997, erotica most likely wasn’t what it is today…but I’d still like to think my work will hold up to itself (um, yeah, there is a pun here, you just don’t know about it, yet…) in today’s world.

I “just” want to be able to portray what my characters are going through in such a way that it…justifies the story…evokes powerful emotion…that you see a part of yourselves in them. That you squirm a little at what you’re reading…insidiously become one with the story…the scenes…the characters.

Okay, even the sex.

So, to that end, once I get past what it is I’m actually writing…I’m trying to write the scenes as best as possible. Use the best words. Invoke the best, most powerful imagery. To make each scene properly fit the story. The plot. The characters—

I’m trying to make the erotica right.

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Surrendering To The Role

It’s funny how things in life work.

If we’re observant.

I don’t know how many of you really notice all the “coincidences” and synchronicities that abound out there, but I do my best to remain open to them…and I notice a lot of them in my life, so they have to exist in others’ lives. In fact, I believe they exist in all our lives.

After posting my Short-Lived Modeling post, one of my brothers tweeted a snippet from an interview with Bill Duke—which I added to the comments of my modeling post. It totally applies to the acting class I described there…but the more I thought about it, it also applies to writing.

Sorry about repeating some of the discussion from previous posts, but in my current WIP I’ve written about how I was initially embarrassed about the work, because I had to write graphic sex scenes. “Had to,” mind you. That I had gotten over that and was finally really “taking ownership” of the work in all of its psychic entirety. And this is true…but while going back over it (again and again…), I’d begun to question whether or not I’d truly surrendered fully to the story itself.

You see, in my life, even in my way of thinking—to which only I am truly privy to the actual images and thoughts I think—I never use certain words and rarely use others (you’re gonna see the “C” word, the “P” word, et cetera and some “very uncomfortable scenes”…)…yet in this WIP I have to. Or should, but in one or two instances actually found myself “pulling their punches,” goddammit.

And that bugged me!

Because I feel that this novel will severely kick ass, and if I lessen anything about it, I’ve cheated the story.

As I reworked this stuff, I kept thinking to myself, WWSK do?

WWSK?

What Would Stephen King Do.

He’d go there, I told myself. He would. But he would do it so it would fit the story, in that it wouldn’t seem like just some foul-mouthed punk trying get people’s “rocks off.”

So there are scenes, there are words that will offend the easily offended in this novel. There are scenes and words that will certainly raise the eyebrows of those who know me…because, yes, I’m “going there.” And I’m trying my damnedest to do it in the “best fit” for the story.

Because, in the end, it is all about the story.

I have to fully surrender to the story.

I have to “go there” and shock and anger and enlighten and entertain, and do what this story needs me to do without short-changing it a single shilling. I cannot cheat the story, cannot cheat the characters. I began this book in 1997 and it’s been on my mind ever since.

Should I publish it?

Ever?

What will people think about me if I publish it?

I just can’t care about that last one, the story is that important. But, also because of one other thought that continually echoes in my head, largely because of my wife:

How will you feel if you don’t publish it?

To be truthful, I don’t know that she ever voiced these particular words…but she uses similar wording for similar situations…

Do you really want to spend a portion of your life to get this [INSERT ITEM]?

Do you really want to spend a portion of your life doing this [INSERT ITEM]?

How will you feel if you don‘t do it?

So, now, I’m making up words my wife might say!

But, for the past 16 years these thoughts have whirled about in my head like an angry wasp. And nearly everyone I’ve bounced this stuff off of all say the same thing: if I feel so strongly about the story, I should do it.

Of course, I knew this.

But, you see, I was partially worried about how I would be perceived, much like Vladimir Nabokov agonized over, when he published Lolita. Now, my novel is nothing even close to what Mr. Nabokov wrote about, but I found the synchronicity of my discovery about his anguish too “coincidental” to ignore (I only found out about this last year, when I was “agonizing over” whether I should or shouldn’t publish this WIP).

And another thing:  when I made the decision way back in 1997 to write this novel, I considered this (also as I’ve previously stated elsewhere): I wanted to write something that would stretch my abilities as a writer. I’d written all kinds of paranormal and supernatural material. Graphic violence, that kind of thing, yeah, I “went there” in a pretty gnarly story or two that will most likely never see the light of day…but I’d never written about sex, and I thought, gee, sex is such a beautiful thing, in and of itself, why are we all so uptight about talking about it, reading it, et cetera? And I don’t mean the crass and degrading porno versions of it, but the loving, caring organic beauty of the act between people?

Not that I knew exactly what I’d be writing about…because, I didn’t, truly didn’t know what I was going to write about (I don’t outline)…but when I came up with the log line for what I was about to attempt to write, I knew there had to be some sex scenes involved. And, once I became engrossed in the actual writing, well, it became evident pretty fast that yeah, I really couldn’t avoid “going there” in getting this story out.

So, the thirty-eight-year-old me decided, I needed to write this book, to get past the embarrassment of writing about something that (at the time) did, indeed, embarrass me. To be the kind of writer I wanted to be, the kind that writes from the heart, the gut—that surrenders to the role—I had to be able to “go there” as stories demand.

I had to be able to get the job done.

Do my job.

And, I figured, if I could write graphic sex scenes…then I could write about anything!

I didn’t and don’t want to be known as a writer of erotic fiction (I do have four other novels out there)…though there is nothing inherently wrong with writing erotica (the genre genuinely doesn’t bother me), that is just not my goal. What I would like to be known for (in so far as all this goes) is that I’m good writer. I get the job done. I entertain, I make people think. Get them to see the other side to Life and the things people do or don’t do. That my readers get lost in the stories and forget they’re reading.

That they can see themselves or others they know in my work.

That is my endgame, that is whey I’m “going there” in my WIP, why I will (hopefully!) make readers cringe, be a little uncomfortable, get angry, cry, or whatever when they read this novel (I get all these ways writing this WIP, so if I do, surely others will, as well!)—which, again, I know I’ve repeated myself some in this post, this is the most mainstream effort of mine to date. I simply have to surrender to the role of this story—

There’s just no other way.

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My Short-Lived Modeling Career

Frank Noir, ©1988 (Michael Drejza, Photographer)

Frank Noir, ©1988 (Michael Drejza, Photographer)

All images on this post are copyright by Michael Drejza* and F. P. Dorchak, 1987/1988.

As I began working on my current work-in-progress (WIP), I thought about a part of my life that definitely influenced the manuscript: years ago…in another life…in a galaxy far, far away…I’d attempted…a career change.

Modeling.

Or, I should say…I studied modeling…. I studied under the John Casablancas (JC) Modeling and Career Center, in Denver, Colorado (don’t know if this is the same place I studied at, but it having started in 1983 implies that it is….), and received my “Fashion Modeling” diploma on Nov 13, 1987. I learned about cold readings, applying makeup, being on-camera, doing auditions and commercials, photo shoots, runway fashion modeling…even a little acting. It was a great time.

It was the 80s.

I was interested in two different tracks at that point in my life and thought I’d explore a little: one was the acting world…the other the writing world.

I remember when I signed up: I was 26 years old, weighing in at 185 pounds, at 5 feet 11 1/2 inches (rounded this height down in the resume, for some reason)…and was promptly told I should lose 10 pounds. Right, that wasn’t gonna happen—and never did. I later learned all about how film “adds” 10 pounds to people (so when you see these “twiggy” models, try to understand just how really thin they really are), but I was already as lean as I was gonna get. Anymore was high school weight and that just wasn’t gonna be any kind of healthy. I worked out (still do) and there was no way I was gonna shed an additional 10 pounds. Heck, I was looking to add muscle, not lose it….

F. P. Dorchak Acting/Modeling Resume (John Casablancas , D

F. P. Dorchak Acting/Modeling Resume ©1987 (John Casablancas , Denver)

As I’d mentioned, JC training involved everything from applying makeup to performing ramp fashion shows. It also taught acting basics, and I remember having had a great time the second time through (yes, attempted this course twice), whereas the first time through, I wasn’t “as psychologically ‘loose,'” you could say. The first time I’d gone through was a year earlier (1986), but my work schedule had been too rough, so I had to back out. The next year, however, I stayed with it.

Back to the acting class. In it the instructor would eventually have us students stand up and he’d throw character types/situations at us and we were supposed to “act” them. After the initial attempts, it was rapid fire. As I mentioned, the first time through (1986) I was extremely self-conscious and psychologically “stiff.”  However, the second time through it was so funny, because as we did this the instructor had people again stand, and kept those of us standing who were able to “perform.” I was one of those—and it actually kinda surprised me. But he would again rapid-fire throw out characters and situation to portray, and he quickly got faster and faster with his requests, weeding us out until only two of us were left standing.

Myself and another guy.

He literally only allowed seconds to perform his requests before he hit us with another. It went something like this: “You’re a farmer…construction worker…astronaut…grieving mother…gay politician…circus clown….” This went on for some time and it was like channeling the Divine (for me, anyway), because I didn’t even have to think about how to act or what to say…it all just flowed (channeled?!) through me. In fact it seemed the same for the other guy (the instructor even had the two of us playing off each other). Once it was all done I was amazed at how easy that had been…and I seem to remember applause erupting from our fellow classmates….

Frank Noir Contact Sheet ©1988 (Michael Drejza, Photographer)

Frank Noir Contact Sheet ©1988 (Michael Drejza, Photographer)

Another event that had an impact on me was our graduation project, a ramp or runway show.

In order to graduate, we had to split up into groups of four—two guys and two girls—so we could “play off” each other…we had to not only create the ramp show, but perform it…and in front of a live audience. We had a limited amount of time to do it (and had to do it there—no take-home work!). But, once we were ready, our audience was ushered in.

Who was our audience?

F. P. Dorchak Fashion Modeling Course Diploma (John

F. P. Dorchak Fashion Modeling Course Diploma ©1987 (John Casablancas , Denver)

A very large, very kinetic, excited, and fun children’s group!

They were all giggly and smiles, their faces bright with anticipation,  and they were ushered into a very small area not much larger than a good-sized living room that was part of the building’s own wing. This wing had large windows around it. There were so many children that the instructors had the overflow go outside and watch us from there, hands and faces pressed into the plate-glass windows. It was actually quite cool, with a lot of “fun” energy emanating from the kids (I remember their ages on the order of maybe 5 or 7 years old up to pre-teen?). Once we started it was nonstop children whooping it up, shouting, and applauding!

It really was a blast, and I was surprised at how much fun I had not only with my group, but also in “playing it up” for the kids! Winking at them, making direct “model” eye contact, displaying full-on “ramp attitude,” that kind of thing. So much excitement and joyfulness from the kids!

Leather Jacket Frank Contact Sheet ©1988 (Michael Drejza, Photographer)

Leather Jacket Frank Contact Sheet ©1988 (Michael Drejza, Photographer)

After graduating from JC, I went on some “Go-Sees,” or “calls” for commercials or anything else that requires a body. I remember one of my go-sees was for a beer commercial…whiiich I didn’t get. Another was for a Moneycard commercial. Nope, didn’t get that, either. While it had been fun doing these things that were so outside my military world…I had also started writing every day. I’d always written (off and on) since I was six years old, but also in 1987, I had begun treating writing as a business…doing it every day, logging my expenses, my submissions, all of it. So, as this energetic 26 year old I was: working full-time shift work, working out nearly every day (weight training, running, hiking, two styles of martial arts, swimming, biking, handball, skiing, tennis…), studying modeling/acting, going on go-sees, and writing. And, if I remember correctly, was getting about 4-6 hours of sleep.

Something had to give.

I ended up having to cut back tremendously on my workouts, but also realized this modeling gig was getting a wee bit expensive in terms of both time and money, what with having to have “a wardrobe,” keep a current and running portfolio (i.e., go to professional photographers and get shots—like the ones on this post—done), and to keep having to drive places (usually outside of town), yada-yada-yada. Writing…writing was cheap [in terms of materials]…but I also found that I had more of an affinity for the written word.

Leather and Sweater Frank Contact Sheet ©1988 (Michael Drejza, Photographer)

Leather and Sweater Frank Contact Sheet, ©1988 (Michael Drejza, Photographer)

So, I withdrew from the whole modeling/acting world. I’d learned a lot about myself—and the industry—and it was definitely a fun experience…then, some years later (1997), I searched for a new writing project. I’d wanted to write about something that would stretch my writing abilities…would push my growth as a writer…and the idea I came up with merged with my modeling training. It was way outside the typical plots and “world views” I inhabit in my books, and, though a bit nervous about it…because of all the (at times, graphic) sex…I took it on. It’s a powerful story, at least to me, and I rank it as probably my best effort—even above ERO, which, so far, has been my personal favorite. This new WIP will startle—even piss you off, perhaps—and it will be something readers will either love or hate. Depends on your…sensibilities…but it won’t just “sit there.” That’s my humble prediction. I’m still planning to release this novel this year (2015, for future readers…), but it’s not going quite as quickly as planned…though it is moving along….

Over the years, I’ve often wondered about my classmates from that 1987 graduating class, so I contacted the Denver John Casablancas agency. I’ve left two voice mails and one e-mail, but have not heard back from them. If I do, I will update this post. I’m hoping I can find out how some of our more successful from my class have fared!

Incidentally, in my top photo I was wearing a really cool purple tux—yeah, purple—and the bow tie was a really neat mixture of purple and silver. It was quite striking! I’ve included some other material from my portfolio, like contact sheets. Below are some of my portfolio shots. A couple of them are from slides, so their resolution is not the greatest. Untouched photos.

This was definitely a fun time, but I’m glad I never fully got into it. The writing life is more suited to me, my personality. I’ve since dipped my toe into the acting world once more, and let’s just say…I’m glad I never “went there.”

Writing is where this “me” is meant to be…where I want to be…and I’m glad I made the choice I did….

All images on this post are copyright by Michael Drejza* and F. P. Dorchak, 1987/1988.

*I believe Michael Drejza was the photographer; he’s the only name I have on a receipt for some of the work.

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  • RT @mipam: “The physical system is an illusion, but you must accept it and from your viewpoint try to understand the realities that exist b… 5 hours ago
  • RT @mipam: “Your reality is the result of a hallucination, if by this you mean that it is only the picture shown by your senses.” Jane Robe… 5 hours ago
  • RT @mipam: The 1st step is to realize that your beliefs about reality are just that - beliefs about reality and not necessarily attributes … 5 hours ago
  • RT @karenYbynum: Ha! Nice. http://t.co/RE7K61GxeK 7 hours ago

Thanks, Samir!


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