Found at: sdf.org:70/users/imrowan/biginjapan.txt

Thu May 18 21:38:36 UTC 2017

I say, here’s fun: That face when your webpage gets more referral
hits from your gopher than any other source.  And  one  hit  from
Tokyo, hence the title.

So  if  you’ve  watched any of those videos: My first spoken word
piece was a parody, filk, whatever you want to call it, of my fa‐
vorite band. There’s no video of it on my page. Almost everything
I’ve done since ‐‐ most of which you can see there ‐‐ has been me
attempting  to "find my voice", while at the same time meeting my
audience halfway, speaking a blend of their  language  and  mine.
The  ex‐singer  of the band told me it was important to do my own
thing, and I’ve spent the last few years  trying  to  figure  out
just what it is.


In  1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Kliebold murdered many other stu‐
dents at Columbine High School. Subsequently, a number of my rel‐
atives  (all female) were discussing the matter. I disagreed with
some of their opinions, and offered facts in support of my rebut‐
tal. Their reaction was predictable, but rather than back down, I
dug, and dug, and presented them with a sizable mountain of  evi‐
dence,  logic,  and  even  emotion.  The  reaction was again pre‐
dictable, ranging from radio silence  to  "let’s  agree  to  dis‐
agree".   I  ended up sending an edited copy of my remarks around
to various places as a "letter to the editor".

Forward to a couple years ago when I wondered if I could memorize
and recite that letter despite its length, as well as the lack of
rhythm and rhyme. But nothing came of this until some months lat‐
er,  when I was in the shower: Out of nowhere, I extemperaneously
recited the opening paragraph of that latter,  only  "translated"
into  the  sort of rhythm and rhyme one tends to find at a spoken
word gig. The first thing I did on getting out of the shower  was
to  sit  down and start translating the whole thing. I thought it
would make it shorter and easier to memorize. It ended up  making
it  longer,  and  I  thought there was no way I’d ever be able to
memorize it. About two months later, I had it down.

Since then I’ve been practicing it almost every day; even  revis‐
ing  a  bit,  although it’s been unchanged for some time now. The
problem? Even going as fast as I possibly can, it takes nearly 25
minutes  to  recite  ‐‐ going at a more reasonable speed makes it
about 30 minutes. I don’t have the reputation to land  a  feature
gig,  which  in the spoken word community is anything longer than
about 7‐8 minutes. But I do think this is a pretty damn  engaging
story that will hold the audience’s interest. I’ve already raised
the possibility to the host at my preferred  venue,  but  I  want
this  to  get  actual  exposure; I wouldn’t even mind driving six
hours to do a gig with the old host at his new venue,  especially
since  he’s one of the people responsible for this new piece even
existing ‐‐ he always gave me nothing but positive encouragement.

This piece is more heavily influenced by other spoken word  folks
than  any  other  I’ve done, and yet at the same time is the most
original thing I’ve ever written. The  people  I  originally  ad‐
dressed  it to have already rejected it out of hand ‐‐ but when I
perform this, they’re going to hear it again.   My  attitudes  on
some  things  have changed over the past near‐twenty years ‐‐ but
when it comes to this, I still stand by every word.

One way or another, this year, it will happen.