I’m still kind of in a post-holidays reverie haze and in a frame of mind where I look back on years gone by, growing up in Illinois. Over the past year or so, I’ve written some Yelp reviews of places in my hometown of Alton that I know like the back of my hand. Some I love, some I don’t. I thought it might be fun to post my five favorite reviews, in no particular order, to feel a little good old fashioned Alton nostalgia.
Best bar in Alton. It’s always a fantastic time here on Fridays and Saturdays. Hilarious drag shows, adequate little dance floor, nice outdoor area. Best place in town to let loose and really be yourself, no matter who you are.
For my Christmas vacation, I rode the train from New York Penn Station all the way to my hometown train station in Alton, Illinois, which happens to be less than a mile from my parents’ house. The trip involved riding the Lake Shore Limited from NYC to Chicago and switching trains at Union Station.
Inspired by Jeff’s series of old-school stories and poems in his “Blast From The Past” series, here (unedited and unchanged) is a story I wrote in 2007 when Jeff and I were Creative Writing classmates in college. There’s a lot of cussing, but also earnest introspection. And strippers.
“Important Moments In History”
A:Wake up, jackass.
B: Ah! What the shit?
C: Wake up.
A: No? Fuck you, no. “No.”
B: I’m skipping the day.
A: Skipping the day?
C: He does that sometimes. He either stayed up all night on the internet, or out drinking with his friends.
B: The first one. I’m not even cool enough to go out drinking. I was up all night on the internet. It’s sad, really. Look at me. I didn’t even shave this crazy moustache. Look at this crazy moustache I got. This is ridiculous.
Earlier this week, I posted three poems I wrote in college and one flash fiction piece I wrote shortly after moving to NYC in the summer of 2011. To close out the week’s Blast From The Past mini-series of blog posts, I’m going further into my archives, all the way to senior year of high school (’04/’05). I wrote “Pedestrian” for my creative writing class taught by Jeff Hudson at Alton High School.
The story was inspired by the time I spent working my first job ever: a bowling alley porter making $5.15 an hour. As you can see in the very first paragraph, I didn’t exactly love the job, though it was an interesting experience. It’s interesting (and embarrassing, as you might expect) to look back on this story now and see how my writing has changed and how it’s stayed the same.
I hope you’ll enjoy it and remember in its corny, cliche, and borderline offensive moments, I wrote this as a high school kid. Having just re-read it myself, I had to laugh and shake my head many times. But I’m glad to have taken a new look at it because it puts me back in the state of mind I had in that time of my life. It’s as good as, or better than, a diary in that way.
With hands full of trash bags, Troy wandered gloomily out the door to the bowling alley. He was not sure which was worse: being inside the disgustingly sooty walls of the pervert-infested redneck asylum or being leaked on through the ripped trash bags. The dilemma was a hopeless one, indeed. At that particular moment, however, he preferred the slimy company of the nasty off-white substance dripping on his foot and rolling off his shoe onto the black top. Beer mixed with ranch sauce? he wondered. Continue reading →
As some of my friends and family members know, I’m an “Elite Yelper.”
Apparently that is something that happens when you spend enough time over the course of several months writing reviews about any place you can think to write about. It can be a great outlet to gush about places you love and rage about places you hate. Like all writing, it’s a form of therapy — or at the very least, a release. Continue reading →