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Book Release Party! [Jul. 19th, 2005|04:30 pm]
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LA BOOK PARTY! HEADS UP!!! [Jun. 27th, 2005|09:35 am]
Hey Everyone!

Jodi & I have begun to plan the Go Ask Ogre book release party! We would like it to be fun, interactive and memorable so here is our idea…

We’d like you to dig through your journals, letters, photographs & poetry from your younger life, whether that was the 80’s or just a few years ago…anything that you find funny, endearing, wacky, embarrassing….anything goes…just something that you would like to read in front of everyone (hey, I’m not doing this alone…this will be my first reading by the way!) It’s a possibility that we may be doing a slide show as well so if you can send me a scan that would be great!

The tentative event is planned for either the last week of July or first week of August. I will keep you posted. I hope you can make it!

We’d like to have a lot of people in attendance (the more people=the more cringing material to be share ::grin:: ) so feel free to pass this on to anyone who you think might enjoy partaking in this event!

MuchO LuVo!
For inspiration…
Jolene circa 1985 (check out my big ass Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode pin), Mtv button, express patch & o-ring necklace) Please don’t ask me what the paper clips are all about. I have no idea.) And in case you can ‘t read it…the b & w pin says, “Why be normal”.

January 5, 1985

I am so confused! I like Erick but then I don’t want to go with him. He’s so sensitive and I can’t imagine what he’d do if I would break it off! My mom says I treat him like shit! I don’t! I don’t know what to do. I feel so bad. I love Duran Duran and Wham and oh forget it. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.

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"verbal warning" [Jun. 9th, 2005|02:56 pm]
I’ve been “verbally warned”

“On June 7th you closed a check to a room charge when the guest did not have room charge privileges or method of payment other than cash. The guest’s meal was $126.30 with tip included and while recover attempts will be made, proper room charge procedure was not followed. In the future, you need to make sure that firstly, you double check the name and room number before dropping the check, and secondly, that the guest has available credit. Failure to do so in the future may jeopardize your position on the team and we would have not choice but to separate your position.”

It’s so difficult to work at a job that gives threatening “verbal warnings…on paper…I laugh….

Go ahead.
Separate me.
Separate me from a place where the cooks can drop a quesadilla on the floor, plate it up and serve it with absolutely no shame, a place where if a guests’ leftovers were accidentally disposed of in the garbage, the manager suggests picking it out of the garbage because, she says, “It MIGHT be for the cat”.

Ok, I care. I need this job…I do. But it’s really hard to fathom at times.

My life as of late has been pretty fucking exciting. My publishers had a wonderful double page write up in the LA Weekly, and they began the story with my words…then—this is really fucking random, but I was in Trader Joes the other day with Shok and I spot Henry Rollins, whose writing I very much admire. I ask Shok if I should say hi. I’m pretty sensitive about approaching public figures, in public…Shok says that I should. He says, “you’re a writer, he’s a writer…” So I approach Henry and apologize for doing so. He says, “No problem”. I tell him that I love his writing and that I write and that I have a book coming out and I hand him a postcard. He looks as it (hand still on the door to the milk & juice selection) and he looks up at me and says, “I was just talking to your people in NY at the book expo”….he then proceeds to tell me about my book. Yes, this is true, Henry Rollins is standing in front of me telling ME about MY project. Talk about fucking surreal. So we speak for quite some time about books, cutting, Process & Feral House. He tells me that Adam Parfrey is well-connected and well-respected in the publishing world. I know this. I tell him that I’m in great hands and I feel honored to be published by Process. He went on to say that he had asked the girl who was telling him about Go Ask Ogre .He told me that he asked her for a copy of my book and the girl (whose name I do not know) just gave him a post card…I told him that I would send him one.

Shok joined us then spoke to him and well…here’s his take of what happened (see below)
As Henry walked away I told him that I would send the book for sure and he said, “Make sure you sign it for me”

Giggle. I dig Henry. I think he’s a brilliant writer. He’s pretty hot too…

So my life is a vast spectrum… where at one end I serve people for a living…get in trouble for eating a piece of toasted sourdough bread and get WRITTEN verbal warnings and the other when I chat up an artist that I admire and tell him about my work but he already knows about it. Ik week het neit. Yo no say…

Tomorrow is my birthday.

ps. I’m teetering on my desk chair. One of the wheels broke off…what a bother…

Things I know:
No one cares as much as you do.

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----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Shok
Date: Jun 6, 2005 10:10 PM

Jolene and I were getting food for dinner at Trader Joes when we spotted Henry Rollins (Black Flag, et all). Jolene and Henry spoke for about ten mins or so and then I joined them after getting some food. Jolene is an author as is Henry and they know each other from her pending releases of Go Ask Ogre which has been getting all sorts of press including this week's LA Weekly which you can read here. So we spoke about life and what not for a while and the prospects of doing music... When he and I spoke of City Gardens, he brought to my attention that JOHN STEWART used to be the bartender there!!! That is why he always looked familiar all of these years!!! I never knew!!!

Dinner is shaping up to be awesome with mushroom risotto, some fine chilean merlot, a potato/ vegetable medley, goat and smoked gouda cheeses on two styles of crackers, etc....... dessert is coconut sorbet with chocolate sunflower seeds.
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a goth chick from Toledo... [Jun. 2nd, 2005|09:32 am]
I have been publicly reviewed for the first time. The following interview with my Publishers Jodie Wille & Adam Parfrey is in this weeks
LA Weekly:

JUNE 3 - 9, 2005

Feral Child
Process is born

Jodi Wille and Adam Parfrey
of Feral House and Process
(Photo by Kevin Scanlon)

15 April 1987

I have this really big secret that I’ll never tell anyone. It’s awful and I hate it. Why do I want to cry right now? Perhaps it’s this song. “Giving Ground” by The Sisterhood. I haven’t cried in awhile. Quite often I’ve wanted to, but a few weeks ago a girl from Toledo was riding her bike and was hit by a semi-truck and killed instantly. I guess that all was left of her was her head, an arm and two legs. That is too sad. That makes me want to cry so badly. She was only 17. I’m 17.

The voice is that of Jolene Siana, a goth chick from Toledo, Ohio, who wrote obsessively to Kevin Ogilvie — a.k.a. Nivek Ogre, the lead singer of Skinny Puppy — for nearly three years in the late ’80s, detailing her dysfunctional home life and regular self-mutilation in a cringingly confessional, persistently desperate, yet often uproariously funny, tone. All rendered and packaged in the kind of labor-intensive psychedelic outsider graphic design that is made possible only by obligatory boooooooooring school time.

Nearly a decade later, a chance encounter with Ogre led to the return of the complete correspondence, which he had — incredibly — saved in a box over the intervening years. The result is Go Ask Ogre: Letters From a Deathrock Cutter — a voyeuristic epistolatory trip to the heart of narcissistic teen angst in a time and place when the prospect of taking a Greyhound bus to Cleveland to see the Revolting Cocks was reason enough to go on living. It’s an overdue riposte to the bludgeoning morality of the fabricated Go Ask Alice, and the first original book issued by the just-launched publishing imprint Process.

Process is the offspring of Adam Parfrey’s notorious, perpetually ahead-of-the-curve company, Feral House, whose encyclopedic interest in taboo (and conveniently forgotten) cultural phenomena helped define independent media through the ’90s. Titles ranging from Psychic Dictatorship in the U.S.A. to Extreme Islam: Anti-American Propaganda of Muslim Fundamentalism stretched the parameters of acceptable intellectual discussion, keeping it broad and porous — often by sheer force of will — for almost two decades.

After co-founding AMOK Press, where he edited the widely influential Apocalypse Culture anthology of extreme anthropology, Parfrey embarked on the Feral House list in 1989, beginning with Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey’s The Satanic Witch, a book that undoubtedly continues to this day to help with the rent. Back then, alongside RE/Search, Loompanics, New Falcon and a host of zines, Feral House articulated the worldview of a global post-punk intelligentsia trembling with premillennial dread.

The other Process parent is Jodi Wille, co-conspirator in Dilettante Press, whose widely acclaimed first publication, The End Is Near! Visions of Apocalypse, Millennium, and Utopia, tapped deeply into Feral country. Conceived when the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore couldn’t afford to publish a catalog for Roger Manley’s show of outsider art, the ad hoc publishing company wound up winning the 1998 Benjamin Franklin National Book Award for Best First Book, and producing one of the most thematically coherent publications about the subject, complete with essays by Stephen Jay Gould, the Dalai Lama . . . and Adam Parfrey.

A longtime fan since her days as a not-so-good Christian girl in Toledo, Ohio (what’s with that place?), Wille and her two partners sought Parfrey’s advice and endorsement for their fledgling enterprise. Over the next few years, Dilettante published only a couple more titles, but their impact was considerable — one was Extreme Canvas, the first publication of hand-painted movie posters from Ghana, curated by gallerist Ernie Wolfe III. As for the other, a chance jogging encounter between one of the other Dilettante partners and a middle-aged gay celebrity hound who mistook the publisher for a soap star resulted not only in the publication of Gary Boas’ superb collection of amateur paparazzisms, Starstruck!, but in an international art career that seems to be only just gathering steam.

During the same time frame, nature took its course and Wille became Parfrey’s partner in Process and in what she refers to as “the hobbit house” — one of those odd fantasy Black Forest bungalows that dot the Hollywood landscape. I buzz at the gate of the Silver Lake–adjacent property, and Parfrey ambles down to let me in and give me the grand tour. “This compound is four acres with five houses on it, and the first one was built by Howard Hughes for a girlfriend in the ’30s. Then, as it happened with that guy, the girlfriend was let loose.

“And so was the property — so the architect took it over and moved his family in. The second house he built was the one Jodi and I live in, and there are other ones up the hill, and the Feral House office is way back behind. Later on, Phil Bonanno, of the Bonanno crime family, lived in the original house, and there’s secret getaway doors, and G. Gordon Liddy wrote his book Will in that house too, so there’s a literary tradition here.” Careful landscaping with winding paths, curtains of bamboo, and burbling artificial springs achieve the intended effect of medieval displacement.

The effect carries over to the interior of the Parfrey/Wille live/work space, which sprawls down a hillside in a cascade of dark wood, stained glass and high arching ceilings. Books, recordings and strange artifacts line the living room — small oil portraits of Heidegger, Nietzsche, Ezra Pound, Celine and Wyndham Lewis are arrayed across one tabletop, and a large photo of L.A.’s scandal-plagued evangelist Aimee Semple MacPherson hangs prominently near the fireplace.

At the far end of the room sits a recently uncrated robot of the most stripped-down sort — a dildo on a stick jutting from a generic plastic toolbox housing a powerful electric motor — research material donated by one of the subjects of a forthcoming Process title exploring the largely unknown folk-art subculture of sex machines and their remarkable (though curiously unspectacular) creators.

It’s an extraordinary space that has been regularly opened to invited audiences over the last year or so for salons exploring such topics as Germany’s Weimar-era sex culture, the African medicinal entheogen ibogaine (hosted by Daniel “Breaking Open the Head” Pinchbeck), and White Panther founder John Sinclair. “We had a political salon right before the election,” remembers Parfrey, “with the Feral House book 50 Reasons Not To Vote for Bush — the only real partisan book I’ve done — and my brother Jonathan Parfrey, who runs Physicians for Social Responsibility, had people speaking here for that.”

Election results aside, the events have been surprisingly successful — given L.A.’s reputation for cultural discontinuity — averaging more than 100 attendees. They’ve only been placed on temporary hold due to the double-hectic publishing schedules. It strikes me as perhaps a little ambitious to start an entirely new publishing house with so much already on your plate.

“Process is a personal as well as a business thing,” responds Parfrey. “Jodi and I knew each other for about five years, but we were with other people. Then we weren’t and we got together. We were both interested in publishing — I tried to help with Dilettante, and Jodi helped with Feral House a bit, so we thought it would be fun to publish together.”

“We love a lot of the same things but also see a lot of things differently,” adds Wille, “so we thought it would be exciting to do a company that combined the best of what we both love and can do.”

There’s more to Process than that, though. As far back as 1999, Parfrey spoke publicly of forming a subsidiary imprint. “I think Adam wanted to create a new company,” Wille acknowledges, “where he could put out things like the Freemasonry book (an upcoming Process project compiling a vast amount of Masonic visual materials), a company that would stand apart from Feral House and not necessarily have the same connotations that Feral House has built up.

“Nowadays, ideas of counterculture and alternative culture can really be limiting. They can compartmentalize and marginalize progressive and important ideas that need to infiltrate and get out to a broader audience. Especially now. One reason we wanted to do Go Ask Ogre is that it’s a book that goes into the young-adult market. I want to get it into the young-adult collections of libraries and the young-adult section in a Barnes & Noble somewhere in Mississippi. Most independent presses completely neglect young-adult books and children’s books. And one thing we’d like to do with Process is expand into different areas . . . literary memoirs, historical fiction.”

Process’ initial offerings are Go Ask Ogre and a reissue of Jerry Stahl’s surprisingly out-of-print Hollywood junkie literary memoir Permanent Midnight — and there are several works waiting in the wings. Far from diverting energy from his primary business, the new partnership seems to have kicked Parfrey into overdrive. Five Feral House titles are currently optioned — including Sex and Rockets: The Occult World of Jack Parsons (detailing the fascinating connection between the Jet Propulsion Lab founder, occult dope fiend Aleister Crowley and pre-Scientology L. Ron Hubbard) and Lexicon Devil, the un-put-downable oral biography of Germs front man Darby Crash, co-written by Parfrey, L.A. Weekly’s Brendan Mullen and renaissance troll Don Bolles.

This year’s spring lineup includes Sin-a-rama: Sleaze Sex Paperbacks of the Sixties (click here for a review), a dazzling sort-of sequel to It’s a Man’s World, 2003’s tremendously well-received coffee-table book of vintage men’s adventure-magazine illustrations; enlarged editions of Sex and Rockets and Against Civilization — a collection of luddite writings compiled by Unabomber pen pal John Zerzan; and Big Dead Place, a “grunt’s-eye view” exposé of the underside of Antarctica’s corporate bureaucracy by former IHOP valet Nicholas Johnson.

As with Feral House, Process has a discernible regionalist tendency — deathrock cutter Jolene Siana is now a well-adjusted artist living and working in Los Angeles, Jerry Stahl remains a local legend, and research is under way on a volume recounting the history of the hippie-inspired phenomenon of Jesus People.

“L.A. is still undiscovered in a way,” says Parfrey. “There’re so many pockets of fascination all over the place here. N.Y. to me is a bunch of middle-management people trying to steal from one another — ‘This is hot.’ ‘No, it’s not.’ — this obsession with the brainscape of television-inoculated dullards. I just don’t understand it. And N.Y. publishing thinks it’s the center of the universe and nothing else is worth any regard. Here, there’s a lot more openness.”

“There’re so many fascinating subcultures out here that just haven’t been tapped into,” adds Wille. “Aimee Semple MacPherson, the theosophical roots of L.A., Pentecostal splinter groups — there’s such rich spiritual esoteric histories, and such an expanse of land that there’s room for hidden pockets of discovery. You can still even find good thrift stores deep in the Valley.”

Aah, the thrift store. We may think we’ve left our late-’80s bohemian hipness behind, but we pass by a really good thrift store and start to drool, and it’s game over. Similarly, Generation Whatever’s millennial dread has modulated into a free-floating apprehension about the future of government, culture and our species past the current generation, and we’re still desperate for guidance. If you could go back to your teenage self in Toledo, Ohio, in 1987, what would you tell yourself? Process wants to know. If it involves sex machines, all the better.
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chili peppers...old school... [Jun. 1st, 2005|11:12 pm]
April 27, 1986

Jon called me around 8:00 and asked me if I wanted to see The Red Hot Chili Peppers! I freaked! I was so happy! He said he’d come get me in a half an hour. I hurried to get ready. I was so excited!

They came and picked me up and I finally met Jon’s friend Cindy. She’s really nice. Then we went to pick up some guy named Brent. He reminds me of Kevin Cochran. It was fun the whole way to Detroit. I like driving places. Seeing the city gave me a natural high again. I love it!

Anyway, we got stuck in a traffic jam. Detroit was having a food festival. We drove by St. Andrews Hall which was surrounded by punks. Then we drove around looking for a parking place and finally found one free and we walked to the hall and to tell you the truth I was scare! Seriously, punks scare the shit out of me. Probably because they might think I’m a littly teeny bop mod or something.

So we went up to the ticket booth to get our tickets and the guy said, “I need to see your ID.” I felt SO stupid!!

Then that guy Brent went in and I had to wait on the side all by myself!!! Then Jon said, “Why don’t you write ‘No drinks” all over her hand” and the guy said, “No I can’t do that” and then Jon said, “Come on, you can” and the ID guy have him a really hard time and started yelling! Then the ID guy told Jon to talk to the othere ticket guy, the one at the window and asked for a marker so we stood there a minute and he lied his way through that and took the marker over to the ID man and told him to write, “NO DRINKS on my hand and he said, “Who said?” and Jon said, “The guy at the window” and so some other guy came over and the ID guy said to write “NO DRINKS on her forehead or something” and Jon goes, “No, just write it all over her arm or something” and the new guy said, “How old are you?” and I said, “I’m 18”, like a dumb ass! And he said, “When were you born?” and I said, “1967, January 1st” and he goes, “Yeah!” and Jon said, “We had it all rehearsed” and the guy nodded and stamped my hand!! I was so relieved! We went to the lower part and I people watched. Great! Then we went upstairs to the balcony and it was so cool! I loved it! The people were so interesting. I felt so young considering you must be 18 years old to get in and I’m only 16!

It makes me happy to see that people over 18 dress unique! I plan to my whole life!
Anyway, we sat around for quite awhile. Jon & Brent kept leaving. After a little while some group came on. I don’t know who they were…all right. Jon found out that the Red Hots wouldn’t be coming on for quite awhile so we decided to go to Halt (?) Plaza. It was a pretty long walk, first we went to the car. I love Detroit! Even though it is The Murder Capitol of the country! We went down by the river and looked across at Windsor. I’d like to go there sometime. After that I had to go to the restroom so we went inside this humongous hotel. It was beautiful! We couldn’t find a bathroom opened anywhere! We saw a sign for Big Boy (restaurant). It was really funny because Jon was saying, “Big Boy, where are you?!!” Then we finally found it! We waited in there because Jon was getting a glass of water, then we walked back to St. Andrews.

We went back upstairs where we were before and waited about 20 more minutes and they finally came on! They’re COOL!! I really got into it! The people in front were slam dancing and at one time this guy got ON the stage and jumped into the audience! It was Great! At the beginning some people in the audience grabbed the microphone and they were pulling it and the bass player in the band grabbed it back off them and it fell on the ground. It was hilarious.

One thing I wasn’t too fond of was their dirty mouths! Vulgar as anything!! Anyway some guy who was standing in front of me let me set down by the gate, not really a gate more like a railing! I loved it! After it was over we went back to the car to see if we could find Brent. He wasn’t there. Jon told ME to run in and look fro him.


I had later written about Flea the following.

“Razzle-Mike B the Flea (from Suburbia)”
“Mike B the Flea was a cutie!”
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getting published... [May. 27th, 2005|11:15 am]
Since you asked, I shall tell you how I got my first book, “Go Ask Ogre: Letters from a Deathrock Cutter” published.

This is how it happened.

In Spring of 20001 I ran into Ogre from Skinny Puppy. I hadn’t seen him since 1992 when he was touring with Pigface.

The first thing he said to me was that he still had my letters. What letters, you ask? Letters that I had written to him from 1987-1989. I was a prolific writer and though our correspondence was for the most part one sided (he wrote to me once), I continued to write and write and write. I had met him early in the correspondence and he encouraged my writing as he saw that I was going though a very difficult time in my life.

I decorated each letter…as I did with my pen-pals (which I had many). It filled a huge void in my life…

In 1989 when I moved to Pittsburgh to go to Art School my writing to Ogre tapered off…The last letter sent to Ogre was in 1991…

I moved to Los Angeles & lost all contact with Ogre. I still thought about the letters. To be quite honest, I was afraid of their existence. I was certain that I would be married with children by the time I got them back…I knew that I had written some dark things and I suppose I wasn’t ready to face the facts.

Luckily, the letters found me when I had accepted my past and after I had had extensive therapy.

When I told my friend Gilden Tunador that Ogre was going to return my letters she suggested that I write a book. I said, “No way! Do you have any idea what the content was? I was a cutter. I wrote about it. I was obsessive. It’s embarrassing”. She said that it could help people. I thought about it and I agreed she might just be right.

It took about a year before I actually had the letters back in my hands. They arrived in August 2002. I had already begun to do research. I read books about young depressed adults ( Go Ask Alice edited by Beatrice Sparks, Girl Interrupted by Susana Kayson, Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel, Cut by Patricia Mccormick , Skin Game by Caroline Kettlewell) as well as music biographies such as The Dirt by Motley Crue and young adult novels such as Please Don’t Kill the Freshman: A Memoir by Zoe Trope and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky I purchased many “How to Get Published” types of books. There are so many out there. I think I have all of them.

I did much research online about cutting & self-injury. I would alternate between research and transcribing. Transcribing took A LOT of time. I mean, A LOT…I even purchased a software program called Via Voice to assist me. I was hoping that it would expedite the process but I honestly think it set me back. I trained it to understand my voice but it made many mistakes. It also did not accept profanity, and I used MUCH profanity so I would say:

“I’m so fucking excited! I’m going to see Clan of Xymox this weekend in Detroit”

and it would transcribe:

“I’m so flocking eggs hide it! On going to sea can of sigh mocks this week android”

I spent more time correcting the mistakes.

So, in the meantime, I was also working full time as a kilt wearing waitress at The Tam O’Shanter and I was a full time student at Glendale Community College. AND…due to the nature of the letters, I was also a bit depressed.

In January of 2003 I began to search for an agent. My friends Bob & Kari who are both screen writers (and the coolest couple by the way), helped me with my book query. I also contacted some publishers. I got some interest and ALMOST landed representation by a very cool New York literary agent…but was rejected. I was told that my book had “potential to be mainstream and successful” but they wouldn’t have me.

I continued to send queries. At this time I stopped reaching out to agents and began to contact Publishers directly. I even made a few editor friends in the process…still, a lot of rejection. BTW…I should mention that each publisher requests different kinds of proposals. Some want 3 chapters, some want an outline, some want 30 pages, some want 60 pages…so I wasn’t able to have a “master” to work with. I had to tailor make each proposal. I went through tons of paper and ink cartridges. I was working my poor little printer to bits. Seriously, I squeezed every bit of life out of that little HP. Another thing I should mention is that because there is a lot of art in my book I spent many hours at Kinko’s making color copies. If I had to do it over again I would have just purchased a laser printer because those copies are NOT cheap…Sending out book proposals are not cheap. You can’t send out a proposal or manuscript and expect a return without return postage.

So, depending on my mood and motivation, I would alternate between research (lots of reading) sending out queries and transcribing. I was very dedicated. I would cancel dates with guys I liked, missed parties I wanted to go to and either stay up all night or rise at absurd hours (like 7am on a Sunday- who does that???)

The Book Expo was to take place in May 2003 and for my birthday that year my aunt bought me a 3 day pass and paid for me to attend an author workshop. I loved it. I made up 10 promotional proposals. It was fun & creative AND expensive to put together. I pitched my booty off. I looked at each booth and spoke to prospective publishers. Jodi Wille (the editor of Go Ask Ogre) was at the expo pitching some Dilettante Press books. It was then that she introduced me to Adam Parfrey from Feral House.

I followed up with my all of the contacts at the expo, however I did not land a publishing deal. That summer Jodi told me that she wanted to edit my book but that she was working on some projects. I put up website to serve as an online book proposal. I got a lot of feedback mostly from Skinny Puppy fans at this point due to the fact that the letters were written to Ogre and that that there would include some Skinny Puppy memorabilia. I reached out to people on various message boards to get their feedback. I wanted to know if the content was interesting to other people…Most people seemed to identify with the excerpts that I posted.

I was determined to get the last of the letters transcribed. It took some time before I found a naming convention for my files and to make sure that I transcribed everything I photocopied every letter. YES, EVERY LETTER. I can’t tell you how many hours exactly that I spent at Kinko’s but I can tell you that they all knew my name at that point…

I then read everything in chronological order…and began to transcribe making notes on the copies of what was finished. THIS TOOK AGES. It made me crazy. I would think I was close but…NOPE. I was working at LA Graphico at the time. I got two 10-minute breaks and one ½ hour break each day and I would transcribe entries via email. I would go home each night and copy and paste into word documents. I thought I would never finish. My co-workers knew that it was in there best interest to NOT disturb me while I was doing so. It could be dangerous otherwise. I was very focused.

October 2003. My fucking imac crashed. It bit the dust and took with it…many, many files that I had failed to back up. I sure did learn my lesson with that. BACK UP YOUR FILES!!!

It was November on 2003 when Jodi requested my entire manuscript and began to give it more attention as her schedule allowed.

In Spring of 2004 Jodi and I were speaking regularly about Go Ask Ogre. At the time she told me that she would help me to “package” the book so she needed everything. I copied everything I had and passed it on to her.

In August of 2004 Jodi called me and told me that she and Adam Parfrey were starting a new press to be called, “Process” and that Go Ask Ogre would be one of the first releases…I was so ecstatic because I knew that she shared my vision.

“The Letters”

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I began doing hi-resolution scans for the book at the Dilettante office. THIS also took AGES. It was nice to have my little Peppper (the coolest dog in the world!) there to keep me company. I scanned every photograph I had from that era and anything that looked interesting form the 73 letters, 14 postcards and 5 notebooks of material that I had. ALL OF IT.

Pepper (Pepe/Peppercini)
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Oh by the way, I would like to mention that the summer of 2004 while I ran off to Europe with two my best of friends Visa & Mastercard, I was also unemployed. Yep, then when I returned to LA I couldn’t get a waitressing job to save my life BUT I got a book deal.

In the fall of 2004 Jodi and I were going back and forth with the editing. I was kind of a nervous wreck for some reason. I had a hard time focusing and had insomnia. I finally found a server job and I was working the breakfast shift then I would work with Jodi at night…

I also got to meet Gregg Einhorn the designer who Jodi & Adam hired for Go Ask Ogre. Jodi asked me to bring over the actual letters so that Gregg could get a feel for them. I liked that he really paid attention to detail. I also liked that he asked me what made me decide to publish my letters. He seemed genuinely interested.

It was December 2004 and Jodi told me that the manuscript felt a bit thin in the winter of 1988 and asked if I had any more material. It turns out that I had missed a lot! So there I was transcribing AGAIN! Hours & hours…I felt as if I were chained to my computer.

In January of 2005 Jodi gave me my edited manuscript, much thinner than the one I had given to her. We had to make a lot sacrifices. There was so much material and well…that’s life. Who knows? I may post the material on my website someday or perhaps an expanded version of the book. We shall see.

The book went to press in February.

On April 2005 I hold a bound copy of Go Ask Ogre for the first time.

May 2005, Jodi tells me that the books are not printed as they should be and have to go to press yet AGAIN. All copies will be shredded and recycled. The book is delayed.

There you have it.

That’s where we are at the moment.

I will be published. I will be naked. As mentioned in a previous blog I’m not too concerned about being criticized for my prose. I was not writing the material thinking that it might be published someday. Of course I have other worries but I try not to give that too much thought.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you try hard enough, you are able to reach your goals. You really have to be dedicated though. Don’t give up. There will be plenty of people to tell you to move on…a smart friend of mine told me that I should just post the material on my website and begin with something new…but I didn’t take his advice. Listen you’re your heart-yO!

Good energy to you…

Jodi Wille & Adam Parfrey
Adam Parfrey
Feral House
Jodi Wille
Dilettante Press
Gregg Einhorn/Designer
Between Here And There
Go Ask Ogre
My collection of words, art & photographs...
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waiting room [May. 6th, 2005|08:07 am]
May 2, 2005

The other night we received the news that Jorge, one of the busboys had been shot 3 times. He’s still alive, we’re told and had just come out of a coma. Jorge is 16. A good, smart, well-mannered kid. We’re told he’s going to make it. I’m relieved yet still concerned.

I think about Jorge and about how this will affect the rest of his life.

He’s allowed visitors and on my day off I decide to visit. I meet his mother, a petite woman with a sweet smile. I show her the card that I made for Jorge. It says “Seguro” on the front which means “sure” in Spanish and I see that it means more because as his mother hears this she crys. I don’t know what to do. I want to hug her but I feel awkward. Jorge’s little sister goes to her side to comfort her.

I watch his little brother who has just entered the room. He is very sweet and he’s excited about an A that he got on a test he took at school today. I watch another brother who is sharing headphones with his girlfriend, their heads resting upon each other. The young daughter hugging on her mother.

I tell me I can go in. I ask Saul, Jorge’s best friend if he will come with me. We go to the ICU door and he picks up the phone and speaks to the nurse, she comes out and says that Jorge is still resting. Saul tells her that I came to visit and must leave soon. She asks if I’m family and I say that I’m a friend. She says she will ask him. She comes back to let us in. I walk ahead of Saul. The room smells of antiseptic and bandages. There are several patients in the room, which is sterile and quiet. I pass Jorge and Saul grabs my arm and says, “He’s here”. I’m a little shocked. His head is much larger than normal. His eyes are black and swollen shut. He fights to keep them open. I say, “Hey Jorge” and then I mutter a bunch of clumsy words. Genuine. I show him the card and I say, “Seguro!” A tear falls from his eye. I tell him how everyone signed it and that everyone at work is asking about him and that he needs to hurry up and get better because we all miss him. I stand there not knowing what to say. He looks directly at me. His face is not the Jorge that I know but his energy is. I tell him that he has a beautiful family and the support of Saul. I tell him about my writing class. I feel odd but I’m glad I came.

We leave the room and Saul and I stop in the hallway and I we’re both pretty emotional. I tell Saul how angry I was when I heard the news and he tells me he felt the same way. Our voices cracking. He tells me that they phoned him at 4:30 in the morning and says that every weekend he was with Jorge but not last weekend. I see he feels badly about this. We go back into the waiting room and I hug his mother. I tell her that I will keep Jorge and their family in my thoughts and prayers. Someone interprets this for her and she thanks me.

I leave the hospital with a heavy heart. I’ve never seen anything like this. I’m humbled as I drive on the freeway. I promise myself that I will make a conscious effort to appreciate every moment of my life and everyone in my life.

*That was on Tuesday. Saul phoned work on Thursday to say that Jorge is doing MUCH better. I smile!
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NOT ACCEPTABLE!!! [May. 2nd, 2005|11:25 am]
Ok. So I go into work and I inquire about Jorge’s condition. My manager Nacho tells me that he’s still alive but he knows nothing more. Naturally we speak of Jorge and what a sweet kid he is. I find out that he quit school to help his mother pay the bills.

Abel is running around singing. He gives me a funny look and asks me what is wrong. I say to him, “Do you not realize that someone that we work with is in the hospital in critical condition?” and he says, “He’s proly die”. I’m immediately irritated. First reason being that even though I know that English is Able’s second language and I have the utmost respect for anyone who can speak more than one language. I’ve lived in a foreign country and know how humbling this can be, regardless. ”He’s proly die” hits a nerve. I’m irritated also because JORGE IS NOT DEAD. Don’t put that energy out there. Right? I say this to Able and he responds, “He’s shot in face. He’s proly die”.

I ask Bert exactly what a coma is and he tells me that there are so many different kinds of comas, which I kind of knew but…anyway, Eugene overhears and asks me if I’m still worried about Jorge. Um, yes.

Nony, my other manager has spoken to Jorge’s mother and apparently he’s doing better and the doctor’s are confident that he will pull through. This makes me smile.

I speak to the security guard as he walks me to my car and we talk about the shooting. He’s sincere but basically says, “This is normal. This is LA”. What the fuck? Am I the only person who thinks that this is NOT ok? Wake up people! I feel like we are becoming desensitized. A 16-year old young man being shot IS NOT NORMAL. And if it is NORMAL to anyone it certainly should not be. Yes, I’m guilty of worrying and overanalyzing but come on people the more we accept that these fucking things happen the more they will happen. Shit!

I know. People die every day. People die every moment. This is life. Life is a gift and I just can’t accept it when people have no regard for human life. I just can’t accept that it’s normal for someone to throw a fit and shoot someone…in a bar, on the freeway in a gas station at a school. You got a problem? Deal with it. Hate the world? Get a clue. Don’t like your life? Change it. No one else can do it for you. Don’t like or respect your friends? Get new ones. Don’t like your parents? Get away from them. No one can make your life better. Only you can. And you can.
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Healing thoughts for Jorge. [May. 1st, 2005|11:55 am]
It’s May 1st today.

I haven’t blogged lately due to many factors. Pretty overwhelmed. Began my writing class which is going to be very cool. Very inspiring. Many talented people in my class.

I’ve been hypersensitive, moody headachy lately. Humbled, reflective…I need to focus. I have low tolerance lately. Over-reactive.

I’m very angry. Last night I received some devastating news. Jorge, a 16-year old bus boy at my restaurant was shot three times on Friday night. No one seems to know all of the details, only that he was at a club or something and he was shot twice in the face and once in the neck or shoulder. He is alive. He was in a coma. Apparently he is now out of the coma but like I said no one really knows anything. His best friend, Saul, also a good, smart kid went to see him in the hospital and he passed out at the sight of Jorge. Jorge is a good kid. Well-mannered, sweet, level-headed, hard working with a sweet disposition. It makes me so angry. What could drive some stupid fuck to shoot someone in the face? Seriously.

I heard this news last night and I couldn’t really focus. I was really distracted and annoyed by everything. Some stupid fuck left me a .04 tip on a $32.96 check. I was certain that it was a mistake. Nope, that’s exactly what he intended. I’ve mentioned before that my watiressing job is pretty ok but sometimes…sometimes…I want to lose it. Still dealing with anger issues? Why yes, I would say that I am. I will work on that and deal with it as I am responsible human being. I will do my best NOT to make others suffer for it by hurting them & I WON'T buy a gun and shoot some innocent fucking person just because they looked at me the wrong way.

I’m angry.

I want to be light and reflective and hopeful. I want to ponder, “What would Maude do? What would Maria Von Trapp do?” What would a completely healthy and centered person do?

I need to go meditate or something. I’m very, very, very, very, very, very angry.

Please send healing thoughts to sweet little Jorge.
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who's your daddy? [Apr. 24th, 2005|01:55 am]
[music |this moral coil]

Dear Biological Father,

I don’t know where you are or if you are even alive. I’m Jolene and I’m 35 years old…that means about 36 years ago at some party in East Lansing, Michigan you met my mother a pretty, joyful young red head and apparently you hit it off because nine months after your meeting. I was born. Did you not have condoms back then or what? My grandparents did not sit well with this, in fact they pretty much disowned my mother because of it (it was her second illegitimate pregnancy-the first baby girl was given up for adoption). My mother could not bear to go away to another one of those homes for unwed mothers to be and could not bear to have an abortion and could not bear to have another child to be given to someone else so, she moved out (don’t know where) but she moved and with the emotional support of her friends decided to raise me on her own.

I was born on June 10th 1969. My mom said that the morning I was born the song “Good Morning Starshine” was on the radio and whenever she hears it she thinks of me. The day after I was born her gall bladder had to be removed and she was very sick. My grandparents (who were nothing but wonderful and supportive to me after we eventually met) never came to see me at the hospital nor my mother when she was sick due to her gall bladder. I think that’s kind of fucked up but anyway…

My mom says that when I was six months old she went to my grandparent’s house to pick up her camera and she brought me in one of those little baby carriers. She said that she was going to get film and my grandma said something like, “you can leave the baby here if you want” and so she did. It was then that I was accepted as their grandchild.

Anyway, I had a lovely early childhood. My mother threw me elaborate birthday parties and I got lots of gifts and attention, which I always loved.

I was a pretty anxious kid though. I had a lot of separation anxiety. I was afraid to sleep alone in my own bed and I drove my mother nuts when I would crawl into her bed every night. I was actually terrified of bedtime. My mother made much effort to make my bedroom environment as warm and welcoming as possible with decorative night-lights and I always had my pink “Teddy” but it was inevitable that I would find my way to her room each night. She would sneak into my bed then I would wake up in a panic and follow her to my bed…I was also a bed wetter so not only was this a space & privacy issue but it was also a messy situation. I really hated being a bed wetter. HATED IT. I did. Enough of that.

It wasn’t long before I tired of trying to help my friends understand what I really meant when I said that I didn’t have a father. The “know it alls” would say, “But everyone has a father…” Whatever, just stop asking me questions.

In 5th grade I lied to Angela H. I told her that my parents were getting back together and she, being from a broken home was ecstatic. I mean she was really fucking happy for me. I tried being really happy about this fantasy that I created but I just could not. Probably because I knew it was a lie but probably more so because I never actually knew you and I also knew that you never knew that I existed so yeah, a week later I told Angie H. that the two of you would not be getting together and she wasn’t so expressive.

My pre-teen years were awkward as heck. I will say no more.

In high school I craved attention. I was introduced to alcohol and pot and kissing and diet pills. I entered Waite High School as a Duranie, phased into a Madonna Wanna B, followed by a New Waver, a moment of Punk Rock and settled into what I and my fellow Toledoians referred to as a “Deathrocker”. Oh, you are so glad you weren’t around then. I was a wreck. A fathers worst nightmare…sneaking out with my boyfriend, doing crazy things with my hair, skipping school. I graduated though. I did!

My first year of college sucked. It was the year after my grandparent’s death. I was really, really not happy with my life. I was freaking my mom out and freaking myself out. I was cutting myself a lot and writing obsessive letters to a rockstar. Pretty strange, no?
Yeah, I don’t know how you would have handled that.

In 1989 I went away to art school and things got much better. I stopped cutting myself but I began to have panic attacks. Jack, my first real, real boyfriend can tell you what a joy that was!

In 1992 Valerie Gatchall invited me to visit California with her because Greyhound having a sale and I suggested we just move there…so we did! I wonder if you would have let me go? I had $300.00 and I said, “Mom, I’m moving to LA.” And that was that.

I got into a relationship with an older married alcoholic actor. Yeah, I know, bad move. He did divorce but he was my heroin. He was very smart and charming but yeah, he treated me not so well and I put up with it but I learned a lot I did! That relationship pushed me into the arms of my therapist who has helped to guide me to healthier situations…You probably would not have approved of that relationship would you?

Well…things are great lately. I have a book coming out in like 2 months (you should read it, really )and I’m a nervous wreck. I’m on a good path though. People still think I require a lot of attention and they attribute that to the lack of a father while I was growing up. I never know what to say to this because, well. What can I say really? I can’t change that now can I?

I hope life has been good to you.

Your biological daughter

PS. Your offspring sits in bed writing imaginary letters to people who will never read them. Stranger still, she posts them online so that any random someone can read it...

PPS. Are you the artistic type? I know that you were a soccer player. I suck at sports.
Are you funny? I’m pretty funny…Do I look like you? You don’t have any strange chronic illnesses that run in your family now, do you? God I hope not. Please tell me you have healthy genes. Well, we know that you were intelligent at the very least.
This has been confirmed. ; )

Do I have any brothers or sisters? Just curious. Nieces? Nephews?

Sweet Dreams.

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