Update Update and Short Story Contest

It has come to my attention that I haven’t updated this blog in more than a month. So here’s a quick run-down. I haven’t been writing much here because I’ve been writing a lot elsewhere.

First off, Steel Toe Review is getting better all the time, publishing new work every day or two. And we are hosting our first short story contest with a $100 prize. You can see the details on the home page of the STR site. This is a themed contest. I have long had this idea that Birmingham/Red Mountain is sort of like a spaceship that landed 120 years ago in the middle of Alabama. This probably has a lot to do with my fascination with Sun Ra, but also I think Birmingham just makes a lot more sense when you think about it that way. So I’d been thinking about writing a story like this but I never got around to it. So now, here’s $100 incentive for other people to write it for me. Exciting, no?

Secondly, I’ve been writing new songs, performing, and recording. This coming Friday (March 11), my band is playing a show at the DanielDay Gallery/DreamMecca Studio in Lakeview. Our sister band Results of Adults are opening for us. There is a $10 donation at the door, which I know sounds a little steep. BUT it’s BYOB, so you will save lots of money by bringing your own beer.

Reminder: Show tonight

Tonight is the debut of my new band with Brent Stauffer and Tym Cornell. I’ve known both of these guys for almost 20 years, and I’m excited to be playing music with them both again. The music this band plays is catchy, melodic rock and roll with a little bit of folksiness here and there.

We sound a little something like this:


Tym’s band, Results of Adults, is playing second. He’s a great songwriter in his own right–with a lot of psychedelic influence.  Our band will also be playing one of Tym’s songs, as well as a couple by our old songwriting partner George Mostoller.

The opening band, Hifidelics, is a surf rock band. I haven’t heard them personally but I’ve been told on authority that they are very good, and it’s probably unfair to make them open. They should probably be headlining.

The cover is a mere $5, and you’ll get to see three awesome bands. The first band will go on promptly at 9pm.

See you at Sipsey.

Parkside Cafe This Thursday

Thursday night, I’m playing  a set at Parkside Cafe (4036 5th Ave South) at 9 pm. I’m opening for an alt bluegrass band from Athens, GA called Packway Handle. I haven’t heard them yet, but numerous people have told me they are very good.

In additional music news, I’m having the first rehearsal with my new band this afternoon. I have Brent Stauffer on bass, Adam Guthrie on lead guitar, and Scotty Hamilton on drums, all very talented musicians that I’ve known for many years. We still don’t have a name.

I Have Arrived

About four and a half hours ago, I arrived at my parents’ house in Birmingham. I’ll be looking for my own apartment here later on this week. I expect to keep this blog more up to date from here on out. I have a LOT of creative projects that I plan to get started on now that I have no excuse not to.

The first thing on the agenda is to get the Southside Fiction Writing Workshop off the ground. I want to use my experience as a writer and workshop leader to help other people in the area to hone their fiction writing skills and also to access the parts of their subconscience that lead to inspiration. I think this is a little like group therapy, and I like that. I believe this is one of the clearest ways that I can use whatever talents I have to actually help people recognize their own potential and be better versions of themselves.

Now if I can just get a few people to sign up…

If you are in the Birmingham area, spread the word.

Other things I’d like to start here, which I’ll talk about in more detail later:

Any of my Birmingham friends that want to help out with any of these things, get in touch!

Lice Roulette

CW told me a great story from when he was on tour with his other band. These kids they stayed with played lice roulette. They had six hats in a circle on the floor. One of them was totally infested with lice. I’m not quite sure what the point was, but I think I can do something with it.

The M-Word

Barnacles on her flesh. Her barnacled flesh. I was thinking about poetry a short while ago, and the phrase flashed through my mind, what my subconscious suggested as an example of ‘poetic’ language.

Our choices of band names has changed now to either “The Wonky Pundits” or “The M-Word.” Most likely, it will be the latter. I like the fact that it’s meta-linguistic, and that it can be interpreted in a nearly infinite number of ways.

Because Christopher is so young, and even more so because he is naïve about so many things, I find myself feeling philosophical after encounters with him. The cowardly non-commitment of agnosticism, for instance. I don’t believe in the complete truth of any information. Total certainty of anything is simply egocentric. What I would call ‘truth’ is not absolute, but just what ‘works.’ That’s what I get from Rorty’s pragmatism. You must commit to some truths in order to navigate through life, and the improbability that anything I would be inclined to call ‘God’ existing is so great that I have no problem committing to it with all my resources.

The Project

As time wears on, the project of being or ever becoming a “great writer” seems more and more a narcissistic and romantic fantasy. It’s true that my commitment to the project has had lulls and spurts over the years, and even during periods of my most intense application, I accomplished little – a small collection of short stories and poems, some unfinished plays, two and a half novellas. I’ve been moderately satisfied with a few of the finished products and thoroughly disappointed with most of the rest.

This is not to say that my life so far as an “artist” has not had some successes, although “success” must be measured on an appropriately small scale. I have written and performed many styles of music and dabbled in other mediums such as graphic design and video. But all this time, the project at the forefront of my mind has been literary.

In the past year, I turned thirty years old. It’s mere superstition to think that my age is really any kind of barometer or landmark with which to measure artistic accomplishments, but it does seem to be a convenient time to turn somewhat away from the distractions of youth and focus on adult goals. In other words, the time is right to dedicate myself as fully as possible to the project.

Over the course of the past year, I’ve taken a few steps toward immersing myself in the project. I’ve attempted to follow the literary market more closely. I’ve edited and re-written some of my older work. I printed “chapbook” versions of some of my work and distributed it around. I started writing the elusive “third novella” of my planned trilogy. I started writing several smaller pieces, distractions mostly. A handful of these distractions are finished in a sense, but I’m not inclined to try and publish any of them. Of course, and perhaps most significantly, I also moved to New York.

And another step into immersing myself in the project is to begin to identify myself in the mindset of a man of letters. Thusly, I begin this latest attempt to keep a “writer’s journal” of sorts in order to leave some kind of trail of my thought processes. As I usually do with these things, I’d like to maintain the conceit that, in addition to serving as a tool for organizing my thoughts and staying in the practice of writing when I can’t keep my mind on any particular story, this notebook will someday be of scholarly interest. For some reason, this conceit encourages me to continue.

With that in mind, one goal that I have with this journal is to create a document that one might read in order to discover the definitive answer to the question, “who is M. David Hornbuckle?” Toward that goal, I will incorporate, as I deem appropriate, a few sparse autobiographical musings I have written over the past few months, as well as others that I may compose in the future.

I also have in my possession another “writer’s journal” that I began about two years ago. Like this notebook, I also approached that journal with the conceit that one day it would be of scholarly interest. I recently re-read the journal and determined that no one should ever read it under any circumstances. I found that the writing was, on the whole, mundane and lifeless – at times downright embarrassing. After reading it, I then added, more than a year after the final entry, yet another entry.

Despite its downfalls, there are a handful of germs of thought that I would be remiss in dismissing forever. Most of the entries concern a young woman whose acquaintance I had made just before beginning the journal. I added the additional entry because even though I have moved a thousand miles away from that little Southern college town where I met her, she also now lives in New York, and that is obviously not entirely a coincidence. However, the precise correlation/causation is not at all obvious. I’ll explore that idea more as this document continues because there is some deep drama in the story of my friendship with this young woman, and the drama goes on. I have a strange feeling that it will continue for as long as I live.

So – who is M. David Hornbuckle? This begs a series of other questions along the lines of “why should I care?” For the moment, I’m going to work under the assumption that you have your reasons. In case this document should somehow become the only fragment of evidence of my life, here is a very short summing up of some mundane things that have to be gotten out of the way.

I was raised in Alabama, sometimes in Birmingham and sometimes in a smaller town further south called Dothan. In junior high I started to develop interests in creative writing and music. By ninth grade I was writing songs, as well as singing and playing guitar in rock bands.

I went to college for two years at Mississippi University for Women (there’s a story there, but not as interesting as you might think), then got married and finished my degree at the University of Alabama-Birmingham where I received a B.A. in English with minors in philosophy and music. I was drawn to Gainesville, Florida by what seemed at the time to be a vivacious music scene. There was also a respected creative writing program there at the University of Florida.

I didn’t go back to school, but I did play in several bands. One of those, PopCanon, became somewhat popular regionally, but several key members of the group (including myself) were prohibited by day-jobs and mortgages from committing the time and energy required to really be successful in that business. In the meantime, though, we made a few albums, toured a little bit, made the most we could out of the experience. It was great fun when it wasn’t grueling work.

While in Florida, I got divorced, became a bit of a drunk, had some adventures and some mishaps. Then I moved to New York, and here we are now. Good enough? Intrigued? Bored? Well, that’s enough of an introduction either way. I’m pleased to meet you as well.