tulip and Trevor

Trevor Hale is: a punk rocker, a hardcore kid, a DIY dreamboat—and I’m lucky to count him as a friend. Nearly ten years ago I wrote a book called tulip. It’s a decent book, and I’d even say it stands up after all these years. It’s unmistakably the work of a first time novelist with a fresh bachelor’s degree in philosophy. Angsty, slippery ruminations on a world I didn’t quite understand. I still don’t—even less—but I know that now. Nonetheless, it captures something. A clear moment in time for me.

tulip is the story of a young man that worries he can talk to god. One publishing house that asked for a full manuscript said they loved my writing, but in the end the story was a bit too allegorical for their taste. My first of many heartbreaks in the literary world. They weren’t wrong. tulip was born out of a young mind. A Catholic kid turned atheist in the land of Mormons. I was often asked, “If not god, what guides your moral compass?” Versions of that question drove the misadventures of my protagonist and dear friend, Tulip. He was the vehicle for me to unpack and begin to understand my own empathy technologies.

I queried the hell of it. Had some bites, but nothing stuck. I confronted a reality all writers must at one point or another—sometimes writing the book is the easiest part. When I was a kid I figured once the project was finished publishers would be lining up. I was a dumb kid.

Trevor and I mostly saw each other in passing—at coffee shops and laundromats and during the “hardcore handshake”, an after show ritual that was tough on a shy kid like me. Trevor is a cultural institution. It’d be easier to say what bands he hasn’t been an integral part of in the Salt Lake Hardcore community for last twenty years. Some of my blurriest, happiest memories as a kid involve Trevor playing guitar as other tattooed bodies piled on the stage with him in sometimes violent, always chaotic attempts at sharing the microphone—all the while I was somewhere in the middle genuinely trying to hurt myself. A sure fire way to get the wiggles out and the occasional black eye.

So when Trevor offered to publish my book I was a bit in disbelief. The person who had been the soundtrack to so much of my youth wanted to help me get my first novel into the world. But a few months later I stood next to him and held the first proof of my book and probably wanted to cry but likely just muttered some “hell yeahs” and some “wows”. Trevor has always had faith in genuine creators, the most central axiom of a true punk rocker. To somehow be part of the output of the most outputtingness, real dude on earth is quite the honor.

Go to his website, buy some stuff. Listen to the generations of Hardcore he’s participated in and influenced. And if you see Tulip, be kind to him, he’s my firstborn.

Jump Rope

Many of us have been struggling over the last year and into the new one. It’s been impossible to keep our rituals up—at least without changing some of the rudiments. I’m a lifetime Martial Artist and a full time wasps’ nest of anxiety. Every since I was a kid, I’d buzz, buzz, buzz. Thankfully my mom took me to a Kung Fu class and said, son, get your wiggles out. And, by god, I’m lucky in a lot of ways, but the chance introduction to Martial Arts has given me a consistent guiding light in all my follies and the occasional victory.

I’ve written about Jiu Jitsu elsewhere but it’s worth mentioning it’s almost been a year since I was last able to train and… it’s fucking killing me. As scared as I am of most people, and as difficult as I often find interacting with them, communal Martial Arts spaces have always been my therapy. It’s redundant, but again, I’ve never felt so welcomed (in spite of my, sometimes, awkwardness) as I do at the school I train at. Come visit someday. Please.

For now though, to get out those wiggles, of which there are many, I jump rope. I don’t like jump roping, I’m bad at it, the rope often hits my shins and splashes city dregs into my hair. When I mess up I want to cry or punch a wall—a sure sign that my wiggles need exorcising. I’ve always loved boxing, but I’m a terrible boxer, have always been a reactionary fighter and anyone who knows fighting knows that only takes you so far. A good boxer can set me up for just about anything, all my dodging and weaving only ever amounts to postponed agony. But while I’m out there skipping along, listening to my current go-to, Sincere Engineer or the always driving Orange 9mm, I imagine the foot work of Muhammad Ali, or the power Mike Tyson generates from his legs and it all feels a little less tedious.

I still can’t do the freaking crossover with any consistency. But I can two-step like a champ, #thankstohardcore.