Tag Archives: Drunken Odyssey

The Drunken Odyssey

Just prior to my book release party this past Saturday, I sat down with John King, host of the literary/writing life podcast “The Drunken Odyssey.”

It’s a fun conversation. We talk about my book American Fraternity Man, and fraternity life in the state of Florida, and hazing, and alcoholism, and road trips, and mixed-media literature, and–best of all–I sing the praises of the clever Rebecca Martinson (the now-famous “deranged sorority girl” whose email has since been read by Michael Shannon, Gilbert Godfried, Morgan Freeman, and countless others, perhaps making it the single most talked-about piece of “fraternity/sorority literature” since Animal House). Don’t you want to hear me say the word “cunt punt” just once? I mean, seriously. If I said that while Heather was around, I’d get punched…but with a glass of wine, and sitting in John King’s studio: let the curse words fly!

Here’s the link. You can download the single show, or–better yet–you can subscribe to John’s excellent podcast through iTunes.

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When you visit his site, do him a favor. Click on the “Audible” link and get a free audiobook download. It’s also the easiest way to support the show financially (and costs you nothing!).

A City’s Transformed Places

I’ve always been intrigued by the transformed places in a city, the parks and boulevards that were once something happy or great, or that were once terrible and grimy, and that–through urbanization and population changes and construction and (maybe) gentrification and remodeling–become something wildly different than anyone might have expected many years before.

In Toronto, for instance, I had the chance to visit an area called the Distillery District, the former site of (what else?) one of the largest alcohol production sites in North America. But it had crumbled over time, a major industrial center for the city reduced to abandoned and forgotten-about buildings, one of those dark places you pass on the interstate and wonder how it ever became what it became. Well, sometime in the early 2000s, the Distillery District was transformed yet again: the old brick buildings cleaned up, the streets closed and made into beautiful outdoor patios, complete with fountains. When I visited (in July), there were a half-dozen wedding photo shoots going on around me. There are art galleries, a brewpub, restaurants and wine shops. The city’s past reclaimed, a history lesson even as you eat/drink on your Saturday night.

Here in Orlando, we’ve got the Milk District: an area surrounding the T.G. Lee milk plants that–while still industrial and a little gritty–has become a hipster paradise, with bike shops and bars and sandwich shops in great supply. Orlando isn’t known for its stunning history, but the Milk District is a spot in the city that should be dumpy, but is instead bright with life and energy. The buildings are old and run-down (I love the eatery Beefy King, but its outdoor sign is cracked, pieces missing), but people seem to like it that way. If an Applebees opened, the whole vibe would be ruined.

I wrote a short story called “Fire in a Used-Car Lot” (which was just published this past week at Monkeybicycle) which zeroes in on another Orlando location that has changed…this one, though, isn’t quite so charming. Whereas the street name “Orange Blossom Trail” once implied…well, orange blossoms, and Florida sunshine…now it has crackled into something far less friendly. When you say “OBT” in Orlando, you often don’t even remember what the letters stand for.

Check out my story, and if you’ve got some spare time (or need some great background noise), check out my interview with John King at The Drunken Odyssey. We talk about the city of Orlando, how to depict the city in fiction, and all of the great successes within the 15 Views of Orlando collection. John was a contributor, and he’s got a great program going over at Drunken Odyssey.