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‘Homeric Hoboism?’
Brent Askins Wants to Know How the Bum Organizes his Work
James, just discovered your work after finding out on a podcast that you are a drifter and live out of a backpack. I can see that as inspirational. But how does Homeric hoboism happen? I’m a writer myself and I can’t imagine finding that peace necessary for composition. Also, how do you stay fit living such a life?
Thanks,
-Brent

Brent, I will make this two articles, thank you.
Peace I found inside, in 1995, while taking the #19 bus out of town from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor to Sensei Steve’s to play Proud Monster, a Russian front division level war game. I was reading the newspaper on the back of the bus in my duster and bush hat, when five thugs and three hos boarded and sat around me.
I had a 12-inch knife under the coat and was bigger than these skinnies—but honor awaited before Moscow in autumn 1941 and only oblivion beckoned on this bus.
The hos tried to get the thugs to beat my ass and roll me.
They were not up to it.
So, I read two entire articles while these three feral whores screamed in my face, trying to get me to say or do something. That is when I discovered the bottomless gutter of my cold, dead soul and have been able to read or write anywhere since…
I do have problems with organizing my mind. It is hard for me to switch from nonfiction journalism to history and fiction, so I have limited that, and am writing this article at the end of my writing day.
I stay with people who have jobs and I watch their place and do their chores when they are gone, spending most of my life alone with plenty of writing time. To leave time for socializing I try to write when my host is at work.
This morning was an ideal day:
-wrote a book review this morning for a history project
-did my posts and emails
-charged my computer while I did my exercises
-Packed up and came to the bar and wrote a chapter of fiction
Now I finish the writing day with this, my third and fourth pieces of the day.
I try to do at least 3 chapters or articles per day.
This past week I blew my eye up finishing a book and have eased off the screen time and have been recharging my brain by reading three books in three days.
Also, since I have numerous writing projects going at the same time, when one begins to nag me and I get possessed by a mania to finish it, I end up needing to wipe my hard drive clean afterwards, typically getting mildly and sometimes severely drunk in an attempt to forget the content I was working on.
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