Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Steven B. Smith On Edna's Employment Agency


I shared prepublication drafts of Edna's Employment Agency with a few fellow writers.  One of them was the great Cleveland poet Steven B. Smith (if you need proof of his legendary status, just walk into Mac's Backs Books where his portrait is next to that of Harvey Pekar's).  I liked his book Stations Of The Lost & Found, so he was kind enough to take a look at Edna's.  Here is what he had to say:

"I stopped by Edna's Employment Agency.

Meeting their misfit employees and questionable clientele, I wondered how they all survived, what with the staff spending more time getting through their damaged lives than finding jobs for others, while the job seekers drag out the process as long as possible to collect unemployment - all this drenched in TV sit-comish humor (a lot of it rude and crude).

Wasn't sure I wanted to spend time with these folk, but kept reading, and I'm glad because beneath this chaos lies a sweetness... by the time I was done, they were my misfits, whom I actually cared about.

At first the employees seem inept, shallow, selfish (and they are), but page by page their humanity surfaces, revealing an office family sort of looking after each other and their clients. Their often surreal and slapstick office adventures are interspersed with outside slices of the customers' lives, so the job seekers slowly become someone to care about as well, rather than something to gawk at like cultural roadkill.

This comedic novel captures the acerbic humor that dominates most places I've been employed, as well as the tenuous friendships developed with co-workers you may not even like.

One blurb likens Edna's Employment Agency to "The Office" and "Parks and Recreation" (which I've not seen, but feels right from what I've read).

The book is short, humane, gentle, absurd, and should put a smile on your face. By the end you might even like Edna."

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Edna's Employment Agency Is Out!

Order Wred's New Novel Here!:
Format

They say that the only thing worse than having a job is not having a job, but they're wrong.

There is something worse than not having a job.

It is being so desperate in looking for work that you show up at Edna's Employment Agency where her team of charlatans, ne'er-do-wells, and screwups probably won't find you a job, but they will find you some laughs as they loudly discuss their sex lives, fake drug tests, break into the office, burn down the office, dig donuts out of the trash, get punched in the face, make fun of resumes, drag coworkers into the restroom, hide under desks, get drunk, look for better jobs themselves, treat cancer as a bad excuse for missing work, plot their way through office politics using bagels, take smoke breaks during their smoke breaks, watch training videos from the 1980s, use copious amounts of profanity to prepare for meetings, engage in slapstick to express their status, war against the I.T. department, fume that people who don't even know how to spell make more money than they do, and, sometimes--just sometimes--, actually work.

And that's just the staff of the staffing firm. Then there are the temps . . .

You'll meet them all in Edna's Employment Agency, the book you shouldn't bring to a job interview because you're dressed nicely, so you don't want to piss yourself laughing.

Unless, you know, it's that kind of job . . .

If you like television shows such as The Office and Parks And Recreation, then you likely will enjoy this novel of workplace humor.

Edna's Employment Agency is the fourth novel by Wred Fright. The other three are The Pornographic Flabbergasted Emus, Blog Love Omega Glee, and Frequently Asked Questions About Being Dead. More info about the author and his books can be found at Wredfright.Com.

Praise for Fright and his works from fellow writers, literary critics, and scruffy publications:

"Wred Fright does it again. His almost-all-dialogue treatise on employment agencies comes fast and furious, or maybe furiously fast. Either way, it sets into motion manic episodes of grand proportions, a whirlwind of oftentimes zany characters who Fright gives gravitas to by intermingling snippets of their lives that read like some stream-of-consciousness-infused Winesburg, Ohio, and a tale that stomps the fringes of absurdity like a cowpoke riding a mad bull.

The kooky cast of Edna’s Employment Agency will almost make you wish you were out of a job just so you could have them find one for you." - Mark Justice, author of Gauge Black: Hell's Revenge

"[A]n innovative writer of fun new pop lit--a pioneer in the fight to revive American literature" - American Pop Lit

"[I]nfinitely preferable to the eye-glazing 'literary fiction' shoveled out by the bigger publishers" - Daniel Green

"I can't wait to read the next one!" - Eddie Willson

"Wred Fright is one of the best pseudo-fiction (maybe even just fiction) writers that I’ve ever had the luck to stumble upon" - James McQuiston

"This book is a trip, well worth checking out." - Razorcake

"I found myself laughing out loud a number of times, and that's a rare occurrence" - Zine World

Order Wred's New Novel Here!:
Format

Monday, February 24, 2020

Mark Justice On Edna's Employment Agency

My pal Mark Justice, an author himself, was kind enough to read a prerelease version of my new novel, Edna's Employment Agency, and, fortunately, liked it enough to say this about it: 

 "Wred Fright does it again. His almost-all-dialogue treatise on employment agencies comes fast and furious, or maybe furiously fast. Either way, it sets into motion manic episodes of grand proportions, a whirlwind of oftentimes zany characters who Fright gives gravitas to by intermingling snippets of their lives that read like some stream-of-consciousness-infused Winesburg, Ohio, and a tale that stomps the fringes of absurdity like a cowpoke riding a mad bull.

The kooky cast of Edna’s Employment Agency will almost make you wish you were out of a job just so you could have them find one for you."

Mark is the author of Gauge Black: Hell's Revenge and 'Twas The Week Before Christmas, both excellent reads!

Edna's will be out soon on the website!  Thanks for the kind words, Mark!  I like Sherwood Anderson's work, so I especially dig the Winesburg, Ohio mention!

While you are waiting for Edna's, catch up on my previous novel, Frequently Asked Questions About Being Dead!

Sunday, February 23, 2020

New Song!: "A Couple Of Beers With Igor"

This is a song about a person who gives up on making life plans and just lets things roll. The lyrics are below.  It's the same deal as always.  If you like a song, then feel free to cover it if you're in a band or whatnot.  I love to hear covers of my songs, so please let me know about your version.  If you start making money, then send me a check/we can work out a deal.  Similarly, if you want to use a song for your Youtube video or whatnot, then just let me know.  It's usually fine by me unless it's a commercial product or whatnot (and then it's likely fine as well--I just want my cut).  Find out first though.  Write me at wredfright ATATAT yahoo DOTT com.

A couple of beers with Igor
And a couple more just to even the score.
We're all under- and unemployed.
Celebrating the freedom that we now enjoy.

And I don't know where this is going.
I'm just floating wherever the river's flowing.

Our plans have all been wrecked.
We're trying hard not to be upset.
When you're used to being in control,
it's hard to just let things roll.

We like to think our destiny's in our hands.
But the truth is more complex to understand.
So, for now, I'm giving up on agency.
I'm just floating down the river into the cosmic sea.

Written February 2020
Recorded February 2020


Want more Wred Fright music?  Order the Yeast? 7" here!

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Join The Wred Fright Email List!

If you are not on my email list already (you can find it here:  https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/wredfright/info), then please feel free to join.  It's free, and, usually, seldom used, so those of you who get too many emails won't have to worry about getting many more if you join.  It might be a bit more lively this year since I have a new novel coming out.  In fact, the people on the list will be the first ones who can buy the novel as I slowly roll it out.  Eventually, it will be on the usual suspects such as Amazon, Smashwords, Google Books, and so on, but its first stop is the email list, followed shortly by this blog.  So, if you want to read Edna's Employment Agency before almost anyone else, then join the list.  In the meantime, here's the cover.
And, if you haven't read my last novel, it is available here.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Team Fright - "Orange Marmalade"

After starting this project back in 2017, I am happy to finish it. This is the last video from my stack of VHS tapes I am shedding. Recorded by my pal Zartan, this is Team Fright playing "Orange Marmalade" at The Tower Of Treason in Cleveland, Ohio USA on 3 December 2004. I always liked this song, but it was never played much. I am glad a recording of it with a band exists, even if the vocals are a little too buried in the mix for the words to be understood. I really like the drum intro Matt does here. I will have to add this song back into the set. It has been some time since I played it. It's just a slice of life song about a family dining and living, but it is fun to play, and the vocals are catchy when you can hear them!

Monday, February 17, 2020

Team Fright - "Mary Black Mary Black Mary Black"

I wrote this song while I was in The GoGoBots, but Team Fright might have played it best. Our pals The Balomai Brothers liked it so much that they sampled it for one of their records, which was really cool (I miss those guys--they were a fun band!). Anyway, I really like what Ray does on the guitar here. It was nice to have this as my last band--they were really good--and it is fitting to wrap up the VHS project with them. The song itself is about the game teenagers play where they dare one another to go into a darkened bathroom and say the local witch's name three times in the mirror. According to the legend, she will then come out and scratch your face (more likely, you bump into something in the dark). For the song, I used the name of the local New Castle, Pennsylvania USA legend. The song goes on to comment on how the men in power were often afraid of a powerful woman who didn't need a man, giving rise to those witch rumors and resentments in the first place. I don't remember much about The Tower Of Treason. It was one of those DIY places that spring up for a year or two and then disappear. It was pretty cool and on the West Side from what I remember. I really like the "WE Heart Love" graffiti in the background. Our pal Zartan made the video, so big thanks to him! It looks like I am wearing a Spider-Man t-shirt here. Fashionplates, the band was not. This is the penultimate video from my VHS stack. We have one more, also from this show, and we are finally done with this project! Hooray!

Monday, February 10, 2020

Online Dating Haiku

If you've ever had the opportunity, er, misfortune to do online dating, then you know the special circle of Hell it is.  On the bright side, it did inspire me to write some haiku over the years.  Some of them may someday appear in an anthology about dating over age 40 called Can You #!*% Believe What Happened?:  True Tales of Midlife Daters, but since I submitted the haiku back in 2015 and the last time I corresponded with the editors, I was told the project was on hiatus, I think we can safely assume that book will likely never appear.  Since the haiku were too fun to vanish into Limbo, in the spirit of Valentine's Day, here are the dating haiku:

Finding love online
Could just be a click away,
But you have to click.

Charming and handsome
Or ugly and obnoxious?
Count the likes today.

You never replied.
Months later, you're still on here.
Good luck, you need it!

Photos from high school?
That was a long time ago.
You need new photos.

Maybe I am wrong,
But profile castration jokes
Won't land you a man.

That billionaire hunk
You've been waiting for? He will
Ride a unicorn.

Ten people or more
In each photo that you post.
So, which one is you?

Thank you for the wink.
If you unhide your profile,
I will return it.

Nobody today.
Is it too late to be gay?
Hmm . . . yeah, probably.

Nobody today.
Is it too late to be straight?
Hmm . . . yeah, probably.

Uh, why did I think
This was a good idea?
Oh, yes, I was drunk.

Unhappy couples
At supermarket tonight.
Happy I'm single.

Swipe right and swipe left.
Is there anyone out there?
No, but keep swiping.

Tinder and Bumble?
When did dating start sounding
like Santa's reindeer?

I found a new date.
Hoping to God that this one
seems more or less sane.

Why the hell did you
swipe right if you were never
going to message?

Some days I just swipe
left on everyone just to
be misanthropic.

She's cute.  If only
she weren't shooting guns in each
and every photo.

A dick pic?  Really?
We can work up to that if
needed.  Just say hi.

A threesome?  Wow!  Thanks
for the invite, but, I'm sure
there's an app for that.

I admit those breasts
are great, but how about a
picture of your face?

Despite the complaints
I took my shirt off for a
pic and likes went up.

If you aren't going
to message me back, then why
did you message first?

Yes, I know, you're all
not into hookups and all
want an LTR.

The guy who hits on
a hundred women a day
is a creep with dates.

I know I said I
was into bears, but you could
at least comb your hair.

I've been ground by the
Grindr and now my steak has
turned to hamburger.

OKCupid, you
can fuck off now.  Enough with
arrows in my ass.

Plenty of fish, huh?
Not enough to find me a
date apparently.

Hot Or Not?  Judging
from the response so far, it
is looking like not.

I never thought I
would miss singles bars, but at
least there I got drunk.

When the date stamped is
2012 on your pictures,
time for new photos.

I'd guess that ranting
about how Hillary sucks
doesn't get you dates.

If you love God so
much, why don't you date Him and
stop wasting my time?

The invite to find
you on Adult Friend Finder
caused me to lose you.

You have kinks, big deal!
I have some Kinks records that
I like a bit more.

Bumble, buy a clue!
I swiped left on her sixty
times before.  Enough!

First date ended with
hug and no kiss, taking it
slow is fine with me.

Second date ended
with a kiss and that was sweet.
Delete the profile.

If there's a third date
though, you better put out or
it's back to the app.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

The GoGoBots - "Vagina Dentata"

I found another good one from one of the last videotapes I'm shedding. This one is of a GoGoBots song I haven't posted yet. The video is arty. I am assuming the cameraperson was one of Mike and Micah's art school buddies. It must have been Greg's first gig. The song is about men's fear of women and how people claim to believe in stupid things but live their lives in a completely different manner. At the beginning of the clip, we are playing one of Mike's instrumentals, and at the end, one of Micah's songs. Maggie, Mike Dee's girlfriend at the time, was playing keyboards that night for some reason unbeknownst to me. Coming up, I might have a couple of Team Fright tracks from the other video, and then this project and trip down Memory Lane is complete.