Tag Archives: Phil Reebius

I finally made it to Bad Grammar Theater!

I read from The Randy Scuffle Papers Friday night at Bad Grammar Theater. Thanks to Brendan, the other readers, and audience members for the warm welcome! This was my first time reading at this venue. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for months, but work, life and other annoyances kept popping up. But this time, everything aligned and it worked out beautifully. I will definitely be back with some new material. Or old. Whatever I have lying around.

Speaking of which, I still cannot find the story I wrote about 30 years ago. I know I have copies of it somewhere, and I will continue to search through the archives. The archives are really just a pile of boxes from when we moved here 14 years ago, and it’s a complete disaster since I cannot find anything. Something will show up, I’ll emit joy-sounds, and then I put it in a “safer place” where I know I will be able to find it in the future. Of course, it is once again missing; thankfully, the ocean currents are dependable, and in another 3 or 4 years, it will come my way again. I’m curious to find it since I suspect it really sucks.

In addition to the story I have misplaced, I am also looking for my old NRA medal I received when I was a kid at camp. We shot rifles at targets, learned weapons safety, and I got a “pro-marksman” medal for my efforts. I think I was about 8. Well, now if I could just find that damn thing so I can send it back to the NRA with a note describing my current feelings for their efforts to fuck this country up. It’s a small statement; I’d like to make it; but I lost the goddamn thing. I know it’s somewhere in the house and when I find it I will send it back. They probably melt down all the medals people send back and just say “fuck ’em.” I cannot believe the NRA gives a flying shit. It was fun when it was about gun safety, personal responsibility, and a right of passage into young adulthood. But now? Fuck me in the heart.

Watch for an upcoming episode of The Prehensile and Gretel Show; I’ll be reading from The Randy Scuffle Papers. This is hard for me. The self-promotion bit. I know some people love to get out there and say “buy my shit. I’m awesome!” But I have a hard time with that. So here’s my humble pitch: please check out the book. It’s on Amazon. I think you’ll like it. A lot. Bring a copy to a reading night and I’ll be happy to sign it for you. Someday, you never know…

I also plan to read this week at the No Shush Salon in Clarendon Hills. Michael Penkas will be the featured reader, with excerpts from Mistress Bunny and the Cancelled Client. It’s great!

-Phil Reebius


Leave a Comment

Filed under Events, Writing Process

Summer Colds Disrupt our Podcast

Ugh. Rita and I have been out with nasty summer colds. She got it way worse than I did, and is still kind of getting over the coughing part of it. She got the full blown migrane, jaw aches, sinus infection, sore throat and then upper respiratory version. I got stuffy, sore throat, bit of a hacky cough for a few days and it left me. I am too evil for sickness to prevail. Rita on the other hand is sweet and kind and the bugs just love her. Even the flying kind. I could walk through a room filled with mosquitos and not get bitten. Rita walks outside for 10 seconds and gets all chewed up. They love her.

The colds have affected our ability to do the Prehensile and Gretel podcast. So forgive us, we are a week or so behind. Now work has become demanding and we are targeting some production time later this week and over the weekend. We did not give up already. Just starting to have fun. But it would have been a pain for you to listen to given the rugged sound of Rita’s voice. Will be back on track soon. Promise.

It reminds me of a zillion years ago when I worked at a cheap-ass radio station in the great white north. I’m not one to get sick very often, but when I do, it really fucks me up. I had the morning show and had to start at about 5 AM or some ungodly hour. I came down with some hideous virus that took me out. I couldn’t even talk. Couldn’t even get a croak out. So I had to take a few days off. Now mind you, this radio station paid absolute shit and the working conditions were no better. There’s a whole story about my leaving that place which I can get into later, but let’s just say that the program director at one point actually said: “If you cared about your job, you wouldn’t have gotten sick during the ratings period.” I don’t think I said anything, as I was too stunned at the abject stupidity of the statement. But I thought: “Fuck you.”

The longer story involves farting fat women and family businesses, but I have to get some rest now. Watch for the podcast soon!

Phil Reebius

Leave a Comment

Filed under Prehensile and Gretel

A Short History: “The Randy Scuffle Papers”

I have always imagined writers of serious books to be the kind of people who sit down at the computer (or typewriter, back in the day) and just start writing. The book flows out as a nourishing gift to the world, someone does all the hard work of the printing and marketing, and the author starts on the next book. And every time I have ever tried to write anything remotely serious, I get bored with my own ideas long before it becomes anything beyond a quick essay. I have also found that I cannot write anything without being tempted to address the absurdities within the idea, or that come along as my mind wanders about, looking for the next important thing to say. So I end up, almost always, writing from an angle that I find amusing. Hopefully funny.

The Randy Scuffle Papers has, at its root, characters that go back a long way. One thing I used to do to fend off boredom at work was to write letters to my own company, complaining about something I saw in one of their publications. I thought it was hilarious to send a letter to the editor of a sister publication, knowing that the editor, who sat right next to me, would be reading it and wondering how to respond, if at all. Frequently, I’d use the name “Phyllis Scuffle” as the signatory, and it was her voice, sent through letters, that would form the basis of what eventually became The Randy Scuffle Papers. Of course, it evolved into more than that, as the primary character (and her son) Randy, began to communicate using that medium.

Over the years, I started writing these more for myself, and started keeping a collection. I think that the letters used in The Randy Scuffle Papers were written over at least a 10-year period. Actually, probably more like 12 or 13 years. At some point I thought these may be worth putting together as some sort of book, but I never made the time to do it. Then I had an opportunity to participate in open mic readings at The Tamale Hut Cafe Reading Series. I thought “what the hell” and started showing up with the letters. While my wife has always encouraged me to do something more serious with the stuff I write, I had always hesitated because, well, quite frankly, there’s a lot of stupid ideas in my writing. It’s just my style! Well, people did seem to enjoy them, and after a few readings, I was asked if I intended to publish any of my work. Here’s the thing: once you say “Yeah, I’ve thought about it…I really should do something…” you’re committed.

That “something” ended up as The Randy Scuffle Papers. I won’t lie to you. It took a couple of years to edit, format and finally publish the thing through CreateSpace, but I did it. More about that another time. – Phil Reebius


Leave a Comment

Filed under Self-Publishing, Writing Process

Maybe Something Good, Maybe Something Bad

Years ago I worked in magazine publishing, trade magazines to be specific. I really liked how we had complete creative control over what we produced, but note I said “we.” The workload was shared, and we had people who were very good at layout, editing, sales, etc. You could specialize and thrive if you were really good at something. Despite all of the hands working to create an issue, I swear to you, no matter how many times you edited, read, corrected and scanned your work for errors, the first time you’d pick up the magazine after it had been printed, you’d find a typo. Boy did that suck!

In the digital world, we can have complete control over everything. That’s good. And that’s bad. If you’re doing it for yourself, as I did, you’ll find that the freedom you gain with the new technologies can also become a burden. You don’t have any experts in layout, editing, sales, etc. Now the hundreds of decisions that must be made in order to bring a publication to fruition are all on you. And it can be exhausting sometimes, especially when you’ve hit the point at which you’ve read your own words so many times that you fill in the missing words, autocorrect transpositions in your mind, and completely miss the extra period at the end of that one sentence on page 3. Page 3! You’ve seen that one a thousand times! Trust me, you’ll do this.

This is where patience comes in. You’ve got to have patience with yourself and you’ve got to find someone you trust to read for you. Once you get the book in pretty good shape, it is very rewarding.  – Phil Reebius

Leave a Comment

Filed under Self-Publishing