My name is Leonard Pierce. I am the fourth person in my family so named, due to an ongoing dearth of creativity amongst the males. I was born in Phoenix, AZ and lived there for 24 years, at which point I moved to Chicago, IL, a place I still consider my home. I have also lived for brief periods in suburbs of Los Angeles, CA; Minneapolis, MN; and Dallas, TX. I currently reside in San Antonio, TX, where I do not like it.
Although I anticipated dying, or at least no longer aging, sometime around my late 20s or so, I have in fact continued to live, and have reached the ridiculous and laughable age of 38 years. August 7, 1969 was the day I was born, making it mathematically probable that my parents engaged in the sexual act that led to my conception on the night Richard Nixon was first elected president of the United States. Whether they did so in despair or celebration is not known to me. I was adopted when I was two days old; my biological father was Saudi Arabian, but my adoptive parents are Alabamians, and bestowed upon me a southern accent which sometimes emerges when I am stressed out or drunk. I'm an only child, and as of this writing, both my parents are still alive, but I have essentially no contact with the rest of the family. Which is fine with me.
I was a bright kid, but lazy. I went to a Lutheran school for grade 1-8 (I didn't go to kindergarten), where I learned that studying catechism was good preparation for absolutely nothing. I then attended Glendale High School, where I failed to graduate, and I went on to not graduate from Glendale Community College and Arizona State University. Of all the schools from which I failed to graduate, I'd say my favorite is Harvard, but in fairness, I also failed to attend that school. I sometimes refer to myself as an autodidact, although that's really just cover for being broke and lazy but intellectually curious. Like many self-taught people, I am intimidated by actual academics, which is probably why I am friends with so many of them, because I like being scared by my friends. I don't think I'm a good person, but if you think you're better than me, I will go to great lengths to establish that you are not. This is the central contradiction of my life.
Since the default setting in the US seems to be white-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant-male-hetero
When I was younger, I used to get into fights a lot, and I've spent a few days in jail. Nowadays I don't do that so much, or indeed at all. I do enjoy drinking, though -- a lot. I am a drunk, but I am not an alcoholic; this distinction may be meaningless or foolish to you, but to me it is sacred. Liquor is one of the greatest things in all the world, and as a pleasant way to kill time, getting drunk is second only to fucking, and for many of us, it is a much more readily available option. I also enjoy a variety of drugs, most particularly marijuana, but I have also had a good times with painkillers. I like eating, as evidenced by the fact that I am fat, and my taste runs towards the highbrow, but I can also eat crap with the best of them.
I live alone, which is my choice and my curse. I find that I miss some things about cohabitation, but the ability to smoke weed at any time of day and compensate for my horrible insomnia by driving around aimlessly in the middle of the night, plus the charming habit of talking to myself, more than makes up for the fact that I'm going to die alone and unloved. About half the women with whom I have had long-term relationships are also LiveJournal members. I like to think that the other half were so traumatized by losing my love that they never bothered to master the internet, and now live in caves in the Himalayas and eat bugs. Also they have tear-stained photos of me, about which they write bad poems. I joined LiveJournal so I could post comments on calamityjon's site. Please don't ask me anything about Facebook, MySpace or any of those other social networking sites or I shall cry.
Politically, I am very far left. I used to be a communist, until I turned 21, and then I was an anarchist for a while (bottle-throwin', mask-wearin', the whole bloody lot), but that turned out to be pretty lacking in any kind of practical application. Now I'm essentially a far-left social democrat; I have gone from utterly loathing capitalism to merely thinking it should be kept on a very tight rein, like a rabid mule. I think neo-conservatives are the worst, but libertarians and Objectivists are the funniest, political strains in America. I diverge from leftist orthodoxy on a number of issues, most especially gun control, but really, anything that soaks the rich and makes white people nervous, I'm fine with. Politics, as a rule, makes me despair, and I think the current state of the Democratic Party is pretty shameful; but I do enjoy masking my disillusionment with irony and humor. No presidential candidate for whom I have voted, in a primary or presidential election, has ever won. I think George W. Bush is probably the worst president this country has ever had, and that the Iraq War is a total fucking disgrace.
My day job is as a production coordinator for the schoolbook publishing arm of a major American institution known for its yellow rectangular border logo. The job entails bits and pieces of writing, editing, design, layout, proofing, production, and other activities that end up with a book getting published. The job pays fairly well, and I love the work, and dig the people I work with. This is the first job about which I have been able to say all of those things.
I'm also a freelance writer. At the moment, that work makes up about a third of my income, though it's been higher and lower. The first paid piece I had published was in 1987. I love writing more than just about anything. I write fiction, but it's really just for my own amusement; as of yet, I haven't been able to make any money at it. My freelance work consists mostly of writing about music, film and literature, but I've also done stuff ranging from test questions for state social studies exams to trade magazine articles about the produce industry to scripts for industrial training films. As long as it pays and I get some enjoyment out of it, I'll write it. I've supported myself briefly in the past with only my writing, and I someday hope to do so again, but I'm fortunate insofar as I currently have a day job I like as well.
I used to maintain a daily-updated website of humor and other miscellany here, but I just don't have time for that anymore. Still, the archives are still active, and I flatter myself that there's some fun stuff to be had there. I used to maintain an archive of other writing, but it too became too difficult to keep up. Googling my name yields a lot of stuff I've written elsewhere, as well as information on a sex criminal, a corporate lawyer, and a beloved dead English actor. Among other places, my work has appeared in Blueprints, The Natural Foods Merchandiser, Conscious Choice, Spin, Urb, The Onion AV Club, McSweeneys, Hobart Pulp, The Chicago Reader, The Chicago Tribune, Cursor, Opium, Pindeldyboz, American History, semiotext(e), The San Antonio Current, The San Antonio Express-News, TAP, The Rocket, The Planet, The New Times, The Village Voice, Uber, Time Out Chicago, Metal Edge, White Sox Interactive, AlterNet, Commercial Carrier Journal, and The Illinois Entertainer. I'm a music staff writer for UR Magazine; I'm a weekly film blogger at Nerve's movie site, The Screengrab; and I'm a regular contributor to the left-wing political humor site Sadly, No!. I've been a guest on various radio shows, including as a regular on Kevin Fullam's Under Surveillance, and appearances on Marc Maron and Sam Seder's shows on Air America and Eight Forty-Eight and Writer's Block Party on NPR. In addition, I've contributed to dozens of &'zines, websites, and independent publications. I am a contributing writer and editor for The High Hat, a web-based journal of arts and culture.
Reading is the greatest thing in the world. I will read literally anything and everything put in front of me, and I think one of the great joys in life is knowing things just for the sake of knowing them, but I especially enjoy certain strains of postmodernist fiction and literary theory. I also read tons of history, quite a lot of short fiction, and, of course, fucking comic books. I like talking about literature, but since I'm a big theory nerd, some people find it boring to talk about literature with me. Music is probably the most important thing in the world to me after books, and I am extremely happy that I can make a good part of my living writing about it. There is no kind of music I absolutely don't like, but probably my favorite kinds of music these days are metal, rap, and hillbilly music. My tastes change with the wind, though, and mostly I like anything that's surprising, skillful, or emotionally powerful.
I'm obsessed with all sorts of ridiculous things. Here are some of them, in general and specific: baseball (the Chicago White Sox), postmodernist philosophy (neo-pragmatism), artificial world-building (DC Universe continuity), civil rights (the Palestinian liberation movement), movies (post-1945 American film noir), pulp fiction (Sapir & Murphy's Destroyer novels), trash culture (24-hour full-service diners), sandbox/open world video games (Grand Theft Auto IV), skepticism (historical contingency theory), sketch comedy (Mr. Show), road trips (ghost towns), and human stupidity (take your pick).
My highest aspiration is to try to amuse. Here is what I look like now, more or less -- I know, it's a goddamn pity. Thanks always for stopping by.