Ramingo Interviews – A. S. Coomer, Writer and Musician Talks About His Art

A.S. Coomer at the Hump Day Revue (ph. Michelle Elson)

Name?

A.S. Coomer. My friends call me Drew.

Age?

I’m in my thirties.

Location and occupation?

Western Kentucky. Writer and musician.

How long have you been writing? Do you play an instrument as well?

I’ve been writing since I was kid. I got serious about it around eight or nine years ago. Started doing it full-time four or five years ago.

I play guitar, mostly, but I can make some noise with the tenor banjo, harmonica, mandolin, and keyboard.

I’ve been writing and recording a lot of ambient music lately. I’ve released two collections of mostly nocturnes called Rural Eminence Volumes I &II. The third installment is nearing completion. These songs are mostly electronic—synths and keys—but there’s guitarwork on several of the tracks too. The idea behind these records is to translate my life in rural Kentucky into music. Most songs about the country are string affairs and I wanted to do something different. There’re some string instruments but the majority of the recordings are electronic.

I also have a family band called The Coomers. We haven’t been able to practice or play shows due to COVID but we plan on getting back together once we’re able.

Do you have a specific writing style? Hobbies?

I prefer the longform story. Novels. Novellas. Each project is stylistically different. I try to mold the style to fit the story.

I read a lot. I consider that part of my job as well as my favorite hobby. I used to paint, but for some reason or another I’ve drifted away from it. I’ll go back to it one of these days. I also collect vinyl.

Do you write full-time?

Yes. I wake up every day at 7 and go straight to whatever project I’m currently working on. Two-thousand words is my daily quota and this seems to be my Goldilocks amount.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer?

I like to think that each new book is my greatest accomplishment as a writer. Right now I’d say it’s my novel Memorabilia (pub’d by 11:11 Press). It was a really difficult story to tell. It took a lot out of me but I think I got it right. It’s a story about a man dealing with the suicide of his talented friend and the reduction of art to trinkets and memorabilia.

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

I think the greatest challenge for any writer, especially someone in the beginnings of their career, is finding an audience. With the glut of self-publishing and the crowded marketplace of the bigger publishers it’s hard to find willing eyes.

What projects of yours have been recently published?  Books or Magazines?

I had three of my poems (Maybe the Burning Bush, Flirting with Disaster, & I Wrote This Sober) anthologized in Volume IV of Michele McDannold’s This Is Poetry series: Poets of the South. My poem Steve Harvey Just Didn’t See You Like I Saw You was published in The Rye Whiskey Review. A collaborative poem written with Dan Denton titled Rust Belt Blues #666 was pub’d in The Dope Fiend Daily. A flash fiction piece called DIY Lamp Kit was pub’d by FILTH. A novelette entitled Stor-All Self-Storage was featured in C.V. Hunt’s HORRORAMA anthology. My short story cycle The Coruscate Cycle was pub’d in Cowboy Jamboree Magazine (which was called A Mess of Catfish, as you already know, Catfish). I wrote Chapter Fifteen of the collective novel Collected Voices in the Expanded Field, which was published by 11:11 Press, who also published my novel Memorabilia. I had a piece of creative nonfiction titled City Music pub’d by Hobart. My flash fiction piece Pale Cobalt Blue was pub’d by Back Patio Press. My first novel Rush’s Deal is getting ready to get a paperback release via Alien Buddha Press, who published my first full-length poetry collection Flirting with Disaster & Other Poems. I have a book of crime fiction called Misdeeds coming out soon via Shotgun Honey Books.

I’ve also been working on some nonfiction projects, mainly record reviews, two of which were published by the Museum of Americana.

What are you currently working on and what inspired this work?

I’m writing a story about a haunted Gibson J-45 right now. The guitar gives its owner nearly unlimited creative freedom but it comes with a price: great misfortune follows the guitar wherever it goes. I wanted to write another book with a focus on music (my novel Shining the Light was a fictional biography of a musician who never actually existed). This gave me an excuse to write a bunch of songs in the styles of other musicians. I wanted to get out of my A.S. Coomer sound and explore songs from different perspectives.

I’m also editing a book about a serial killer who camp hosts at national and state parks across the country, killing as he goes. This story came from an experience with a real asshole of a camp host in Estes Park, Colorado.

Another project I’m editing is a story about an elderly ex-con being placed into a young, childless couple’s home after the president signs an executive order releasing aged and infirm prisoners due to COVID running rampant in jails and prisons across the country.

Where can we find your work? 

www.ascoomer.com is a great place to start. I sell signed copies of my books there. You can also purchase my books directly from the publishers: Grindhouse Press, Atlatl Press, 11:11 Press, The Wild Rose Press, Clare Songbirds Publishing House, Alien Buddha Press, etc. You can also find my books on Amazon and Barnes & Nobel’s website too. I even saw somebody selling signed copies of my stuff on ebay.

 How do you react to rejections?

I try not to make too big a deal out of rejections. They’re a part of the process. Not everybody is going to like what you do, even if its good. People have different tastes. They have different visions for their publishing ventures. I try to take it all in stride.

How do you react when one of your submissions is accepted for publication?

After doing a happy dance, I relish sending out withdrawal emails to all the places the work is still in consideration. I try to remember to savor the feel of each little victory.

What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer?

Be your own worst boss. If you’re serious about being a writer, get up every day and treat it like the job you want. Work hard. Don’t cut corners. Do the work. Read a lot too. Trust in the word and put in the work. Sanity comes and goes but the words remain.

 What is your favorite book? 

That changes nearly every day. Right now I’d say it’s a toss-up between Cat’s Cradle by Vonnegut, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, and Betting on the Muse by Buk. But this changes all the time though, often daily.  

Who is your favorite author?

This changes all the time too. Lately I’ve been really taken with James Baldwin and Don DeLillo. I’ve loved books by Vonnegut, Hemingway, Camus, Richard Wright, Bradbury, Cormac McCarthy, Sartre, Tom Robbins, etc. I could go on and on. I don’t think I have a single favorite author but a roving collection of favorites. The list changes constantly.

If you could have dinner with one fictional character, who would it be and why?

I think dinner with Harry Morgan would be an interesting experience. He seems like the type of character that’d keep you on your toes. He’d probably show up already in the bag and with a seedy plan for the rest of the evening.

What is the greatest occupational hazard for a writer?  

Resting on your laurels. It seems like a lot of writers buy into their own hype and lose that hunger to make more art.

What makes you laugh?

Lots of things. The way birds have a knack for shitting on upturned faces and recently cleaned windows. Instagram poetry. Anyone claiming the Republican Party cares about the working class.

What makes you cry?

Losing unsaved work. People butchering John Prine covers.

What is your preferred drink while you write?

Black coffee with a little bit of honey.

Beach or Mountains?

Depends on how I’m feeling. I enjoy each tremendously. Right now I’d say beach, but that’s probably because we’ve had a lot of snow and ice recently and I was in the Pisgah National Forest of North Carolina a few weeks back.

Cats or Dogs?

Cats. I love dogs too, I’m just more allergic to them than cats.

The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?

Stones.

Jimi Hendrix or Frank Sinatra?

Sinatra.

Shakespeare or Bukowski?

Buk.

Please provide as much or as little of the following information as you’d like. We want to hear about your country, please. Any dangerous wild animals or fish? Why would people like to visit your country?

The United States is an interesting place. We have a lot of things going for us but goddamn do we have a lot of terrible shit too. There are people who want power just to control others. We claim to be the land of the free but we marginalize and impoverish and incarcerate. We’ve never honored a single treaty with the indigenous people of this land we stole. We have a militarized police force whose treatment differs based on the color of your skin, sexual identity, locale, mental health status, and a myriad of other things. Of course these are generalities but I think that’s kind of what the question calls for.

America, despite the smallness of its narrow-mindedness, is a huge, sprawling place. There are many wonderful places to check out. There’re millions of lives you can lead here. There are lovely people and groups and I’m not trying to focus on the negative but there’re a great many dumpster fires raging right now. Sometimes it’s what you make of it, sometimes it’s what it makes of you.

If you found a magic lamp and could have three wishes, what would they be?

I’d wish for more wishes then I’d wish for a better understanding of human kindness and how to tap into this in others. For my last wish I’d probably ask for a Corvette.

If we have left out anything you’d like to share with the world, please do so now.

My next novel Birth of a Monster comes out 4/2/21 via Grindhouse Press. It’s a beast of a book, just under 700-pages, that tackles American violence, misogyny, and the worship of power and dominance.

Rush’s Deal, my first novel, is finally getting a paperback release via Alien Buddha Press in the near future.

Also, I just released a five song EP called Old Fort Sessions, which I recorded live in a cabin in the mountains of North Carolina. It’s out on all the streaming services and can be purchased from my Bandcamp page.

Ramingo’s Porch Staff:
Elena Bello (Milan, Italy)
Mendes Biondo (Mantua, Italy)
John D Robinson (East Sussex, United Kingdom)
Catfish McDaris (West Allis, Wisconsin USA)


Even a Little Shit Can Make a Big Stink
A.S. Coomer

Speak straight, walk crooked,
lie if you have to
but make sure it’s the whole truth
& nothing but the truth
so help you god,
or whatever doesn’t offend you
but still holds you accountable
for the selfish, shameless acts
of isolation, desperation and art
you conjure up and carry out
after a six-pack and a few hits
(or worse, teetotal).

Carry yourself erect
despite your doggedness,
it’s the most fluent, constant middle finger
you can raise to gravity and its minions.
I know you’re tired, I am too.
Shit, even existence burns calories
and energy doesn’t just grow, blossom and fall
like golden and auburn leaves off burdened
existential or cosmological trees.

So make something, any-damn-thing.
Take it from here, there and everywhere in between.
Steal indiscriminately and make it yours.
Slap it together as best you can.
Don’t worry about where it came from
or where you think it’s going.

If you must, think of it
as the maggots in their wounds.
Them. Yes, them. The others,
the can’t-make-can’t-do-can-only-shit-on-you’s.
The ones not capable of turning on their own lights
so they scrape up the backs of gentle giants,
passive savants and you.

The backbiters and bottom feeders,
carrion scavenging on what they could never do,
sure do love to talk and complicate
what’s already laid plain,
easy as you go; I’m simple simonizing
the creative sermon, the battle hymn
of the ever-creating republic
and they still can’t get it.

So, be the bonfire. Be the flat tire.
Be the cat howling in the night,
the creaking screen door that never would shut right.
Be the infuriating squeak in just their left shoe.

Be the damn after every god,
the crack of the whip,
the rainless clouds covering up the midday sun;
Christ, be the laughing cardboard cylinder
after the last of the toilet paper’s gone
because even a little shit
can make a big stink.



Enjoy A.S. Coomer music on Bandcamp. Here you can find “Three Cords” and “Philpot Nocturne #24”

3 thoughts on “Ramingo Interviews – A. S. Coomer, Writer and Musician Talks About His Art

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