Saturday, May 30, 2009

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In a few short hours I will be boarding a plane bound for Scotland. I will spend a few short days in Edinburgh and even fewer in Glasgow.  I have never been to Scotland, which is also the birthplace of my Grandfather, but I am confident it will furnish many a great adventure and subsequent tale.  

After about a week of haggis, cobblestones, scotch, cathedrals and broken stones of destiny, I will end in Dublin, which I must say is what I look forward to most. I have been a few times before, but my previous visits in no way diminish my current excitement. Perhaps one of the most acclaimed literary epicenters on the planet, I am sure it's rich literary history and abundance of stout and absinthe will supply me with not only heaps of inspiration but plenty of 'Influence' to be under upon my return where I will hopefully channel Joyce and Wilde and create some works worth talking about, or at least blogging about.

And I even have a night booked in a medieval castle (pictured above; Clontarf Castle) which is no doubt haunted by more ghosts than it is occupied by visitors.

writing under the influence,

Thursday, May 28, 2009

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on a firm seat I sit.

and with little faith or wit

i fall to the bottom of the pit.

life can be so pale,

vibrancy will fail.

on this roller coaster I speed

with little that I need

not even a seed

only a weed

far from any creed.

i am a round peg to the world's square hole.

and with every passing moment, passes my soul.

up for me is down.

no one can help, especially those who think they can...

never knowing which turn to take

never knowing which bridge to cross

never knowing which advice to heed

never knowing which alter to respect.

all my turns lead to nowhere

all my bridges lead to burning

all advice leads to doubt

all my alters make up myself

for myself does not exist.

this poem represents the degradation of my spirit.

my spirit bleeds. my mind fades. my art suffers.

i have no art. I taste the whip.

tired and weary, i could sleep through life's shit.

On a firm seat I sit.

written under the influence by

jeff campagna

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random likeness to any other one,

i admit I am but a shadow of a son.

the drum beats deep in my brain,

and I fail all those I maim.

like ice melts, so does my soul.

and like the moon eclipses, my heart is coal.

empty streets and flat meadows,

line the plains of my minds avenues and,

with the slight bend of the left side,

i twist, turn and contort to get a clearer view.

a clearer view of something which does not exist.

it does not happen, nor does it present.

run run run 

say, who do you think is behind all this?

a child? spinning his wheels and blowing in the breeze?


grown ups have only one type of sardonic nature;

the painful type.

i have fallen from a grace which had little grace at all.

written under the influence by

jeff campagna

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

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Let's all take a moment to admire the severe eroding of what was once such an eloquent and useful language and means of communication. The following are actual comments left on a music video I directed that was posted on YouTube; perhaps the most criminal catalyst for said decline. Others being micro-blogospheres such as Twitter that force one to abbreviate their thoughts into 140 characters or less.

"Yo man this is the best song everTheyre Ukrainian too man even better UKIES FOR LIFE"

"...the guys hit, girls hot. sounds awesome, videos hilarious. LOL!~amazing combo.ill take 2. ahha"

"I Loove Thiss Song But I Cant Seem To Download It On Limewire. It WOnt Work?!:["
greeneyesdragonlol"this song suchs haha"

"im jk its awesome"

"LOl This SOnnng (L)"

and the 'Piece de Resistance':

"lol id hate if tht band just showed up watch huis lips when theyre playing hes like fuck off"

As I watch the tool which I use to create slowly being widdled down to it's retarded nub like Andy Dufrain's rock hammer of freedom, I think to myself; "WTF. U ppl hav no idea the consequences of ur actions :[ !?!?!"

writing under the influence,

Monday, May 25, 2009

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In high school I wrote poetry, but nothing that anyone would ever see. Poetry wasn't cool, and I wanted to be cool - so I wrote it, and hid it. Before we got rid of our old Pentium 2 I remember printing all the poems I wrote out, so, just incase any of them were any good, I wouldn't lose them forever. And so all my poems sat lifeless in a stack of white printer paper and as I moved, they moved with me. This morning I found them while looking for a Glycemic Index book for my mother. I sat in my underwear and read them, and starting now, will be publishing some of them right here on my blog - mainly because, whether it's cool or, I just don't give a shit now.

Now I know why people kill themselves... Their sick of life. Sure, you could have told me that, but I feel their pain. I'm tuned to the agony of lack of enjoyment. I had flare, once, and now it's vanished. Where? I don't know really. I'm sure it will be back, it's just a matter of time I guess. People feel like life has nothing left to offer them, they've gotten their fill, their fix. There's nothing more pathetic than a man at the depths of an ether binge. The cool evening breeze keeps me from sliding south. It's life's little idiosyncrasies that keep me sane. Sometimes I feel so sane... it drives me crazy. Ironic I know, but then again sometimes the only reason why I write is to stop the cursor from blinking.

There you have it. Volume 1 of "Poetry From When I Was Young and Wished I Knew What I Know Now". As you can see it lacks even the rudimentary forms of a poetry, it does not rhyme, it hardly makes sense and posses not even a title.

writing under the influence,

Friday, May 22, 2009

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It has been a while since my last post, and for that I apologize, whether you care or not. The past week has been busy with script re-writes, charity screenings, music video post and the oh so taxing selection screenings for the 2009 Mississauga Independent Film Festival which I co-founded.

However, I was shown this amazing video by a very promising local fashion designer, Mark Lacaria (his blog: (, and thought it was something to write home about, or in my case, something to write the world about.

It is exactly what it looks like. Stop Motion Graffiti. Which is to say that it's a series of thousands of photographs taken during the spray painting of a continuing surface, constantly having to erase the previous lines, in order to manufacture the effect of animation. Not only is it done with technical flare and precision, but the style and concept of the artwork is original and intriguing.  In a time where technology has conquers the classics and urban art has stolen the head turns from cubists and the French Renaissance, I recklessly deem  this video A Masterpiece of The 21st Century...

Don't be surprised if you see this concept in a future music video I direct, well, in this case, it would be one I would co-direct - of course sharing the directing credit with the artist.

I'll be back with a proper self-indulgent manic rant in a few days... I promise.

writing under the influence,

Friday, May 15, 2009

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Probably, I was eleven, maybe twelve when I was first introduced to the music of Frank Zappa.  And make no mistake, it was a very rudimentary, tip-of-the-iceberg sort of relationship at that point. I heard "My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama" and thought... 'damn, that's cool'. (I am, in all probability, paraphrasing myself, at eleven, I either would have said 'darn' or 'shit')

On deck for my listening pleasure was "Valley Girl" followed by "Don't Eat That Yellow Snow".  And so it went, as I presume it did for most, in sort of a 'listen to these funny rock songs from the 70's' fashion. 'Who is this guy?' I'd ask. 'I dunno. Just some guy who named his kids funny names like Moon Unit' I'd be told. 

And so for the next half of my life I went on believing Mr. Zappa was a novelty rock musician from the hippie days of a more liberal and progressive economy. I am sure Zappa fans, then and now, had and have a much more detailed and accurate perspective on Zappa's career and contribution to modern music.

Pioneering the use of recording equipment still in use today, helping to bring experimental music to the forefront of commercial record sales with over 60 albums, writing Jazz, Rock, Electronic and Musique Concrete and becoming a renowned international orchestral composer are just a few of the jenga blocks which make up the prolific and wobbly life of Frank Zappa. Not to mention directing feature films and music videos... A man with unwavering commitment to not only his art and it's conceptual continuity, but the freedom of speech and absurdity of verbal censorship.

Get to know him here:

Zappa in Full Form...
Wicked Ass Interview with a Wicked Ass Theory...
Zappa Chews The Fat Over Freedom Of Speech...

writing under the influence,

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

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So, the following is a post I have come across which shook me to my very core in a profound and inspiring fashion. Written by Bonnie Kozek, a published author, it basically embodies my fears, preoccupations and self-prophecies pertaining to the life of one who lives by the written word. Bonnie also shares my love of words and seems to display the same notions of scripturiency, but perhaps in a more tactful way. Please enjoy her post, I am including the first portion of it, click the link afterwards to view it in it's entirety on her site.

Bonnie Kozek--March 2009

The writer suffers. London, overdose. Woolf, drowning. Mattheissen, leap. Hemingway, gunshot. Plath, gas. Berryman, leap. Inge, carbon monoxide. Sexton, carbon monoxide. Brautigan, gunshot. Levi, leap. Kosinski, overdose. Gray, drowning. Wallace, hanging. Mishima, ritual suicide culminating in assisted beheading. This accounting, even in the extreme, barely skims the surface.

The American psyche has long been acculturated to the idea of the “suffering writer” – the “mad artist” – the connection between creativity and insanity. Moreover, American writers, as referenced in the above abridged list of suicides, have substantially contributed to the incontrovertible nature of this broadly accepted “tradition.” Indeed, beginning with research first conducted in the 1970s, the scientific community has attempted to explain the phenomenon of the “suffering writer.” In her book, Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament, Kay Jamison, professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University, reports that writers are as much as 20 times as likely as other people to suffer depressive illnesses. Why? There appears to be two principal reasons: First, illness brought on by individual biology and/or traumatic experience, and secondly, a predisposition by way of birthright. Couple this with the inherent downsides of the profession — isolation, loneliness, rejection, financial insecurity – and the glamorization of the suffering writer – so prevalent that it has engendered a kind of “suffering competition” – (Upon learning of Plath’s suicide, Sexton is reported to have said covetously, “She took something that was mine! That death was mine!”)— and there you have it: A foregone conclusion

To View the rest of this article click here

Thanks Bonnie, for making me feel less crazy. With any luck, we'll find out that we're not simply both crazy.  

writing under the influence,

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

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The following film is a perfect example of exceptional film making. Some of you may have seen this short before, perhaps in the context of the entire BMW series, but I assure you on second viewing, when the construction of the piece is considered, it will take from you a new level of respect. How it can be so short but still so comprehensive and coherent I don't know. How the dialogue and voice over can be so sparse but every character so rich and complex I don't know either. It's at once a love story, an action film (some of which is only implied), an intense drama and, not least, a character study in full form.

The choices in music, sound design, what to show vs. what not to show and over all production design are inspiring. This is film in pure form. I must commend Wong Kar-Wai and Andrew Kevin Walker for a brilliant work.

writing under the influence

Friday, May 8, 2009

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"Pulse, Blue"

Love courses through my red veins.

Envy courses through my green veins.

Sorrow courses through my blue veins.

Fear courses through my black veins.

My veins course with things that seem natural,

but, when they pulse, it feels alien.

The feelings that you give me, when and where,

push the blood through my veins with little regard.

My veins house things of which there are no definitions.

My veins house them, unapologetically.

My veins will pulse until the day my heart stops.

My veins pulse for you.

written under the influence by


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

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I feel homeless, lost in the haze of empty words. Why must a muse be a woman? I have found love, but with it, didn't come my muse. 

Let's start with my biting obsession with words, obviously of the English origin. It's a recent thing. Since I started actually reading to be specific. Until about four, maybe five months ago, I hadn't actually read a piece of fiction, front to back. Hard to believe? It is for me as well. Sure I fought through Bill Shakespear in high school in an out-loud class setting, and before that, even lied through many a book report in elementary school. I would read the first page, and the back cover. Then I would pick a few lucky pages from the middle, and with them, I would formulate the most asinine, but seemingly believable essay. After high school I would read a few self help books, which did little but manufacture a raging inferiority complex.  Long after, I would fall into the blind oblivion of creative commitment and the art of story telling. So, I went right to the source. The Novel. 

I picked up "Barbary Shore", Norman Mailer's second and relentlessly critically panned novel. I hadn't read "The Naked And The Dead", which separated me from the majority of those who had read Mailer. And thus, I had nothing to compare too. So, as a result of that naivety, I quite enjoyed "Barbary Shore". But, not for reasons one might imagine. In point of fact, I didn't even really comprehend the story, partly due to my limited knowledge of world politics, past and present. But, what I did enjoy were the words. I'll repeat; I enjoyed the words. The way he used words to explain things in such an eloquent, poetic and descriptive fashion. The way he manipulated the English language, as if it didn't own him, he owned it. 

Since, I have been through other Mailer books, even read Faulkner and Dostoevsky. And let me tell you, I will never, ever, turn back. At this point, it isn't simply the words of authors that bite at my mind. It's everything. A traffic sign signaling construction, a salon advertising services, a radio personality pitching a new single or even the man behind the counter at the gas bar. Why did they choose the words they did? What drove them to do so? How did those words find themselves in their vocabulary. Do I know these words? Should I know these words? Could I use them better?

Most of the time, when this obsession with vowels and syllables strikes, it's due to, if not Mailer, a film. And not just crazy elusive works of John-Luc Godard or Andy Kaufman. It can be while watching pop like "Definitely Maybe" or "Enchanted". The words they use. It makes me want to use them too. It makes me want to create. I want to have the same fun and the same liberty with the English language that they had.  I boil with desire.

And like many artists, I need a consistent vehicle to translate those very desires into works. Or do I? Do I really need a muse? Would Woody Allen survive with Scarlet Johanson? Would Lennon have written the things he did without the presence of Yoko? I have often yearned for a muse and never been given one. Often they are women but such is not the case for myself. I have found the love of my life, she is everything a man could want in this world, but perhaps not everything a writer could want. This has left me searching for a muse. And, in fact, I am infinitely relieved my love is not my muse, because as I migrate further and further down the rabbit hole, she would soon become more a muse than a love. 

But, I am left with a sort of disconnect. Every minute of every day I am compelled to write. Not a dream of mine. In fact, I was always a very poor reader and writer, and, in my opinion, still am. I had tutors, special education and even extra curricular 'English-as-a-second-language' courses. But, it's a force I can't ignore, and until it leaves me, I will accept it. The disconnect being, a constant influx of inspiration and content but with no muse to transport it to the fleeting masses. Obsession is the gasoline to which I have no vehicle. 

Forgive the grammar and spelling, I am into a few.

writing under the influence,


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

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So my self-indulgent ranting has earned A Writer Under The Influence another Blog Award Nomination; this time from The BlogNet Awards for "Best Literary Blog". If you want me to win, you'll have to vote.

BlogNet Awards had this to say about A Writer Under The Influence:

"Jeff Campagna is a writer…a very good writer. He mainly writes screenplays, but has dabbled into poetry and, obviously, blogging. The BlogNet Awards team enjoyed his candor. While he seems to attribute most of his talent to vodka, he does admit that, like any true writer he NEEDS to write about everything, good or bad. He admits it more eloquently than that of course. This blog review doesn’t unearth any great mysteries or teach us to conquer the world. It just tells us about one writer’s life. It tells in a way you’ll want to read more."

Who knew there were so many organizations out there giving out Blogging Awards? 

writing under the influence,

Monday, May 4, 2009

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Imbue Onto Me and You.

Imbue onto me and you,
The things that you and I must do.
Always consider and pursue,
The dreams that you and I deem true.

Speed bumps we must subdue,
And push, push on through.
For when the moment is in view,
Be certain it does not pass you

For these moments that I preview,
Are all too sparse and all too few.
These moments don't add up in lue,
And make themselves clear they fail to do.

written under the influence by,

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In a seated position, straight is my back.
On the board lies 88 keys.
Some in white and fewer in black.

I position my fingers with ease and care.
I let the keys play themselves,
and play a song that is true and bare.

I can feel the chords strike the wire.
I can feel the honesty of the notes,
and every truth that they require.

Keys played for false reason,
Are the one true crime,
and falseness in any season.

A minor fall and a major lift,
I am reminded of my mother,
"The ability of music is but a gift."

Some are bright and fewer are dark
I notice the pattern of the keys,
and on a profound journey I do embark.

There will always be darkness in this life,
but a world can exist,
where darkness is less rife.

written under the influence by,