I was born 66 years ago in the upper mid-west. My parents and I came west soon after. I had a very average life as a kid but I began to sense that something was missing, or at least that I was missing something, but it was years before I figured it out. It wasn’t until my early teens that the ‘missing thing’ began to manifest itself. I always seemed to be out of step with everyone else. It wasn’t until my junior year in high school that I realized that I was an oddball, an outsider always vying to see what was happening behind the glass, always trying to fit in, or find a niche that could fit more than one. Eventually I gave up and settled into my life as a “minus one”.
But things change. Even death isn’t static. The cosmos is in constant flux and so am I. One day I woke up and wanted something else besides my job as a handyman…I turned to music for a while, but didn’t have the chops to be anything more than a curious sideshow (for which there wasn’t much of a market at the time). It was then that I started writing poetry again after a 10 year hiatus (long story). That was 23 years ago…
In 2017 it will be twenty-three years since I started making books of one sort or another And it will be over twenty years since I started writing poetry again. It has been a long strange trip. I am the great oz, the man behind the curtain, the stranger in a strange land, the grand poobah, the head lummox. In short, I’m RD Armstrong, the man who is the Lummox Press. Together with the intrepid Yazoota, I have plumbed the depths of the shallow end of the literary pool in an area known as the independent small and/or underground press.
Yazoota has worked with me since 1997; he started out doing layouts for the old Lummox Journal…a precursor to the LUMMOX Poetry Anthology. Not that he was learning a trade since he had worked for Guns and Ammo as an Art Director for over 25 years! Together we strive to produce a striking product that satisfies the needs of the author as well as the readership.
As I move into this 23rd year, I am proud of my work here and very glad to have met the poets that I have had the pleasure of knowing on this strange, ever-evolving journey. I have tried to run Lummox the way I ran my handyman gig (I did that for almost 30 years without too many complaints), but I came to realize that a mere handshake isn’t relevant in our world of suspicion and paranoia; even more so in the arts, where it seems that everybody is looking for a way to make money without putting in the time.ere at Lummox, I place the emphasis on “game’ not “fame”…the Lummox Motto is Ingenium Non Celibritas (literally Game Not Fame). i’m not against publishing known poets, but I like to publish new voices, new writers who haven’t had a chance to strut their stuff in book form yet, or writers who for whatever reason haven’t yet gotten a full collection of their work published. It’s more challenging to work with a “newbie” in some respects, but it can be just as challenging to work with a seasoned “pro”. It’s these challenges that have forged my character over the past 20 years. There’s a saying that goes like this: “The best steel goes through the fire.” This has certainly been true in my case.
I’ve had to develop a thick skin to survive the “slings and arrows” hurled in my direction over the years. Apparently, being the big, sad-eyed guy in the room, I draw a lot of abuse from those with an ax to grind. I don’t like it, but so far I’ve survived my detractors. I suppose when I get tired of their BS, I’ii just fold up my tent and steal away into the night…
All in all, all i can say is that it’s been interesting so far. And as long as it stays that way, I’ll continue to be a part of the small press, and proudly so.
Long Beach, CA
Here me read the winning poem in the first Charles Bukowski Poetry Contest.