In Feb. 2021 I will turn seventy. My journey began in Indiana. My parents and I came to Cali 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 out it was. In my early teens I saw a glimmering of what that ‘missing thing’ was. 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 “one”.
But things change. Even death isn’t static. The cosmos is in constant flux all around us. 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 almost 28 years ago…
It’s been 25 years since I started making books of one sort or another. It has been a long, strange trip. Sometimes, I think I’m the great oz, the man behind the curtain, the stranger in a strange land, the grand poobah, the head lummox. In short, I am RD Armstrong: the man who is Lummox Productions. Together with the intrepid Yazoota, I’ve plumbed the depths of the shallow end of the literary pool in an area known as the independent small and underground press.
Yazoota worked with me from 1997 until 2020. He started out doing layouts for the old Lummox Journal…a precursor to the LUMMOX Poetry Anthology. He had spent 25 years working for Gats and .44’s as the Art Director! That’s where he made his bones. I was fortunate enough to work with him for so many years; together we strove to produce a striking product that satisfied authors as well as readers.
Here at Lummox, the emphasis has always been on “game’ not “fame”…the Lummox Motto is Ingenium Non Celibritas (literally Game Not Fame). I published some old poets and some new voices, new writers who hadn’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. But the challenges of working with poets has worn me down; these are the same challenges that forged my character over the past 25 years. We have a saying: “The best steel goes through the fire.” Apparently, my steel needs a rest.
Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of my work and very glad to have met other weirdos from many walks of life (poets, writers, artists, musicians). Some I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know 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). However I came to realize that a mere handshake wasn’t enough of a contract in a world gone crazy; that greed was as American as Apple Pie and that seemingly everybody is looking for a way to make “real” money without putting in “real” time.
As I move past this 26th non-year (full of schism and deceit, hatred and xenophobia, fear, sickness and death….oh so much death), where we act like we are right when we are wrong, and where the corona virus is everywhere and nowhere. Where going for coffee could be playing Covid roulette. I’ve become tired. I need a break from publishing books, from the hectic pace, from my impossible scheduling. In short, I need a break from doing the Lummox Press tango! I needed a new direction, one where I might be able to help other people with small gifts of “seed” money.
So, I started the MOON IN THE BUCKET FUND.
A new chapter begins.
Long Beach, CA
See me talk about Lummox at a recent event held in Long Beach at Made by Millworks… courtesy of Steven Deeble.
Read an interview (go to page 62) conducted by Jonathon Murietta for Long Beach 908 (a feel good neighborhood magazine)…lord knows how I got this lucky, as “feel good” and Raindog are not usually associated with each other! And here’s a follow up video that the folks from www.lb908.com shot recently at Portfolio Coffeehouse of our encounter.