Joey Madia

Joey Madia is a playwright, actor, and educator who writes in a wide variety of genres and styles. His poetry, essays, and short stories have been widely published and have earned him several awards. His first novel, Jester-Knight, was published in February of 2009. He is a book and music reviewer and the Founding Editor of New Mystics, an art and literary site (started in 2002). As a teaching-artist he has worked with, taught, and mentored thousands of students in both theatre and creative writing and has spoken at many schools and national conferences. He is the artistic director/resident playwright of New Mystics Arts, which is home to two theatre companies (in West Virginia and New Jersey) and which will be opening an arts center in Fairmont, WV in the spring of 2010 and Resident Playwright at Youth Stages, LLC. His 12 plays for young audiences have been or will be produced across the United States and his series of books on using theatre in the classroom are helping teachers redefine learning.

What is (or has been) your favorite editing project and why?

My favorite editing project … was several months ago, when Nick Pendleton, author, illustrator, and spoken-word podcaster, asked me to edit the stories he was contributing to a new book, forthcoming in 2010, entitled COVER STORIES: A Euphicitional Anthology. Euphiction [yu-fik-shen] is a new genre defined on the back cover of the collection as: “n. 1. The marriage of musical inspiration with the written word. 2. A story that reads like a three-minute single. In COVER STORIES, ten young writers from around the globe cut deep into the tracks of their favorite albums to produce something that's more than just a mix tape of divergent fictions; they are the scouts for a new Literary Invasion...”

Nick has been a long-time contributor to New Mystics, and I have long been a fan of his quirky stories about common people in worlds woven from Carroll, Lovecraft, and the ultra-modern.

Nick’s stories are unquestionably meant to be read aloud, and my challenge as his editor in the 10 stories he was submitting was to hear that Voice (made all the stronger by the lyrical and musical content of the 10 songs he had used for his inspiration) and help it along when it went out of pitch or missed an off-beat entrance.

It is my belief that an editor is a facilitator who must be as Objective as possible; this is my approach to directing in the theatre as well as being a teacher. Good work is good work, as Oscar Wilde believed—and that to me is all about Vision and Voice, squarely the writer’s domain. Nick has a strong sense of both. It is not my job, even a little, to help the writer figure out what he or she sees and how best to convey it.

I just want to apply the technical tools and take advantage of the distance the writer lacks to make an already clear picture just a little sharper…

"The Lion and the Whale"

It has begun.
The frozen beast has thawed.
Crystal in its stance, evil in its Wants,
it calls its sleeping children:
adder creeping, lion waking.

In the mindgrave, repulsed dragons
tip the scales toward an angry, sullen spite.
Traps are laid for the would-be trappers,
the new walkers,
proud-thought thinkers.

In the panther's stomach
the red whale seeks rebirth in Jonah's weak breathing.
The drums of his labor pains remind me of my own sharp change.

It has begun.
Simple considerations have given way
to the black dog of constant worry.
Something isn't right
and may never be again.

It has begun.
Half familiar dream-launched echoes
of an unknown fake frontier
seek the ears of the blessedly questing soul,
so secure in its search for grails tarnished by Megiddo's ash—
shrapnel-tongued and smelling of dung,
it is history and belief and cannot be discounted even so.

It has begun.
Upon its awakening, the leaking sun scorns the seeker's opened eye
and makes of tears a baptismal rite.

Do not seek cheap supper under combined flags—
that is the lesson of a drowning Camelot.

Enter the new era-
the time of the lion and the whale.
The age of Open Eyes.

(Previously published in Mythic Circle, Issue 25)

tuned the dial 'til static

Tuned the dial 'til static
And here's what I found:

Canvas smooth as stony marble
A seed beneath the murdered soil
A brush in the teeth of women artists
A weeded way for Lakota gardeners

Hammers for a re-creation
A shot of Hennessey in contemplation
Spikeheeled//fishnetted Iliad Homers
Anthill cathedrals where Atheists toil…

Jackals licking the blood from our anthems
Posies a’posing on periodic tables
Wilting and fading in dark meditation
Til the Wintry One comes to whisk them away…

Hookers dull with roadside diving
Moonshot men on soundstages flailing
A sad convention of bitter Sisters
With tarnished rings and fickle postures

Toenail paintings of proud Madonnas
Gilded and cracked in peeling plaster…
Pictures painted in statued moments
Drunken asps slurring a failed "Glory Be!"

Pez-sweets and caviar served to mad dancers
Distorted contortionists in movie-star stances
Skirt-zipper Arias launched to the heavens
Maps read in lobbies, all pointing East…

Cold motel bedrooms with nary a bed
Corner-prowled limos with tires untread
Fragile magicians waiting in iceblocks
Whores in the homeland, running the show

Tuned the dial to static
where gods do not go.

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