Jeff Phillips: A Wee Hour Pep Talk with an Open Circuit

Drinkers with Writing Problems

I’m beat. Fried is another way to put it. When I think I might need to recharge my batteries, the go-to urge is to be a layabout for a day.

But I’ve sometimes looked to the notion that to get unfried, one has to subject themselves to the literal manifestation of that descriptor, and I mean actually getting fucking fried.

College day shenanigans at my friend Zach’s led to us giving a thrift store find a whirl. It was some sort of thick plastic mask with dull metal prongs lining the inside shell. When strapped over your face, a turn of the dial sent a minor electric pulse to tingle your face. The high end of the dial made your cheeks feel like they were being kneaded by tiny robot hands, while pressing your lips to an old static prone TV. The point was to stimulate your pores, we assumed…

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Jeff Phillips: I Go By Radio

Drinkers with Writing Problems

At quarter of four in the morning I arrived at the Grand Red Line stop. My work shirt was untucked and halfway unbuttoned. I could feel the bags under my eyes spread their dead weight back into my brain, snuffing the day’s remaining electrical charge. I had just worked a moonlight cruise, taking boarding photos of passengers that liquored themselves up in advance. I had already worked the brunch cruise, the afternoon cocktail cruise, and the dinner cruise, but was asked to stay late to cover for a callout. I walked from Navy Pier to the train because by the time I finished draining the effluent from the photo printer and rinsing the machine’s rollers, the buses stopped shuttling for the night. My feet ached from a day hustling tubs of souvenir photos up and down the clusterfuck that is the pier, pounding cheap dress shoes on pavement, further inflaming…

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The Fall of the House We Called The Manor by Jeff Phillips

Chicago Literati

In the spring of my first year in Chicago, as a college freshman, I went with my friend Alicia to a zine reading hosted at someone’s live/work space in Rogers Park. It was in a storefront across from a fenced off, grassy incline and the CTA Red Line tracks. A pile of tube TVs were stacked in view of the street level windows. The inside space was long, with tall ceilings and exposed brick. There was a cat who took a liking to me and sat on my lap as my friend and her community of writers performed. After the reading, the event transitioned into a dance party, and a pair arrived in neon pink bunny costumes to dance the night away.

I forget the name of it now, but I had saved a business card given to me by one of the people who lived there. It was still…

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Jeff Phillips: The Gospel According to Puke

Drinkers with Writing Problems

Luke’s parents had spread a 10’ x 10’ area rug in the corner of their unfinished basement, alongside red plastic shelving for trucks and dinosaurs to establish a playroom for him and his younger brother Reed. This was where they played Atari on an old TV and used cardboard boxes to make cities for their action figures. When he was 7 years old, Luke’s neighborhood playmate Tommy pointed out a crack in the cement near the furnace.

“Cracks like that are made by the devil. He’s trying to scratch his way to the surface.”

Luke tried to dismiss this, but it didn’t sit well with him despite how many times he said “nuh-uh.” It’s true he didn’t quite feel comfortable down there by himself at night to begin with. And recently the Atari seemed to be on the fritz. The screen would slip into static and it sounded like someone…

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Jeff Phillips: Popcorn Cardigan

Drinkers with Writing Problems

Back in my cinephile days, I used to go to this movie house on the outskirts of town called The Dreamathon. It had that old charm: red carpet in the lobby, posters from the silent era, large prints of Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, and Buster Keaton lording over the concession lines. There were only two screens, surrounded by rickety seats with worn cushions. Tickets were cheap. I’d spend Saturdays there seeing the double features. There was this guy I saw there, every time. He was about six and a half feet tall, seemingly more so with frizzy shocks of salt and pepper hair, hard to miss. He also always wore cardigans, even in the summertime, because that theater was generous with the air conditioning.

After the showings, I’d see him stumble out of there, like he was drunk on what was projected, intoxicated by the light that bathed the back…

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Cat Phillips: Episode 1: Bad Thoughts

I have always wanted to be a cat, and I have always wanted to be a cartoon. Garth Morrissey of GDM Originals made such dreams come true through our recent collaboration on a cartoon, adapted from the short essay I Will Never Intend to Gouge You in the Face that I wrote for Drinkers With Writing Problems. Check out this cat’s bad thoughts.

A Limited and Expansive Binge by Jeff Phillips

Chicago Literati

A friend once commented on my half-hearted hemming and hawing as I considered possibly foregoing an afternoon cup of coffee; “there’s a line in the show Twin Peaks, ‘every day, once a day, give yourself a present.'”

“Present? I like that.” I ordered that cup of coffee.

I had heard of Twin Peaks before, but was still unfamiliar.

“What’s Twin Peaks about?” I asked.

“It’s a crazy show that takes place in the woods.”

That was all I needed to be intrigued and this being 2007, I added the series to my Netflix DVD queue. There was a variety of other titles ahead of it. I almost forgot about it, until one day, two discs arrived.

I had the plan that allowed for 2 DVDs at a time, and each disc had only 3 episodes, but in one night I devoured those first 6 episodes along with a large…

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An Introduction

My name is Jeff Phillips. There are quite a few others that go by Jeff Phillips. There are even a few other authors that go by Jeff Phillips. I’m the other author Jeff Phillips. I grew up in Maine, where I was an active sailor and cross country skier. I traded the ocean and the snowy terrain for concrete walkabouts in Chicago, as I was hell-bent on becoming the next great method actor in the storefront theatre scene. While being involved with original works production companies like Three Leaves (that I helped co-found and run into the ground with Dan Mac Rae), XIII Pocket, and Wood Sugars Comedy, I felt myself gravitating more toward the writing process. Concurrently I was falling in love with the reading experience, so I turned my energies toward writing. For two years I co-hosted an apocalypse themed reading series, and for just shy of three years, I co-hosted the Chicago reading series Pungent Parlour. My short fiction has appeared in Seeding Meat, This Zine Will Change Your Life, Metazen, Chicago Literati, and Literary Orphans. I have also dabbled in a few self-publishing experiments, including the novel Votary Nerves. In 2015, my previous fellow rabble-rouser in the theatre world, Dan Mac Rae, and I struck up a new collaboration, Zizobotchi Papersa literary journal dedicated to the novella. Think double feature, for novellas. I also write bi-weekly for the website Drinkers With Writing Problems, churning out various short stories and essays, and I consider it a literary playground I couldn’t live without.