Vincent “Vinnie” Fiorello is a man of many talents. Readers on our site may know him best as the co-founder and a prominent lyricist of Less Than Jake, however, Fiorello has also made a name for himself in the business world by founding the record labels Fueled By Ramen, Sleep It Off Records, and most recently Paper + Plastick. In Fiorello’s second book, 6/19, he comes to terms with what he self-describes as “being lost and being found.” The book is a collection of short stories that read very quickly and have a lyrical bounce to it in this part-memoir, part-brain attack of thoughts poured out affectionately on paper.
Fiorello provided some insight on this collection of short stories with a quote on his website:
I had a gap year, I’ll admit that to myself. I can write a book alone on coming close to my closing, but when the summer of 2019 hit I was reborn, Illuminated on the way I wanted the next year to go, the projects to roll out, the life I wanted to push into. It was in June that I wrote a short story a day. One for each of the 30 days, stories about southern skies, long drives, talking to ghosts, and humidity that causes a madness that only a Floridian would know. Before we were sentenced to social distancing and COVID-19. These were the stories of a being lost and being found. One year after I wrote it, I promised myself I’d release it. Here we are.
6/19 opens up on the first day of June 2019 with Fiorello describing the feelings of being lost, in every sense of the word, and his path to discovering his way back to being found. He mentions finding a folded up piece of paper in his pocket, that he has little to no recollection of ever writing, that reads, “That’s where you’ll find me, living between getting high and feeling low. That’s where you’ll find me; hiding – in the cracks, lost and never coming back. On my own. Am I leaving or lost in this southern town?” This quote really stuck with me as I read the rest of the short stories that followed this opening chapter.
The early stages of the book are filled with interesting images of outer space as Fiorello reflects on his place in this crazy universe. At the same time, subsequent chapters include illustrations of vices such as alcohol and cigarettes. The majority of the illustrations feature some pretty haunting images of skulls in various colors and backgrounds. The illustrations do a nice job of connecting the readers of his book to his overall thought process during each day during this period in his life. For example, in a chapter called “When You Do Die Where Do You Go?” a skull image makes a prominent appearance to coincide with Fiorello’s takes on mortality.
This roughly 30-page memoir, of sorts, reads very quickly but its substance sticks with you for much longer. The random thoughts, insight, and overall exploration of what makes Fiorello tick are incredibly enlightening to read. By the time you finish reading through these collections of stories, you will not only gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the lyrical genius of Vincent Fiorello, but you will also embrace his growth as an author who is able to convey such a wide range of emotions in a variety of ways. Fiorello has already lived quite a life from his time with Less Than Jake, formed several record labels, and still found the time to release this book. If this collection provides any foresight into what comes next for this brilliant author, it’s that he’s far from reaching his creative peak.
The book is available for purchase at the Paper + Plastick store here.