Professionally, he has worked for a variety of publishing operations and traveled throughout South America as an educator. But it is his writing, done mostly in his free time, that brings him the most joy. The Chicago native has self-published a number of his poems and short stories and sells them at independent bookstores throughout the city and on the street, when he finds the time.
His subjects have ranged from narrative stories based around the preparation of Indian cuisine to “fan-fiction” based on short-lived sitcoms from the 1990’s.
“I really just write about what I like or find interesting,” said Carmichael. “I think that’s what most writers do, but while other writers are preoccupied with the emotions and the metaphysical, I’m fascinated by ephemera and the mundane.”
His prose is acutely surreal, and his pastiches of long-forgotten sitcoms are spot on. One story, written in the style of television script, accurately captures the banality and empty humor of reheated prime-time fare. They are so spot-on, that they become difficult artifacts to intellectually digest.
“I remember watching a lot of these shows when they were airing on television, and recreating them takes me back to, not a happier time, but certainly a time in my life,” he explains. “When I was younger, there wasn’t much else for me to do but watch these shows.”
Carmichael also writes poetry, under the alias Cam the Admiral. Influenced equally by classical poets like William Blake and modern hip-hop artists like Nas, his poetry is as unusual as his prose. Taking a cue from modern hip-hop artists, he has also dabbled in rap and created electronic music, though he has no plans to release either.
Though he doesn’t have any new work to sell, he can be found in a variety of locations throughout the borough selling his hand-printed books and ‘zines. Keep an eye out for him.