RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition who publishes zines & physical books & electronic books & music & photography & digital art & just generally whatever feels necessary to survive this deluded earth thru Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts survival systems (Version 69, establish 14 Feb 1973). Comments encouraged.

Saturday, July 28

Manifestation Sonnet #0712

ain't no god, no science, just this right here right now
sometimes your savior is the worst choice you could make
expecting spirit jesters to gesture somehow
finding shame in pleasures your senses want to take
same old game, repetitive medieval thinking
"right" and "wrong" illusions make the carrot seem close
slow death procession, self-medicated drinking
syrup from the masters, sipping poison sucrose
I fly from the false laws of gravity and gods
love and death intertwined in my mind as one whole
my homeland's got trick prophets and tesla coil rods
littering the back roads which I routinely roll
     but I bury them both behind the horizon
     and yet the sunshine rises on more confusion

Friday, July 27

J.J. Krupert July '12 #1: "Free Born Rambling Man" by David Allan Coe

but I bury them both behind the horizon
and yet the sunshine rises on more confusion

WEEKLY FRYBREAD: the itch of the workingman

Every day is a joyful struggle to find true chill in a world gone hyper, although sometimes it’s not much natural joy involved and an actual pain in the goddamned ass. But we do it, because it’s better than the alternative, which is giving up. I’m not allowed to do that, even as we are in the midst of the bombardment of public relations campaigns for Tweedle-D and Tweedle-R aka The Doe and the Ram, which would make any sane individual want to give up on hope. But The Doe and The Ram are not my spirit animals, so hahahaha, wait a second…
You have to forgive me. At the time of writing this, I just came in from my naked qigong in the field so I’m sort of wired on my shamanic wildman shit. But here is the real deal from the holy fields – I am born Workingman, southern by birth Raven by the grace of god. Born Workingman in the sense I know ladders and calluses and pawn shops and week-to-weeks and so on and so forth. And inside that born Workingman is the blood of the Viking and the fire spirit of the Dragon. I have sailed through the ice and I have sat idly amongst rocks carving characters into cliffs. These things are deeply embedded inside my family tree, deeper than the visible circles my conscious family even realizes. But on the surface of it all, I am a Workingman.
For the Southern American Earthly Workingman, life is just that – motherfucking work. The higher castes jerk the yoke chains, and we move left or move right as necessary to loosen the chokehold on our short life. All of the movements are not necessarily our heart’s wants and wishes come to expression, but simple acts of survival and self-preservation. There are those amongst you who consider your minds opened, and you will judge the jerky right or left motions of the Workingman, but you don’t always understand. You don’t always try to understand.
I’m not here to be that. Honestly I could give a fuck if you ever understood the Workingman at all, because then all that’d mean is you’d gentrify trailer parks and rural wastelands as quickly and happily as you gentrify the ghettos, and then we’d be as displaced as the rest. At least as stereotypical mountain goat people, you leave us to our dark corners, at times, to ferment in our own madness. And I don’t fault you for doing what you do. We all only know what we think we know, so I guess the key is to not think you know so much all the time. I try to do that, but am not perfect, which is obvious especially if you saw what I was born from, deeply fermented during my formative years in that rural madness.
Of course, that madness breeds philosophies that if they read these words, they’d be like, “Man, this is some bullshit. What the fuck is wrong with you, Raven?” But I’m not shooting words at them right now – I do that on my real foot path. I am shooting words at you because you are the one that is here to read whatever the fuck I am saying.
So what am I saying?
I don’t know yet. I might not never know it. But I’m going to scratch at it, and the forum for that is going to be Workingman Books. That might already be something, or it might not. Shit man, everything’s been thought of by now in this greatly clustered post-modern world, and I’m not really concerned with intellectual properties or copyright infringements or whatnot, mostly because that is not my world anyways. That is the world of those that jerk the yokes, not those like me that work the ground. But I am going to use Workingman Books as the format for the scratching at It, from here on. This will start in the next two weeks with some sort of football preview (called Football Metaphysics for the Enlightened Degenerate), and will expand from there with my first “philosophical” treatise, which sounds douchebaggy as hell, but I’m not sure at this point what else to call it. I will figure it out along the way.
Now let me be clear about this – it’s sort of a business plan but without any real business plan to it. I am going to be saying, “Hey, why don’t you give me $3 for this thing?” and you can do it or you can not do it. I certainly understand the thought that there’s a zillion words of free content available to you inside the internet. But I also understand there is a cartel of web habits behind that façade of freedom that you are paying for without realizing. I also realize that most all of us that would have enough internet access to be reading this easily spend $3 on a cup of coffee or bottle of soda waters or hunk of food that leaves us dissatisfied often enough that giving me $3 should not seem such a trifling burden upon your soul. And if it is, so be it. I can handle that. I do not give a fuck if you support me or not. I’d hope if you got here we are together in some line of thinking, so I hope you do, but I’m not gonna stress myself out over it. It will be here for you whether you want it or not.
My hope though is not to follow the American Dream lies of financial success through alternative means. Fuck financial success as a dream. I want freedom from the bullshit, and I have this strange suspicions that the carrot-key of wealth dangled in front of my face all the goddamned time may not necessarily unlock the gate the way I’m hoping. Thus, Workingman Books will start out as me, but I’m hoping to add people to what it is, and have it be more than one man, or one book, or one this or that. An important shift in thinking I try to stress to myself is if you are part of a “revolution” as a head of it, that head is easy to decapitate. And if it is not decapitated, and a “revolution” is successful, history has shown 100 times out of 100 that the revolting forces end up repeating the same corruption of power. It’s human nature, called self-preservation, and it’s deep enough in our DNA that even the purest of hearts can’t escape the eventual symptoms of it.
So I try to keep the focus on a headless, fluid entity. Sure the first few Workingman Books things will have one of my thousand aliases as the author, but the hope is it will bloom like bacteria into a group, and then if I disappear or die or whatever, the thing itself still exists. So it starts out by me, in the traditional sense, but it is for us, eventually, at least whoever ends up wanting that us to be.
I understand the shifting consciousness on a personal level very well, and understand self-preservation. And if we break down ownership and heritage, in the direct paternal sense, I have done a lot of shifting my own consciousness to persevere. My grandfather I share a first name with I never knew. I don’t even know what he did for a living, other than he was a Scout troop in both World War II and Korea, and he saw some things, and he drank heavily, and was a violently stubborn man. I was told – and I felt so proud of this at the time I found out years ago, and still am to be honest – that he would always wear brown work pants and a white t-shirt and sit on a stump in the yard drinking Black Label. Always. He also was given a furniture set by one of my grandmother’s siblings, who felt bad about my grandparents financial situation, and my grandfather said he didn’t want it. The sibling insisted, so my grandfather said, “It’s mine? To do what I want? And you won’t take it back?” and he then dragged it in the yard and set it on fire. There’s something very obviously metaphorical about that, and it’s definitely very McMillian of him. He died at age 46.
My father also lived hard on the self-medication tip. There was bad about him in our relationship, as his only son, but there was good as well. I’m not here for therapy so let’s just leave it at the man was an amazing Spirit Warrior and taught me psychic swordplay styles that no one else could have. He died at age 47, and has a chainsaw graphic etched onto his grave marker.
So my personal shifting of consciousness the past two years involved at least eliminating factory alcohol from my life, and again, this is not therapy, and I’m no teetotaler who gives a fuck what anyone else does. I did not find sobriety through Jesus, and do not quiver in fear if a cooler full of cold ones is at the end of the picnic table. But I had to shift the way I thought about a lot of things, and not to become some sort of lame ass bitch, but to persevere, and see myself making it past those mid-40s ages of my father and grandfather. Perhaps I’m sexist, but I feel the paternal blood in a man is strong, so you should respect it. But you should not be ruled by it, because then I wouldn’t be a very good theoretical metaphysicist, would I? And though they were both Workingmen, or at least drunkards, both my father and grandfather were theoretical metaphysicists. My grandfather found it in the Buddha in his Asian tours of duty, and my father was a raw visionary, uneducated psychonaut from the fertile nonsense of the early ‘70s, post-Woodstock. And yet they were both very severely small town Southern men, born to die tragically, like all good Southern men. It is our way.
So I do not deny that destiny, nor do I deny my Workingman nature, even my natural drunkard mind. It’s all in there. But I am not going to let it control me, and I am not going to channel it into someone else’s benefit by way of religious sidetracks or falling into that American Dream trap where I replace what’s missing with something else new and shiny and still missing It. I am after It, not stuff, and the reason the self-medication is so high amongst the wretched of the earth is that they are missing It, and the ways they are misled to think they achieve It – through financial reward for hard work – that doesn’t exist. So they try to side-step that false broken system with self-medication. I can’t blame anyone for that. I don’t regret my own times in that mode. But one of the root realities for every Workingman is that the self-medicated weekend, even if you call in sick on a Monday morning, it eventually has to come to an end, and you’ve got to sober up enough to get back to work. And if the promises of financial reward for hard work is all a sham pyramid con anyways, then ultimately you have to figure out what you are truly working for. And I am working for It – that great big unexplainable set of truths the world camouflages behind a thousand dazzling diversions. And all you can do is scratch at it, like a fucking prisoner with a stolen spoon, scraping at the concrete under the cover of darkness, hoping to one day find your way through the bullshit that entraps you. So I am going to start scratching, again, as a Workingman.
The Workingman concept itself was brainstormed into my mind by my boy Boogie Brown, who always called his self-released CDs Workingman Records, which apparently was something that existed, so he called it Wreck Chords. I have a t-shirt he gave me once that says “low budget music for low budget people” and that made sense, and is why it is on the sidebar of this site and has been since the beginning. It is low budget art for low budget people. Industries have been built from all the arts, and I actually read some article the other day where a writer was complaining about the e-publishing movement because he was having a hard time staying a professional writer in the capacity he’d known for two decades. He called what he did “a professional maker of culture,” which I thought was the most godawful, ridiculous bullshit to say ever. Writing, music, art, culture – it just is what it is, and is born from people doing what the fuck they were born to do. You do it, whether you want to or not, like breathing or fucking or fighting or eating when you’re hungry. So that is what Workingman Books will be. In all likelihood it’ll be ugly, funny, the greatest thing you’ve ever seen, and completely ridiculous bullshit, perhaps all within a single paragraph. But it’s gonna be scratching the whole time. And we can see together what we uncover. And if we don’t uncover a damn thing, then so be it; hopefully we will have a wild time in the process.
So you know, I actually bought the domain name too, because I knew if I wrote about it, some asshole who respected the legal entities of ownership more than actually doing anything would buy that shit up right away. Workingman.com already exists as some hopeless job site, and workingman.net, which is what I really wanted, is owned but not operated, and sitting there waiting for somebody to make an offer. Fuck making an offer. I don’t make offers, I scratch at the truth.
Oddly enough, workingmanbooks.com is already owned too, again not operated and just sitting there waiting for someone caught up in the notion of “I have to have this!” to make an offer. So I bought workingmanbooks.net, which in itself was a hassle because the domain registrar I’ve traditionally used has been bought by some other registrar, and they complicate it enough to squeeze additional payments out of whatever it is you build with the name you choose to attach to your scratching at It. Because they are stuck in the ownership mode, where people own their brand and own their name and will pay every extra dollar they can to protect it. Meanwhile, I don’t give a fuck.
I did actually prefer the .net suffix anyways, as I am thinking of this long-term as a means for whoever gets involved to self-publish whatever the fuck they come up with, as part of this collective, but keep their individual rights and ideas and not let bullshit business sense get in the way. Thus a .com or commercial site didn’t make me feel right. And though I guess .net is for internet or network or whatever, in my mind I can say to you it is Workingman Books dot Net, because we are trying to catch something real.
So there it is. I hope in the next few months you will support it with your input, perhaps your involvement. I hope you will support it by sharing the info or hollering at me at the myriad of methods in the sidebar, or just even if you at least roll your eyeballs over it and let it percolate and either laugh at something stupid or think on something angled funny or do whatever the fuck it is that would make you feel good with it, that’s good.
There’s a shit ton of strange things going on this day and age, and perhaps we are hyper-aware because of technology, and perhaps we are hyper-unaware because of technology. But I truly believe there is a major shifting of consciousness going on, perhaps underneath the surface, hopefully at the ground level, eventually with the obvious Workingman. Shit is changing. The old ways are broken and there’s no amount of psychic financial duct tape they can patch over it to prove it not broken. Shit is straight up broken, bro. And being they got all these ownership issues with everything, I’ve got no reason to try and put my mind to fixing it. Nor should you. Fuck gentrifying this system, because a fresh coat of pastel paint over the whole thing is not going to make it not broken, not busted, and ultimately worthless.
So come with me and let’s do this other thing. I make no promises. I’m just a dude, scratching at It like all the rest. I don’t pretend to know the answers. I do know this is what I do, and I could lump myself in with everyone else who is a writer with a site and a long con and a freelance hustle, but that ain’t me. I am a lifelong Workingman, born from the broke but not broken, infused with Viking blood and charged with T’ang Dragon spirit. I am one in a million, and yet there are millions like me. We are all It. We just don’t fucking know it, because we get stress exhausted by all this other crap, but we are It. We just need to keep scratching at It, to realize that shit.
Word the fuck up yall.

Friday, July 20

WEEKLY FRYBREAD: shifting forward

I’ve felt a very profound energetic shift in the past week, and it all came about because of the internet, and sitting outside in a chair under the cedar poles of what used to be a tipi in our yard but is now a dilapidated mess, although perfect. I had already last week came to the understanding of our financial system, and my financially dilapidated mess, that it’s not so much a process for personal success anymore that our grandparents and even probably parents experienced. That system’s bounty has been taxed, and you are usually born into opportunities, or there are chances if you are exploitable at a high enough level that you can still find a lucky opportunity now and then, what I call lottotunities, because they have more to do with accidental chance encounters than they do actual merit. We do not live in a merit-based society in America, where you can go out and do a great job and impress your superiors and pay your dues and work your way up the ladder, starting out in the mailroom, ending up owning a string of Midwestern radio stations or some shit. Our financial system has been re-engineered pretty massively in the past thirty years so that those types of things just truly aren’t possible, at least not to the extent you can be rolling around with fat sacks with $ signs on it looking like the little Monopoly dude. Doesn’t happen, and is not going to happen again, at least not in America. That may sound like horrible doomsday gibberish, but honestly it makes more hopeful than I’ve been most of my adult life.
As I sat outside, I realized how much cleaner my head felt, away from the bzzzzzz of the household gadgetry army. That shit can have a pulling effect on you, and I’m not willing to jump out on the conspiratorial ledge and proclaim it’s an engineered effort to keep the masses sedated electronically, a moping idiotic mass of humanity just doing shit other than creating real self-sustaining lives for themselves, because to be honest I don’t think the immense bureaucracy is that smart. I know it’s that evil, for sure, but I think giving them the benefit of doing something so amazingly complex is probably not gonna be true.
American culture can seem like this larger than life presence, and we all get caught up in it in our various fringe elements of idol worship. It’s nearly impossible not to. But American culture, and that huge overwhelming bzzzzzz of the gadgetry army, it’s not the Universal Goliath it would have you believe. It’s got the limelights pointed in the right direction to cast the largest shadow a man ever did saw, but it’s stage trickery. The separation between you and me and the wealthiest and most powerful, the smartest and most entertaining, it is not that large. Which might make you think, “Well, then anybody can achieve success if that’s the case. You’re going in two directions here, Raven.”
Not really, because the powerful – whether in today’s America or late ‘80s Communist-bloc Europe or ancient Mesopotamia or Rome or the communal collective in Nelson County or any fucking thing any fucking where – work to maintain their power, using the systems they’ve set up to do so. That’s why any revolution is ultimately just going to repeat the process. There was nothing wrong with Communism or representative democracy or free market capitalism or even polyamorous cannibal societies as a concept. All concepts of how we should live are born from utopian daydreams. But once the mechanisms for building and ensuring and enforcing these daydreams get set up, it will invariably go to shit, sooner or later.
So that’s where we are in America – basically in our late ‘80s Communist era, proudly hanging our hat on our history, pretending the inevitable fall is not going to happen, clutching at the security blanket of our cultural conditioning.
It’s that last part that really triggered a shift in me though – being limited by our cultural conditioning. I have realized the biggest obstacle I have is my own convoluted notions about what is or isn’t acceptable. I am limited most by my own fears basically, whether that be fear of government or fear of failure or fear of anonymous motherfuckers on the internet catching lolols off me. I also realized I could give half a fuck about the job I have and worked so hard to keep in the past nine months, so could easily hold down those duties while being like, “whatever” about it. I do not have to accept it as any real form of existence for me, as I only do it to make money, which itself is an abstract concept (as a google search for “The Shoebox Swindle” will show you), so why stress my fucking life out over that? Why feel guilty for the debts I’ve incurred while being constantly onslaughted with images of what I deserve, triggering neurochemical responses, and then being told I am psychologically weak after my credit limit has been exhausted and I am of no use to the pimps any more? But most importantly, why limit myself to conventional thinking?
So what I did was change my resume from what it reads for the fake world of jobs, that doesn’t feel like any reality I’d like to attach my living to (which is an important concept too, because we always say “it’s a living” when really it’s not life at all, but what we do to earn money which we think mistakenly think enables our life; sure it makes shit easier when you have it, because those financial shackles are loosened up enough you don’t feel yourself choking, but they’re still there), and rewrote it for the reality of what I’ve done in my life. This was The Confederate Mack years, the switch to Rojonekku philosophy, which is currently expanding into this next phase I am embarking on in the coming months. I peppered this resume with employed moments, working as a housepainter, in a charcoal factory, print shops, trade show exhibits, giving lab rats brain damage, and so on and so forth. All of that is the crockpot my life has fermented upon. And then I started sending it out to absolutely ridiculously impossible, by conventional notions, places. I had an interesting back-and-forth with a person who was the managing editor of Rolling Stone up until three weeks ago when she herself was laid off, and got a follow up from a potential financial enabler of the future from a different country, and this is all in the matter of three days. The shit has been pushed out there wider. Who does it hurt? Nobody. I mean if all our fears about the way the system actually works are true, then I’ll be punished for my unprofessionalism by not taking everything entirely too seriously, and I’ll never have a meaningful job again in my life. But guess what? I’ve never had a meaningful job THUS FAR in my life.
But also, in my mind, I’ve drastically upped my lottotunity odds, simply by not giving a fuck. I don’t give a fuck. If I don’t ever do anything enjoyable for a paycheck and work shitty jobs til death, so be it. I’ll still be writing my nonsense gibberish (which is not nonsense gibberish at all, but highly sensical and more a speaking in slanged tongues that devils cannot understand than actual gibberish). And if the crushing vultures of capital come calling in my debts and make my financial situation miserable (which they are circling fairly close, to be honest), so be it. They will not have my life. My wife and our children and our Bird Tribe may be broke, but we will not be broken.
So that’s where we are, as Americans, and me as Raven. Last week there was a comment saying they didn’t realize my situation had been so bad, which made me feel weird, because nothing feels bad. I feel better than ever right now. The past two years have been odd, and a real test, but my Viking is strong and my Chi is thick, so it ain’t shit but a test. And yeah, I’ve got a pretty ugly looming guillotine blade on my finances in the next few weeks, but I’d feel like a dick if I was all, “Hey, give me money, my situation is so bad.” (There is a paypal button on the sidebar if you feel so inclined, and I will be grateful, but my dedication to writing for free on the blog is going to be limited to these Weekly Frybread things for the most part, so don’t be expecting much other than what’s already here as some form of return on your payment if you are hung up in the thinking of capitalism.) I’ve got a solid family core, and I’m a solid mind, and I ain’t gonna be no beast’s bitch.
That’s where a lot of The Fear comes from, people thinking government is so powerful that we are all doomed, and that’s The Fear that motivates so many of you to think you are being clever by falling into the fallacy of “This guy is the lesser of two evils, therefore he is good.” I’m not doing that. In fact, 2012 will be the first year since I turned 18 that I will not vote. I’ve always done so even in my most cynical states, because I felt it made some sort of statement. Now I am old enough, and realistically hopeful enough, that I don’t need to play pretend any more. But if you think that government, even with its surveillance drones and constant police state, is an unbeatable overlord, well, again you are giving them to much credit. I mean, you may not beat them in a revolutionary sense, like overthrowing the government. But the beast is a large, slow-moving behemoth, and there are always dark corners you can build your lives, circumventing his stifling mandates as much as you allow yourself. And really, why limit yourself to America? Ideally, I’d like to relocate my family to another country in the next decade, because I refuse to believe this is the only way, much less the best way. I have no solid ideas where, or how, but I’m not telling myself, “Thank God for the fence around me, because this is the best pasture to possibly be confined in that ever did exist! Glory Lord!”
I’ve dabbled a little in the past month in the deep web, or underground internet, which – as a bold warning – is a dark, dark place. It is like the cybertronic version of that end of major cities that hasn’t seen development in forever and is where the murders happen and you can buy heroin in the open in the daylight. Because basically, in the underground internet, you can literally order murders and buy heroin. (Thus, I’d advise you to look into it thoroughly before even attempting: start with “tor browser” but be careful, because you can’t unsee things you see, even online.) And I am only peripherally interested in the deep web, not actually looking to obtain any illicit services; but it makes me happy that it exists, free from government oversight, and in outright defiance of the burdensome beast’s indignant mandates.
So shit is good. I am working diligently on the football preview, which should be ready for e-purchase the first week of August or so, called FOOTBALL METAPHYSICS FOR THE ENLIGHTENED DEGENERATE aka The 2012 Armchair Linebacker Preview. And I would expect not too long after that will be this treatise I’ve been working on about lessons taken from everyday occurrences. I’ve got this tree on the University of Virginia campus where there’s this bench I sit at a few times a week while on break, and the red-breasted robins have been talking at me. I don’t know what the fuck they’re saying, but seriously, they have landed within four feet of me twice this week and tweeted their nonsense gibberish (HA!) at me. Plus, there’s been blue jay feathers left for me there twice as well.
And the first volume of The Confederate Mack Collection should come about hopefully in September. That’s potentially going to be multiple books, as good lord I must’ve wrote three billion words in that zine, and a lot of it still knows what the fuck is up. That will unfold as I start typesetting it all after the Football Metaphysics is all done.
The main thing is things are good. Sure, these are crazy times, and it’s easy to freak out, but I can’t tell you enough how excited we should all be about the possibilities that are right here on the horizon. The greatest thing about some broken down piece of shit car you keep barely putting back together finally dying on you is you are forced to get a new car, and start fresh. That’s what’s on the horizon for us culturally. This broke ass shit is coming apart, and it’s absolutely wonderful. And that makes me good, regardless of financial bullshit in my personal life. I mean seriously, I am the son of a pair of teenage dropouts, born into the hunger and madness, and started self-medicating to a serious extent at age 13. There’s only been about 20 months of my entire fucking life where I’ve been a full-grown adult who is not making a dullard of himself with the Beast’s alcohol. And my Viking and my Chi has never been stronger. Great shit is about to happen, for me and for all of us.
Which brings me to my final point – sure, this website has my name on the fucking thing, but I get a lot from the interaction with you all. I feel my ultimate purpose is to be more of a conduit for movement – not a movement but just movement, or change, or fucking shit up or Unfucking The World, or really whatever. So comment on things here, even if it’s just one of the song of the day posts. Get with me on Twitter (@SSVa_Raven) or the Rojonekku Facebook page. Email me if you want, send me postcards to my PO Box in the sidebar, do whatever, but let’s join up, let’s bounce our madnesses and hungers off of each other. Let’s build real fucking lives and stop choking ourselves trying to make a living. And let’s not be too serious about it because ultimately, all serious shit does is make you cry. I’d rather laugh.
(Also, my resume is available for all interest parties. Ideal job situations would be writing epic poetry for crime lords, or being flown to different parts of Africa to write sociological gonzo pieces about the coming century of climate chaos, or if you are hung up on things remaining the same even though they won’t, you couldn’t find a better person to pen meandering yet entertaining “nonsensical gibberish” about World Cup 2014, if we ever get there.)

J.J. Krupert July '12 #8: "Illusions" by Sheriff Ghale

"right" and "wrong" illusions make the carrot seem close

Saturday, July 14

Manifestation Sonnet #0612

born raven at the bottom of the totem pole
hustle like raindrops for new blooms on crooked wood
from fam'ly tree where die-hard habits took their toll
juggling bills and ideals while fighting to find good
in a world where wealth defines worth, often from birth
cursed with serf DNA, plus third world streams of thought
never bought into belief systems beyond earth
still stained by dirt amidst all the plastic I've bought
can't wash it clean in water, there's grime in my soul
there's rhymes in my head with reasoning that seems lost
calculating foreign angles strict squares can't hold
they've forgotten the hard stone soul beneath soft moss
     but my bed's hardscrabble, still I dream without shame
     chasing my trickster destiny; raven's my name

Friday, July 13

J.J. Krupert June '12 #1: "It's A Shame" by Hayes Carll

but my bed's hardscrabble, still I dream without shame
chasing my trickster destiny; raven's my name

Testing of Will Continues

There is not too much to say in the way of updating, but the same day I was all post-happy last Friday about the direction of projects, with laser owl focus, I was hit with the wonderful returning dividends of my health issues last year, namely the medical bills coming due (in that my inability to pay them has sufficiently gone long enough they will do legal bullshit at me). Oddly enough, this all comes on the heels of everybody being all “HOORAY!” about the health care act, which always confuses me because it’s actually a health insurance law, and has as much to do with health care as buying a condom has to do with raising a child. I had health insurance (thank god, or else I’d be in for $80000 instead of the $2500 I haven’t hustled away yet), but even that didn’t mean shit. Because I went in for what is allegedly a simple surgical procedure, got dirtied up with bacterias in that process, and then spent the next three or four months recovering, and still have a bullet wound gash in my abdomen that my 4-year-old jokes is a second belly button.
Well, because of that debt, which needed to be paid immediately (as in the 28th of this month before garnishment proceedings start), I had decided to skip into doing a Confederate Mack collection I’d been talking about.
The Confederate Mack collection is something that’s been kicking around for a while as an idea, but never happened yet. I started working on it genuinely early this year, but honestly, being a happily married dude with three daughters, the oldest of which is 13, it was kinda uncomfortable reading what a miserable misogynistic predator I used to be. But at the same time, that was me, and there was still the same underlying goodness of person. Plus, the whole Confederate Mack thing was camouflage to a certain extent, to scare away assholes who care about normal bullshit. Of course nowadays, post-internet re-wiring our brains, that sounds really pretentious and stupid. But back then, it didn’t feel that way. (We are entirely too self-conscious post-internet, and thus take nothing seriously for fear of being lololed for being serious about something stupid.) This time around (the past week) digging into the old Confederate Mack zine body of work, there was a ton of good stuff to see, even in the midst of the early shitpiles of self-destruction. So a collection will be forthcoming.
Problem is, I am married to this NFL idea, which needs to be done in the coming three weeks, or it is useless. And the Confederate Mack collection deserves a little more thoughtful curation than me typing it up in a frenzy of caffeine and truck stop alertness aids. But that will come.
As for my bills and situation, I don’t know man. I still want to stick with my plan of putting some shit out there for the world in the coming months, but the immense financial need on the immediate scale has me contemplating other moves. It has me contemplating collaborations, and honestly it has me contemplating nefarious shit. The problem with illegal activity is it never pays as well as you think. You risk your ass and do some dirty shit that could bring havoc into your life and all you end up with is like $350. I think the financial benefit of crime is often overly-glamorized.
And I also don’t mean to sound like I’m bitching. I’ve got a job (at least for the next five weeks), and there’s food at my house. We ain’t dying or nothing. There’s billions of people on this planet worse off than myself and my Bird Tribe. But goddamn man, this fucking series of events the past year with a simple fucking appendicitis turning into prolonged infections which bled into a really bad work situation because I was working for a nefarious ass dude who almost immediately was trying to manipulate my days into causing me to quit or get fired, but having to maintain gainful employment to provide for a family, which in turn just maxed me the fuck out on the stress scale, and then you think you clear a hurdle after a month of mandatory down time and start working on shit and BLAMM! the medical bills are like, “Fuck you, bro.” It is a trifle, but it’s also just testing the path. No one is ever allowed to be successful by the world, at least not from where the truly successful start. You have to chop through the thickets of resistance and make that shit happen. So I will still make it happen. But the struggling gets tiring. And it is easy to see why people flip out and kill themselves, either slowly or literally in one final act, or commit heinous acts against others. It is hard to continually process that frustration of struggle in a healthy manner, especially when usually the side symptom of such a struggle is you are under-rested and over-stretched, ready to rip if one simple thing pierces the barely held together shanty of comfort you’ve barely got clipped together with the last twenty dollars of last week’s paycheck.
Oh fucking well. So as much as I’d like to say, “Hey Internet, Here is a wonderfully wacky retrospective collection of Confederate Mack writings for you to purchase this very day” so that I could pay my fucking bullshit by the 28th, it ain’t meant to shake out that way. I’ll stick with the football project first (which I did get a solid 10% done on this past week, even while reading through every Confederate Mack zine ever printed), then probably shoot to have that Confederate Mack thing done late August/early September, and then we’ll move back to whatever shows up next on the horizon. Hard to plan too well when the horizon always shakes and shimmeys on me like it does.

Friday, July 6

J.J. Krupert June '12 #8: "Indian Hemp" by DJ Juls

cursed with serf DNA, plus third world streams of thought

Returning to Myself

The past 18 months have been a trying one for me, and I’m not entirely sure what has caused all this. Seems like after I quit drinking to break some negative familial habits, shit went hoo-ha for me. And it would be easy to suggest – as some friends have – that quitting drinking broke everything. I suffered some health issues that malingered, had a pretty intense high stress situation related to employment which caused anxiety bullshit, and was just, to be honest, a complete wreck. Of course, I have stubborn southern blood – part Viking, part Scot, part back roads America – and that causes one to feel they can plow right through everything, like a mule, a literal manifestation of mule inside man’s body, making things happen even as the man himself is ready to crash and wishing for the long content sleep of death.
For whatever reason, I recognized this and realized I was forcing, and under the heavy advice of professionals, I shut it all down so to speak. Work - where I was struggling to maintain employment (still am), navigating various inter-personal mine fields - was taking most all my energy. Trying to chase creative endeavors afterwards, eating into the night at my usual adult clip, to where I’d get by on 4 to 6 hours of sleep a night, honestly it was probably killing me. The battery was drained. Unfortunately, I am the sole (and soul) provider for a family of five, so cutting out work was not an option. I was not born into that lane, and though sometimes I can get filled with resentment towards the leisure class who can easily accomplish things I lust after (grad school, vacations, two working vehicles at one time), I know that what I was born is what I was born. This is my path, and for whatever fucked up reason, contrary to all pre-existing examples or patterns, my brain was wired to work the way it does, and do it as intensely as possible. To say there is a higher purpose would be misleading because it assumes there is a higher authority of some sort…
Well fuck, I initially was going to start giving a simple weekly update of where I am with writing, to start a dialogue with whoever comes to this site, being my ultimate goal is to move away from this site. The internet has become (or always was) a vast interactive network of commercials, so ultimately whatever I do for no obvious cost is allowing others to profit. And to think the internet is “free” is sort of a mistake anyways, as basically there is an unsigned contract where you give up information about yourself to Google/Facebook/Whatever in exchange for using the services. It’s not free so much as you’ve willingly entered a contract no one laid out for you to officially sign. That info is used to tailor the vast interactive network of commercials back at you. So I am viewing this site as a commercial for my other purpose, which itself is not very clear to me.
A lot of what I’ve been thinking on lately has been that much like our flaw-heavy two-party political system in America, there is a two-party philosophical system in place, where most of us feel our world is comprised of Religion vs. Science. Either you believe in God and everyone else will suffer in your religion’s version of Hell, or you have faith in science and to do otherwise is foolish and will jeopardize the future of humanity (oddly enough, in a global warming fate remarkably similar to Christian Hell).
The problem with this two-philosophy system is very much like the problems with our two-party political system – both have very heavy flaws in their methods and ways, and neither really is able to encompass the entirety of what it means to be a human. Thus, I say above, “To say there is a higher purpose… assumes there is a higher authority.” For religion, this is your God (or Gods or whatever); and for science, this is Science (with its rigid methods for extraction of “facts” from experience). I don’t believe entirely in either, and probably believe partially in both. But neither explains what has happened to me thus far today, much less throughout my entire life. Neither never will.
So what I do is communicate the way my mind wraps itself around and through concepts and stories and ideas like honeysuckle vines and poison ivy, together. I do this through words mostly, because words make the chemicals in my brain tingle as neurotically as the blood in my penis does when I’m looking at my wife naked. I can’t help it. Even during this health-imposed sabbatical, all I’d think about was stories and narratives, and how to switch the angles, and who I ultimately would want to serve in these stories, which often times weren’t even stories at all but something somewhere in between fiction and non-fiction, but not conscious enough to be “creative non-fiction” or “memoir” or fuck man I just don’t know. But it is what I do, and what I am supposed to do, and ultimately me – the man with body and skull full of chemical translations of the world I sense – seems to be nothing more than a vessel for that process.
Thus, I am here inside the vast network of interactive commercials to tell you I am writing. I am not a writer, and never will be. The past 18 months I have entertained that delusion, and the delusion impregnated my dreams with bastard wealths that would never love me or allow me to be myself. I have dabbled with the grad school process, had interactions with literary world figures in that process, tested the marketability of the end results of my purpose with literary agent, and all of it made me less able to do what I was supposed to do than ever.
And the odd thing is everything is so out there now. I can basically make the 2012 equivalent of a zine, spontaneously (as I am now doing) available to anyone who has cyber-network access. And of course, our ability to process longer communications is hindered by that sensory overload.
I would bet of every 10 people who started reading this, maybe one is still with me at this point, and it’s not because of the lack of style to the writing, though maybe the content drives some way; but an inability to care to focus beyond thirty seconds is a large part of it, as while you spend time with this, the computer beams at you with the sexy allure of LIMITLESS POSSIBILITIES THAT YOU MIGHT BE MISSING OUT ON by focusing too deeply on this. Which of course drives home my belief that we don’t actually “know” more now than we did a hundred years ago; we just know very little about a far wider array of things.
Nonetheless, the purpose of this post is to say, Hey you, random reader of my website, I have returned to allowing myself to write. The end results will be ebooks from now on, at whatever rate they come. These will be under various names, most likely, and completely off-topic from each other, often times. I’m gonna try to check in here weekly though (aside from the manifestation sonnet/Rojonekku song of the day thing) and let you know where I’m at with these things. I would hope you would comment and talk with me (or do twitters with me, or mail a post card, or whatever feels right), and we can interact. But here is the project I’m working on, as well as the two on the horizon.
#1: Armchair Linebacker NFL Preview – This is something Neil and I did last year, but I’ve done for six or seven years in a row, either online or in various zines. It’s a good, easy, pop cultural way to ease myself back into the water of my stream of thought, so to speak. I’ve built the framework for it all already, and am a couple thousand words into it. I am expecting this to be done the first week of August, to be available for a few months, into the middle of the NFL season. If you know me or my style, it will be as enjoyable for non-NFL fans as for fans (in fact, maybe more so if you don’t like football), and will be far different from the crap that passes itself for internet sports writing opinions for you, most of which are tired, sober, third-rate imitations of Hunter S. Thompson’s second-rate ESPN columns anyways.
#2: Raven Mack’s First Book – The structure of this will be very similar to old Confederate Mack zines, as I’ve been taking notes on Lessons my daily experiences are teaching me. This has been to notice my real world more closely, but also because I feel everything is a fucking lesson. Every thing. But at this point all I’m doing is taking notes on this, and letting it all ferment in the background of my brain, as I’m very much following Henry Miller’s advice and focusing on only one project at a time from here forward. One of my biggest character flaws to this point has been to allow my energies to flow ten ways at once. The health struggles of the past year have helped me realize my energies are not limitless, even when a back roads Viking Scot redneck ninja like myself. My energies are like stone, and sure throwing giant chunks of quartz at people can be painful if you are lucky to hit somebody just right sometime, but carve that bitch into an arrow point and you will pierce a motherfucker’s heart, for sure, so long as your aim is true.
#3: Recession Proof collection of stories – I’ve actually got the title story in final shape, and three others in complete but unfinished stage, plus around ten to fifteen others completely outlined in basic framework just not fleshed into full. I build stories in composition books, then on notecards, then finally into a robot keyboard when they are ready for flesh. I was working on this late last year as possibly being published by Benjamin Leroy at Tyrus Books, but as I’ve thoroughly explained, my life has been a derailment process. This collection of stories would probably be better for me financially if it was some sort of Frank Bill-esque rural noir vicarious thrill for book buyer types, but I feel like I am a representative of Southside Virginia, like for real its written embodiment, and I don’t want to be a backwoods Uncle Tom show for the leisure class of our “civilization” that still throws down $25 for hardcovers. That might profit me personally far better, but that wouldn’t be real of me. So the stories are more straight up Southside. There’s a lot to it, but I don’t want to get into it all too heavily, as that’s third on the list at this point, so I’ll save that energy for later, hopefully this fall. I do want to thank Ben for his support over the years though. There are two ways to be a successful force in life:
The first, and easiest, is to be born into that lane, as I mentioned before. You are afforded opportunities that many could never hope to get a sniff of, and you should feel thankful for that. This does not make you free of the repercussions, because as I wrote a friend yesterday, there are a large number of men and women who have boots on their throat from birth, by birth, and if you are one who is part of that boot, just because you acknowledge the fact the boot is on the throat of the less fortunate, as opposed to pretending everything is decided by ambition and skill, it does not make the person who is being choked from birth less angry at you for having your boot upon their throat. I mean, it may make you feel better to acknowledge it (or maybe not), but it does not change the fact. Don’t hate yourself though if you are one of these types born into this affluence. The system we have is what it is, and there will be those born choking and those born breathing fully. We do not choose where we are born, so do not feel guilty.
The second, but much harder way to be a successful force in life is to have advocates. Going back to the vast interactive network of commercials, a commercial is basically advocacy on behalf of a product. I am not a product. I have a purpose, and I am thankful to Ben Leroy for being an advocate on my behalf within the system of literary product manufacturing. But I am also thankful to all those who have read my online writings over the years, who perhaps collected Confederate Macks back in the day, or who just get what I do in ways that neither of us understand, because like I said, we are vessels, that science and religion can’t explain completely. This shit happens, because it’s supposed to.
I am very thankful for my wife as well, who has helped nurse me through the past 18 months (and more), and who is a true partner in this. We are the honeysuckle vine and the poison ivy, together, a bit of both of that in both of us, yin and yang, make do and do make (which is my personal yin/yang). We are the Bird Tribe, and we both have our purposes, and for whatever reason we have been thrown together, and that too will serve something larger than simply our two physical manifestations as well. It is exciting to have unfold, and I know how blessed we are to have found that with each other.
So yep, that’s it. I’m cranking back up the old kookery factory. So holler at your boy.