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.

Tuesday, March 26

March the Three

 
Our brains have become fragmented by electrosmognetic impulses, to where we collect the pieces of detritus and consider it art. Our brains have been industrialized, yet are still tainted by the beautiful perversions of natural existence. This conflict ultimately will be our demise.
 
I saw the Spring Breakers movie this past weekend, actually spent $21 on it for me and the ol' lady to go, because I had read reviews that it was some sort of intelligent dissection of our modern broken culture. It was not. It was broken itself, but we are so fragmented intellectually that you can just pretend you are making a grand statement even when you are basically stumbling along haphazardly with no purpose, and nobody can really question that. We are post- post-modern, where everything has been done already and everything is completely fucked. There's really nothing left to do except unfuck what little bits of your individual life you can.
As for the Spring Breakers movie, it is horrible. Harmony Korine has done what I thought nobody would ever be able to do - he has surpassed Fred Durst on my internal list of People I'm Going To Smash With A Bottle When I Become Famous. Because I am (going to become famous, and also smash Harmony Korine with a bottle). Often times in our post- post-modern culture of the allegedly intellectual, we think violence is a bad thing. But the largest impediment to humanity's continued survival is the fact we have somehow enabled lesser aspects of humanity to not only survive but thrive. It is important to physically take things to task sometimes, to stay strong, and keep humanity's herd thin. Conflict causes weight loss, trust me.
The cheapest con in our post- post-modern culture is the "Y U Mad?" suggestion that anyone dismissing what you do as trivial bullshit is somehow a hater. I am sure this is the defense used for Spring Breakers. But I am a hater - a hater of hodge-podged crap masquerading as high art. It all just reaffirmed my belief we've wasted the last thousand years as a species. After the movie my wife and I walked the downtown pedestrian mall in Charlottesville, and everybody had this hallucinogenic tweak to them, where I was freaked out by their lack of humanity. This happens to me at times when I am tuned into it, very much like that scene from Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas where everybody is a lizard. Everybody on the mall was fucked up and polluted and poison animals and my wife was seeing it too so we made a sharp right to a neglected side street and settled ourselves to escape back out to the Bird Tribe Compound before any of the floating surveillance drone eyeballs discovered our human emotion and human intelligence and marked us for DHS confinement in the coming Austerity Wars.
 
I was born from trash, so to speak - a giant tangled mess of copper wires and acrylic yarn and twisted metal clotheshangers. I've worked very hard in my life to untangle as much of that as possible, but I fully realize I am still a huge fucking mess, and always will be. That's the beauty of my existence though - I am struggling to make the most unentangled psyche as I can. I have these images of each person's brain as a universe I've been writing about for my One Thousand Feathers project, in an attempt to keep myself less judgmental of others, but it can be very difficult. I am from working class people, and blessed with great internal combustion of mindframe, but this has not truly made me more financially beneficial to myself at all. That's probably good, to keep it pure. I have been struggling with this lately - why do I write? What should I write? I am taking a fiction class under a dude who won the National Book Award in the 1990s, and his attitude is a story should have catharsis, a very clear ending where combustion has happened. Problem is most of the stories I write end where it's just another day and tomorrow you scrape, struggle, and strive to survive another. Seems to me - and this could be personal prejudice, I'm sure - that for the literary academic world, stories do need to have nice clear endings, because that's how life should be. But for many - meaning the working class - there is no end, no retirement, no dream vacation home, no nothing but work work work work work die. Life is a constant struggle.
There is a guy who has a book out now named Frank Bill who wrote this piece in the Daily Beast about masculine writing, and I agree with a lot of what he says in this piece. His first novel is coming out right now called Donnybrook, which if you google reviews of it, you'll find all sorts of terrible stereotypical metaphors used by reviewers for poor white people. And ultimately this is my problem with writing, on my level. I got Frank Bill's collection of stories Crimes in Southern Indiana, and honestly didn't finish it. It's too negative, although I didn't find it dark at all. Darkness is struggling to survive. Having nice tidy rapes and murders and crime is not darkness, because all of those things are very clearly marcated endings. This does not match the constant struggle of the workingman.
And it seems to me that if one is a Frank Bill - who is a warehouse worker in Indiana - or a Raven Mack or any piece of shit born from trash who takes up writing, your best bet towards receiving mass accolades (or reviews where reviewers use horrible white trash metaphors galore) is to write exploitative type pieces that flatten the working class you come from into somewhat stereotypical fantasies for the reading public, which skews wealthier. For me, this is difficult to accept, because I would prefer to empower working class types. I live with these people and come from them, and rather than think, "Wow, what a crazy story this is this former pill-addicted person who is about to have a baby, I bet that baby is cursed and will have a horrible life, let's go with that," I think, "Hey, what a chance to find meaning in the daily struggle, to find power and build strength and become a motherfucking modern day viking who conquers all the poisons laid out in front of you, or at least enough of them to where you continue to exist." I need hope, not noir, because my life is a daily fucking struggle. Escapism is self-medication, ignoring the reality, and it's not until you face this shit that you figure out how to make it better.
And let me be clear about one more thing. I don't fault Frank Bill for this at all. Here is Donnybrook, and if you are one who reads a lot of books, I would hope you buy it and support the guy. In my heart, I want a warehouse worker from southern Indiana to succeed so badly in the literary world, so that it's not such a fucked up anomaly where reviewers do the standard "grit lit" "working class writer" bullshit. I want this warehouse worker from Indiana to be successful so that some daydreaming mechanic from Georgia, or ebay hustler/independent wrestler from Alabama, or air conditioner repairman from east Texas, or nutjob chicken/goat farmer/housepainter/haphazard piece of blessed trash from Southside Virginia can have their works read by a larger audience, that's not expecting the same old crap that the literary world gives you. The working class, who often times aren't actually working in an official sense, so let's call it the struggling class from now on - the struggling class needs their voice too. And you motherfuckers need to start hearing it.
And while we're at it, let's reappropriate that term "trash" too, because I use it too often to describe where I come from. This mess of tangled copper wires and clotheshangers and yarn and whatnot is being recycled. I don't know what it'll end up being, and what it'll be useful for, but it ain't right to consider it trash, because it's too goddamned beautiful.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your writing is morphing...

~ANAW