RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Tuesday, February 19


Finished the first issue of a new zine the other night, taking it to get printed today (though I can’t pay for that until Friday). Calling it Southern Gothic Futurist, naturally, and I write most of it extremely offline, on a word processor I affectionately call “the clacker”. It’s kinda weird to be writing a zine on the clacker, twenty five years after I used to prominently do zines on an earlier clacker. My first word processor did some problematic zines, mostly because I was figuring out my place in this world, and as a first generation college student, definitely didn’t not feel like some of the people I was around. Haha, some of them still harbor grudges against me to this day, hating with their hater asses. At that time there was no real class acknowledgement, so the feelings of fraud and not being the same were ignored back then. Had roommates once, one of whom became a fairly well-known punk singer briefly, who held that class shit over my head on a couple of occasions. But the differences are obvious to this day, what having access to wealth and not having access to it means.
But also I ain’t complaining. As a young adult male I wrote some really horrible shit at times, things I’d be ashamed for my children to read and think was actually who I am now. And despite shock and awe tactics of artistic output, I’ve always been an authentically honest person at heart, who wants good for as many people as possible. Not sure the digital realm fits with that any more. It feels like a poisoned well that once was full of very sweet water, connecting with like-minded fringe fuckers you couldn’t easily do in real life. That’s likely the source of my regression to zines, because zines were that before there was an internet. I remember going through the old Factsheet Fives, seeking out fucked up people to exchange fucked up mail with. And I can’t really say I miss that, because you can’t go back to what’s already been trampled into dust by time, and zines in 2019 are a completely different beast than zines in 1995, but hey, what can you do? I was actually looking at my first zine’s rough layout (literally cut and pasted, never no pdf) and already thinking how it’s nothing but words for the most part, and how the last time I shared a booth at a zinefest with my daughter, some dude came up and saw how my zines were nothing but words and literally gasped, and not in a good way. So I’m not really saying anything here except I do what I have to do to survive being who I am.
My first word processor was bought by my grandmother from part of the life insurance payout when my uncle Ricky committed suicide. My uncle Ricky was problematic as fuck, in fact my whole family is. But so is everybody else’s. The symbolic realism of typing not only college papers as first generation college student but also fucked up poetry and zines on a word processor bought with life insurance money from my uncle’s suicide was never lost on me. A lot of people die without ever getting their words out, and if they get ‘em out, nobody ever hears them. The spirit of Southern Gothic Futurism is very much the words of the voiceless getting heard, the assorted beautiful marginalized underclasses we find throughout the south, perfectly steeped in the cultural humidity, coming together, and making some goddamned noise. Sometimes I wonder, “what is my work? what is the work of the dirtgod raven mack?” and that’s the best I can come up with. I love to express what I need to express but just as much I love to amplify others who need that space too, and help those who lack the confidence in saying what the fuck needs to be said to untangle their own lives (which often are unnecessarily entangled up in systemic bullshit and other people’s trifles) get more confidence in doing it. To me, that’s what Southern Gothic Futurism means. But of course, if you’re practicing it too, it’s as much your’s as mine, so make it what you need it to be too.

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