ON NATHAN’S BIRTHDAY we went up to Olympia to pick up Jason. He’d been traveling. A few months gone I reckon. Nate’d been living in J’s room all heart-broken up in the Nad, watching the entirety of Breaking Bad in the course of a couple weeks. I did as much as I could re-watching with him, loving it, deep-reading the world it meant to be there gangsta-style lonely and for real with my best friend all shitty and suffering, digging the vicarious world of criminal pathos to sovereignty .
So on the day he was born: Nate, Tyann, and I drove up from Portland to pick Jason up with some acid. We found Jason who’d been pretty impressed with the novelty in Washington of whiskey in regular stores, who’d walked for miles drinking only whiskey for days, and crashed wherever in the course of not needing anyone at all.
We got him, drank and figured where we’d drop. Ty’d gone to Evergreen so we figured campus would be the best place to do it. We went ahead and did and as we approached the forest a kid straight out of the 90’s (“You guys like Alice in Chains?’) led us into the woods without a flashlight and we built a fire out of Emo Steve’s negative psych assessment he’d left around the shrine in his trapper keeper.
When bros (there were too many bros) showed up, we left. We walked and got lost and when we found one another we left. We got a twelve-pack of beer and we went to the outskirts.
We walked for ages on the paved jogging path around Ty’s brother’s suburban home: barren completely on one side by swamp and on the other suburban tracts and refuse ponds and old folks’ homes as we went for miles alone drinking in the fog, admiring the hidden septic pits, searching for the Patio.
We found that shit. A big wooden thing overlooking a huge fake lake and finishing our beer and coming down before we headed back and ate shitty food at Shari’s, driving back late night to Portland falling asleep and reprising the anthem we’d come up with and reprise even in these our great days now.
We listened to the anthem heading up and heading down.
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I tell you this because these are people you’ll know, regardless of how demonstrative a talent, regardless of what moment a single one or we will claim as being singularly ours or individual. We have a collective. Who gives a shit. The value of a life or lives has mostly to do with the art of a life being lived, not how it’s received, not how much a singular signature describes, pathetically, a shape in hope of being distinguished.
For the longest time the truest artists have known their living to be the art that craves no acknowledgment.
Brilliance is worthy only in the dark.
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I see and talk to writers who bemoan the seeming failure of word-artists to promote and success themselves. Bro, you’re in the wrong business. If you want to make (merely) sufficient sums, you may as well teach. Cause you’re a fucking coward. Or cause you had kids. Or, well, both.
More on that at a later point. The expectation to do the college thing, because you can’t think of anything else, or simply crave stability. And, oops, the homogeneity that results. (I’m lookin’ at you U of D).
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In the next few weeks I’ll be providing alternative modes to thinking about how the literary ecosystem works, how it functions.
Those who’d bemoan the poverty of such a field, and in particular those who boldly eschew the (now) traditional role of the writer as teacher-writer, ought to consider the possibility of integrating self-aggrandizement into the content of their work, apropos hip-hop. The disenfranchised classes boasting infinite financial and sexual rewards for creative effort that are clearly (at first) illusory, give way eventually to what’s obviously a fake-it-til-you-make-it magickal thinking that often results in the ends imagined. Bitches and bling time.
Who knows how much of what Jon Leon writes has to do with how he lives? Me, personally: I hope he’s eating ramen like I am and fucking girls he considers beneath himself to seduce, if only to suffer the feeling of slumming it constantly while he writes poems about boning celebs. That would seem appropriate to the ego-fulfillment he embodies for the sake of this argument. Maybe he fucks, now, the american apparel models he’d had tacked up on the wall. Regardless, I respect his Patio Life, imaginative or otherwise.
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We all know beautiful, talented people for whom we have great affection. Perhaps they don’t publish, or perhaps they publish only small numbers of editions at their own expense and give those editions away without any hope of their being passed to a hand that would “matter”.
My friends, and myself, are priests. And we’re trashy and talk theory while we love on the slum of sucking tit of information, claiming party anthems and coining neologisms. There’s plenty could be done for the world to see and love us.