Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Only Thing That is Difficult

The only thing that is difficult is putting your pants on over your head. In theory, it is possible and would even be easy that I could do at least one post every day for a year (excluding Jan 1st, which I missed).

It is calculated future disappointment for me to set out projects like this. If I do this one, several days will read "'Here Is a Post for Today' - A post for today." Just so you know.

What to say. OK. I read a book yesterday and am reading another one today that have me a little riled up about online communication. The one I am still reading has an obvious connection. "DIY: The Rise of Lo-Fi Culture" by Amy Spencer. The rise and evolution of 'Zines and other DIY anti-mainstream self-produced culture. It is pretty interesting stuff - tracing threads from Dada to punk to queercore to riotgrrl to crafting. I recommend it, at about 100 pages in.

The other book, the one I read yesterday is a less obvious candidate for "get somebody riled up about actively participating in communication online." The book is "Love All the People" and is a collection of all of Bill Hick's words - sets, interviews, notes, sayings, articles. Highly recommended. He was a fire and brimstone preacher/shaman who was visible in this dimension as a stand-up comedian. He is a personal hero of mine.

Well, the obvious connections between me and him are Georgia, religious upbringing, dedicated smoking, and terminal cancer totally unrelated to smoking. He had less than a year after his diagnosis (pancreatic metastasized to liver, advanced stage IV). I was anticipating less than five years at diagnosis (right temporal mixed glioma, low stage III), but that was almost eight years ago.

His modus of righteous fury and catharsis could never be mine, but it is tremendous and wonderful. It is not a matter of "agreeing" with everything he says, and I don't laugh at everything in his set, but he was righteous and motivated and true to his self. I hope I can be as well.

He did not understand why it was so difficult for the American media to grok what he was up to - his audiences were often totally on board. He was huge in England.

It was inspiring (and a little wearying) to read his work and be reminded so forcefully of my own abortive lunges toward more public avenues for attempting reclamation of some particularly noxious cultural waste. I had a recommendation lined up from Kenneth Koch for applying to MFA programs and then realized I would never write what I need to write if I went through academic channels for poetry. I repeatedly attempted in high school, college, and out in the world to get involved with video, writing, and comedy scenes and found that attractive women who did not want to date any of the guys there (and were funnier than the guys there) rarely get an invite to the next meeting. Many women do get into the scene, and I do feel that I have a personality issue that conflicted with the folks I tried to interact with. And yet, and yet, and yet. I still believe that American culture needs the cleansing fire from somewhere, and not nearly enough people are producing it.

I am trying to find them, they must be out there. It could be prose, it could be poetry, and there is probably a great deal of it in what is called (hilariously) comedy. I follow these guys on podcasts and Twitter and they are talented and funny, but they are guys (not adults), and it seems they are in a bit of a "Warmed-over-Bill-Hicks" rut, like they heard his words but never listened to what he was saying. I am not sure whether they are listening to anyone but each other. Makes me want to throw my shoes at their heads. Oh well.

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