I started reading up on Patrick Steadman when all that ‘weird Facebook’ stuff went down a few weeks ago and Austin told me to look up BestStoriesOnline.com, which seems like the next ViralNova if we’re all being honest. Anyway, Patrick is a writer and a programmer and is thinking about innovative stuff in the literature space.
When people ask me about the future of poetry or fiction or literature, I always “status update lit.” It’s probably annoying, but it’s also funny to me how foreign this seems to be to people, how our literary soothsayers still want to fit everything into essays or poetry or short stories, when there’s a completely different form exploding in our faces everyday. And it’s not going away.
One of the more recent and notable books was written by Mira Gonzalez and Tao Lin called ‘Selected Tweets‘ which came out earlier this year from Hobart. I wrote many thoughts about the book here and Mira was gracious enough to answer a few quick questions.
This is the person Carl Aagesen who has an interesting Twitter feed (@totallymoon) and he lives in Chicago I think.
Do you consider yourself a ‘writer’ or ‘artist’ or what?
I rarely consider any of that. i am simply compelled to DO things. i feel cursed to do the things i do regardless of how i choose to identify. i was writing often by the age of six, when i broke a bone for the first time. i have broken nine since. i broke my rib when i was thirteen and had to sit mostly upright in a bed for three weeks, not allowed to laugh. that is when i first started to write bad poetry. personal injury, powerlessness and spiritual trauma have always informed and motivated my work in whatever medium it occurs. a lot of my work has been egregious and a lot of my work has been tolerable. some of it might have been good, but that’s no accident: i am fortunate to have had a lot of time to practice and figure things out. to me the word artist is rarely applicable today. i am afraid the trees of work bear little fruit. i see little painstake or effort. we practice many arts, as much as some people whom also practice some arts some of the time. when i do consider how to identify myself in my heart i settle on reader, because i read more than i have done anything else, more than eating, sleeping, walking or talking. i don’t know anyone who reads more than i do because they are busy reading and not knowing me. i think a lot, but usually in circles and i don’t get as far as i’d like. i don’t count thinking as a discipline since i’m a fool and an idiot. i also laugh a lot, mostly at the misfortune of others brought about by their own completely preventable thoughts and actions. on an whole i find most things either radical or radically perverse, but to discuss art is almost pejorative to me while we are still rooted in this undeniably satanic excuse for civilization.
Hey, EE Scott does some writing and helps out with Boost House. Find her on Twitter or don’t.
Do you consider yourself a ‘writer’?
ugh, this question is not a fun time for me hehe. i mean, okay so yeah i’m a ‘writer’ or something like that, i sometimes write creative things and more often write boring ass non-creative things. more often than writing i am reading or editing or working as a volunteer receptionist at an acupuncture clinic where i like to watch people dream with needles in them, or i am working some sort of food service industry job where i tend to do well for myself as i am good at appealing to middle class white people and convincing them to give me their money (this is a very handy skill i have!). i would i say i probably identify more as a do-er of these various things than i do as a ‘writer,’ but idk, identity is a hard thing, mostly i think i would prefer to not identify as anything at all?
Paul Hanson Clark is a poet and he does some drawings. He’s from Omaha, Nebraska and does SP_CE and once published a horrible joke poem of mine in a collection of love poems his group did last year. I met him earlier this year in Nashville, as we talk about below. The best place for him is his Tumblr or his Twitter.
Do you consider yourself a ‘writer’ or ‘artist’ or what?
i’m not sure. the first thing i identified as was a ‘writer’. but later i started identifying more as a ‘poet’. i’ve been making a lot of visual art lately but i don’t typically identify as an ‘artist’. sometimes i identify as an ‘artist’ in the broader sense, and generally when i read abt artists i admire, i relate to their lives, regardless of the field they’re working in. me and justin like to call musicians ‘joeys’ as a mild shittalk, but lately i’ve been writing songs a bit, so i’ve been jokingly identifying as a ‘joey’. if someone asks me ‘what i do’ creatively i will generally say ‘i’m a poet’ then add some brief explanation abt how i make drawings, write songs, other sh*t.
Do you feel any baggage with the word ‘poet’? I think I would. I feel it with the term “writer” like people don’t really believe you compared to saying something like “pharmacy tech.”
when you say you are a poet to some random person you don’t know, 99.999999% of the time a look of palpable hatred registers on their face for roughly half-a-second before they pretend to be interested for about 30 seconds, then you’ll probably never speak to that person again. i carry myself confidently as a poet, though. i think the expectation is you are supposed to be ashamed of your art and i try to thwart that when i’m existing as a social creature. i feel good about this. but don’t get me wrong, i don’t go around proclaiming myself to be a poet, and if i get the feeling someone is trying to engage with some kind of small talk re: what kind of work i do i’ll riff with them about where i work before i start riffing about my artistic interests.
Always on the road, always writing, and always making, Jeremiah Walton and the Nostrovia! crew are poetry in the raw. They’re not afraid of where words might take us. I asked Jeremiah a bunch of stuff, but I forgot to ask about this. Go find him on Twitter and then pick up a book, why not.
Do you consider yourself a ‘writer’? like is that what you identify as?
When people ask me ‘what do you do,’ like in conversation with a stranger, I say, ‘I’m a poet.’ That’s what I focus on. Pretty much everything I do is centered around poetry at this point. The funky conversations it sparks are cool, too.
What are your main ‘outlets’ for writing? (social media, poetry, fiction…whatev else)
Writing poems, & street ciphers.
There’s intimate small group or one-on-one readings that happen as we travel. It’s a good feeling. There’s no stage. No boundaries. No one is better than anyone else, for reasons literary or otherwise. It’s human, people doing what they love, and sharing it with a spontaneous gathering.
Some friends and I, one cat traveling around the country in a short bus, my friend Neeko Ford, a hip hop artist I met in Tucson, and this awesome traveling poet named Clay Bugh all met up at Beast Crawl in Oakland. Clay and I were performing at different venues during the First Leg, and bumped into after performing outside of an open mic where they gave you a shot of bourbon to perform. We spent the night wandering around the Bay sharing poems and experiences and travel stories. The next morning, in San Francisco, we all sat around on the sidewalk for hours reading poetry and freestyling. We were in the Excelsior district. It was beautiful.