I read David Shields 'Reality Hunger' last year, and became totally enamoured with the idea of mash-ups, our short attention spans, purposefully appropriating culture/ideas/books/themes, etc... So I decided to write the Great American Anti-Novel, thinking about the great works, especially from the 19th century, this all in the context of Black Lives Matter, Baltimore (where I used to live), race and American myth, etc... I wasn't smoking anything. So began a brief attempt at mashing up Moby Dick, Huckleberry Finn, Uncle Tom's Cabin, The Autobiograpy of Frederick Douglass and my own life.
Yes, a crazy-ass idea. Never finished. But seemed like something there.
Will release in pieces. This is just the front sheets:
a fool’s experiment
1. Please feel free to ignore footnotes- especially such drivel compared to great literature. These small-fonted writings are meant only for the pathologically curious and terminally bored, those who try to make sense of barcode patterns or seek solace in dust motes. For the angry and enraged, as in ‘Who the hell does this unknown bastard think he is, messing with the American canon?’, some background context may emerge- or at least divert the volatile reader so I might make a clean getaway.
The American writer has his hands full, trying to understand and then describe and then make credible much of the American reality. It stupefies, it sickens, it infuriates, and finally it is even a kind of embarrassment to one’s own meager imagination. The actuality is continually outdoing our talents, and the culture tosses up figures almost daily that are the envy of any novelist.
Men are apt to believe what men are apt to believe. Which gives my doomed and cursed soul no excuse.
To save him the fate of my own unsettled and sea wanderin’ soul, to revenge the lowly put-upons, the scorned jesters, the hexed and jilted lovers and sons and daughters, the coloreds and whites and mulattoes whose ears had been poisoned, a poison flowin’ both ways until a semblance of Christian decency was drowned in a land of ghostly sorrows hanging from those bearded trees. I gnashed my way through that man’s neck, hot blood spouting like lava from the very pits of hell, until a shot rang out, stilling my animal body.
And now I- my soul unchained- float, unearthed, tethered to no bone, among all the beings transmogrified or not, with no place to rest. And yet, still, a sense of calm. For once.
Genetic Test Results
♦ 62% Europe East ♦ 19% Europe West ♦ 7% Scandinavian ♦ 7% Great Britain ♦ 4% Trace regions ♦ 1% African
Don’t we all come from Africa?
...as if a reporter were viewing a strange culture
When we are not sure, we are alive.
‘The author has not given his effort here the benefit of knowing whether it is history, autobiography, gazetteer, or fantasy.”
New York Globe, 1851 about Moby-Dick