1. I’m not calling it a novel, an anti-novel, experimental narrative, anti-memoir or a collection. THE PASSION OF EL HULK HOGANCITO (& OTHER SYMPATHIES) is an ASSEMBLAGE of performance texts, transcripts, critical meditations & archives.
2. How does one arrange, nay, ASSEMBLE, a body of work that spans approximately 13 years of thinking about & delaying & celebrating the failure of this thing we call a novel?
3. Arrange texts through affect/feeling.
5. Via Form.
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A SHORT STORY ain’t a MEMOIR ain’t a NOVEL EXCERPT ain’t a YA NOVEL ain’t a PERFORMANCE TEXT ain’t a MONOLOGUE ain’t a ONE-PERSON PLAY ain’t a TRADITIONAL PLAY ain’t a LITERARY FRAGMENT ain’t a POEM ain’t a SPOKEN WORD TRACK/PIECE ain’t a SCREENPLAY ain’t a TRANSCRIPT ain’t got nothing to do with what I’m trying to write. What I do know is that I’m often frustrated with form/genre/writing writing writing. In 2011, I transformed some novel excerpts into a PLAY. I’m currently trying to transform said PLAY into a MANUSCRIPT of PERFORMANCE TEXTS. What the fuck does that mean? I don’t know, but I do know that I’m obsessive. And thus, here is what I just checked out at the library:
So, I’ve come across many an epigraph for book projects. Now that I’m committed to finishing THE PASSION OF EL HULK HOGANCITO (& OTHER SYMPATHIES), I’m drawn back to one passage in particular. It’s a passage that I came across years ago while book-browsing. I didn’t have the money to purchase the book; so, every time I visited the bookstore, I just kept rereading the passage over and over again. (I also didn’t have the guts to finish my own book at the time.) Eventually, after I’d committed the passage to memory, the book was no longer at the bookstore. I mourned the loss and the passage eventually disappeared from my memory. Just a few weeks ago, I found the book again! I’d like to share the passage here because I think it serves as an epigraph to my life, not only to my life’s work, and not only to the book manuscript I’m working on:
“Well. Time passes and passes. It passes backward and it passes forward and it carries you along, and no one in the whole wide world knows more about time than this: it is carrying you through an element you do not understand into an element you will not remember. Yet, something remembers–it can even be said that something avenges. The trap of our century, and the subject now before us.”
-James Baldwin, from No Name in the Street (1972)
I swear I had this manuscript under control. That’s the thing, perhaps it isn’t to be controlled at all. Or disciplined. Or forced into a form it never knew. Perhaps it should just breathe. Nah, I say. That’s too easy!
The endeavor still scares me a little bit. For so many years, my writing practice has been very lonely & isolated/isolating. & I’ve been okay with this. I’m still okay with it. But this project is pushing me to really open up my thinking, to really identify & give space to the conversation that happens before the art object itself emerges as text, as performance, as tangible. I’m generally open to processing with folks. I think I’ve tried to pull all sorts of tricks to hide my biggest fear: MY OWN STUPID THINKING. Ha. & this is about process, not product. This is about letting me think stupidly & not worrying. So, why should my thinking/brainstorming be polished?!? The stubborn traditionalist in me is afraid of sharing with you some wack ass reflections. But I’m fighting against that traditionalist. I’m almost ready. In fact, this here is a real/genuine start. I promise.Continue Reading →