Roots music pioneer Little Richard, one of the founders of the rock n roll genre, passed away the other day at age 87. Are there roots writers?
Yes! One of them self-published a print zine for many years named fishspit. We’ve published several of his short stories the past few years, and are able to offer our readersanother,“Mephistopheles and Lilith,”which is about a cantankerous (but lovable?) cat. We hope you enjoy it.
As you’ll see when you read the story, zine writing is unlike anything you’ll receive from a university writing program anywhere. The writing is uninhibited and honest. No rules or codes or self-censorship adhered to. In this way it’s as natural and real– as authentic– as American roots music– blues, gospel, r & b, country, folk– was so many years ago.
She was a good woman. She did the best she could with me . . . bailing me outta jail . . . cooking healthy meals . . . and listening to my drunken reveries. She was a good woman, as far as women go. But that cat! Now that was a cat!
WHY are we presenting the writing of a zinester at this point in time?
As a nod to New Pop Lit‘s own roots– and the roots of our new print publication, Extreme Zeen, which is like an old-fashioned zine in that it’s print and DIY and contains zine elements, yet at the same time we’ve taken those elements to an entirely new level. Inventing something never quite seen before. At least, we think we have. To know for sure you’ll have to purchase a copy and judge for yourself!
(Art: “Dance Hall Scene” by Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson.)
THIS WEEK we briefly explore the subculture of literature with our long-overdue final installment of Hyper-Talents of the New Literary Age, in which we examine a diverse array of personalities from Bob Dylan to Aaron Cometbus, on up to underground writers of now– who create work just a tad rougher, wilder, and real than standard refined “literary” writing.
Even the title wouldn’t make it through an MFA program!
Them teachers weren’t the sharpest set of educators. You had to be pretty doltish to wind up down there . . . nobody with an ounce of spirit, a dram of intelligence, would put up with that kind of horror-show. We were a regular freak show . . . the teachers were about as intelligent as carnies.
(ONGOING at one of our blogs is the All-Time American Writers Tournament. The latest news there is an appreciation of a prominent American author by Samuel Stevens. Don’t miss a post!)
Underground writing? Have you ever read underground writing? Did you even know there was such an animal as underground writing?
We’re very high on zine/underground writing, because that’s where our roots lie. More than that, zines are authentic roots literature. They present writing that’s unprocessed and unfiltered– NOT strained through banks of editors and agents and committees and workshops full of politically correct, go-along thinking. They’re also throwbacks in their commitment to print, and to the U.S. Postal Service, in the way they present their art. Creating a zine, where you do literally everything yourself, from editing to formatting to designing to marketing and selling, is an arduous endeavor– but also fulfilling.
Today we have a story from one of the best, most politically-incorrect zine writers, who goes by the name of Fishspit. Read his story here, and see if it’s a more uninhibited story than the status quo variety!
Two things to note about Fishspit’s tale. 1.) it’s told in a folksy vernacular. 2.) in its voice but also its underlying theme it’s very populist– the reality of today’s economic situation is not broadly stated but everpresent.
(We have to ask: How many other struggling writers have donned the Clifford costume at some point?)
But we like the story because it’s entertaining!
I looked in the paper and the goddamned Smackover Library was hiring someone to shelve books. It was only a r a week gig . . . and it paid abysmally. Yet it somehow seemed prestigious . . . to work in a library . . . a far cry from all those fucking factories. To go from a factory grunt to a library employee seemed a step up, even though it was a step down in pay.
(Clifford photo courtesy of renowned children’s author Kathy Ellen Davis. Thanks!)
Today’s Saturday Story is by NPL author ‘Fishspit’ and will take you into the simple, yet somewhat benighted heart of a music fan. Talkin’ Muhlenberg County Blues.
OK! OK! I got a story! I’ve been fishing for one a long time. I’m gonna tell it to you all. But wait . . . but wait! It’s two stories in one actually . . . oh hell . . . I’ve already started rambling . . . and I ain’t hardly started yet! Don’t give up on me. I know! Oh reader . . . I know you have to put up with this concerning me all the time. No . . . just . . . well, quit hollering at me! I . . . OK . . . you set? It starts “now” . . . but I’m going to have to be going back and forth. Aaron was there . . . an old pal of mine . . . and he had a little cutie with him. Some little chick chick. Aaron started playing his guitar for us . . . a Townes Van Zandt song he know I like.
When he had finished it we talked a little about Townes, and then the little cutie spoke up and asked, “Have you ever heard of John Prine?” I whipped around and looked at where she was sitting on this rock.