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Interview: Please Welcome Justin Burnett

I had the privilege of interviewing a great friend and talented writer, Justin Burnett. As you’ll see in our eclectic interview, he is a very curious writer and an even more wonderful thinker. I really enjoyed conducting this interview, and I think you’ll get a lot out of what he has to say about philosophy, about life, about writing, about reading, about literature. Please welcome Justin Burnett.



Phoenix: I’d like to first start off this interview by thanking you for writing your books. While people may say writing isn’t valuable in today’s society, we know as writers that it keeps us alive and also reflects a mirror back at society, an important process we’ve had since art and writing began. Derrida once considered writing proper to have begun as soon as we first wrote down letters and words, an analogy made to the Ancient Egyptians, I believe. What inspires you to write, and transpose your experiences and ideas and concepts to the page, in the written word? Is it political, personal, societal, artistic, spiritual, etc., or a little bit of it all? When did you start writing?


Justin A. Burnett: Thank you for writing as well. I emphatically agree that it’s more important than the zeitgeist gives it credit for. I can’t say that my writing is politically inspired, although I’ve found myself increasingly impelled to address political and societal issues. “Spiritual” is about as closely as I can describe my personal reasons for writing. I’m a spiritually inclined person, minus the dogma that goes with organized religion. There’s a certain magic in writing that somewhat meets that spiritual inclination halfway. I began writing at twelve. I wrote poetry to begin with; I still do, but it’s a different kind of monster that requires a special level of concentration for me. My prose began in a fifteen-year series of false starts before I was actually able to hammer out complete stories and a novel. It comes much easier now after breaking that barrier, and Esoteric Sausage is largely a product of those first complete creations.

Phoenix: I’m intrigued by your motivation for writing. How do you often think of something like writing being spiritual? Is it the possibility that all that makes life worth living is often beyond the mundane reaches of our society and physical world, and of our immediate comprehension and understanding? Such a notion makes me think that writing for you is a very patient and life-affirming process. Do you agree with this assessment, or is there something in addition to your description? What do you perceive to be the future of your writing process? Where would you like to go, accomplish, achieve? What do you hope to write five years from now, ten years from now?

Burnett: I certainly think the things that reside outside of everyday experience motivate me to live; however, for me, the “things outside” are often merely the everyday things seen from a different perspective. Writing revitalizes the word, and the word is life. perhaps poetry does this more than prose. I don’t really believe in the “spirit,” I should say, so the “spiritual” aspect of writing, for me, is the way it reinvigorates my awareness of the unknown surrounding me in the everyday world. The unknown, I believe, is the root of the spiritual.

I predict that my actual writing process will remain the same as it is now: unorganized, impatient, and consisting mainly of pages and pages of notes for every one or two pages of workable material, ha ha ha. I’m not sure what I want to achieve, outside of being able to do this for a living. Artistically, my goals are always to entertain while simultaneously demanding a little work from the reader. My roots are firmly literary, and as I explore horror, bizarro, the weird, or whatever, I hope to remain faithful to a literary standard of quality.

Phoenix: I believe I understand your perspective, it is a matter of opening up language to be something unique and for the moment. So, lofty ideals of a spiritual, permanent undertaking are opposed to your rootedness, your grounding, in the immediate context of the words you use and the fiction you write, even if you might potentially describe this as spiritual, precisely because it focuses on something that I still might argue is not immediately apparent until it is actualized in writing. I do think there is a distinction between prose and poetry, as you highlighted, but prose is often very good at creating a consciousness, so to speak, a point of view that is at times oceanic and expansive, but that of which is grounded in context and meaning. This grounding seems to be important to your process, if I am understanding you correctly, but not in ideology, but rather, communication and the art of narrative. How have your past written works influenced your literary journey? In some ways this is a beginning, but in what ways is your literary process important to what you see now? I suppose this is my way of asking you about your roots. I am intrigued at what your pages and pages of notes might include.

Burnett: I’ll attempt to work through these issues in these issues along the order in which you bring them up: I think you are correct in saying that I prefer to consider my writing opposed, in some ways, to ideals in an absolute sense. I question things much more frequently than I proclaim absolutes, but this, I think, is the standard of fiction. What seems spiritual to me, however, is the revelation of otherworldliness, or the unknown, for lack of better words, as they exist in the everyday. I frequently call these “gaps” in both my fiction and nonfiction, and it’s these “gaps” that most draw me to horror or dark literature. In fiction, they are encounters with inexplicable elements, but there are other gaps I’m interested in: the gaps of understanding between people, gaps inherent in language, silences, the mysterious illusion of the unified subject… I try to probe all of these, or evoke them, when I’m working on fiction.

My past writing is largely poetry and academic nonfiction. Both have impacted my current writing in different ways, I think. My Bachelor’s work gave me a level of familiarity with criticism and the classics that plays into nearly everything I write. Poetry gave me a reverence for sentences. I spend a lot of time reworking sentences. I try to consider the effectiveness of each sentence before passing to the next, although sometimes I get carried away. I’ve been accused of being “too wordy” more than once, ha ha. In sum, my roots are firmly in what we might call “the classics.” I’ve only stumbled across horror/bizarro/weird literature within the last five years, although I’ve always felt a particular affinity with the outsider classics, like Pessoa, Kafka, Beckett and Ezra Pound. My notes mainly consist of dialogues with myself in which I posit a number of ideas regarding where to go next in a given work, then reject them. Ha ha.

Phoenix: I am interested in your approach to what we might call speculative fiction, though that is often a broad and misinterpreted term/label. It sounds to me like you don’t care so much about genre/literary distinctions, but rather creating an effect, and I would say your theory reminds me a bit of Kant’s notion of the sublime, in that you feel something beyond yourself through the experience of something like horror or horror fiction, though there is much more to what you’re saying in terms of otherworldliness and concentrated moments/images/atmospheres. I am taken in by your emphasis on “outsider” work/literature, can you go more into detail about how this affects your craft, life, etc.? In what way has someone like Kafka or Beckett influenced your approach (when I think of Kafka, I think of atmosphere and positing a different worldview than the dominant paradigm)? And then, how does this tie into your understanding of “the weird/bizarro?”

Burnett: I would definitely say that I don’t worry about genre when writing. Even within Esoteric Sausage there isn’t one “genre” that runs through every story, except for perhaps horror, loosely defined. “Outsider” (also loosely defined, ha ha) literature has really affected everything for me; my life, art, thoughts, everything. And in the sense that even the classics now reside “outside” the world of everyday contact, I would say I’m immersed in “outsider” literature. I’d prefer to drop the “outsider” description, since it may evoke certain strains or genres of books that I’m not really intending here, in favor of a general statement like “books that reinterpret the world in an interesting way.” This is deliberately vague, since I’m much less dedicated to genre in my reading than I am in my writing. Kafka’s writing is a series of incomplete gestures, Beckett’s is an empty abyss; both of them radically altered the framework in which I understand literature. Bizarro sort of did that too. Before I discovered bizarro, I imagined that the last stop for literature in a world where seemingly everything has been tried would be something like collage. While bizarro isn’t that, it sort of hints at the spirit of collage with its irreverent combination of disparate elements. In essence, it affected me in similar ways to Kafka and Beckett. The easy answer to your question is that I want to do something that challenges the framework in which people read. I haven’t done that, of course, but it’s nice to think about and useful as a goal or standard for writing.

The more difficult answer is that I feel like we have lost something in our efforts to scientifically explain everything. Kafka, Beckett, Ligotti, Borges, as well as good, thoughtful horror fiction in general, reestablishes the great question mark, at least in spirit. That atmosphere of almost mystical uncertainty is what I strive for, above all, and that is my form of “spirituality.” It’s a negative spirituality, if you will, although I don’t think anything truly spiritual can possibly be positive in the sense of being quantifiable or open to description.

Phoenix: You are very thorough and open-ended in your approach, which leaves a lot of room for interpretation, with what you write and with your ultimate (though also non-existent) destination. I have enjoyed what I’ve read in Esoteric Sausages. You describe how this book was a turning point for you in your intro. But philosophically speaking, it is also a very down to Earth text that allows for humor, play, and irreverence, which I consider to be a hallmark of your work as I currently understand it. You are “meta,” in your own fresh, humorous, and interpretive way. Obviously you are doing much more than just this, but I see influences of some of our early attempts to write fiction, such as Tristram Shandy and Don Quixote, as examples, though you are also uniquely operating in a seeming ‘metamodernism’ as it’s been called, a place chronologically and temporally beyond Postmodernism. In what way does something like humor and metafiction open up your world? You have mentioned that you don’t subscribe to dogma, Absolute Truth, or lofty ideals. Is this playfulness and almost innocent yet necessary irreverence a way of seeing what you can do with ideas and the written word? Are you curious about what fiction can be? Or is there something else going on, something more specific?

Burnett: Those elements certainly don’t strive for anything specific beyond fitting the requirements for the given piece. Writing the stories in that collection was a lot like “jamming.” No piece, outside of “m.Other,” was meticulously planned. I think you put it well: “a way of seeing what you can do with ideas and the written word.” The Last Drug Trial on Earth, my first novel coming out later this year, has a lot of this same element of play mixed with horror and irreverence. Even the novel doesn’t stick to a single genre. Everything I’m working on now is much more controlled, even though much of my writing will always be out of my control, no matter how much I strive towards consciously planning everything. Tristram Shandy and Don Quixote are two of my favorite novels, however, so if the element of play is in that spirit, I am more than happy to call that a win.

Phoenix: You and I have discoursed a bit on philosophy and ideological boundaries. What is your approach to philosophy and to thinking philosophically? I imagine you take this question seriously, least of all because you like philosophy. What exactly is philosophy? By the time we are thinking of Postmodernism (Foucault, Deleuze, perhaps Barthes, and Derrida), the function of truth in philosophy is questioned and even censored, because the hunt for truth in philosophy is outdated and even oppressive. So the contention here, in contrast to the early analytic tradition (Wittgenstein, Russell, Frege), is the question of whether truth can be discovered at all, and if it’s even an important question, or if this whole issue is a debacle and our truths are in crisis, like with the existentialists (including Sartre, Heidegger, and Camus). What is your take on all of this, what is the function and definition of philosophy, is truth overrated, and what can you tell me about Lacan?

Burnett: Oh Lacan is dear to me, but I’m not certain if I (or anyone, really) can accurately represent him in summary, but I’ll tie him in with the answer to your question. Philosophy, to me, means thinking creatively about your surroundings. It isn’t truth in any absolute sense; it’s true that that’s the postmodern philosophical position, but it was also Plato’s philosophical position, if not exactly the classical interpretation. Despite my claim that philosophy is “thinking creatively,” there some philosophers who make a stunning and seemingly accurate account of practical reality; I’m thinking Aristotle’s Ethics and perhaps parts of Kant and Heidegger here. But I’m equally moved by philosophers who make a stunningly beautiful characterization of reality, totally without regard to the characterization’s truth value. Here I’m thinking of Spinoza, Sartre, and the Pre-Socratics. I love them all and find them equally valuable. To say philosophy is dead is to affirm a certain enlightenment preoccupation with utility that I find insulting to the arts, equal to the vulgar and ham-fisted attacks on religion launched by the likes of Dawkins and Sam Harris. I guess I’m close to agreement with Deleuze, then, that the value of philosophy is rooted in its various contexts. I am particularly fond of philosophers who constantly revise their own “systems,” although the word “systems” is a rather inaccurate descriptions of their ideas. Kierkegaard, Lacan, Plato, Barthes, Freud, among others, are examples of these. Lacan is important to me because he merges semiotics and psychoanalytic theory with philosophy (three of my favorite fields). Lacan speaks about an inherent alienation in language that I think is absolutely important in understanding our being-in-the-world (not to conflate terminologies here, but to point out that I’m talking about the world as our total sphere of circumspection). We are thrown into the world of language, subjugated by the system of signifiers from the very beginning. Everything is language; we cannot escape it, and while I believe that language is beautiful, it is important to remember that it is also the enemy of the individual, the Hegelian master to the slave of self. Lacan, in accordance to this certain paranoia, encourages psychoanalysts to resist the temptation to understand subjective mental and emotional states, since verbal characterizations can only misrepresent them, hiding them behind masks of signifiers. This, to me, is also a good rule of thumb I try to consider while writing, as well as in my interpersonal relations: language is a great, alienating force, as well as our only mode of communication. As long as there is language, the world is imbued with the unknown and the indescribable, in other words, the INEFFABLE. That’s why the enlightenment out-of-hand rejection of mysticism seems so wrong to me. As long as the ineffable dwells alongside and within us, there is room for God, the Void, and all the strangeness that the enlightenment was supposed to topple. Lacan doesn’t say this, as far as I have read. It’s merely the implications I’ve drawn so far from my reading. I’m entirely content, philosophically, to point to the inexplicable gaps. If I firmly believe anything as a point of fact, it’s that the gaps will continue popping up, no matter how much we think we know.

Phoenix: I like your perspective on these things. It is nice talking to someone who is not dogmatic and realizes the importance of context and openness whilst searching. I think if we remain open to things, there is much we can accomplish, if only we are willing to expand our awareness. You know it’s hard to write at times, and to be a writer is tough with our cultural baggage and emphasis on utility and cash value. Knowing all this, what advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Burnett: Thank you for the kind words. I think dogmatism is inherently propped up by arrogance. The least appropriate reaction to this mystifying and merciless thing called life is arrogance. While I still consider myself firmly in the “aspiring” category, my advice would be to read. Read; read some more, and then never stop reading. Read poetry, nonfiction, philosophy, and popular novels. Read stuff you know you’ll love, then read stuff you think you’ll hate. Read the Bible. Read the Tao Te Ching. Read stuff you don’t understand, even when it’s frustrating. This and only this, in my opinion, can make a writer. Reading should be in your top three most important things, next to family and security… even above writing, I think.

Phoenix: It has been a delight conversing with you on these subjects. One can tell from your writing and your way of speaking that you have much of value to say. I have one more question before we wrap up. What do you think of the current publishing situation? In other words, what are your thoughts on indie publishing, niche publishing, presses for popular works, etc.? What are your thoughts on this changing landscape, of culture and publishing? I have thought about this question many times because of my situation as a writer wanting to get his stuff out there, but what is your take?

Burnett: Thank you again for the nice words. Hell, I guess I’m pretty happy with the current state of affairs. Before I discovered the world of small presses and self-publishing, writing was a pretty bleak endeavor. As a kid, I’d send my poetry collections off to Penguin or Viking Press or some other lost cause and never truly hope to hear back from them. The Internet has truly cracked the publishing world wide open. I love being able to simply get my work off my desk and into reader’s hands, even if it’s only two or three of them. Of course, with this open availability comes problems. The well gets poisoned by crap, and you have to be careful about reputation since your position as a writer is fragile. There’s literally millions of folks climbing the same ladder, and it’s hard to get off the bottom rung. But then again, I think truly good work will find its readers. This isn’t to say marketing isn’t necessary, which is another drawback. I don’t like having to be a salesman, but that’s the name of the game in the world of the little guys. Nevertheless, the small press world is a good community of generally bright and helpful folks. I enjoy participating and feel confident that if I ever release something deserving of attention, the readers will be there for it. If what I write goes largely ignored, I will assume there is a reason for this. I’m not one to claim that my voice deserves everyone’s undivided attention. Esoteric Sausage was a toe in the water. I have many ideas I’m working with; The Last Drug Trial on Earth drops later this year; I just subbed a new novella yesterday; I’m partially done with a collaborative novella I’m excited about; I have a unique concept for a collection I’m currently working on, and I’m also compiling material for a beast of a novel I began writing earlier this year that will certainly take up the next few years. Thanks to the current state of publishing, I can rest assured that this stuff will find a home SOMEwhere, even if it’s short of glamorous. And if it all slips quietly through the cracks, I’m okay with that. I’d be happy enough to establish my editing services, which has been growing in leaps and bounds. The fact that I can do this all without leaving the computer is amazing to me. The fact that I was able to set up a webzine that attracted dozens of submissions within a month is amazing to me. In short, I can’t complain; I like what I’ve found in the small press world, and I’m here to keep playing and experimenting with it for a while to come.

Phoenix: I love that analysis and find much comfort in the way of publishing for writers like us. While we may be a bit on the fringe, we have things we want to say and people do notice. I really am glad I was able to do this interview with you. Do you have any final thoughts before we head out to go get some writing done?

Burnett: Thank you for having me! It’s been an absolute pleasure to talk to you, as always. My closing thoughts/statements would be READ WILLIAM H. GASS. I can’t believe I made it through this whole interview without mentioning him, and it’s a travesty. So, I’d like to correct that. He’s definitely my literary hero, and I think we can learn a ton about the craft by reading him. Also, GIVE DAVID FOSTER WALLACE A CHANCE. There’s a lot of DFW animosity out there I’ve noticed thanks to that interview with Bret Easton Ellis that recently came out, and I think it’s undeserved. While I can see how DFW certainly wouldn’t appeal to all readers, there’s no denying his brilliance and literary importance. So, dear reader, if you only absorb two points from the horseshit I’ve been spewing, for God’s sake make it these.

9:52 AM

9:52 AM

It’s 10:02 AM.

I have often been critical of autobiography in the past, because I thought that it wasn’t an appropriate mode to tell stories. I try to refrain from autobiography when I am philosophizing, and when I am working on my poetry, I try to refrain from personal details, while focusing on the form of a poem. With fiction, it is much the same process, where I focus on the story, focus on fabrication and invention, a storyline that isn’t fully related to my own life.

But Kierkegaard said that our writing is a subjective expression, very much subjective, and I have often heard writers and philosophers through time say that because writing is an expression of the author, it is very much autobiographical and it comes from the first-person narrative mode is.

I have been in fact told to be even more extremely anti-autobiographical, and focus more on external details, concrete details, imagery, etc.

But I know that when I am writing, it is impossible for me to avoid the autobiographical mode completely. Maybe one day this will change, as my writing becomes more nuanced, but I really do enjoy describing my life and my thoughts and feelings about things, really focusing on what matters to me. So it is a highly creative and personal process for me, which is why I turn to something like writing.

On days like today and days like last night, it is very possible for me to finally admit to myself, that I often feel worthless. It hurts when I feel rejected and I don’t know the reason why. Is the rejection just in my head? Am I just inventing these things so I have something to write about at 9:52 AM? It is really hard for me to say, sometimes it feels like my subjectivity is too extreme, and to admit that I feel worthless and that I feel like nobody cares about me is not only untrue, but it is a cliché, and people are not going to be sensitive to my feelings.

It is a cliché. Such thoughts are hardwired into our hardware and biology, making us think certain things, ideas that society hates, because it is a strong emotion. But I will say it again: I do at times feel incredibly worthless, especially when I do not feel loved and accepted by certain communities.

I could talk about my negative experience yesterday at Pride for the gay community, but I’m not sure that it would really do any good. I’ve tried to connect with people. I tried bars, dating apps, the Pride Center, but I have felt increasingly dissatisfied, and I haven’t been able to escape my feelings. Feelings that I don’t fit in, that I will never fit in, that most of the people that are gay in Salt Lake City don’t even care about me as a person, or what I have to offer. This may be a horrible cliché, and it may make people upset with me for saying things that are problematic, problematic to their perception, but it is nonetheless what I feel. But I don’t want to focus on that. I can’t focus on that right now. Because I’m not really sure that it changes anything, though I do find it important to be aware of my feelings.

How can something like feeling worthless be so deep-rooted in our psyche? Where does it come from? I have theories that there are biological explanations for it, it is just the way we are wired, but I also feel like there is a problem with the way that society programs this in our minds. We often don’t fit in. We often don’t feel welcome. We may be told that we are welcome, but we nonetheless know that people are judging us. And while I often try to remind myself that it is better to be judged by people than to be alone, I’m not sure that I believe this when I am suffering because the rejection that I feel from people is so acute and painful. It was really stupid of me yesterday to walk downtown, in Salt Lake City, and to watch people be utterly selfish and wasteful with each other, loud and obnoxious, with me singing my songs, In Flames, Avenged Sevenfold, etc., and me not being able to connect at all, and realizing that these are just judgments with no basis to reality, making the thoughts illogical. What was it I was even trying to connect to? Did I think that my fantasy would come true, and that a gay guy would fall in love with me that night and want to sleep with me? It sounds absurd, and maybe it isn’t fully true, but it has been difficult for me to try to figure out what I am actually feeling and what it is that I expect to happen, because I find such thoughts absurd and utterly meaningless to my process: I am expecting complete and utter fantasy. Why do I expect a positive experience all the time, why do I even care? It doesn’t really make sense, so last night, I just continued to sing my songs throughout the city, not really accomplishing anything in the process, but doing what I could to literally survive.

I’m not really sure what it is I am expecting, and this has been a hard thing to be able to figure out. I just know that the disappointment has been very real, and I feel a lot of things that probably really don’t even matter in the end, like somebody saying that they feel worthless and that they want to kill themselves for no apparent reason. Though the pain is very difficult, I am proud of myself because last night, I used writing as a way of escaping what I felt. Or I should say, dealing with what I feel.

I do feel crushed, and maybe some of this is loneliness, maybe I am experiencing loneliness, who can really say. Maybe in some ways it doesn’t even really matter, what I’m feeling, it would be better to just focus on making my life better for myself, being myself despite it all, as they say. Which makes sense, and I don’t know where this crushing loneliness comes from, I don’t feel as though it is a relevant thought process. But if I say this than I am not being fair to those actually feeling this, and I come across as being judgmental, and this can be very difficult for me to even think through, especially when I am so confused already about what I am supposed to be thinking.

I ordered a collection of poetry by Nietzsche, when I found out that he was a poet at a recent reading of poetry that I went to. Nietzsche apparently considered himself more of a poet, even though it is his philosophy that has influenced me. But I ordered the book, and I am very excited for it, and that I have to remember is a reason to live, a reason to not feel worthless all the time, because I have a writer who is going to enrich my life. It is the same with music, when I listened to the band 10 Years today, I definitely felt a reason to live. Their song Lucky You really highlighted for me what I was feeling, and it spoke to my soul.

I was really disturbed yesterday because I watched a really violent and horrible scene in the show Mr. Robot. I wasn’t expecting the images and the depiction, but basically, a psychopath got off on murdering a man with an ax. I know the show was creative, and I certainly would not want to censor it, but it is amazing how we become desensitized to the horrible things that can be depicted in a violent scenario on television. I still like to show Mr. Robot, but I feel like this scene went too far and was mostly pointless. It made no sense to me, and it just let my paranoia get worse.

Where do these maladaptive deep-rooted ideas come from? An idea of feeling lonely, or feeling sad, and breaking down on the sidewalk because you don’t know what else to do. I don’t feel like my mental health is necessarily getting worse, but I still feel as though I have a hard time managing my emotions. I guess this is what I am going to continue to feel, to continue to feel the imbalance. And all of that drives me nuts, really drives me crazy. What exactly am I even connecting to, and can I even say? Where the loneliness is crushing, and I’m not able to figure out what I actually think. I just want to be able to be bold, and to be able to sing to my favorite metal songs, and to be able to do that in peace without feeling like I am too autobiographical and my whole entire life is open for the entire stupid world to see. Maybe this is too much negativity, and I would understand that, but if I have to write in the middle of a ridiculous medical haze, what else am I really supposed to do and what else am I supposed to say? This blatant disregard for life, people being very transactional about something that should be important, just manipulating me for my money, exploiting me, our systems are exploitative, and I hate them. Capitalism sucks. I can’t even write anymore with the keyboard, because my hand has been injured, or so I think. I am afraid of injury, at the very least.

But all of these are just complaints, yes, and it is a philosophy, or so I can imagine people saying. There is no value in expressing my emotions, there is no value in telling a select audience what I actually think by way of my writing. It seems absurd to think how fast I collapse in the thoughts of suicide, but I guess I’m really not that surprised, when thinking about the direction my life has taken, and how much I have experienced, how much has almost literally killed me. So in that way, I am very proud of myself for turning to writing, to be able to try to find a way out, an outlet, an expression. I do understand the way that things are in a sense, but there is a lot that I still don’t understand, and that I probably never will understand.

And I would say I don’t understand the world. What is it that I am trying to understand, and doesn’t it really matter? What is it that I feel, why do I feel as though I can’t express my emotions and my life and my story? I wasn’t really too proud of the poems I wrote yesterday, because I felt they were chaotic and messy. Actually, scratch that, I just didn’t necessarily connect to the poems in my poetry collection I, but I did very much connect to the poems in my book The Scrapyard.

And what is this alienation from the gay community that I feel? Well, yes, I do feel it, and maybe it is somewhat dramatic or maybe I am being rash, but the difficult thing for me is that I really feel as though this is happening, that I have been alienated and cast out, without even knowing why. It may seem like a ridiculous drama, but it is nonetheless what I have felt.

I can’t explain everything, and to a certain point, I have to remember that I don’t have to express everything perfectly, just as long as I express it. Maybe that is what I care about, maybe that is what I want, I’m not sure that I can really say. All I know is that I feel this chaos from the drama in my head, an inability to be able to sort through all of the things that I feel, the emotions that destroy me because they are so unbalanced. I am unbalanced, I am unhinged, and I am unstable. And I don’t understand why this is the case, I don’t understand why this is what I feel.



But it is, and I guess realizing it is the first start, even if it is 10:24 AM, and I’m not even sure what this day is going to bring me. Maybe it doesn’t matter, or maybe it does, I’m not really sure that I should say, I just know that I need to prepare myself to be able to write a little bit more if I am able to focus on my emotions and say the things that I want to. It is really the things that matter, those are the things that matter. The ability to express, the ability to say. Especially the things that you don’t have to justify and that you realize are fair to be able to say. People are mean.

I will live because of my overwhelming amount of writing.

10:42 AM.

Anarchy and Outsider Politics: an Article by Phoenix

Check out my article on Silent Motorist Productions! So stoked to be featured! Check it out.

Silent Motorist Media

By Phoenix

It wasn’t until I started talking with friends that I realized that my political beliefs can fall outside of a margin or a political system of thought, or even contemporary politics itself. What I realized because of this, was that anarchy is a legitimate political position to take. Whether or not this aligns with who you would actually vote for is less important than being aware of what you actually believe.

I do not necessarily know much about anarchy outside of philosophy, but I find the concept and philosophy itself to be very useful in helping me orient and balance my beliefs, particularly politically. For a long time, I have been inspired by Michel Foucault, who has helped me see the world in a clearer way with his philosophical systems and critiques. I have recently discovered that Noam Chomsky is also an anarchist, or at the very least…

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Into the Avant-Garde: De Stijl

Great perspective.

Silent Motorist Media

I’m currently trading David Hopkins’Dada and Surrealism: A Very Short Introduction, alongside several books coming up for review, including Vincenzo Bilof’s The Violators and Philip Fracassi’s Shiloh. I’m doing this because I am woefully ignorant of the Dada and Surrealism movements. I figured if I’m going to run a blog about weird art, I better change this, and quickly.

Academically, I can only speak from my experience in the English department, but Dada and Surrealism was virtually absent from the curriculum when I was earning my BA. I don’t know if this holds true for other fine arts departments. Either way, I am documenting my Dada and Surrealism education here, appended with an invitation to readers who wish to join the journey.

In short, I plan to write a quick overview of movements, artists, and works I am unfamiliar with as I come across them in Hopkins’ book…

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Renaissance Rebel: An Interview with Phoenix

My interview went live with Justin Burnett. Stoked! Be sure to check it out.

Silent Motorist Media

My next interview in this series is with Phoenix, an author of one NihilismRevised’s many 2018 publications, Separation: Healing. Phoenix is unique to the NihilismRevised family, however, in that he already has a total of fifty (that’s right; that’s a five and a zero) book publications under his belt. You can find Phoenix’s current available oeuvre on his Amazon Page. While Separation: Healing is a poetry book, Phoenix also writes philosophy and prose fiction. I think you’ll get a clear sense of this Renaissance man’s diversity over the course of our conversation. Be sure and follow his blog and check out his YouTube channel. Enjoy!

It’s important to have writers that talk about the hard things. Without art, the systems we are in cannot be challenged. So, in a way, it’s political. But it’s also very personal, in that I need the space to be able to…

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