Wednesday, February 29, 2012
in my twenties and early thirties, i used to like to pass along books as gifts. usually, the book or the writer given was as easily measured of my own life as the chapters contained within. i used to make a game of hitting thrift and used book stores searching for the treasures, and i found some in many places. my own collections are complete, and once they are, i start passing copies along. strangely, i stopped doing it for the most part, when i left north carolina. i gifted the books because most of the writers were shared with me at a particular poignant place in my life. the writers themselves not necessarily the influence, but remembering when they found me is more of a touchstone. new friends are certainly warned that my small book shelf doesn't contain "lite reading". one particular female guest thought women by someone named bukowski might be nice bedtime reading while she was in town. i still remember the "what the fuck" conversation. clearly her theology didn't permit such learning's and her visit was shortened due to prejudgemental tidings. charles always did have a way with words.
harry crews was introduced to me by the subcommandante of crowsland. i was presented feast of snakes after a night of porching out at the jones place. despite being awake for over 24 hours and under the considerable influence of corn liquor; he was the first writer who's words could circumvent exhaustion. when i finally put the completed book down, i slept for 15 hours, woke up and instantly went searching for more. he was the first writer who wrote in a style i called "raw southern" that i had ever read and i loved him instantly. he has a shelf, and a lifelong place in my collection. i am lucky have his complete works and have shared most of it with many of my close friends. you either get it, or you don't. i'll never forget the woman at the used bookstore in knoxville who sold me my first copy of a childhood. she told me that she was glad to "get it out of here" and warned me that the book would give me nightmares. it was the first time i remember recognizing guilt in someones voice. i think something about her past reminded her of the words within that book, and selling it was her way of purging that.
one of the favorite things i have ever heard him say "psychiatrist, shrinks, so on, say that anger and rage is a bad thing and a debilitating emotion that you ought to purge yourself of...i find it to be the greatest motivating force i know."