Artist Uncensored: BOILED HIPPOS AND BEAT WOMEN

By: Rachel Brody

My dad loaned me the book AND THE HIPPOS WERE BOILED IN THEIR TANKS, by Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs. This was just before Sare and I started working on our novels, so late October, and at the time what was interesting to me was that the same way she and I were going to swap off books, Burroughs and Kerouac swapped off writing chapters. In HIPPOS, I mean. The whole book is a fictionalization of a true-life crime their social circle experienced. I enjoyed IN COLD BLOOD. Why not give this one a try?
I had never read ON THE ROAD or other Beat literature, though over the years Dad’s given me a bio on Allen Ginsberg and one on Kerouac, both of which are currently sitting unread on my bookshelf (Sorry, Dad).
As I read through HIPPOS, I enjoyed it. The writing had a clear, frank style that was appealing. I also realized this was a really masculine eye on the time period. Hyper-masculine, in some ways, even given the twists and turns of the plots, in that the women in the story exist only for moments as they intersect with the book’s narrators.
Enter Google.
“Notable Beat Generation women who have been published include Edie Parker; Joyce JohnsonCarolyn CassadyHettie JonesJoanne KygerHarriet Sohmers ZwerlingDiane DiPrima; and Ruth Weiss, who also made films. PoetElise Cowen took her life in 1963. Anne Waldman was less influenced by the Beats than by Allen Ginsberg’s later turn to Buddhism. Later, women emerged who claimed to be strongly influenced by the Beats, including Janine Pommy Vega in the 1960s, Patti Smith in the 1970s, and Hedwig Gorski in the 1980s.[35][36]
Seeing that this line led exactly where I expected it to – Patti Smith and the punk scene – I’m really, really excited about taking a dive into this subject at some point in the future.
Anyways, back to HIPPOS. The book was interesting to me because of how the voices of the characters overlapped, in part, and because of the subject matter’s factual beginnings. It reminded me of a blog I read the other day, an excerpt from a nonfiction book. I’d been interacting with its author for a few weeks on Twitter, and had expected her book of essays and other writings to be more…essayish, I guess. Just – a reminder of how important it is to play with the form one works in. Which, in turn, reminds me of the book another friend bought me once, THE PENELOPIAD. (Was that by Margaret Atwood?)
The same as reading experimental literature from the past helps remind you that words and literary forms are plastic and subjectable to manipulation, reading experimental literature from the present helps remind you that while brand-yourself and death-of-the-title culture are at a forefront in today’s writing, writers need to remember that pushing form is just as important as practicing craft, and that the two aren’t mutually exclusive. Yes, it’s important to make sure you can write those words, craft those plots and flesh out those characters… but once you can do those things, applying them to experimental forms is also critical to the growth of writing and literature as a whole.
And by you, obviously, I mean me.
End story? Dad was right, and HIPPOS was well worth reading.
boiledhippo
This entry also appears on Rachel’s blog, RLBrody.com. Rachel is an award-winning writer, playwright and editor living in NYC. Follow her on twitter at @girl_onthego and check out her writing on Amazon.

KOBO, LIES, AND THE FIGHT AGAINST INDIE

 

What cause the mass black out of all Self-published books on KOBO’s site? Well, an editor of the British website Kernel was outrage  when they downloaded a book that dealt with Incest and Teens, something this person felt when too far. This site went as far to attack all SELF-PUBLISHED books, saying that Amazon, ITUNES, KOBO and BN don’t put the books through an intense process, that any Joe or Sally can publish filth that can harm the young minds.

So what did Amazon do? They took the book down and just went about their day. What did KOBO the site that claims to be a loving home for Self-publish authors do? They ripped down every SELF-PUBLISH BOOK, but hey Fifty Shades Of Gray is still for sell? But I guess BIG PUBLISH filth is ok?

Now let me clear one thing up, the mass censorship is happening only in the UK, seeing how here in the US we’re protected by the 1st Amendment. Thus, there’s no need to rip the titles down. But it’s sad to see a site like KOBO crack after one small article, when they knew this problem, isn’t a melt down problem. But with their knee jerk reaction they’re about to make the INDIE world a lot less safe. Cause you see, KOBO didn’t take a stand for Indie authors, no they caved to censorship. They caved so bad, that not only have they endangered are right to speak, they have endangered our right to publish.

I am willing to bet to you have all the big publishers laughing their ass off about this, cause they know they’ll be using this against INDIE for years to come and even go as far to make Amazon, BN, Lulu, ITUNES and Smashwords to tighten their guidelines on publishing, let correct myself, guidelines for SELF-PUBLISHING. And what is the big publishers case for such action? “ Think of the children, will someone please think of the children.” Give me a break, if you cared that much about right and wrongs, you would joined a book burning club and toss their own works into the fire. Nobody is reading them anyway.

Since I was teen I always stood up for Indie Authors. I saw the lies that Big Publishers will throw at us. And now they’re doing it again. INDIE isn’t making it’s money from selling “ PORN “ that’s far from the truth, this is another lie just to taint Self-publishing.

And how do you classified what’s offensive. I’ve written my share out intense scenes, my story the Fairy Godmother upset some women that they demanded I apologize for my portrayal of a mother willing to poison children each Halloween to get her kicks once a year, will that get me banned down the road? Now they might not, but what happens when sites like KOBO cave under the pressure, and KOBO caved under such a small straw, how long till they start tossing our books aside, but letting big publishers do as they please. How far will they go, will they blacklist us?

If anything, Indie has taken a bat to the wallets of the big publishers and this article, which I see only as a witch hunt, is just a nice ploy to stop indie authors. This is the big publishers way of stopping the cancer before it spreads.

I’ve seen a lot of authors say “ Shame Kobo, but I’ll publish with you.” That’s just wrong. The site knows what it did. And if Indie Authors really want to make an impact against censorship, then start by taking your work out of their site, make Kobo realize that not all authors should suffer cause of one title some schmuck read.

If you’re an indie author I urge you stand strong. Don’t let this fight win you, speak up, and take a stand. Censorship is not our friend, this something we need to beat together.

How Does The Public View Animated Films Today?

I’m listening to my sister watch Disney’s Alice in Wonderland as I write, and I find it sad that animated features aren’t as highly regarded today as they used to be. You might smile, remembering people often saying that “Disney movies aren’t really for kids” – you’ll hear it mentioned in irony, or maybe gasped out loud in realization while re-watching an old favorite. We say it jokingly in fun, but the thing is it’s true. Walt Disney didn’t make films for children; Walt Disney made animated films.

It sounds so simple that we don’t really think about it much. Animated movies nowadays are usually labeled as “for kids” and the “real” live-action movies are for adults. Sometimes I suppose animated movies deserve that label. But marketing is really like a vicious cycle; the media and its consumers tend to feed off each other. So I could also argue that animated films today are targeted toward kids and families because most adults aren’t watching. It’s not exactly a dying art but at the same time, the art of animation is not quite the same.

Someone else could argue that animated films aren’t made intelligently anymore, that maybe if another Walt Disney came around (or someone at Disney knew what they were doing), then they would pay more attention. Add today’s technology into the mix and then you’ve got your old-school traditional animation lovers guffawing at even the thought of taking a modern animated film seriously. I mean let’s face it, unless it’s made by Pixar or an insanely popular DreamWorks movie (Shrek, *cough-cough*), mention an animated “cartoon” movie to an average single adult and their eyes start to glaze over.

If you appreciate cartooning and animation as an art form, then you’ve got a head start. Good for you. But unfortunately, we aren’t the majority. What’s also not the majority today is a really good animated film, and I mean really good. It’s rare that you find an animated film today as excellent and as esteemed as early animated films like Disney’s (the only ones I can maybe think of are by Pixar). Instead it’s much more likely you’ll hear that one was good, “for an animated movie” – and I bet you anything it’s out of the mouth of someone who took a kid to see it. Or you might hear that one was “funny”; but not usually because it’s a high caliber film.  

Those familiar with animation might say it’s because of traditional animation phasing out, that’s one thing that maybe has become a dying art. I’ve often griped about that myself. But I’m sitting here thinking that’s not really the issue here. The medium itself has changed in such a dramatic way. Whether that’s good or bad, I don’t know. Maybe it’s neither. Personally, like I said before, it makes me feel sad. But from a completely objective standpoint, it makes me wonder if there isn’t something more deep-seated going on here.

Don’t get me wrong, animation is still regarded as an art form – just not in the same way it used to be. Is this something to panic or lose sleep over? Probably not. But it’s definitely an interesting shift, to say the least.

What’s your opinion, are animated films less highly regarded today than they were originally – and is it for good reason?

 

Tanya Marcy is a writer and artist with a love for marketing, online media, and the independent arts. She blogs at stickTnotes, where you can find her story tips and tricks, and her ideas about being a creative artist in today’s changing world. Check out her own art at deviantART and sample her writing at Figment

I Was Creatively Squashed As A Kid

Hi, I’m Tanya, and this is a Rant About How I was Creatively Squashed as a Kid

 

I was about to go into fourth grade when my best friend at the time told me her parents were switching her from the Montessori charter school we both attended over to a new Waldorf-inspired charter school. Being familiar with Waldorf, my mom was seriously considering moving me, too. I was confused. In my kid’s mind I kept thinking, why? We already go to a good school. My only motivation all throughout school has always been my peer group. So I was starting to think hey, why not go to this new school? My best friend’s going there. Maybe I should too.   

I don’t know if you know anything about Waldorf, but it’s actually a good philosophy. Waldorf focuses on creativity and child development based on the ideas of Rudolph Steiner. I got the impression that my best friend thought it would be easy because of this creative focus. (She wasn’t half-wrong. I think we only did actual math about once a year there. Okay, a couple times a year. But that was the school’s fault!) I convinced myself it would be alright. I loved the arts as a kid, and that school kind of got an artsy reputation during its run. Like I said, my main motivation in school has always been my friends. I love to learn, but structured education is just not my thing. So I figured if I had to go to school, an education with that creative nudge would be the way to go, right?

*Beep*, wrong!! I couldn’t have been more wrong. Now Waldorf in itself is pretty cool. Steiner had insight and made breakthroughs other forms of education and thinking hadn’t. It’s just that, this school didn’t know how to incorporate those theories into modern day culture. A lot of Steiner’s work had to do with understanding children and their perception of identity at different stages of development. So picture this: One of the rules of this Waldorf school was that we weren’t allowed to wear clothing sporting characters of any kind. Now picture me: a kid obsessed with Simba and Wishbone. (Yeah, I know. Fun, right? And you thought uniforms were a bad idea.) We also weren’t allowed technology. I remember watching in horror one time as our teacher tossed my peer’s Game Boy into the class trash can. And computers? Pft, forget them!

I had been putting on my own performance of The Lion King since I was seven and playing problem-solving computer games since the first grade. What the heck kind of creative world was this that I couldn’t be, you know, creative??

So was Steiner wrong? Nah, he was okay. Kids are highly impressionable, especially at the younger ages. It’s true that they’re prone to identify with whatever they surround themselves and what they absorb. Just like for ages kids have been playing with toy guns after watching western movies (or wherever it is people see guns as kids). What Steiner warned against was a loss of self; too much of anything, good or bad, and it could be detrimental to a child’s developmental health.  

But is every child the rule, or are some an exception? I wasn’t just identifying with characters as a kid, I was acting as them. I was writing about them. For other kids it might not have mattered as much, but for me…that was my vehicle for creative exploration and expression. I always felt like my creative power as a kid – something Rudolph Steiner actually stands for – had temporarily been taken away from me.

Which makes me wonder, how many of us artists – whether we’re visual artists, writers, authors, filmmakers, musicians – are still squashing our creativity ourselves?

 

Tanya Marcy is a writer and artist with a love for marketing, online media, and the independent arts. She blogs at stickTnotes, where you can find her story tips and tricks, and her ideas about being a creative artist in today’s changing world. Check out her own art at deviantART and sample her writing at Figment

Just Write It

There’s a lot of things of writers don’t do, but the biggest gripes of all is not following their own path. What do I mean by this? It’s seeing a lot of artist not follow their own direction because you have mainstream telling them it’s not the trend of the week. Frankly, that just pisses me off.

Have we as artist fallen victim to trend, where we base everything around it, even independent thought. Today we don’t see artist taking a risk, writing whatever the hell they want, no we see artist to scared to walk out of the line just because of the backlash they’ll face from, believe it or not, other authors. People who are too lost in trend, they can’t see the bullshit they are writing.

If anything, authors today have made themselves to be the most ignorant, low-life, shallow mother fuckers around. Pardon my choice of words, but it’s true. If anything, writers yearn for the past, that they end up just hurting their own art.

If the artist and publishers today open their minds to ” trend doesn’t have to be followed ” then the world would be better a place.

In the end, just write what you want, don’t go by trend, or what people are forcing you to do. Be your own person and you’ll see all is good.

ARTIST RANT: Disney The Giant (BY: TANYA MARCY )

For one day this past week, it seemed the entire Internet was abuzz with, not Obama and Romney politics but Disney buying LucasFilm (a.k.a. the Star Wars franchise). I’m not gonna lie, at first I was kind of peeved. If Disney buys ONE MORE thing I love and turns it into something else, I swear…. But then, after seeing excited reactions from everyone else and really thinking about it myself, I realized that it could be one of the best moves in entertainment history.

I may not agree with everything that Disney does, but you’ve got to admit, Disney is a smart company. Back when Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network were churning out creator-driven cartoons, Disney revamped its TV animation and brought it up to date with the times. Disney bought FOX Family and turned it into ABC Family – a network that’s just begun to take off in the last couple years with some really stellar programming. Disney let PIXAR create the films they wanted to create and as a result, have released some of the best computer-generated animated films out there. Disney found gold when they partnered with Hayao Miyazaki and other popular anime properties to release titles in the U.S. I could go on and on.

It’s time for a new generation of storytellers. It’s the start of November and NaNoWriMo, and I see young writers – writers who are GOOD – actively taking the torch we’re passing on and running with it. Now, I’m not saying I’m done writing, far from it. But I used to worry that if one day I woke up with no more stories to tell (ha, yeah right), there would be no one coming up after me to take the reins. Now I know the truth. There will always be somebody.

Disney buying LucasFilm is a good thing. It doesn’t mean the classic stories we once loved will disappear; it just means it’s time for a new band of storytellers to step up to the plate. Even if it means we replace 20th Century FOX high beams with a Walt Disney castle before the lights go down.

 

Tanya Marcy is a writer and artist with a love for marketing, online media, and the independent arts. She blogs at stickTnotes, where you can find her story tips and tricks, and her ideas about being a creative artist in today’s changing world. Check out her own art at deviantART and sample her writing at Figment