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pickled



The semester starts on Monday and I just picked up four classes (just wish adjunct status included benefits). I don't like to do the same class twice, so I've immersed myself in readings for my classes.

Joe Donahue gave me some great advice on teaching a class on the beats. So my topics in British and American Lit class is on beat lit with particular attention to Burroughs and Kerouac (I'm using The Portable Beat Reader, Word Virus, and the Portable Jack Kerouac).

I am really sucked into Burroughs hard-boiled complex matrix of personal and public insights. The surreal elements are very real (in true surreal fashion) and come straight outta lived experience.

I've been thinking about authenticity. Burroughs lends authenticity to stories and personal narratives of junk and junkies because his body experienced it (not just imagination). But this is hairy. Can a non-junkie write convincingly about junkies?

I suppose it's possible but it seems a little rare. I am also re-reading Brenda Coultas' A Handmade Musuem (I'm really thrilled to read with her this September) and her experiments with public character are lived out (she dives in dumpsters etc.) But what would happen to my reading experiences if I found out she had never even been to Bowery?

Is authenticity mostly on the side of the reader/audience rather than the writer/artist?

And yet authentic as lived experience seems off as well. Is the mind a lived experience? A "lived experience" seems to perpetuate the old Gk. mind/body debacle.

It's all lived experience. It's also all body experience (since the mind IS the body). So perhaps types of experiences. Or the veracity of ones imagination. Virtual reality/imagination creates the possible conditions but yr minds gotta do the rest.

No, I don't believe that. There's a difference between imagining war and being in war. Saving Private Ryan and D-day on screen IS NOT the same as being there. Sensation overload (even with surround sound) cannot equal the experience of being there.

Maybe it's because imagination is mostly visual and being there uses more senses?

Ah shit. I am hung over and tired (got really pissed the other night) and my fingers keep slipping between keys and I am just one big knot (not) in my neck and intellect!

Comments

Laura Carter said…
It sounds like a fun semester, Marcus. The students will appreciate your energy, I'm sure. Best of luck!
Rachel said…
What college do you teach at? I don't know you but I'm half-seriously considering going wherever it is that you work. Your blog came up as a result of a random, tongue-in-cheek google search (for other Irish-Italian-Ukrainians who consider themselves a minority) but I read a few entries and was blown away. You're freaking amazing.
postpran said…
Rachel,

Google is interesting. Glad you stumbled this way. I teach at UNC Greensboro (in the muggy south). Thanks so much for the compliments on the blog.
craig said…
well, join the marines, and after basic start slamming junk.

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