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i hate it here

Sean Kirby had a very interesting post the other day on why he stays in Toronto:

Those of you who've read Warren Ellis's Transmetropolitan know what I'm talking about. Spider Jerusalem hates the city and everyone in it. But at the same time, it's the only place he can write. Without the spiritual effect of that place on him, spider becomes impotent and uncaring, which is a lot worse than righteous anger - at least for a writer.

I have to stay in Toronto. If I were to be anywhere else, London, Guelph, Hamilton, I know I would be bored to death. I may hate it here, but it's the only place fucked up enough to keep me interested.

spider.jpgI've been knee deep in Trasmet collected issues for the past few weeks
and I do understand Sean's statement.

My writing - most of which you've never seen - comes from a place deep within. In that place is everything I loathe. It sits there like a magic elixer made of the necessary ingredients to keep me writing.

Hate, fear, loathing, disgust; they are all very powerful emotions. And while love and beauty are powerful in and of themselves, they do not give me the quite the muse that negative emotions do. When I write, I feed on anger. I drink the blood of indignation. I call upon past incidents, in much the same way an actor will recall significant moments in his life, to bring out the emotions I felt at that time and feel them as if they were raw and new. Sometimes a simple song can do that. Sometimes, all I have to do is dream about it.

Much of what comes out of those lingering feelings, you never see. They are pieces I write with an old fashioned pen and paper and they get folded and stuffed into a box with the rest of my scrawlings.

I do, however, use the same tactic here. It's why I troll the sewers of Indymedia, why I read Morford and Rall, why I dig for stories that make me want to scream in anger. It gets me going. It's what interests me. It's what makes me part Spider Jersusalem, unable to write a decent screed unless I am full of rage or righteous indignation.

Sure, Spider has a plethora of futuristic drugs to help him along. I have the blogging equivalent, I suppose. An endless supply of emails - people who send me links to things they know will outrage me. Like feeding heroin to a starving junkie.

I hate it here, sometimes. I hate the internet, I hate the my town, I hate Long Island, I hate New York. But I love them all as well. I'm just more passionate about the things I hate.

Beauty and love and all things happy, I'd rather just sit and admire, take it all in and keep it there. But hate, vitriol and fear - those are meant to be purged and it's when purging them that I come alive as a writer, when the ink is flowing like blood and the words are flying out of my head faster than I can write them.

From issue #4:

Spider: The point is, the only real tools we have are our eyes and our heads. It's not the act of seeing with our own eyes alone; it's correctly comprehending what we see.

Channon: Treating life as an autopsy.

Spider: Got it. Laying open the guts of the world and sniffing the entrails, that's what we do.


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Yeah, but TORONTO? I suppose if you like large, rather provincial white-bread cities that really, really want to be New York....

Yes. People are always asking me why I live in the Shibuya ward of Tokyo, when I grew up in a pretty, semi-rural suburb in Pennsylvania, to which my parents and family friends would be only too happy to welcome me back. To ask the question is to answer it: who wants to live somewhere that systematically picks away at your excuses for not being happy all the time? And I'm not even a writer.

I moved from N.C. to New York 3 years ago and in the past few months, I've realized how much I hate it. The subways, the concrete, how the weather makes it all even more inconvenient, the no friends. And yet when I try to imagine living somewhere else, I can't. In only 3 years, I've completed adapted to this way of life so much that the previous 20+ years in suburbia don't register with me anymore. I am New York's bitch and I feel more alive then ever.

Fabulous, Michele. Incedible. Super-blog-a-ohh-scious. Bend over. I kiss your ass raw.

I don't think you're actually more passionate about the things you hate - you're just a little more verbal about them. You actually kinda said as much yourself in the last paragraph - just thought I'd reinforce it. And whatever imbalance there is in that regard appears to be on the decline, as far as I can tell.

Patti, I am so with you on that comment. I grew up in L.A., lived in Oregon for 8 years after that, and moved to New York nearly three years ago. It's been both, one of the best things and one of the most incomprehensible things, that I have ever chosen for myself. The subways are starting to nudge me towards the brink of insanity though,

And to the author of this blog: it rocks. As for the writing generated by angry or morbid passions, I feel ya. I used to write poetry alot and I kind of stopped partly because I ran out of synonyms for "pain" and "rage." I see my writing as much more balanced now than it was then. But no doubt, facing your suffering and that of others, unleashing your criticisms, fear, indignance, etc. in your writing is a big part of truly examining and expressing yourself. Without that, everything is just...well...NICE.