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Mar 23, 2006



This is very perceptive. I saw Allen Ginsberg a number of times in his later years, and yes, he was part of the Establishment -- he was a professor at Brooklyn College and a prominent member of certain organizations of writers and artists like the elite American Academy of Arts and Letters. But he could still excite an audience the way he did the one in North Dakota that you describe, and I believe he had an awareness that (this was the 70s) the punk scene in the East Village and other younger people had become that day's edgy vanguard.

Kathy Sierra

Ouch -- this is one of those "don't-want-to-hear-but-need-to-hear" moments for me. I've been inspired for a long time by your "be true to yourself" message, but all the while I've been telling people to keep the sharp edges and don't wimp out, etc. -- I've been increasingly wimping out over the last year. And I can pinpoint the exact moment I started to slide... when the criticism I was getting became personal.

Once I started having even a moderate readership, the emails I got began to include some of the worst (usually, but not always anonymous) things anyone had ever said to me. So while I know I should be celebrating that the internet enables people to use anonymity to express their true, honest feelings -- however hateful and cruel -- I am also deeply disappointed in myself for *caring*. And for trying to, however insignificantly, appease them by censoring myself on certain topics... by refusing to even mention some of the things I believe most strongly in.

I can look back over a period of many months and see how many times I had ideas and topics but chose to "just not go there", because I didn't want the hate mail. That wasn't true to myself, and certainly didn't match the advice I was giving to others...

But then I met Tara, who makes the criticism I've gotten look quite tame, and yet she stays fearless and true to herself. And then I met you, and I get another dose of the remain-unflinchingly-true-to-yourself message. Thanks to you, I'm regaining some bravery. : )

Jeremy Pepper

Ouch - I think I just had a too young/too old moment. You wrote the Beats, and I immediately thought of the English Beats, and wondered who was the misogynist in the band.

Embarassed since Bukowski taught at my school, and been to the places he wrote about in his book. :)

Good seeing you at the NCF.

Jerrol Davis

I just read This Is The Beat Generation
by John Clellon Holmes The New York Times Magazine, November 16, 1952. In 1952 I ws six. I lived in rural northeast Texas. In 5 or 6 more years, I'd be reading New World Writing; discovering On the Road, and trying to play jazz. Still in rural northeast Texas. Try to imagine small town 1950s Texas life. Church, work, and school. Football, sneaking around to smoke, making out in parked cars. Against the backstory of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries - with plenty of reminders ot the former still hanging out in the latter. I lived my first six years with one foot in both. And then came the nineteen fifties. Retrospectively, I see the cycles of youth, rebellion, art, and world domination by the power elite have played themselves out again and again. And for that one little decade in America - even in rural northeast Texas; It was all about us.

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