Accompanying text includes common & scientific names, ecological & ethnobotanical info, gee-whiz facts and personal stories. Sample pages and the introduction follow below.
Forty-five years ago this month, Miles Davis released his album, Live/Evil. The first time I listened to it, eight years ago, I was astounded, most especially by the song, “Sivad.” The next day, I biked around feeling that my life had changed unalterably; knowing that that music was in it the universe made the universe a different place, and joyfully so. My perception of what is possible had expanded. I also thought, a little crossly, about all the music-loving friends I’d known over my life who had never brought this song to my attention. It seemed like an inexcusable oversight. Regardless, I had heard it now, and could never go back.
Live/Evil is a sprawling work, clocking in at over two hours and ten minutes. Four of the songs (or ~3.9, maybe – more on that later) are live performances and four are studio recordings (and presumably the “evil” portion). Despite its length, it fascinates for its entire duration, if only for being so unconventional, if not outright outlandish.
Originally released by Entropy Press in October 1998 under the nom d’arte “Russ.” A novel in scope, but a collection of short stories in form, the narrative (such as it is) follows the adventures of a male character named “T.” from birth to ~27 years of age. My take on the classic coming-of-age narrative.
“(t)h(i/e)m” (which I pronounce as “the aim”) is a multimedia project featuring visual art and a soundtrack, and was originally distributed on CD. The vision was to create a Gesamtkunstwerk, a “unified work of art” that would synthesize different forms into a totality whose sum was greater than its parts.
Download it here:
The book is in the form of a website. All the files (including the MP3s of the music) are packaged in a .ZIP file you will need to uncompress. Then, simply open “home.htm” in a web browser and you will have opened the cover, so to speak. (Also included is “bonus-chapter-2015.htm,” the new story written to mark this re-release.)
A latter day work of
Written as a new chapter to “(t)h(i/e)m: exercise in fiction” [Entropy Press, 1998], on the occasion of it’s digital re-release by Macska Moksha Press . “Russ” was my nom d’arte for the project, so I took it on one more time for this addendum. I thank N. for inspiring the title.
T. was in anguish. Again. But he knew the drill: wait it out. All emotions come and go. Even the ones that strike with an intensity that seems like they will last the rest of your life. The ones that arrive without warning (but do they ever really?) like a roaring storm on a calm day (does that ever actually happen?) pelting you with heavy drops of misery, whipping you with biting winds of despair, deafening you with the thunder of your insistent self-hatred. “Oh Jesus,” T. suddenly said out loud, interrupting his own thoughts. “How fucking melodramatic! Where do I get such pathetic, sophomoric, mopey shit?”
“Like a fucking cry-baby. That’s what I sound like. What the fuck?” He shook his head, but nothing went away.
A stirring in the branches above T. broke his spell. (He was right: wait it out and it goes away, but in this case, so sudden was the transition that he didn’t notice it and had no conscious realization that he was no longer in anguish.) He was on his hands and knees, under a Single-Needled Pinyon tree, harvesting pinenuts off the ground. He leaned out backwards to get his head beyond the drip-line and look up to see what was going on.