Occupy Art. Word¹.

I have been thinking the big things about government and civil disobedience and art and society and love and what it means to be a human being and why do we tell the stories we tell when there are so many other stories and why, when there are so many other stories, do I call myself mama, yo.

     These are the things I think when I am on the treadmill when I am not imagining the pounding of the peoples who bring me down’s faces beneath my feet.

     Take that Rick Perry for your homophobia…

     Wait, let mama back up here. Back it up, baby, back it up, back it up.

     Mama teaches core literature at Deepsouth University. When she gets to teach the second half of the world’s literature, she usually ends the semester with Shane Jones’ Light Boxes cos it is a quick read and cos it has the absurdities & cos so many of her students cannot seem to get past the chilluns twisting the heads of owls.

     Inevitably, one of mama’s students says, This guy’s on drugs.

     Shane Jones is not on drugs.

     So Mama says, Why do you say that, yo.

     Student says, Because you have to be on drugs to think this shit up.

     Mama says, Why.

     Student says, Because …

     Student says, Because …

     Student says, Cos …

     Student says, Be …

     Sometimes a more self-aware student says something about how adults need to be practical to negotiate this world of the commerces and the going to the works, & indulging in flights of fancy is not practical.

     & then mama is sad. & then mama tries to tell her students that this, too, is a story. That the idea that only children can play and have fun and be imaginative and creative and that childhood is the time when you get to be creative and imaginative (an idea which, in the US, is also being eroded thanks to the slashing of public education monies – remember art class? music?) is just that – an idea, a paradigm that shapes us all by restricting our full potential as human beings.

     (Mama, too, can be deep even if she doesn’t believe in the mind/body dichotomy. Even if she writes the “vulgarities” and writes the bodies doing the things that the polite society, the same society that accepts and perpetuates the stifling of every individual’s full potential, thinks aren’t so niceynice. But, that is the bloody viscous groovy stuffs for another post.)

     We should all be able to play and have fun and imagine, if we want to, holes in the sky where a depressed writer tries to write the love story but because of those damn paradigms that restrict our full potential fails miserably…

     Mama thinks these paradigms about creativity and imagination are very much linked to our consumerist culture. It is so much easier to get people to think they need to buy more and more things and to accept the status quo if that pesky imagination isn’t out there free, trying to envision a different world, or even just asking why.

     Why it be this way, yo? Why?

     If mama was prone to a dark imagination she’d be imagining a cabal of old peeps (most of them white and most of them men) sitting in some super-secret supper club that has super-secret bathrooms for those even higher in the hierarchy of the elites and this supper club has the robots that serve you the drinks you want by reading your mind & this supper club has the daily free injections of human embryonic stem cells so that the peeps can live & live. These peeps congregate and scheme here; these peeps say,


     These peeps say, Destroy the education system.

     These peeps chuckle, Standardized testing.

     These peeps say, More electronic gadgetry.

     These peeps say, More dichotomies.

     These peeps say, Money is not imaginary.

     These peeps say all sorts of crazy scheming things to keep them in the powers. Things that mama cannot even imagine cos even tho mama wants to rule the world & has fantasized about goth minions and balaclavaed babies doing her bidding, mama really doesn’t want the burden or responsibility and mama just wants to get away with doing whatever she wants in her own small scale big northern girl way.

     Which kinda brings mama back to her point… This is why I support the Occupy movement. Mama’s sick and tired of parochial ideas about art and life and humanity and what art should do and what is transgressive and not and how the body is dirty and the mind is not and how there are words you should say and words you should not & how there are things you should thinks & things you should not.

     Cos mama’s got her own ideas and her own stories. & the worst story that is not mama’s, one of the worst transgressions & the dirtiest, is that not everyone deserves a house or the foodstuffs or warmth or clean water. The worst story for mama is that’s just the way things are. The worst story for mama is that capitalism has been naturalized. The worst story for mama is that this is a free market. The worst story for mama is cos you are a girl you should cry and nurture and cos you are a boy you should stoic and destroy. The worst story for mama is that pesticides will not kill and cancer. The worst story for mama is efficiency trumps compassion. The worst story for mama is that if it doesn’t make you money it is not valuable. The worst story for mama is if you don’t make the moneys you are not valuable.

     You are valuable. This mama thinks so. Word.

¹ For a more linear/less mamafied discussion about the transformative potential of both the Occupy movement and the imagination, click here.

Ryder Collins’ debut novel ‘Homegirl!‘ is out now, priced £8.99/$13.99.

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