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Wounded Child Prostitute

I like some people so much, their whole way, and being, that I can't say a word for fear of wrecking it. So if you see me standing across the room, not looking, I'm probably in love with you. Damaged, benzo surfer...

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The Contortionist's Handbook

The Contortionist's Handbook - Craig Clevenger I wrote this first paragraph a few days ago and it became moot pretty fast…so it goes. The rest is my general reactions to this book by my favorite writer.I’ve finished Craig Clevenger’s The Contortionist’s Handbook. I say finished because I have fifteen pages left and (this is not a diss) I’m not reading the end because I want to let it ride for a while. I kind of think I know what’s going to happen and I think it will hurt so I want to let things be the way they are for a while (in my mind). I know that is a bit weird. Clevenger is my current favorite writer, so I’m allowed to do shit like this. It’s like not calling your friend when you know they’re waiting for your call but they know and you know it’s okay because of your strange never ending relationship.I went ahead and finished it two days later, and I was right, it did kinda hurt. Clevenger`s depiction of Daniel Fletcher cut`s close to the bone for me because he carried a thread or number of threads that my own brother `Danny`was made of.‘Handbook’ is sort of like discovering you’re in the Led Zeppelin song ‘Kashmir’, licking honey off of the nipples of Isis and having an out of body experience while you’re being gang-banged in prison…all at once like.Clevenger is clearly a writer’s writer, an alchemist of words. He leaves microfilament molecules of iron in the neck bone of readers after they’ve paid him a few shillings for a mercifully clean cut.I want to say ‘noir’ somewhere when I think about describing The Contortionist’s Handbook, but it isn’t fair. Because I think of noir as commercial genre fiction and I can’t possible put Clevenger’s writing anywhere near that. I’d like to make some sweeping big review statement like, blah blah blah begins and ends with blah blah blah of what Clevenger is doing. And if I were educated enought to be that pompous and cloyingly aesthetic, I’d probably end up being right.If I start somewhere in the area of ‘dark’ as a description, I’d be getting somewhere relevant, but once again, dark novels are everywhere and many, most in fact, are replica iterations that take their place in the droste effect of novels disappearing off into the distance. Clevenger’s Handbook and Dermaphoria for that matter, do not deserve a place in the droste of the dark either. So I’ll call it nigredo.Nigredo is the alchemical term which descibes the fist step of the seeker of the philospher’s stone; all materials must be cleansed and cooked to a uniform black matter. The term is also used in Jungian psychology in reference to ‘dark night of soul’.The importance of distinguishing ‘dark’ writing from ‘nigredo’ is simple. The nigredo comes from those and I believe is primarily sent out to those, who have ‘walked the walk’. And when those who have walked it come across Clevenger’s writing, they immediately join in a shared communion of the nigredo.Thank you Mr. Clevenger for joining us together and giving us one little notch in the big nigredo holster in the sky. And for hitting a bullseye.If you don’t get what I mean, you can always go find a nice dark novel. Or you could give up everything you own, go live in an alley and fire up pipes for a few years, join a punk band, promise to have sex with whatever walks for six months, eat from dumpsters, smile when you have no reason to, get down with buddah pain, no, make it all of the above. Then go find a nice dark novel and see what you think.a few excerpts from the book:“I started doing favors for people. Big mistake. Jimmy or somebody would introduce me with words like forger or counterfeiter, sometimes with expert or master thrown in. Like I should be proud. I hated being introduced to people, and I told them not to use words like that. Whadda we call you, then?Told a girl once that I’d wanted to be a contortionist. Saw a guy on TV when I was younger, bend, twist and crumple his body into an airtight box no bigger than a knapsack. Stayed inside for two hours, like he didn’t breathe at all. When they opened the box, he crawled out slowly like some strange hatching thing, every bone intact and breathing like normal. I can’t explain it, but that seems closer to what I do than anything else.”“I learned that predators don’t intentionally choose the weak or old or sick. They kill what they can, which means the slow members of the pack. Thus, they strengthen the very gene pool they’re feeding from. The threshold for what is weak, old or sick gets raised, and the strength, speed and instincts of new generations of hunters grow. A beautiful, self-perpetuating system where evolution is the antithesis of entropy.”