Art of the Remix

It’s 2022, but my internal clock doesn’t seem to know it yet. I’m not “vibing” with it. It might be because my household is in Covid quarantine, but it seems the world is moving at an accelerated, hyper-real pace and yet we are moving around, quite literally, very slowly.

The edits are moving along for “The Vesper Bell,” which should be out in the spring/summer. I did publish a new piece of short fiction recently, a story called “Palindrome.” When it came out I felt like I had to preemptively confess that the story was inspired by a dream my significant other had. A dream of a roving band of children setting things on fire. It’s odd that I felt a twinge of guilt about “stealing” the idea, even though whenever he tells me a dream, or an anecdote, that is particularly great I always say, “I’m using that,” or “I’m writing that down,” or simply, “Oooh, that’s MINE.” I’ve just always been a scavenger of parts and scraps, and never had many qualms about whether it was right or wrong. But maybe I’m beginning to feel ambiguity about the back-and-forth flow between personal relationships and making art. There is a continuity between art and life, all the time. A constant conversation.

The maxim has it that “art is theft.” William S. Burroughs made his cut-up poems by scissoring up pages of printed text and rearranging them. But his idea wasn’t even original, the Dadaists did it before him. Then later, Bowie and the Stones made cut-up songs. I guess the best a person can do is scavenge widely and broadly, but remix it. Do your own take. Put a lot of yourself into it, and it will end up resembling nothing you’ve seen before, if you’re doing it right.

You can read “Palindrome” here: https://kgbbarlit.com/content/palindrome

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