Tuesday, February 22, 2011

oh, the angst of youth

i poke fun at the boychik's angst, shudder at the thought of the girlchild going through puberty and subjecting me to the horrors i previously visited upon my own (sainted) mother, but tonight i watched a show on independent lens about william s. burroughs and remembered that as far as angst and ennui go, none of us has a thing on old bill.

the beats were a huge part of my adolescence.  i don't even say that in an ironic way; i was terribly earnest and passionate about my love of the beats.  i read everything i could get my hands on, delighting in lawrence ferlinghetti, devouring ginsberg, prickling at burroughs.  as a young, mostly white girl living on an island, relating to a queer junkie was a stretch for my tiny brain, but the discomfort he provided was sublime.  his words were scratchy and amazing and it was the first time i ever realized that pain and horror and unhappiness could create beauty.  he was truly disenfranchised in a way i couldn't begin to understand, and it was burroughs along with the other beats that really confirmed my love of writing and reading.  it suddenly wasn't just an escape from my own awkwardness, i realized it could be a transformation.  it's almost embarrassing for me to admit this to you, but i know we all have those writers, those artists, who wake something up in us, makes us both more than what we are and also solidly, truly, ourselves.  transcendental acceptance of our own failings.  or something.

i don't think D really liked watching the movie, but i think the boychik got a little something out of it.  if anything, we got to see peter weller in some ridiculous eyeglasses, smoking a cigar and being infinitely smarter than his robocop background might lead to you believe.  also, patti fucking smith.  awesome!  if you get a chance to see this movie, i recommend it.  my favorite transgender, pangender, transhuman, genesis breyer-p.orridge also makes an appearance and that is always something to see.

1 comment:

swatymyers said...

Too funny. My D and I also watched this last night - I was absolutely spell bound and am eager to go read up on Burroughs. Also, note to self: don't play William Tell.