When one peddles in the absurd, when one deals in banalities and micro-concepts, when one pushes that boulder up the hill only to watch is tumble back down, there will always be a certain element of resistance to the idea that what one is doing has any value. I’m certain that this is true because I live the consequences of working in MUNDANE MAGIC on a daily basis.
I’m economically embarrassed, but psychologically fulfilled.
Even the most die-hard of adherents can only be expected to suffer inanity for so long before becoming bored and moving on to greener pastures. I’m cool with that, and happy with yesterday’s “outcome” (for lack of a better term.) Not counting Scotty Sparks’s two ACTUAL poems, and a single silly drawing of mine posted BEFORE the marathon, I ended the day with TWENTY-NINE pieces of nonsense, in total, in my performance. I consider these marathons (when they occur) to be performances as much as I consider them fiction, poetry, and visual art, because part of the barrage is the simple ACTION of making and posting each BIT. The MASS POSTING is as much a part of the activity as the making of each drawing or written piece.
But consider this: most of the individual pieces in this marathon, taken on their own merits, would be a throw-away—a tiny bit of NOTHING. “2 + 1 = love triangle” or a stick figure surfer with a halo or a nonsense poem about growing up poor and having to take lunch to school in a paper bag (which most people probably didn’t get)—none of these things, presented on their own and considered in isolation, would have made any impact on the world. However!!! When a multitude of tiny pieces (of nothing) begin to swarm, when they appear suddenly all grouped together and descend upon the world in mass, people notice. Each individual element of the swarm may be nothing but wings, some pollen, and a useless stinger, but the mass taken together can inspire fear and panic in the population (not to mention great B-films, like Attack of the Killer Bees!) Or confusion. I’m cool with confusion, too.
It’s not a question of whether or not I’ll keep making my silly drawings or micro-stories or nonsense poems, I’ve created these things since my childhood, and I’ll continue to make them until I keel over and drop. Shit, I’ll probably try to make a drawing with my fingertip in the pool of blood I’m lying in when I’m finally beaten to death by that angry crowd, and I’ll smile just a little bit through crimson teeth as they kick harder than even, confused and infuriated by the snake with the halo that I scrawl as my eyes roll back in my head and the lights go out! And I’ll probably keep having marathons as well, once or twice per year, if for no other reason than sheer perversity.
Push that boulder to the top of the hill, then grin as it rolls back down! Thanks for playing!
—Richard F. Yates