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July 07, 2004

Jimi Izrael

I think I just figured out why I'm only something of the writer I might have been. It's because I've written to cope but not to survive.

There have been times when my writing was loopy and impntrbly dense, lower case and reflective of spontaneous energy, when it was clear that I had a great deal of the outside world flowing through the twists in my noggin to land curiously on the page. There was a time when that swirl and flow would move me into a direction of vibing into the subject with fascination and infect my soft creamy middle adding new flavor to the mix I had become. There was a time when I maintained an existential contract with the creative and sought to be more avant than on guard. That was then.

So encountering Jimi Izrael makes me think first of the Wigs, the Tribe of Gorgik, the cool collective of black New York writers that never came to be. When I had something of a chance to jump in, I realized I didn't have the patience to pay dues. I was too old, too successful, and too unimpressed. Aside from that, my girl had more than a quarter million dollars in debt watching her magazine crumble in the rented loft and I remembered the words of my aunt's boyfriend with the new Nikon. "Show business is just like any other business, except the people are twice as flaky." Do you want to know how much patience I have with flaky people? I don't even have the patience to answer.

And yet I sat around Nkiru waiting to bump into somebody.
And yet I sat around Fez waiting to bump into somebody.
And yet I obsessed over Lisa Jones.
And yet I obsessed over Greg Tate.
I knew that the somebodies were out there.

But for a number of reasons, I moved to Boston instead. I got entangled with people going nowhere or to New York, or back to France, or back to LA. The dalliance was over and my writing went back to the DL - to the internet where everyone is a writer and it doesn't matter how fly you can be in a cafe over drinks, where there are no parties to be invited to, where getting hit on is tabulated...

I don't want to be that kind of writer any longer. I'm no longer a devotee to the cause of literary hiphop. I don't care if it lives or dies, except for my sympathy for those of talent like Izrael might be sustained by its economy.

Posted by mbowen at July 7, 2004 07:58 AM

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