Friday, April 20, 2012

Liz Worth : Eleven Eleven

Recently, I finished reading the book Eleven Eleven by author Liz Worth... I loved it! It’s been a long time since I’ve read something that good, and I’m not just saying that. If I don’t like reading someone’s work, most likely I’m not going to finish their book or pick up anything by them again. But whatever Liz writes, I’m going to read.

I love the imagery in her writing. Her honesty is refreshing and almost unheard of these days… To be an honest writer is the hardest thing in the world to do, at least it has been for me… To truly let the flow of words drip from your pen like a punctured blood vein, or spill out from your self-conscious with no clean up and no worry of what others will think is something quite difficult indeed. Or just to simply say, this is my art, accept it or leave it, it’s the way I’m going to write. This is the mark of a true artist.

I guess, for me, it’s difficult to find a writer that I really enjoy reading nowadays… My literary upbringing was from the works of William S. Burroughs, Charles Bukowski, Harry Crews, Anais Nin, Janet Frame, and Anne Sexton. Although there have been a few writers I’ve enjoyed in recent years like Chuck Palahniuk, it still has been hard to read modern text and truly like it.

One day, while suffering a bad case of the rewrite blues, I decided to take a break and surf the net. I typed the words “Jason E. Hodges Poet,” into Google Images to see if any of my artwork would pop up. As I scrolled down, I saw a few of my bone carvings along with other pages that where tag-marked with the word “Poet.” I notice a photo of Liz linked to a write-up about her work. After reading it, I Googled her name to learn more about her. Making my way to her Blog, “The Radio Forest,” I was instantly hooked. Over the last year, I’ve read quite a bit of Liz’s Blog and some of her poems online, along with some spoken word readings I’ve watched on Youtube.

I finally contacted her and got a copy of Liz’s first book Eleven Eleven… I was filled with excitement after reading the first few paragraphs. I couldn’t put it down. I love the way she painted the scene with words, and had the ability to see the world that surrounded her down to the smallest detail, good or bad. Much like some of my favorite writers, Janet Frame and Anne Sexton…

Janet Frame
Electricity, the peril the wind sings to in the wires on a gray day.

Anne Sexton
Being kissed on the back of the knee is a moth at the window screen.

As I read, I found myself flashing back to my own youth. When life was as much moment to moment living, as it is paragraph to paragraph for a writer. When song lyrics are as much of your reality as anything presented as truth from the adults that seem to dictate everything in your world. A world where guitar rhythms like Led Zeppelin's No Quarter or Black Sabbath’s Snowblind seem to allow you to transcend into an alternate existence. At least momentarily giving relief from the daily grind.

Liz captures this in her writing well. She brings the reader into her world so successfully they feel as if the sidewalk is firmly planted under their feet, and the cold dark wind is nipping at their very existence. Her descriptions are wonderfully creative, submerged beautifully in a finer shade of darkness.

Eleven Eleven made me instantly wish I would have been disciplined enough to keep a journal as a youth. As I read, I remembered the first time I saw a spoon bent backwards; standing upright on my friends kitchen table; blackened underneath from flamed matches now lying in a coffee cup. I think, I was about 13 years old. My friend’s mother was a nurse that couldn’t resist playing doctor after hours… A fix after a twelve hour shift was the only real way to relax for her.

Eleven Eleven
brought me back to speeding cars and lucky brushes with death… Riding down dirt roads lined with trees on each side, with a driver who was anything but sane. Watching him click his headlights off, then looking into midnight blackness praying he would click them back on and I would somehow make it out alive… Eleven Eleven made me think of my own sister’s suicide, and the countless friends that have drifted away from this world and me… But Eleven Eleven also reminded me that life is now. It is a song lyric or guitar rhythm that moves you. It is that encounter with a friend that can never be taken away. It is seeing the beauty in all that’s around us. This is the mark of a good writer…

Liz Worth  Eleven : Eleven

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